Man with the plan
While a glut of British actors are breaking into Hollywood, ALESSANDRO NIVOLA — the American star of Best Laid Plans — is happy to take their place on this side of the Atlantic. Words: Anwar Brett
Someone l‘rom over there who seems to be constantly working over here. American actor Alessandro Nivola takes an almost perverse pride in not being pinned down or typecast by his roles. Nor indeed by the tact that he is an American. t'or unlike so many of his peers. the 27-year-old is content to steer clear of cosy romantic comedies or wild exploitation thrillers. working instead in the rareﬁed field of British movies.
Al'tcr winning decent notices lor his role as Nicolas (,‘age‘s marginally less psychotic brother in Face/(2H. \iv‘ola ltas found most of his time has been spent in the l7l\’. ‘I haven’t really gone back since making / llim/ You. which catne right alter litre/(Ill. except to do Best Laid l’lu/is. But that was tor a British director. Mike Barker. Then I shot .lluns/ie/(l l’urk here and Kenneth Branagh‘s new musical version ol‘ Love's Labour '3‘ [..().\'l.
‘l've espatriated. I suppose.' he continues. ‘but I never actually thought I‘d have the opportunity to work here. I thought I would just admire it all from atar. And then suddenly. out of a very strange set ol‘ circumstances. Michael \‘v'interbottom cast me as an linglish character in / ll'ri/il lino
Yet tor a handsome and talented young leading man — and America is not so awash with them that they can so readily lose (me ~— to conduct his career lirom this side ol‘ the Atlantic is ambition bordering on the loolhardy. Nivola admits that his agents would be glad it he never made another ‘arty‘ European l'ilm. and dedicated himself instead to the testosterone-luelled world ol‘ movies like Arntugi'rltlun.
‘l'm sure it the opportunity had arisen. my representatives would have done everything in their power to get me into that l‘ilm.‘ he agrees. ‘But it's not that they don't support my working here. or don‘t appreciate the lact that I’m trying to create a career that will last a while. . .'
()mihously he is interrupted by his mobile phone
'l've told myself before that I'm not going to do another English film, then I go home and have a meeting with Ken Branagh or someone, and come straight back here.’ Alessandro Nivola
American envoy: Alessandro Nivola in Best Laid Plans
ringing. Embarrassed tor a moment. he goes oil to answer. but mercifully it wasn‘t his agent calling.
‘I think there is a little bit ol' l'rustration on their Part.‘ he continues. 'because it‘s hard lor them to work for me while I‘m here.‘
Making a change is easier said than done. however. ‘l‘ve told mysell before that I'm not going to do another English lilm. then I go hotne and have a meeting with Ken Branagh or someone. and come straight back here. 'l'hat‘s kind ol‘ the pattern that‘s evolved.‘
Whether audiences realise Nivola. with his lilawless linglish accent. is .-\merican or not is unclear. The majority ltave probably not yet registered him at all. bttt when they ﬁnally do. he will have built an impressive and varied body ol' work behind him.
'When you have tnore notoriety.‘ he muses. ‘and you become a name that somehow is bankable. then your options expand wildly. It‘s not that I don't vvaht big commercial success right now. it’s just that. at the
beginning ol' my career. l t'elt really lrightened ol
Those fears are long gone. .lust as well. because Alessandro Nivola is destined to become very well known indeed.
General release from Fri 14 May. See review.
l Lights, camera, action. . . i
IF IT WAS good enough for Sean Connery, it's good enough for Jane Russell. The Hollywood star recently stopped off in broadcaster Mark Cousins’ Edinburgh flat long enough to film BBC Scotland's latest Scene By Scene programme. Reminiscing over the twenty movies she made - the best of them between 1942-57 - Russell lets slip some personal and film industry secrets in a show that's more intimate and biography-based than others in the series.
Clips show the actress, opposite Robert Mitchum in Macao, giving as good as she gets: Russell was always as popular with women as with men for radiating female sexual desire. Elsewhere, she talks of her sisterly protection of Marilyn Monroe on the set of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and discusses how she helped change adoption laws in America. Scene By Scene: Jane Russell, preceded by a double bill of The French Line and His Kind Of t Woman, is broadcast on BBC 2 on Sat 15 May.
TIM ROTH‘S PERFORMANCE as a teenage skinhead in Made In Britain comes under the scrutiny of List editor Alan Morrison in a post- screening talk at Dundee Contemporary Arts on Mon 24 May. Issues raised by the late Alan Clarke's film and its links to recent releases such as American HistoryX will also be on the agenda. The screening starts at 6pm.
NICOLE KIDMAN, WHO spent over a year in London shooting Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut, returns to the capital this month to begin Jez (Mojo) Butterworth's Birthday Girl. Co-starring Ben Chaplin, the comedy thriller brings together a mild- mannered bank clerk and an Internet-order Russian bride. Distribution of the film will be handled by FilmFour, who are also behind Gangster No 1, another film which starts principal photography in May. Directed by The Acid House’s
r Paul McGuigan, it stars Malcolm McDowell and David Thewlis, and is set in the dog-eat-dog world of 705 Soho.
Still his kind of woman: Jane Russell and Mark Cousins
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