Clash Of The Icons
From sex, lies and videotape to Out Of Sight, director STEVEN SODERBERGH has blurred the distinction between independent and mainstream American cinema. His new film, The Limey, has a distinctly British sensibility.
Words: Miles Fielder
His I989 Palme d‘()r winning sex. lies and videotape brought American independent cinema to mainstream
audiences. His Elmore Leonard adaptation. Out Of
Sight. mixed commercial appeal with art house style.
In between Steven Soderbergh has made a handful of
films that range from idiosyncratic (Kafka) to avante
garde (.S't‘hizopolt's‘). With The Limey Soderbergh
returns to the crime scene and. casting Terence Stamp ,i as a cockney criminal. reveals his fascination with the , ()(Is and British cinema.
that are available‘." queries
‘Given the plot — British guy. 60. been in jail for most of his life. comes to the US with this strange, otherworldly quality about him and an odd connection with his daughter — you tell me the list of British actors
Soderbergh when asked about his casting choice. ‘I knew that the movie was really all about this guy sitting on the edge of a bed in a hotel room drifting off into space. Terence just seemed to be that guy. in addition to being able to walk into a room and create some trouble.’
Acting ability aside, Stamp is a quintessential 60s icon. (Capitalising on this. Soderbergh uses footage of Stamp from Ken Loach's 1967 debut, Poor Cow, as flashbacks in Wilson‘s life.) Soderbergh employed
20 THE “8" 2—16 Dec I999
'I like the whole Captain America versus Billy Budd celebrity death match.’
The yank: Steven Soderbergh contemplates The Limey
the same strategy in casting Peter Fonda as Wilson's nemesis. Los Angeles record producer Terry Valentine. ‘lt was really important that we had
someone that matched Terence’s level of iconic
weight and baggage,’ explains Soderbergh. ‘That’s a short list too: actors who were famous in the 60s and are still famous now and haven’t either destroyed themselves or become laughing stocks. Peter knows guys like Terry Valentine — that’s what excited him about it. He was having so much fun riffmg on these guys who he’d been around the whole of his life. I like the whole Captain America versus Billy Budd celebrity death match,’concludes Sonderberg.
The Lime_v’s plot, which pivots upon revenge complicated by anachronisms and culture clashes. is
reminiscent of two 60s crime films both directed by
Brits. ‘Point Blank and Get Carter are the starting points for this movie,’ agrees Soderbergh. ‘I hoped to find a way for this film to resonate emotionally in a way that those films don’t — they’re fantastic but they’re not the warmest films in the world. Neither is The Little‘)‘, but it is about a guy attempting to come to terms with what happened to his daughter and there’s a stronger emotional undercurrent, because of that story point. In Point Blank, the guy’s pissed off because his wife betrayed him and he wants his money back and Get Carter — he’s just a mean motherfucker.
‘For the moment I’ve come to the end of what I want to try with the non-linear crime movies,” reﬂects the director. ‘The ﬁlm I’m finishing now [Erin Broekoviteh with Julia Roberts and Albert Finney] is based on a true story so it’s a straight arrow, moving in one direction. You got to work at staying hungry, alert. So its: do I respond to a script? Do I know what to do with it? Is there an element of it that scares me? And that’s really it. I have enough money, which is not a word that many people in the film business are familiar with. I should be making as many ﬁlms as I can right now, because my game is good?
The Limey opens Fri 10 Dec. See review, page 24.
1 Rough cuts
Lights, camera, action. . . MARTIN SCORSESE ALLNIGHTER at The Cameo, Sat 11 Dec,
11.30pm—7am. The Tollcross cinema ‘ celebrates one of America's greatest directors with a preview screening of Bringing Out The Dead. a blacker than black comic look at 48 frantic hours in the life of Nicolas Cage’s New York paramedic. Three films follow: ItalianAmerican (dinner with Marty's parents), Goodfellas and, of course, Taxi Driver. All that and a late bar until 3am. No 'foking mooks' allowed. THE LUMIERE CINEMA celebrates its first anniversary on Fri 4 and Sat 5 Dec with preview screenings of Wonderland, directed by Michael ; Winterbottom, and The Cider House Rules, directed by Lasse Hallstrom from John Irving's novel. The screenings are free, on a first come first served basis, so sell outs are i likely. To increase your chances of 3 getting a ticket take along this copy of The List — there are free tickets reserved for the first 50 readers. Named after the brothers credited with the invention of the moving image, The Lumiere has just one screen, but boasts state of the art projection and Dolby sound. So, cinefiles, support your local arthouse cinema. VISUALLY IMPAIRED PEOPLE are to benefit from FilmFour’s partnership with The International Audio Describer Agency, which will f produce audio descriptions for ten plus new feature films. The scheme, which was test run at Edinburgh's Filmhouse with The War Zone and uses new technology manufactured by Edinburgh’s Wintonfield Systems, transmits via infra-red a running commentary of the action to an earpiece receiver. SIMULATION RIDES AT the new Virgin Cinema Megaplex, Fountainpark, Edinburgh are now cranking up the thrill factor.. The iWERKS 'Extreme Screen' (that's giant screen to you and me) joins the thirteen standard screens with regular showings of two films: Everest and The Living Sea (see reviews next issue). A Scotland- focused iWERKS film is to follow in the New Year.
All night long: Nicolas Cage Bringing Out The Dead 5.2» 9.1,