I i A H I r s .i


Annabella Sciorra tugs the

strings in Mr Wonderful, British

writer/director Anthony

Minghella’s follow up to Truly Madly Deeply. Alan Morrison met


Few actresses in Hollywood manage to maintain that delicate balance between commercial desirability and artistic integrity. Bridget Fonda is one. moving comfortably from box office bits. which keep the studios happy. to more interesting independent projects. which stretch creative talents. Annabella Sciorra is another. Since her debut in I989. in the sadly overlooked True Love. she has juggled cameo roles in the likes of Internal Ajjairs with leads in blockbusters like The Hand 'I'hal Rocks The Cradle. and has still found time to take on meatier parts like that of the white secretary who has an affair with

architect Wesley Snipes in Jungle Fever.

Classically ltalian-American in appearance (but smaller. darker and. if possible. tnore beautiful off screen). Sciorra‘s latest role is her first properly romantic lead. starring opposite Matt Dillon in Anthony Minghella‘s heartwarming comedy Mr ll/onderful. She plays Lee. Dillon‘s ex-wife. who is trying to break away from her repressive working- class background by studying at college. But the


Mr Wonderful: “heartwarming comedy’

alimony she receives from her former husband is crippling his private life and his opportunity to invest with his friends in a renovated bowling alley. so he attempts to find her a new

husband a Mr Wonderful

who will take Lee and his financial burdens off his shoulders at one fell swoop.

‘Lee grew up in a very traditional way and in a very 5 traditional neighbourhood.‘ says Sciorra of her character. ‘There are certain communities in the

‘1 world. not just in New York. where you have different rules . . ' ofbetrayal. She finds out that being Italian-American is not aboutjust being in the kitchen someplace. in " somebody‘s’house. cooking and cleaning. l grew up : in a more progressive household than Lee perhaps did. My mother worked in the fashion industry. and she was a feminist who was extremely encouraging in terms of allowing me to do what I wanted to do. She always reminded me that you don‘t need to be mam'ed to have a complete life.‘

The young Sciorra was trained as a dancer before she moved into acting off-off- Broadway ‘lt was just as difficult to break into that small community in New York as it is to break into showbusiness in Hollywood.‘ she explains. ‘but now that I‘ve done film work, they‘re more than happy to let me play Hamlet.’ Such has been her career of late that she hasn‘t been on stage for about four years. although having done three movies back to back Mr Wonderful. the recently released The Night WI Never Me! and the forthcoming dark drama Romeo Is Always Bleeding. in which she stars with Gary Oldman and Juliette Lewis she would like nothing better than to return to the boards. She‘s also one of that new Hollywood breed who would rather develop ' I her own projects. and to that end is chasing the rights for a book on Hell’s Kitchen in the ()0s and another on a female Renaissance artist. ‘There are so many stories to be told.‘ she reckons. ‘and to sit around and wait for Hollywood to hand me the brilliant script and $10 million is ridiculous. You have to create your own ifyou want to work in film.‘

Mr Wonder/id opens at the lfdinlnojeh Film/louse on

Friday 19 November

. and for her to want more is a kind

:— Homeboys on

the range

‘The only westerns I saw as a kid were a couple of white guys killing a lot of red guys,’ reckons Mario Van Peehles. ‘The dominant culture will always put itself in everything. We know that most of the heavyweight champs are Ali, Tyson, mostly black guys, but Hollywood will take a white guy who looks like Stallone and who probably couldn’t drop you. Fifty years from now, they’re gonna have forgotten about All and Tyson; they’ll think Vanilla Ice invented rap and that Benny Goodman was the father of iazz.’

And that all of the cowboys strode around like John Wayne, Jimmy Stewart and Clint Eastwood, with the only black faces playing the bar-room

§ piano or sweeping the floor. Van

l Peebles’s second outing as director

(following the extremely profitable

2 New Jack City) is Posse, which rewrites the Wild West as we know it,

3 giving afar more accurate account of.

i the role played by the black cowboy. It

a centres on a group of ‘buffalo

! soldiers’ who escape from the

Posse: ‘a leone movie shot for an MTV audience’

sponsored by BAC AR Dl BLACK

insanities of the Spanish-American

; War in order to wreak revenge on the

corrupt white townsfolk who lynched

the preacher father of their leader,

Jesse lee (Van Peebles flexing his

5 acting muscles). For the first time, perhaps, we get a wider picture of the ethnic diversity of the Old West, and of the pioneering work done by those

l l Afro-Americans who built their own

; self-sufficient communities. 3 Van Peebles reckons that European filmmakers like Sergio leone were the

r ' first revisionists, introducing anti-

: heroes and a different sensibility, and ' Posse does indeed resemble a leone movie shot for an MTV audience. loud I music, flashy camera angles and the

. odd rapper in the acting line-up give a stylish 90s feel to one of cinema’s

t oldest genres. And as the title hints,

2 there are resonances with the gangs

! of today. “I’m not looking to make a

parallel in that way,’ he points out. ‘It i would be easier for me, and I could

; make more money, lust to repeat

l things. The studios said that the

movies that were doing well from black directors were all set in the ’hood. i thought it was important to break out. But there are parallels with historical things that reoccur, and I’m using a 905 humour with some of that.’ Van Peebles’s next revisionist project centres on the Black Panther Movement of the 1960s, with him producing and acting, and his father, the ground-breaking filmmaker Melvin 3 Van Peebles who was one of the activists at the time - directing and j writing. Mario also reckons he’d like to do something on Egypt and the early Chinese dynasties, ‘but to get to that kind of budget, you’ve gotta make Hollywood lots of money. I’m sure the day will come when I want to do a big, - stupid action movie that has no relevance to nobody - Revenge Of The Herd Bimbo Terminator. And then I’ll go to a big studio and put oil on my body and shoot shit. But till then . . . (Alan Morrison) Posse opens in Scotland on Friday 19 November.

The List l9 November—2 December l993 13