Not so innocent
Michael Caton-J ones has gone from a small town in West Lothian to a luxury home in Los Angeles and an office in Hollywood. Tom Lappin finds out how from a BBC Scotland documentary A Kiss To Build A Dream On.
The town of Broxburn holds little claim to fame other than the name stamped on egg-boxes, but it’s also the birthplace of Scotland‘s most commercially successful film director, Michael Caton-Jones. who delivered leaﬂets for the local cinema when he was a boy. Twenty years on, the blunt and unpretentious Caton-Jones has already enjoyed hits at the box-office and in the review columns with Scandal, Memphis Belle, and Doc Hollywood, and is currently completing an adaptation ofTobias Wolff‘s This Boy’s Life with Robert De Niro.
A documentary from Glasgow independent Big Star In A Wee Picture profiles Caton-Jones for the new series of BBC Scotland’s EXS, visiting him in Los Angeles, where the Broxburn lad feels very much at home. ‘People out there think he’s incredibly exotic,’ says director Don Coutts. ‘If you’ve got a Scottish accent and you’re a bit
ﬂamboyant they think you‘re brilliant. He plays the punk revolutionary bit but he also admits that he’s deeply conservative at one level. He plays the system.‘
The 34-year-old Caton-Jones arrived in Hollywood after a stint at the National Film and Television School, a TV drama Brond for Channel 4, and the acclaimed Scandal for Palace Pictures. Confidence is one attribute he doesn‘t lack. ‘There are millions to be made in this game. and the only competition is from idiots.‘ says the man whom Palace’s Steve Woolley describes as ‘the most arrogant person I‘d met in my entire life.‘
‘Christ yeah, he‘s an arrogant bastard,‘ confirms Coutts. ‘I actually sacked him when he worked with us as a runner in the mid-80s. But he‘s quite funny with it. Because he‘s more financially secure he gets away with it. I think he‘s quite a lonely kind of guy. He‘s one of these people who‘s got a lot of upfrontness, but I‘m not sure he‘s at home in that Hollywood milieu.‘ ‘
What he is at home with is the money. Coutts‘s film dwells tellingly on the ludicrous amounts of cash to be made in them thar Hollywood Hills.
‘Punk revolutionary' Michael Caton-Jon'es.
Caton-Jones. a product of the precious and impecunious British film system. had few qualms about working for the Yankee dollar. ‘It‘s a terribly pragmatic game.‘ he says. ‘I stopped feeling guilty after about twenty minutes.‘
His nostalgia for Scotland is limited to missing the laddishness ofa night down the pub with the lads talking about football. an occupation that is out of the question among the suburban freeways ofCalifornia. even if anyone could understand his accent (a constant problem on set apparently). ‘I can imagine him coming back here and making a film,‘ says Coutts. ‘but we asked him about the Scottish film industry and he said it doesn‘t exist. and why would you want to film in Renfrcwshire in the rain anyway?‘
Hollywood sources suggest that This Boy 's Life is a brilliant film that will enhance Caton-Jones‘s critical credibility without sacrificing audience figures. The boy from Broxburn is about to l
become one of Hollywood‘s most bankable properties.
EXS.‘ A Kiss To Build A Dream ()n is on BBC] on 9 November at I 0. 40pm.
It media exposure were dangerous then the man with the melanoma is back, alter what seems like seconds, to compere the lourth series of The Funny Farm. It you wished that the question mark was still worth something in Stu Who? then you're driving up the wrong side at taste's dual carriageway and will easily be crushed by the iuggernauts oi Scottish Television’s late night chortling audience, who voted with their on-switches tor the series to be expanded to an unprecedented 18 programmes. That's
Joint host Fred ‘Not Stu Who?‘ MacAulay
we’ve lucked it up".’
72 acts, seven bands, ten Scottish acts new to televison and a ioggy morning on the A1 worth 01 statistics. Obviously, as producer Kim Kinnie explains, they're doing something right, and so the attempt to re-create the atmosphere ot a live comedy venue via banked seating and discreet l cameras will remain the show’s / lormat. To some extent this style is ' born oi necessity, as Kinnie makes clear; ‘You can’t go back and say “Can r you laugh at that again please because
Through such techniques and lengthy
acts that are more difficult to do like Woody Bop Muddy, whose act is very physical, he runs about smashing records— l’m not going to explain it— but to get that on a screen and make it work in five minutes is diliicuit.’ Nonetheless Kinnie claims the new series will have ‘the longest line-up oi comedians that we’ve put together in this country at the same time.’ Representing the left hand drives will be Jimmy Tingle, Thea Vidale and The Doug Anthony All Stars, whilst Arthur Smith, Mark Hurst and Paul Merton make their usual cone clipping appearances. (Stephen Chester)
, I " editing sessions Kinnie attempts to . / I ‘give you the essence at who that I T ‘\ comedian is in a iairly shorttime.’ Not
that it's all roses on the embankment oi Success Highway; ‘There are certain
0N FOLLOWING PAGES: EVELYN GLENNIE 0 BIG BATTALIONS 0 VIDEO BOUND-UPS
The Funny Farm starts on SW on Friday 6 November. 11.10—11.40pm.
The List 6— 19 November 199.2 67