All's fair in love and war: Catherine McCormack with Steven Mackintosh in The Land Girls
Milking the role
For her new film The Land Girls, Braveheart star CATHERINE McCORMACK had to roll up her sleeves and muck out the byre, but never got farmed out. )."lords Anwar Brett
The last three years have heen a hit of a whirlwind for (‘atherine .\lc(‘ormack. l’lucked from ohscurity It) play Mel (iihson‘s doomed love in Brave/Ivar]. the Zo—year-old actress must have felt that the film world lay at her feet during a hectic round of puhlicity and promotion. hut has since found things a little tougher.
Some of her suhsetjuent choices have proved unlucky. The North Star disappeared without a trace — hut the presence of (‘hristopher Lanihert would ha\e signalled a video release sooner rather than later — while Anna (‘anipion's [mu/ml fared little hetter. And after much delay. the period romp Dangerous" lfi'tuily should get a British cinema release soon. leaying her current film The Lil/til (ii/ls to offer some reminder of her evident talent.
'I got sent a few scripts after llmre/teurl.‘ she nods. ‘and l was ahle to get an American agent as a result of it. hut I was just sent more stuff to read. Most ol the things I was offered were girlfriend
roles. and I think you can end up typecasting yourself
in this industry doing too much of that. I tried to stick with doing films that had good female roles in them. After The Land (Iii-ls I went into Dancing A! Lug/inusu. which focuses on women. but these tend
'Personally I was very good at clearing up horse dung, but there were no close-ups of that.’ Catherine McCormack
to he smaller-hudget movies.‘
While not so brash a crow'dpleaser as her auspicious dehut. McCormack's current film has much detail to enjoy. Director David Leland has fashioned familiar components into a likeahle tale of three strikingly dissimilar volunteers (the others are played by Rachel Weisz and Anna Friel) in the Women‘s Land Army during the early days of World War II. Yet the film offered its stars many challenges - conveying a human story against the familiar hackdrop for one thing. as well as attempting to appear competent in many farmyard tasks.
‘I knew nothing about real Land Girls.‘ the actress admits. ‘though I took A-level history at school and had studied that period. It was all new to me. so there were a lot of discussions with David. He gave us a couple of hooks ahout Lady Denman. who set the whole organisation up. We also had a couple of weeks’ training — milking cows and doing all that sort of stuff. Then we went straight into shooting.
‘David felt it added another dimension to the film. hut it also gave an interesting dynamic to your first day on-set. I'm sure the crew took us more seriously hecause we seemed to know what we were doing. and hopefully we didn‘t just look like three actresses ploughing a field or digging up a few potatoes.
‘L'nfortunately. l was never very good at milking cows. We were given a long teat to take home at night. the three of us. and I'm ashamed to say I was the worst at that. Personally I was very good at clearing up horse dung. but there were no close-ups of that.
‘But hest of all. Rachel. Anna and I got a chance to know each other very well. We spent two weeks rehearsing on location in Devon. and that was essential. We‘re very different personalities. and to get to know each other first was great. hecause after that we got on fahulously.‘
Selected release from Fri 25 Sep. See review, page 24
Keeping Scotland firmly on screen. PETER MULLAN'S SUCCESS story continues. Earlier this year, the actor-turned-director picked up the Best Actor award at the Cannes Film Festival for his performance in Ken Loach’s My Name Is Joe. Now he’s home from the Venice Film Festival laden with more booty.
Mullan's feature debut as director, Orphans, won four awards at the world-famous Italian bash: the Kodak Judges First Prize, the National Association of Italian Critics lsverna Prize, best film at the International Critics Week and Les Pierrots Prize (for best first or second feature). The British distribution of Orphans, a black comedy set around a Glaswegian family funeral, has still not been determined.
SCOTS FILMMAKERS ALSO took top honours at the 34th Chicago Film
Festival. Andy Goddard won the
Gold Hugo for his ’Prime Cuts' short . Little Sisters, while Lynne Ramsay i added a golden plaque to her I treasure trove already won for ‘Tartan Short' Gasman.
AS MENTIONED HERE last issue, Wee Three — made as part of : Glasgow Film and Video Workshop's 'Screenworks‘ scheme — shared the Fox Searchlight Best British Short Film Award at the Edinburgh Film Festival in August. Now there's another chance to see the entire Screenworks output at the Glasgow Film Theatre on Thu 8 Oct at 6pm. j
Wee Three follows the bladder- bursting adventures of a trio of unruly schoolkids left in the charge of stem teacher Paul Young. Also on t the programme are drama Shaggy Dog Tales, two documentaries
(Drink The Drug and Shadow
Boxing), two experimental films (The 23rd and A Cartographer’s History) and two animated shorts (Elizabeth Rex and Moonstruck). Information about Screenworks 99
is available from GFVW on 0141 553 2620.
Eyes on the prize: Peter Mullan directs Orphans .
t). i _ in )3)"; g I
24 Sep»8 Oct 1998 THE LIST 21