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Having made his name with TV comedy, Martin Clunes turns his hand to acting and directing for the .- big screen in Staggered. He tells ~ -


Alan MOIT 13011 What It’s llke t0 Staggered: ‘teases its laughs from exaggerated situations rather than isolated one~|iners’ Stand bollOCk_naked 0n Ban'a. stretching the TV format. teasing its laughs frorn Funeral. it’s inevitable comparisons will be made exaggerated situations and events rather than isolated i ‘obviously l‘m much better looking than Hugh one-liners. packaging together a likeable lead with a i Grant.’ says the master of modesty but while

nutty supporting cast. Clunes. with his lovable Staggered hasn't had the chance to convince British rubbery face. soldiers on through one embarrassment audiences of its worth by first opening strongly in the after another, with the comic stoicism of Keaton States, it has appeared at a time when British

‘That was the first thing we did. and if l'd baulked at that, if l’d cut up like a proper luvvie. i don‘t think i could have asked an experienced crew to do anything else.‘ Actor Martin Clunes is reliving some early

shooting SCCDCS that Mam” ClunCS the (“WWW Pm rather than the manic Englishness of Clecse. The role comedies are perceived to have more credibility. ()ne him [hTOUgh 0“ 3 Chill)’ Hebrldw" “land {Or is an important step forward for the actor whose 5 wonders. then. how tnuch concession was made to Staggered. . . latest series of Men lie/raving Burl/y is getting scoring with an international. and particularly

Our th0. Nell. an amiable [OY demonstrator by underway on the box not only because it lets him a American. market. trade, has woken up wearing not a Stitch on 11 carry a feature. but because it also gave him his first i ‘We didn‘t totally ignore them.‘ he concedes. ‘We SCOttiSh beaCh. the reSUlt Of What appearS ‘0 W 11 chance to direct. { wanted it to look brightly coloured —— which, i think, 'haI’mlCSS' stag night Prank. COUNCS)’ Of his bCSi mil“ ‘1 was asked. and it's not the sort of thing you say . is a demand of a toy demonstrator’s story. We wanted Gary (MiChilCl Praed) BU! Gary's PlanS 11W “10W no to. really.‘ he says of his debut behindihe camera. 5 it to have that veneer. that richness, rather than a fog- deViOUSi he's gm his CYC 0“ the money coming ‘0 I ‘ll it” SOUndS VCI‘)’ SlmPlC imd lUCkY- Alid I am bOIhi ' bound Enolish overcast look. And the question ofthe Neil’s fiancee and. knowing that to claim it. she has very simple and very lucky. A lot of people ask me : word ubofiocks" came up when somebody said they to be married in three days‘ time. he's got to keep how you direct yourself. and the answer is w you just r don‘t understand it in America It's not that they Neil out of the picture. So poor Neil stumbles dow it don‘t. i had a playback video so i could see. but in ' don't have them; 1'," sure they do, But it‘s a good the country. avoiding police. a pervy Welsh salesman the end. i could only look at myself as I always look 1 word. so we left it in And if they have a problem, [‘1] (Griff Rhys Jones) and various other regional at myself. and think l‘ve got too many chins and my do them a drawing‘ eccentrics as he tries to get to the church on time. ears are too bi v.' ' i r i 3 -

Staggered is British cinema comedy at its best: Given the sufprisc success of Four Weddings And A I MUMUM Opens (m 1 mm" 8.

_ its central character, making him a of 1992’s turkeys. More recently, he’s

rebel with a definite cause - the completed his first French language I

protection of his unborn child. film in years Max And Jeremy - and i

While preparing for the role of tried his hand at an action comedy, t Brennick, Lambert visited a super- Gunmen, alongside Mario Van Peebles,

The future: it’s never a nice, happy, caring-sharing place in the movies. More likely to be a high-tech, over- crowded totalitarian nightmare that would make George Orwell pale. In Fortress, the latest from Heanimator director Stuart Gordon, US population increases have brought about a new law that forbids women giving birth to more than one child. So when former Black Beret Captain John Brennick (Christopher Lambert) fails to get his pregnant wife across the border, they’re both thrown into a t sophisticated maximum security

maximum security prison in California, which premieres on video next month. a trip that left a lasting effect on the But the one the fans are really waiting actor. ‘lt’s not like Fortress. . . yet,’ he for is his third outing as Connor says, ‘but it’s slowly going there - Macleod in the Highlander series. complete isolation, guards on ‘We wanted to call it Highlander 3: catwalks above the cells with guns so The Apology,’ he jokes. ‘l think number they can shoot through a grill. The , two was great visually, but . . . lack of inmates don’t go out anymore and story. How we have a very strong story,

have absolutely no contact with and we still have the visuals, the anybody. It’s completely inhuman. So action, the romantic side. Highlander

how could you release these people 3 is basically the same structure as

' and expect them to cope with life? number one, with a dual love story -

Maybe it’s easy to say, but it would be one in the French Revolution, the

better to try to communicate, to give other in 1993. Macleod goes from

. f them something instead of taking Scotland to Japan, he’s shot at, he

Prison bum beneath a “$9”- "lls is a i ' * , , * everything away from them.’ goes to see a different mentor’ - so no Fla“ "he"! Pfisonefs 3'9 SW11le ; “mm‘ "cmw'" “'9 9""5’ = Lambert is an actor in need of a hit. third resurrection for Sean Connery - with bar codes and have a pain- hokum, with a cartoonisth tough . Since the disappointment of ‘then he goes to Scotland again, then lflduflnfl 000mm? implamed ""0 hero, eccentric SUPDOfliflg cast - i Highlander 2, he has taken a more to France. When you’re immortal, their bodies. Even their dreams can be , including Tom Towies, Jeffrey Combs . active role in the other parts or the you’ve got to see some countries, scmflnlfld- I and Kurtwood Smith - imPFBSSiVB i filmmaking process, although his otherwise you get bored.’ (Alan

Fortress is great as switch-your- . hardware sets and excessiver big pmducet credit on chess thriller Morrison)

WM", Prison-break. 80"" action v suns. But it also gives a human side to t Knight Moves didn’t stop it being one Fortress opens on Friday a.

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24 The List l—i4July 1994