brooding sky (as atmospherically realised as any bleak landscape captured on film). Orwellian isn’t the word. Still, being ‘in’ with the gang was as important as participating in their pitched battles.
Kevin McKidd. who plays Malky. the vicious leader of The Tongs. has some first-hand experience of these masculine initiation rites.
‘l’m from Elgin and even though it’s a smaller town. it’s got the same gangland mentality.‘ he says. ‘I know I used to be chased by gangs when l was younger and I started to run with one of the gangs for a while when l was thirteen because there was nothing better that I could see to do and it was kind of peer pressure. When i stopped being in the gang. I couldn’t go to that area again because I was suddenly not part of the gang.’
Small Faces director Gillies Mackinnon has likened such gang warfare to a sport. One night in the 60s when he was ‘up the dancing’. he was introduced to a charming fellow who engaged him with witty repartee and plied him with drinks for most of the night. before revealing his chib and inviting Mackinnon along for some fun and games.
‘It was just the adrenalin of it.’ concurs McKidd. ‘It wasn’t the actual doing it. it was the going about with twenty guys and being part of this camaraderie. but I suppose I had the sense to wake up and realise “this is going to get me nowhere“, whereas a lot of folk don’t get out of that, and Malky’s one of those people along with Bobby.’
Both McKidd and his former fellow drama student Stephen Duffy. who plays Bobby. relished the chance to play psychotics and shed their nice guy images. McKidd is best known so far for playing mild-mannered Tommy in Trainspotting. and when Duffy was studying at Edinburgh’s Queen Margaret College he was generally called upon to take romantic leads.
‘I just hated the thought that someone had picked out my whole career for me.’ he says. ‘Then when I met Gillies before the shoot he
‘Bobby’s haunted by his past and very socially inept. The learning curve is beyond his means and the only thing he’s got going for him is he’s an incredibly good tighter.’ Stephen nutty
said: "You’ve got a hardjob because we have to like this guy but he’s not to be a likeable person.“ Bobby’s haunted by his past and very socially inept. The learning curve is beyond his means and the only thing he’s got going for him is he’s an incredibly good fighter. He’s like the one person you remember from school as being really cool. but you don’t know where they are now.’
The key element in any film about growing tip is choice ~ choosing. as far as you are able. the direction of your life path. Unlike his brighter younger brothers. the virtually illiterate Bobby is a clearly doomed figure who isn’t going to be able to pull himself up by the bootstraps. The scene where Lex insults him by spelling out that he’s an ‘m-o—r—o-n’ is as
Alan Morrison wonders which paths Scottish film will follow in the next
couple of years.
t’s not just the Scottish Tourist Board who should lbe rubbing their hands in glee now that Brave/tear:
has given our landscapes the Oscar seal of approval. Hollywood is not a place to let success go by without an attempt at duplication. so one can expect a rush of tartan-themed projects to get an immediate green light. Bravehearr writer Randall Wallace has himself ominously indicated that he has a couple of other script ideas waiting in a bottom drawer.
The simple truth, however, is that only 15 per cent of Hollywood movies are ‘mobile’ — ie pick up their baggage and stray from the Los Angeles backlots onto foreign soil. Nevertheless, the Scottish ﬁlm industry is certainly working hard to ensure more than its fair share of the pie.
At last month’s Locations ‘96 trade fair in LA, Scottish Ofﬁce Arts Minister, Lord Lindsay, and Director of Scottish Screen Locations. Celia
Stevenson, met major producers and studio bosses.
According to Stevenson, there‘s a healthier than ever interest in Scotland as a ﬁlm location. regardless of tax incentives. but ‘a Brave/tear! comes along only every once in a while. and it‘s the indigenous industry we should look to.’
It’s good to report, therefore, that Scottish talent will be working on home turf in the coming months. Novelist A. L. Kennedy’s ﬁrst original screenplay. Stella Does Tricks — co-produced by Angus Lamont and directed by newcomer Coky Giedroyc — splits between London and Glasgow. shooting here from the end of April. It received a slice of lottery funding, as did The Slab Boys, which sees writer John Byrne taking a turn behind the camera. With Glasgow Film Fund money behind it, the stage favourite shoots in the city in May. There’s also a big screen version of Alasdair Gray‘s Poor Things currently romping through its script devel0pment stages. ‘
By the end 6f the year, we’ll also have caught a feast of talent on screen. After the grime of
Centenarg of Scottish Film
Ganglng up: Stephen nutty leads the Glens Into combat
poignant as it is amusing.
‘Nowadays the choices are so trivial,’ says McKidd. ‘Do I take this drug or this drug? 'li-ai'nsporring portrays that hedonistic attitude. I relate more to Trainspotting because I’m growing up in that same age where everything’s coming at you constantly and messing people’s brains up. You get the feeling that back then there was a simple choice to make, with more opportunity to get scholarships and go to university.
‘Sma/l Faces latches on to what the 605 was about. and it’s not people with beads in their hair. In ’68 they were just going about their lives and trying to get on in a working Class city in a dtm'n—to—earth way.’ And Small Faces goes about tackling its down-to-earth subject with out-of—tlie-ordinary results.‘
Small Faces goes on general release on Friday 5 April.
T rainsporting, Ewan McGregor moves to the ,
other extreme for period costumery in an adaptation . of Jane Austen’s Emma, and he's currentlyin” . America playing the lead in Ole Bornedal’s- Hollywood remake of his own excellent Eurothriller. Nightwatch. Robert Carlyle reteams with . (they worked on RIﬁ'Rafj‘) for Carla's of a Glaswegian bus driver and a Nicaraguan while David Hayman‘s dark and The Hear Room ﬁnally gets a much deserved-raw i 5 in the autumn. " 7.3" '
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