Crazy for you
Success should be just around the corner for HANS MATHESON. But the skint star of music comedy Still Crazy is caught between rock and a hard place. Words: Alan Morrison
‘Here I am. being chauffeured around in a Jaguar. and I‘ve only got £5 in my pocket. But. if I wanted. I could have lots of money.’
Who would argue with Hans Matheson“? With the release of British comedy Still Crazy imminent. the 21-year-old actor is on the verge of something big. and while promoting the film. he's certainly being given top-class treatment. But although his intense. dark good looks are attracting any number of script offers. Matheson is turning down a lot of work.
‘I want to be involved in good films.‘ he insists. ‘and I‘m just hoping that. if I hold out. it will pay off. At the moment. I‘ve got bailiffs knocking on my door for my Council Tax. and I‘m being offered parts. but I'm thinking. “No. this isn‘t for me". It’s getting to the point where l wonder if I’m taking it too far. Should ljust think of it as ajob‘.”
lf Matheson found the right breakthrough movie. he could well become the country’s next Ewan McGregor. Not that such easy. media-friendly packaging interests him. Still Crazy is probably his most mainstream role to date - he plays guitarist Luke Shand. who joins reformed 70s rock band as an injection of new blood when they decide to get back on the road again. it‘s an hilarious movie. set to become the biggest home-bred comedy hit since The Full Monty. On top of this. later in November. he'll be seen as young radical Marius. romancing Claire Danes in a big budget version of Les Miserables.
‘This may sound pretty arrogant. but I don’t care if a film has £1 million or £60 million backing it.‘ he says. ‘I hope that being involved in bigger movies doesn‘t mean directors of lower budget movies won’t consider me. Arthousc cinema is something that is very precious.
The back-to-back releases of Still Crazy and Les Miserables should ensure that the world begins to take notice of an actor whose screen work hasn‘t enjoyed the widest of releases to date. Stella [)aes Trieks. in which he played a teenage hustler opposite Kelly Macdonald. crept around the regional film
50 THE LIST 22 Oct-S Nov 1998
'Through drama, I can use a character to channel the destructive nature of my personality, and most people don't get the chance to do that unless they go to therapy.’
Axe attack: Hans Matheson in Still Crazy
theatres; M()j(). in which he recreated the role of Silver Johnny. the 50s rock ‘n‘ roll star he played on stage at the Royal Court. still hasn’t screened in Scotland. But. then again. Matheson isn't in this game in order to become a poster on a fan’s bedroom wall.
‘I originally went to drama school for “personal development".’ he says. ‘to come out of myself because I was extremely inhibited and very anxious and frustrated and angry — and I didn't express them cleanly or directly. Through drama. l can use a character to channel the destructive nature of my personality. and most people don‘t get the chance to do that unless they go to therapy.‘
So does this idea of acting as a psychological outlet inform Matheson's choice of roles? ‘No. not necessarily.‘ he counters. ‘What interests me about a character is his struggle. And if I‘m going through something in a similar way. then it would be nice to use that character to express that emotion. But that‘s not necessarily my reason for choosing a part.‘
And neither. it would seem. are those big blokes heading up his garden path with a summary warrant notice in their hands.
Still Crazy opens on Fri 30 Oct; Les Miserables on Fri 20 Nov. See review.
Living it up when the lights go down
THE LONDON FILM FESTIVAL kicks off on 5 November with - almost inevitably - a film starring Ewan McGregor. Little Voice is directed by Mark (Brassed Off) Harmon and, although Jane Horrocks is the real star (recreating her West‘End hit performance as a repressed young woman with a strong singing voice), McGregor puts in a nice turn as a shy telephone repairman.
Other Scots popping up at the London bash include Ian Bannen in Irish comedy Waking Ned, Kevin McKidd in Bedrooms And Hallways and Understanding Jane, Douglas Henshall in Fast Food and Bill Paterson in Victory. Small Faces director Gillies Mackinnon’s Hideous Kinky, Kate Winslet's follow-up to Titanic, is another eagerly awaited highlight, and as ever Scotland is well represented among the short films. Watch out next issue for details of the LFF tour to the Glasgow Film Theatre.
CAN YOU MAKE a film for only £700? Edinburgh-based director Walid Salhab can. The List was a fan of his previous short, Life’s A Bitch, and we’re impressed by the quality of his first comedy, IfAt First. . .. Shot on Beta (but to broadcast standard), the film tells of a night in the life of a nerdy young man (screenwriter Robert A. Welsh) who has difficulty consummating his encounter with a gorgeous girl at a nightclub.
With the help of sponsors Alloa Breweries, Miss Selfridge’s, Video In Pilton and Vision Express (for the geeky glasses), the team have made a sparky, funny movie that's far classier than its budget would suggest. Just goes to show that the official funding schemes aren't the be-all-and-end-all when it comes to getting your project on screen.
Douglas Henshall: appearing at the London Film Festival