The beer he sneaked craftily into the cin- ema was clearly not his last of the evening. But he has every reason to celebrate. His crossover from pretty popstar to actor has been relatively painless. Acting mixed with pop-stardom is a risky cocktail to order. possi- bly one with a nasty aftertaste which comes back to haunt you in later life - see Sting and Phil Collins for reference. But Damon seems to have ended up with a perfectly mixed mar- garita. The boy has done good. ;\'ot that he doesn't recognise the possible pitfalls facing rock stars-turned-actors: 'I know a lot of them have had problems. It‘s so difficult for them because their personas are so big they can‘t ever divorce themselves from that. It‘s like David Bowie. He‘s still Ziggy Stardust. whatever he doesf
Damon talks about acting in the same way that he might talk about being in a band. which makes it easier to understand how he dealt with the different pressures. The line between I’m-v and Blur is. well. blurred.
‘I think I had an unnatural thing because I know everyone in the film before I started it.‘ he says. ‘l'd known Steve for about twelve years' — they went to London‘s liast .l 5 Acting School together — ‘Ray Winstone since about three years ago and I'd had a couple of drinks with Bobby as well. I had made it very clear to them that they shouldn‘t employ me. But they still did. so that‘s it.
‘I almost didn‘t turn tip on the first day. I
didn't want to go. but I phoned my manager
'I’m doing the next Spielberg film — The World Of Damo. £100 million budget. It’s all about "18., Danton Albarn
Blur on Damon’s acting career: 'Dave doesn't give a shit. Graham is really supportive and Alex is secretly jealous'
and he told me that if I didn‘t go. I could be sued for a lot of money. The only reason I did it was because I felt that everyone else helped
me out. If I was crap. they’d stand in front of
me and say my lines for me.‘
His acting debut continues the London connection from which Blur have recently been distancing themselves. Record sales in America have evaded the band as effectively as Ronnie Biggs has evaded deportation. Until now. The latest. eponymous album — complemented by the moody. band-focused videos of Sophie Muller — has helped Blur to break into that transatlantic market. Damon recognises that the band owe Muller a favour.
‘I hate music videos; they‘re as boring as shit.‘ he complains. ‘l have to have some input into them because I have to be in them. I have to make sure it‘s what I want. Unfortunately. it very rarely is. But I do think the first two Sophie Muller ones we did |“Beetlebum" and “Song 2"] were brilliant. “Song 2" is a classic — it will win lots of awards.‘
Damon‘s adolescent fans would probably have enjoyed watching these videos. screened as part of the Film Festival‘s .Vlirrorball section. more than going to see Face. ‘Ycah. half the audience left when I died.‘ says Damon. letting a bit of the film‘s plot slip. lf they‘d stuck to ‘Beetlebum'. they could have enjoyed the close-up camerawork and not have had to endure the pain of seeing their hero sprawled on the sofa of a 7()s-decorated
London council llat with his brains shot half- way tip the wall. Oops. there goes more of the plot.
This time round. his character only had a handful of scenes and met an early. grizzly death. Responses to his acting debut have been favourable. so where will he go from here‘.’ Damon outlines his plans. ‘Well. I’m doing the next Spielberg film — The World Of Damn. £l()() million budget. It‘s all about me.’ Eh. yeah . . . and what does the rest of the band think about this meteoric rise into the realms of movie legend? ‘Dave doesn‘t give a shit. Graham is really supportive and Alex is secretly jealous.‘
Just before Damon steps from the limo to saunter towards the plane which will wing him back to London. he tells me that he often finds his work embarrassing. ‘I always cringe. I didn‘t cringe in the film. though. I was too pissed.‘
He has had a good time in Edinburgh. Maybe too good. He is slightly worried about performing in Chelmsford in front of 55,000 people feeling as fuzzy as he does. ‘It will be a good buzz. tonight.’ he says. ‘And there will be loads of fireworks. They will be good. if they go off. (iod. l‘m such a pessimist.‘ He sighs and peers over the top of the rose-tinted shades. which appear to be surgically attached to his nose. life has dealt me too many hard
Yeah. right. If you want to pursue an acting career. Mr Albarn. you’re going to have to be more convincing than that.
Face opens across Scotland on Fri 26 Sep and is reviewed next issue.
1'2—25 Sept 1997 THE “ST 11