enema—3 Playing the part

As a follow-up to the phenomenally successful F our Weddings And A Funeral. director Mike Newell turns to post—war period piece An Awful/y Big Adventure. He tells Nigel Floyd about on—set deception.

‘l)cath is art awfully big adventure.‘ says (‘aptain llook in [War l’mr. a fatnous line that gave Beryl Bainbridge the title for her novel about backstage theatrical life in post-war Liverpool. ln Mike .\'ewcll‘s faithful. sombre and tnoving cinema adaptation. teenager Georgina (‘atcs gives a delicate. luminous performance as Stella. a star- strttck trainee stage-hand whose precociottsness and Vulnerability are thrown into sharp relief by the cynicism. falseness and quiet desperation that surrounds her. For Newell. this clash between Stella‘s naive dreams and sordid reality is at the heart of the story. precipitating as it does her painful cottting of age.

‘I atn very bored with coming of age stories about boys. because it's just a lot ofgonad talk.‘ states the director. currently on a high following the success of Four lli't/(lings :lllt/xl [runway ‘\\'hCI-Cu_\~ girls ill-C (my Spin-k}, God lived in a tower-block with her and cotrtbative about becoming women: “11””. “’h‘) “'33 111101‘11Ph‘)l’lc “ml (“Lind {my go m” um) sci/c m‘c‘ mufihis is get out tnuch. and whose phone was ; Mm Swill, (1mg ()nC 01‘th. minus I broken; but Georgina was taking drama mow “hm” h” is {hut qw is 5-,, lessons and would like to try. After uncompromising in her demands. But “mu”? thm 1‘ bud PM)!”booth '“US‘ she makes one terrible mistake: when Shot 5"“ “‘9” camped 0‘” 0“ SW“ she gets her first job and leaves what Flt—’95.”. “mm Still“ {01' WWW" all)" she feels is the backwater and dullness and ilcncmll)’ made 1‘ “UleCC 0'- of home. she believes that what she's “€130”: Finilllfi ShC CleOlCd WC”) “"0 going otrt to meet is real life. But it's Mil”? '1”de {0" “TC Pim- NCWC” not real life. it‘s the theatre. a world [11km UP “‘9 510’)". that is distorted emotionally. ‘We were lodklllg l0" "lllc Will lhln‘é“ intellcduully‘ in mm} l-Cspcu ,. 1,). Cg“ - you always are with a part which is to demands and assumptions that ordinary [‘9 PliWC‘l by 1‘ Child “1'11” iltll’lcsccm lk‘t‘l‘le never encounter. So Stella starts [WCI‘USC 1113931 dull “l C-‘PC'TCHCC “km to build up a knowledge of and a “‘9 NOW” "H. mm“- "\n‘l Y0” “W

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An Awfully Big Adventure: 'faithful. sombre andmoving' getting better.‘

It wasn‘t until over hallway through shooting that Newell discovered that he had been duped. :\ new spapcr story revealed that Georgina ("ates was in fact Clare \Voodgate. art experienced middle-class theatre arid television actress who had appeared in '/‘/it' Ill/l. Having been reftrsed art audition for the role of Stella because she lacked the necessary freshness and working-class credentials. she had reinvented herself as Georgina (.‘atcs and played a double role throughout. So how had Newell felt when this deception was revealed'.’

‘I felt that Georgina. as she stood there. validated the whole exercise because. in the end. the movie rests squarely on the shoulders of that character and. thus. on this girl. this inexperienced seventeen-ycar~olt|. Then I found otrt that Georgina wasn't quite what she said she was. that she had invented a persona for herself that fitted what I'd wanted. and that I had indeed. like some fat old trout. swallowed it hook. litre and sinker. So 1 consulted my dignity tntrscle and found that it was indeed quivering slightly. btrt that it would probably survive. And I therefore decided not to be an old fart. and to simply be very grateful that this kid had played the part. because she was extremely damn good.‘

