ROBBIE COLTRANE FEATURE
into that funny area where you think, is this supposed to be an impressionist that‘s escaped from the loony bin. is this supposed to be an actor that’s escaped from the loony bin. or an ordinary guy? So we ended up taking the rhythm ofthe American speech. and then put the Glasgow on top ofit.’
Such concerns over potential misunderstanding of the central character have resulted in a diluting ofthe gritty, dry satire that was crux of the original comics. Having bought the character and the rights to The Bogie Man from the original publishers of the comic. Glasgow-based Fat
‘He doesn’t look like the guy in the comic book, but he thought he’d be tunnier, he’sa majorcomic asset.’
Man Press. the BBC Scotland Head Of Drama Bill Bryden commissioned writer
Paul Pender to ‘sorta reinvent‘ the story; press conference. the actor overshadows the
partly for dramatic reasons. partly for part.
financial concerns — convincing the BBC ‘Overall I was disappointed in it .‘ admits
that the story was worthy of investment. Alan Grant. the co-creator ofthe comics and ‘Bill had this idea of casting Robbie sometime Batman and Judge Dredd scribe.
Coltrane as The Bogie Man.‘ recalls Pender. ‘At the same time. having co-written it. it ‘against type — he doesn‘t look like the guy in was great to see lines that I had written being
the comic book. but he thought he‘d be spoken by somebody of the calibre of funnier. he‘s a major comic asset. Ifwe got Robbie Coltrane. whom I’ve got a lot of him. we had a good chance ofgetting the respect for. I‘m not convinced that he was money. But Coltrane wasn‘t convinced that the right person to play The Bogie Man. and it was right for him. it was a bit ofa one-joke I think he should have been able to carry it thing. My briefwas to try and come up with a off better than he did. screenplay that would change his mind. We ‘I gather Robbie thought there wasn‘t were always aiming at the Christmas slot. so enough emotional depth to this. he thought we went for a fairytale of redemption. and The Bogie'Man was essentially a onemote fOItUmltel)’ COItTane said 3/653 character. I‘ve got to agree with that. but I The emphaSlS Ofthc story changed. Out think they made a mistake by trying to elicit Went the main laugh 0fth€ 00miCS - here‘s a sympathy for him because it weakens him.‘ humdrum W06 Glasgow ballCth With a ‘I think Robbie delivers a very charming single-focus Bogart obsession; here‘s a story central performance.‘ avers director Charles replete with buffs‘ references tofz’lm noir‘s Gormley, ‘And people say to mc‘ what 0121583651 mOmCUtS - and in Cilmt’ the about Craig?” Meaning. it is to be surmised. larger-than-life figure of Robbie Coltrane. that Craig Ferguson‘s performance as the WhOSC actual persona spills ()VCF into the dim cop‘ has been, erm‘ called into fictitious persona. Just like at our celebrity question, *wclL Craig has the schtjck pan.
All his scenes are expository. Everytime you cut to Robbie he gets to biff somebody or kiss somebody. But Craig tells you the story. And I just wanted him to be one of those big Glasgow numpties that‘s half as smart as he thinks he is.‘
One man‘s expository is another man‘s naff. But then as Gormley admits. The Bogie Man is ‘meant to be corny. The only rule was that they played it straight. that they didn‘t treat it as corny. The deal was they should play it straight for laughs.‘ So we get Midge Ure playing the villain. having a bath to the haunting strains of‘Vienna‘. Sothere’sa dame called Lauren McCall providing the : love interest and a ‘culture junkie‘ dosser who only wants £20 for a ticket for the opera (one of several passing digs at Glasgow‘s City ofCulture conceits). So there‘s a haul of jewels and dosh mingling with the giblets in a van-load ofturkeys. And there‘s Big Robbie hamming it up. playing the corn—ball role like he was born to it. Right Robbie?
’Do I rise above this or do I smack him in the mouth?‘ Robbie asks ofthe assembled press. ‘I thought it was a very restrained performance actually. But what do I know‘."
The Bogie Man is on BBC2 on 2‘) December at 9.25pm.
The ListiI8-Becember 1992 — [-1 January 1993 9