& date rape
‘lt's stating it like it is.’ sa_\s Newton ol' the lilm's sole. ‘lt’s hleak. it’s not l'un. it doesn‘t pretend to he entertaining. I don't get oil on the acting experience particular!) it‘s the ﬁnal product and what happens alterwards that‘s real|_\ important.’
From the heginning. In li)!!!‘ Dreams was designed to get people talking. \\'riter ()l Parker who accuratel) put the spotlight on the licstas} generation in preVious TV drama Lot'ci/ l 'p hased his stor_\ on a spate ol~ news- paper stories ahout the 'phenomenon' ol' date rape. rather than an} single case. In 1993. Austen Donnellan was acquitted when his accuser admitted she \Vtts too drunk at the time to conlidentl} rcl'ute his testimon}. ()ther high prolile trials concerned hoxcr .\like '1‘} son and comedian ('raig (‘harles. Meanwhile. reports were coming in lrom America ahotit students signing pre—datc agreements.
‘As the result ol‘ a lot ol date rapes on campus. some American unixersities actuall} tried to httild a l'ormat ol‘ codes l'or dates.’ Newton rememhers. ‘And the British slaughtered them. took the piss no end. As much as it l'eels contri\ ed to kiss someone then ask. “Are )ou coml‘ortahle with that'.’". the hottom line is. _\ou'\'e got to start somewhere. l‘x‘e heen doing a lot ol‘ reading ahout it a lot more than I did hcl‘ore I started l’ilming. In some areas. it has hcen taken up as an academic dehate. which it shouldn‘t he it should he a practical tlc‘lMth [0 change the wa_\ ol' llIL‘ judicial s) stemf
It should come as no surprise that Newton takes a passionate. intelligent approach to the
argument. Alter heing disco\ered at the age ol‘
sixteen h} .-\ustralian director John l)uigan in his film l-‘lirling. .\'ew'ton interspersed her acting work with completing a degree in anthropolog} at (‘amhridge l'nix'ersit}. l-"or a woman ol‘ strong personal heliels. pla} ing out the sequence l’rom In Your IN't'll/le seen through male eyes sat uneasil} with her conscience.
‘lt was \‘er_\ hard not to throw in) own hias into his llashhacks.~ she admits. ‘I didn't want to he too se.\_\. hecause secretl} l was playing out my own hattle in in} head. It was dillicult hecause l'd spend so long trying to get in} head round the l‘act that it was a Violation. to then pla_\ up to it seemed so hi/arre.’
The daughter ol' a Zimhahwean mother and British lather. .\'ew'ton ol‘ten dismisses the importance ol‘ her chosen career and claims she'd rather work in politics. particularl} in the area ol racial rights. At a glance. this might seem odd. gi\en that in her l‘i\e American llt()\'lc.\. she has pla}ed a junkie once (in (iritl/m-k'dt and a sltth girl l'our times including Jonathan l)emme's current
[ll-()‘lL'Cl. lie/maul. llztu‘tl Hll .liUlll \ltll-l-l\(lll.\ [NH Cl. Sllc‘ tlL‘liL'llkl\ llL‘l' choice Ul. l‘UlL‘\. ttl‘g‘tl ing that she presents these sla\c characters as lull. rounded. dignil'ied people with one notahle e\ception.
‘I wouldn't do III/(’I'l‘lt'lt' Hill) A Hint/tire il
it was oll‘ered to me now.‘ she sa}s ol' the lilm in which she l'ell pre_\ to ‘master‘ 'l‘om (‘ruise's hlood-lust. ‘I just think the stereo-
t)pc‘s in that lilm. exen though it was a lilm that was not necessaril} realistic. are danger oils in the wa} that the} portra} hlack people and white people. li\ en the most llippant and superlicial pieces ol’ entertainment do support a lahric ol' societ} which upholds certain \ iew s.’
\ewton doesn't seem at all disturhed that some ol‘ her lilms most recentl} (int/lock 'i/ and The Lem/inc .llun ha\ e had disappointing cinema runs. ‘()n a practical le\el. how much mone) does a person need." she asks. ‘You get paranoid sometimes when )ott do a lilm with someone who hurdles up into the stair} heights. and )0“ think. “Oh dear. did I make the wrong decisious'.’".'
.\'icole Kidntatt. her co-stat' in I'i/lrli/iu. comes to mind. But Newton's goals are dil'l'ercnt. ;t\ she keeps reminding hersell. ‘l ha\e to steel mpell
and think “\o. I made a conscious decision not to do that".' she smiles. ‘You um continue a career that‘s going to allow sou to haxe hoth artistic integrit} and relatixe comlort.‘
In Your Dreams is on BBC2, Sun 14 Dec, 10.15pm. See Agenda, page 25.
Making a drama out of a crisis: Oliver Milburn and Thandie Newton of In Your Dreams
i ‘TIIE lIST 15