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' response to something that she thinks is I‘ therefore constantly disappointed real life. btrt which is in reality utterly 3 because nobody is quite “the real false. And that leads to tragedy. that thing" enough And then. one day. this turns very black indeed.‘ I, c/rr/il appeared on the casting director‘s Ironically. trnbeknown to Newell and I doorstep and said. in a broad Liverpool a heavyweight ensemble cast that accent. “I‘ve come. I‘m ’ere". This included llttgh Grant. Alan Ricktnan. story was very romantic to me. I could - Peter Filth and l’runella Scales. this self see it all. the condensation running same falseness was also to be fotrnd at down the inside of the chip shop the heart of the production itself. Keen I Winsltm' 111 ICU U‘s‘lm‘k 0“ 11 3111mth to find a genuine Liverpool teenager to ; night. while the rain roars down play Stella, Ncwcll and his casting g outside. and her friend saying. “There's director Susie Figgig hunted i this film in London". And there was dcgpcrutcly' for mu) [hingfi The”, this funny little creature with a dead put of [lite blule. a girl tcallleid Gieprginia i sl am very bored with coming ates nonet to savtta stet teart . 1 about ihe lilrn in a chip shop in I at age Stoylfsfibom boys! ' Liverpool. that she liked the book and because It 5 IUSt a '0‘ 0i would like to play Stella. This gift from gonad talk; whereas girls are i very Sparky and combative ' about becoming women.’ white face and her hair ctrt iii a severe fringe. with this old Army great-coat. ; little strap-over shoes and knee socks. l I‘d never seen such an eccentric


‘But it was towards the end of the afternoon. so I said okay. thinking to myself. “Don't let this hang over trntil tomorrow. she‘s obviously a lunatic“. And she read it and she was wonderful. she was absolutely wonderful. She was it. So she went right the way through the process and. little by little. she cleared all the hurdles and she kept on

outsider within the Hollywood system; the late Lindsay Anderson remembering John Ford; and Gene Kelly reliving the musicals. Reading the book is like going to a vitally interesting weekend seminar on the state of cinema.

Prolific screenwriter Jean-Claude Oarriere also offers insight without academic dullness in The Secret Language Of Film (Faber & Faber £14.99), a personalised essay on film theory. He reckons that a barrage of images have left us unable to truly recognise what we are seeing on the screen, so he deconstructs the process of filmmaking the manipulation of time and space - allowing us to bathe our eyes and watch afresh. Thought-provoking and entertaining in equal measures. (Alan Morrison)

so this biography concentrates on Welles’s childhood and schooling, as well as his early successes on the stage and on radio. The book is crammed with detail (perhaps too much, as it weighs down the GOO plus pages), but by setting the facts against Welles’s fictional account of himself, Callow proves to be a sympathetic writer who would rather interpret his subject, like an actor, from within rather than remain the detached biographer.

‘A forum for filmmakers in which the practitioners of cinema write about their craft’ is how Projections 4 (Faber & Faber £9.99) sees itself. The highlights of the latest volume include a lost interview with the inventor of the movie camera, Louis Lumiere; the intricacies of screen ratio related by a passionate Martin Scorsese; James Toback’s year-long diary as an

Only rarely does a new reference book come along that is an absolutely essential addition to any film library. Raymond Murray’s Images In The Dark (T.L.A. Publications, £15.99) doesn’t I just concern itself with gay and ; lesbian filmmakers or films of specialist gay interest; it embraces a wide range of directors, actors and I their movies, both independent and I mainstream, and so goes way beyond the A-Z restrictions of the average film guide by revealing the extensive influence of gay culture on all cinema. A brilliantly arranged encyclopedia that is instructive and approachable. For most of the world, the story of Orson Welles began with Citizen Kane, but that’s where Simon Callow’s Orson Welles: The Road To Xanadu (Jonathan Cape, £20) ends. Callow’s contention is that the early events shaped the l man and his own self-made myth, and


The List 7-30 .-\pr WM 23