cruel to be kind
Nice on the surface, nasty underneath: that's life, according to Dead Man’s
Curve's DAN ROSEN and MATTHEW ULLARD. Words: Hannah Fries
If his films are anything to go by. director Dan Rosen doesn’t much like the privileged student community of modern America. In Rosen’s first script. The Last Supper. a group of intellectually pretentious graduates invite right-wingers round for dinner and kill them when they say something the ex-students find disagreeable.
His new film. Dead Man is Curve. tells of two college undergraduates who learn that they will get straight A‘s if their room-mate commits suicide. Putting their moral dilemmas aside. they embark on a career of deception. betrayal and murder. At least one of them really enjoys himself. and the general impression left by the film is that homicide goes hand-in-glove with campus life.
‘I write about shits because they are more interesting than nice people.‘ Rosen says with a big grin. He used to be an improv comic and retains a quick. sarcastic wit and cynical attitude. You get the impression he’s a nice guy really. but he’s not going to let you find out the easy way.
‘I think Dan has that effervescent quality that draws people to him.‘ comments Matthew Lillard. the star of Dead Man 's Curve and previously of Scream fame. Lillard is sitting beside his director now. looking at him mischievously. The actor’s tone could be ironical. and Rosen isn’t sure if he has just been offered a compliment or not. It‘s hard to tell because
nice people.’ Dan Rosen
32 THE LIST l9 Nov—3 Dec 1998
'I write about shits because they are more interesting than
Trigger with attitude: Matthew Lillard in Dead Man's Curve
their banter is full of taunts.
‘All our senses of humour are pretty cruel.' Rosen admits about his cast. ‘You would definitely need a thick skin to hang out on our set.’
You would also be foolish to trust your director implicitly. Rosen withheld the final twist from his actors throughout the shooting of Dead Man is Curve. ‘These are really hard roles to play because all the characters are playing a character.‘ he explains. ‘l wanted to show the actors that it didn‘t matter what l was going to do with them in the end. that it was all going to work. So I let them think they knew what the ending was. and then at the last minute I gave them the original script.‘
‘I hate that.‘ interrupts Lillard. ‘Stop saying that. You're saying that you didn‘t trust us to be good actors.‘
‘No. it‘s not that at all.‘
‘Yes it is.‘
‘No it‘s not.‘ Rosen insists. They squabble for a moment. ‘l)‘_vou know what makes us look really bad though."
‘Arguing in front of a reporter.‘ l-le giggles.
Despite his preference for ‘shits’. there is more to Rosen than mere bile. The driving force behind both The Last Supper and Dead Man 's ('uri'e is biting satire. Rosen portrays a society without any values. in which material wealth is accompanied by spiritual poverty. and liberals are as rotten as liar Right conservatives. The title The Last Supper is glarineg ironic: all Rosen‘s characters are as treacherous as Judas and yet — and here‘s his joke — as reassurineg ‘normal‘ as the cast of Friends.
‘I knew we’d get the film off the ground.‘ Rosen says. ‘because people are always attracted to evil. I kept telling the producers. “Trust me. we're going to get good actors". Everybody wants to play the bad guy. nobody wants to play the good guy. It's something within us. People can be very cruel.‘
Selected release from Fri 20 Nov. See review.
The column that's raised on popcorn.
EDINBURGH’S NEW MUSEUM of Scotland is attracting plenty of attention for its impressive exterior and historical contents (see feature), but next door in the Royal Museum, a new cinema is also throwing a light on the best of Scotland. The Lumiere opens on Fri 4 Dec with a special sneak preview of ten minutes of footage of Bill Forsyth's Gregory’s 2 Girls, followed by a screening of the original Gregory’s Girl and a short by the Lumiere brothers.
A Forsyth retrospective continues over the opening weekend, but there’s space in the programme for a season of musical family movies. The List also applauds cinema director Richard Mowe for ensuring that a range of recent Scottish short films accompany every feature screening. Tickets, priced £4.50 (£2.50), are available in advance at the Museum’s Information Desk. Further details on the cinema next issue.
MORE UPBEAT NEWS for the Scottish film industry, with the prospect of 1400 new jobs in and around Sony’s Edinburgh-based, Sean Connery figure-headed movie studio. As well as the studio itself, plans are afoot to create a village, complex at the Hermiston site, owned by Rangers chairman David Murray — a man already well heeled to the tune of £200 million. Only environmental concerns stand
: between Murray and his dream,
given the area’s green belt status; however planning permission is expected to be granted.
DIRECTOR GlLLlES MACKINNON will attend a special screening of his new film Hideous Kinky at Glasgow Film Theatre on Thu 3 Dec at 8pm.
Starring Titanic’s Kate Winslet and
i 5 l i l I. l l l l l I
based on the novel by Esther Freud, this story of a young mother living in Morocco in the early 70$, screens as part of the London Film Festival on tour. See listings and index for details.
Bill Forsyth: opening the Lumiere