No longer the nerd from Shooting Fish, STUART TOWNSEND is a psychotic serial killer on the streets of Belfast in Resurrection Man. And the part was hard to put away.
Words: Beth Williams
‘After Resurrection Man. I had this blackness around my eyes.‘ says actor Stuart Townsend. ‘One of my friends in Dublin. who is so in tune with everything. would comment on it every time she’d meet me. It didn‘t go until I got the character out of my system.‘ The single most striking thing about Rt’Slll‘I‘t’t‘ItU/l Man is the downright ruthlessness of its central character. Victor. a cruel
gangster who randomly . _ ‘
selects and slices up his own pain through ktiiit‘tt‘} "'CUmS- F“ In?“ 30“” people, listening to their cries Townsend. playing the
villainous Victor was an unsociable task.
‘I was living the role for a month.‘ Townsend remembers. ‘When I came on set. it was strange because I was very distant to everybody. and so I used to sit in a bar and nobody would come and talk to me. I created that whole vibe around myself. There were a lot of times when all us Irish would have music sessions together in a bar. and I just wouldn’t be there. I’d go to my hotel room and work. That time was really dark and intense. The director would be talking to me and I’d be acting like I wanted to kill him.‘
Fairly new to acting. but with three films under his belt already. this was the first violent role for
‘He's trying to comprehend his
as he slices them agiart iiittii a sculptor unveiling his work.’
Killer on the loose: Stuart Townsend in Resurrection Man
'l‘ownscnd. whose character in last year‘s Shooting l’isli was a sweet. nice. nerdy guy — the total opposite of Victor Kelly.
‘I felt like I‘d been waiting for the Rt’.8‘lll’l'(’(‘ll()ll Mun role for years.‘ he says with passion. ‘lt’s
stylised and raw at the same time. and the role of
Victor felt really personal to me. I‘m always living in my own movie. like when I'm on the tube or the bus; and Victor‘s the same. playing with a gun in his own gangster movie. which for me is like an acting feast.‘
While 'l‘ownsend loved playing the part of such a violent and ruthless character. the experience was sometimes difficult. as the months of lingering shadows around his eyes obviously illustrated.
'The character involved getting out this pain. the pain of life. It‘s like he‘s trying to comprehend his own pain through killing people. listening to their cries as he slices them apart very slowly like a sculptor unveiling his work. For me. it meant dredging up this pain from my life. which was especially terrifying during the scene where I cut this guy and blood goes on the mirror. That was shot in a mental home and it was a full moon. Not only was I feeling crazy within the part. but from the outside influences as well.’
So. many months on. is Resurrection Mun well and truly out of his system?
The question would appear to be answered by Townsend's hopes for his next project. a dream a
million miles away from anything Victor Kelly could originate.
‘I love the Irish language.’ he says. ‘lt’s so beautiful and lyrical. ljust melt when I hear it. So I want to make an Irish language film. like a foreign film with subtitles. I’m putting the idea out there because I want to make it happen.‘
General release from Fri 13 Feb. Reviewed next issue.
The column that knows the best things come in small packages.
PROBABLY THE BEST and certainly the most energetic of 1997's Prime Cuts, Little Sisters screens with Stella Does Tricks at the Glasgow Film Theatre from Fri 23 Jan. Andy Goddard's film, which scooped Europe’s most valuable short film prize (£30,000) at the Welsh International Film Festival, tells of the battle of the sexes that ensues when three girls disrupt a game of football.
’lt’s a teenage Spaghetti Western cracked on cheap wine and hand- me-down sportswear,’ says Goddard, who cast the film from the comprehensives around Port Seaton rather than at drama schools. ‘l'd walk into the classroom and there’d be this pack of screaming kids kitted out in Adidas. I had to stay calm, because they'd have eaten me alive if I'd shown any fear.’
SCOTTISH SHORTS ALSO have pride of place at the third Manchester International Short Film and Video Festival. The Kinofilm event climaxes with five days of new British work, and features a 'Best Of Scottish Shorts' programme at 1.50pm on Sat 7 Feb at the Cornerhouse Cinema. Works include Candy Floss, Arch Enemy and Waterloo, all of which have featured in previous issues of The List. Contact 0161 288 2494 for further screening details.
COMEDIAN BRUCE MORTON, an office of dull workaholics and a dancing toy turtle have proved a winning package for Edinburgh filmmaker Graham Drysdale. His short film Lovely screens (for those who snap up their List immediately) as part of Channel 4’s Shooting Gallery series at 1.50am on Thu 22 Jan. The story of a tea trolley girl’s last day at work before becoming a typist has also attracted interest from Virgin Films, Scala Productions and Elton John's Rocket Pictures.
All in a day‘s work: Anita Vettesse in Lovely
23 Jan—S Feb 1998 THE U8T57