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Kings of the wild frontier: John Turturro and Sam Rockwell in Box Of Moonlight
ver the moon
With Johnny Suede and Living In Oblivion, TOM DiCILLO became the toast of American independent cinema. But getting Box Of Moonlight onto the screen wasn't so easy. Words: Hannah Fries
Director Tom DiCiIlo is 40. but you‘d never have guessed it. Certainly not from his cool Keanu Reeves- Iike face. nor from his poseur‘s demeanour — and surely not from his films either. .IoIinnv Sum/c. the cult hit of l‘)‘)l. Living In Oblivion and this month‘s Box Of .lIoon/ig/ii all play to the young arthouse market and point to the hip youthfulness of their maker. DiCillo has spent his life since graduating from film school in 197‘) as a struggling artist doing bum jobs — ‘1 once had the honour of serving Jacqueline Onassis a creme fraiche.‘ he says — and making films when he can. It’s a tough
life and [)i(‘illo doesn‘t mind telling us so. Box Of
i’lvloon/ig/n was particularly hard to get off the ground.
‘It took me six months to write it. which I did in l‘)‘)l when .lolinnv Sum/c was just about to be released.‘ he explains. ‘And when I couldn't get funding. | just couldn‘t fathom that all that effort was going to go for nothing. I felt very attached to the project. so it was really difficult to keep getting the rejections.
Living In Oblivion. the tiny budget indie film about the masochistic hell of trying to make a tiny budget indie film. was actually made during one of the stalling periods that haunted Box (21' Moonlight.
‘The money for Living In Oblivion came from the actors themselves, but the casting was like a beautiful game of poker when every card turns up the ace of spades.’ Toni orcam
"l‘hat is a rather boring story laced with tedium. frustration and horror.‘ says the director. ‘I had the money. I lost the money. I had it. I lost it. When ljust couldn‘t deal with that any longer. I knew I had to make a film any way I could. and at that moment the only way was by getting my friends together and reducing the budget to practically nothing.
‘Living In Oblivion can‘t even be called an independent film because every independent distributor turned us down every step of the way. The money for that film came from the actors themselves. But the casting was like a beautiful game of poker when every card turns up the ace of spades. and fortunately that film opened the .‘Woon/Ig/IL'
Was there ever a time when he all up‘.’ ‘lf I hadn't made Living In ()Iilivion. I really think that I might not have made another film.‘ he admits. ‘I sat through at least 100 script meetings with distributors and financers pitching Box Of i'lIoonIig/zi. It's such a tough thing to be rejected again and again.’
Stressful the life of a struggling filmmaker may be. but DiCillo wouldn't have it any other way. ’At times in my life I was completely terrified because I didn't have a clear perception of myself sitting down nine- to-five in some place. btit I didn‘t really know what the options were. It has taken twenty years to be able to support myself by making films.’
Perhaps the lack of financial and lifestyle security has actually kept I)i(‘illo young. lndignant. intensely driven. at odds with the powers-that-be and somehow convinced that he can do it. he doesn‘t look like settling down.
wanted to give it
Edinburgh Filmhouse from Fri 25 Apr. Glasgow Film Theatre from Fri 2 May. See review.
door for Box ()f
preview FILM Rough Cuts
The column that keeps it all in the family.
SEAN CONNERY has all but signed on the dotted line for a rare outing as screen villain in the forthcoming big budget cinema version of The Avengers. The English Patient’s Ralph Fiennes will play John Steed, with Uma Thurman slinking in as Emma Peel. The production goes before the cameras in June, and will be directed by Jeremiah Chechik (Benny And Joon, Diabolique).
NEIL CONNERY, brother of the above, will introduce the premiere of short film The Magic Umbrella at Edinburgh’s St Bride's Centre on Monday 28 April. The feature, directed by Ian Rintoul, stars pupils from Dalry Primary School. An enchanting tale about four youngsters' adventures as they try to return a special umbrella to its owner, it was shot on the streets of the capital during last year's Festival. The premiere also includes a rare screening of 1951’s The Singing Streets and the proceeds from ticket sales — priced £5 (£3) — go towards Scottish charity, Children 1st.
JASON CONNERY, son and nephew of the above, completes the family connection as he drops into Edinburgh on Thursday 8 May for a gala charity premiere of Macbeth, in
. which he plays the title role. This time it's the Wallace Clan Trust who
will benefit and tickets (including a ball at the Balmoral Hotel) are available priced £35—f75 from 01789 292779. Macbeth goes on release on Friday 16 May, and next fortnight’s issue of The List will include an interview with Jason Connery and review of the film.
THE NEW STAR WARS MOVIE, with
George Lucas back behind the
! cameras again, is due to begin
shooting at Leavesden Studios in London this autumn. Rumours are
3 flying about who is going to play the young Obi-Wan Kenobi, with
the battle for the light sabre down
to either Kenneth Branagh or Ewan
McGregor. McGregor has certainly been spotted in talks with Lucas, but think about it - which one is most likely to grow up into Sir Alec Guinness?
Jason Connery: the man who would be king in Macbeth
i8 Apr-l May 1997 THE usrn