Life after death

Glasgow actor PETER MULLAN is directing his first movie

Orphans, inspired by the death Of his mother. Words: Fiona Shepherd

ACTOR TURNED DIRECTOR Peter Mullan is on the set of his debut movie Orphans. He‘s in the middle of filming a fairground scene in a derelict Glasgow warehouse which has previously housed sets for forthcoming releases Regeneration and The Slab Boys. The Life 0/ Stuff has just finished filming across the road. 'I‘here‘s practically a film crew on every corner.

‘When I was in my 20s. there was no film industry to speak of.‘ says Mullah. “Now everyone knows someone who‘s involved in making a film. It‘s no longer this huge mountain to climb. that doesn‘t belong to you anyway. with big signs saying “No Scots Allowed". This so-called booming industry of ours will become an actuality. Our time has come. There‘s this energy around which I honestly believe will last.

‘l‘m convinced that in the next ten years we‘ll see Scotland put itself on the map in terms of European cinema. It‘s virgin territory for us. which is good because we‘ve got nothing to live up to. The main thing incumbent on those of us making films now is not to screw up or we‘re screwing up for all the new writers. directors and actors coming through. because we‘re a small nation. so we only get about two or three failures.‘

Following the award-laden success of his short film Fridge. shot round the back of his house. and acting appearances in the likes of television film Ruffian Hearts. Mullah has become one of the current movers and shakers in Scottish film.

Orphans was partly inspired by the death


Donald has scripted World Of Moss, a coming-of-age story set in an eccentric Scottish household. It boasts an impressive cast of Brits (Colin Firth, Malcolm McDowell), international actors (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Irene Jacob) and some local talent, old and new (Jimmy Logan, Kelly MacDonald). A potentially lavish film awaits at the helm are Chariots Of Fire director and producer, Hugh Hudson and David Puttnam, working together for the first time since their Oscar hit.

The Winter Guest

Fife was the scene last autumn for the filming of Alan Rickman’s debut The Winter Guest. The play was adapted by its original writer Sharman Macdonald, in collaboration

The Life Of Stuff

Black comedy The Life Of Stuff, filmed in Glasgow, makes the transition from stage to screen with playwright Simon Donald adapting his Fringe hit and grabbing the director’s reins too. The story concerns would- be entertainment entrepreneur Willie Dobie's attempts to turn a rundown warehouse into a happening club but drugs, deception and murder keep getting in the way. Trainspotting's ubiquitous Ewen Bremner stars alongside Ciaran Hinds and Our Friends In The North's Gina McKee.

World Of Moss

In addition to adapting and directing his own play Life Of Stuff for the screen, Simon

Peter Mullan: helping put Scotland on the map

of his mother but. like Gary Oldman and his directorial debut Nil By Month. Mullen insists

it‘s not autobiographical. It tells the story of

three (adult) brothers and a sister mourning the death of their mother on the eve of her funeral. The action follows their separate encounters throughout the course of one night and features cameo appearances by Dave Anderson and Alex Norton among others.

‘.\'one of these people are cartoon characters. they are specific individuals you might see in the background of other films.‘ says Gary Lewis. who plays eldest sibling Thomas and also starred in Fridge. ‘Pilger talks about the Vietnam movies where the Vietnamese people are blown up in the background while they concentrate on the angst of the Americans. The people you see in this film are like the drunks staggering in some English police programme. but here they‘re people with a real life.‘

The film also homes in on a different view of Glasgow. ‘lt‘s not all tenements and neon.‘ says producer Frances lligson. ‘lt‘s different worlds metallic and concrete. spit and sawdust. bright and colourful.‘

l-Iopcfully. it will be variety like this which gives Scottish film life beyond Brave/tear].

Orphans is due to be released early in 1998.

with the director who had staged it in London in 1995 and liked it so much he wanted to transfer it to the big screen. Real-life mother and daughter Phyllida Law and Emma Thompson (below) star in this character-led piece set in a Scottish seaside town. (Fiona Shepherd)


Scottish movies due at a cinema near you SOON. Words: Alan Morrison

THE SLAB BOYS John Byrne combines his legendary plays The Slab Boys and Cuttin' A Rug for his feature film debut. shot entirely in Glasgow. Set in a Paisley carpet works in the late 505, the film stars a quartet of young unknown actors and some well known faces from stage and small screen. Director Byrne and producer Simon Relph discovered Louise Berry (above), who plays Lucille, when she caught their eye outside a Glasgow bar.

STELLA DOES TRICKS Kelly Macdonald’s first leading role since her debut in Trainspotting forces her to pull out the stops as a teenage prostitute who leaves her squalid life in London to return to Glasgow and confront the abusive father who is at the heart of her emotional problems. A British Film Institute production, it split its location work between the Scottish and English capitals.

REGENERATION Pat Barker's novel is based on the true story of the recuperation period spent by war poets Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen at Edinburgh’s Craiglockhart Military Hospital. Gillies Mackinnon directs a strong cast headed by Jonny Lee Miller, James Wilby and Jonathan Pryce. The Scottish weather provided the perfect muddy setting for a re-creation of Front Line trenches just outside Airdrie, while Overtoun House in Dumbartonshire stood in for Craiglockhart.

BENT Martin Sherman's emotionally charged play about the persecution of homosexuals in Nazi concentration camps went for an expressionistic rather than realistic approach in its filming. Braehead Power Station near Renfrew was transformed into 3 Berlin cabaret, complete with singing transvestite Mick Jagger, while the former ironworks Dunaskin Heritage Centre in the Doon Valley doubled as the camp and Clive Owen's flat. Clive Owen is pictured above left.

MRS BROWN Billy Connolly stars as John Brown, steward and long-time companion of Queen Victoria, played to perfection by Judi Dench. The BBC Scotland film was snapped up by hot US independent Miramax for distribution in America (with the company's bosses promising the Oscars they brought to The English Patient). A special gala premiere is expected during the Edinburgh International Film Festival.

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