With two contrasting films released within a week of each other, KEVIN KLINE shows more versatility than people give him credit for. And this time, there’s not a fish or a Python in sight. Words: Anwar Brett
An actor of enormous range and wide tastes. Kevin Kline is not your typical Hollywood star. He’s charming and articulate, more at home on the stage than on the big screen. yet always seems to add value to any project in which he has been cast.
Two current films perfectly , demonstrate his versatility. In The Ice Storm, he plays the unfaithful , head of a family that is slowly ,.' falling apart before him. so ‘ absorbed in his own destructive affair that he cannot see it. And in the altogether more upbeat In And Out. he plays a high school teacher j? ', unwittingly outed in an Oscar acceptance speech by an ex- 1:" , student just three days before his '33 wedding. Sound familiar? Well, the idea came to writer Paul Rudnick after Tom Hanks’s effusive and schmaltzy acceptance of the Academy Award for his performance in Philadelphia.
‘Of course Tom didn’t really “out” his teacher.’ Kline explains. ‘He rang him beforehand and said that if he won he’d simply like to mention him and the fact that he’s gay. in order to say something nice about how inspiring gay teachers can be. It’s quite an issue in the States. There are some puritanical. nervous. ignorant people who think that gay teachers can somehow turn all their students gay with. as Matt Dillon’s character says. “those gay vibes“.’
Kline — in real life happily married to actress Phoebe Cates — says he missed that particular Oscar ceremony because it coincided with the birth of his daughter. He also admits he pondered long and hard over In And Out rejecting the first script for being too broad in its humour. and only committing after producer Scott Rudin prevailed upon him to consider a rewrite.
Thereafter he became an integral part of the process. sitting in on script meetings and offering suggestions when it came to casting. It was Kline. apparently, who suggested the film’s most talked about scene. where his character is finally forced to confront his homosexuality after a kiss from a gay investigative reporter played by Tom Selleck.
‘I’d kissed men before on stage, so it was not a big deal for me. The only way to do it was wholeheartedly! Kevin Kline
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Kevin Kline: equally at home in comedy or drama
‘I’d kissed men before on stage.’ Kline muses. ‘so it was not a big deal for me. The farcical momentum reaches its peak there. the character is ready to explode and when this happens it turns out to be an emotional turning point for him. The only way to do it was whole-heartedly. and Tom was wonderful in it. I always thought he was brilliant casting. because had he been a diminutive person. someone smaller than me. you couldn‘t have had that effect of Clark Gable grabbing Scarlett O’Hara - with me being Scarlett in that sense.‘
Contrasts mark the boundary of any actor‘s talent. but Kline admits that finding the kind of roles that stretch him to the limit is always difficult.
‘l‘ve never made anything like The Ice Storm before.’ he nods. ‘because Hollywood doesn’t really make these kinds of movies. In And Out reminded me of the romantic comedies of yesteryear that I grew up watching. films they also don‘t make very much any more. You really have to hunt to find something original.‘
In And Out: general release from Fri 13 Feb. The Ice Storm: Edinburgh Cameo from Fri 6 Feb, Glasgow Film Theatre from Fri 13 Feb. See reviews and Christina Ricci feature.
The column that goes down better than the Titanic.
KILT FICTION is the painfully punning title of Edinburgh University's Easter course on representations of Scotland and the Scots in cinema over the last 60 years. Braveheart is in there, of course, as is Whisky Galore, Breaking The Waves and Brigadoon. Everything, in fact. from Greyfriars’ Bobby to Bobby Carlyle.
The course, led by freelance media tutor Rick Instrell, runs from Sat 4-Fri 10 April and examines the concept of a national cinema, as well as the changing face of Scotland on screen post- Trainspotting. Contact the Centre for Continuing Education, University of Edinburgh, 11 Buccleuch Place, Edinburgh, EH8 9LW (0131 650 4400).
SO YOU WANT to be a filmmaker? That's the question being asked at two discussions to be held at the Pleasance Theatre in Edinburgh. On Thu 12 Feb, 3 panel including Scottish Screen’s Dan MacRae, independent director Morag McKinnon, SAC Film Officer Jenny Attala and BBC Scotland Commissioning Editor Ewan Angus look at the opportunities for emerging filmmakers in Scotland.
On Thu 19 Feb, actor and director Peter Mullan will talk on his work from award-winning short, Fridge, to his recently completed first feature, Orphans. Both events begin at 8pm and cost £2 (£1 for members of the Film and Video Access Centre and Edinburgh Student Video Productions). More info on 0131 220 0220.
JACK NICHOLSON has been, ehm. standing up in support of beleaguered President Bill Clinton while promoting forthcoming movie As Good As It Gets in Germany. 'What would be the alternative leadership?’ the actor asked the press. ’Should it be somebody who doesn't want to fuck?’ Expect other votes of confidence from Warren Beatty and Charlie Sheen soon.
Jack Nicholson: supporting the President and his staff
6-19 Feb I997 THE “ST 27