Film obsessive: Shane Meadows on location for A Room For Romeo Brass
Bare knuckle anter
Edinburgh, August 1999. SHANE MEADOWS is in town for the world premiere of his new film, A Room For Romeo Brass. So why is he sitting around a hotel foyer telling jokes? Wolds: Miles Fielder
Introducing .il Room ["0" Romeo Brass that night. Shane Meadows will be nervous. though he'll have his audience in stitches. But right now. lounging around a hotel foyer with his cast. he's relaxed; easy- going banter is the order of the afternoon.
'Just for a joke I thought I'd put a pepper pot in — it was like a little hard on.‘ offers Meadows. The writer/director. one of Britain's brightest young filmmakers on the evidence of his previous features. Small Time and ’lirenlvl’aiir Seven. is referring to a scene in the new film in which one of the leads. Paddy (‘onsidine. attempts to seduce actor Vicky Mcfure with said dining implement. erecting a pair of blue Y-fronts. ‘Shane goes porno!~ observes Meadows.
(‘onsidine's character. Morell. is both pepper pot pants comic and monstrous (some say he's scarier than The Blair Witch Project). In the film. Morell first impresses then terrorises childhood friends Romeo (Andrew Shim) and (iavin (Ben Marshall). the screen alter egos of Meadows and co-writer Paul Fraser.
"l‘his character developed over weeks and weeks and so. from the minute we got to the set I could walk into the scene as Morell.‘ recalls Considine. ‘But the American producers came over and they basically ' thought Shane had found me in a field.‘
‘Paddy was so uncompromising.‘ adds Meadows.
18 THE “ST 3—17 leb 2000
'He'd say to the producers: "I'll tell you a story my friend. I saw a man with a penis the size of Bl’lStOl . . .m Shane Meadows
‘He‘d say to the producers. in Morell's voice: "I‘ll tell you a story my friend. I saw a man with a penis the size of Bristol . . . " ‘
(‘onsidine cuts in: ‘I based him on this bare knuckle fighter. Bartley. He's a fantastic character: larger than life and so descriptive. When he was a kid. him and his brother said they found a snake in the river and they beat it to death with a stick; that‘s the basic story. But the way Bartley explains it land it's the melodramatic voice again]: “I was by this river. With my brother. Fishing for tadpoles. Fish were darting. This thing rose out of the water. It was like Godzilla. ()h. it was so big. lt‘s head was like a lion" . . . Bartley just took over me.’
"fhe personality. the dark side didn't come from Bartley. it was just the accent.‘ continues Meadows. "l‘hc accent was important: you didn't want to be able to place him. He's one of these characters that just drifts in and out of towns. When I was a kid they would just come into town and get a flat and they were probably quite dangerous.‘
Meadows gave (‘onsidine (also an old friend) his acting debut in Romeo Brass. and they've continued collaborating since on Meadows ever-growing library of no-budget short films.
‘l'd be talking to Paddy on the phone and I’d go: “Have you got anything on?" And he’d go: “No. I‘m really bored." I'd go: “How do you make a noose?" So we'd just make a film.‘ explains Meadows. and he‘s off. ‘We did this one called Willie Gum/)0. He's killed his sister and these three guys she’d been sleeping with. And he‘s come over to Britain and he lives in this shack. ()n the river. In the Midlands . . .‘
And (‘ons‘idinez ‘There‘s this other brilliant character called La Donk . . .'
‘What it's really about is we continue to work.‘ concludes Meadows. ‘We've got an obsession with film. l’ve recorded everything I've ever thought of: it’s a library of ideas.‘
And each one a potential world premiering film.
A Room For Romeo Brass opens Fri 4 Feb. See review.
Lights, camera, action . . .
MIKE LEIGH APPEARS at The Cameo Cinema on 9 February for a preview screening of Topsy Turvy, his film about Gilbert and Sullivan and the staging of their opera, The Mikado. Tickets for the event are available from The Cameo box office.
FILM SUBMISSIONS ARE now being accepted by the Edinburgh International Film Festival for its 54th edition which runs 13—27 August. The deadline for submissions is 21 April. Further information and a submission form can be obtained from the Festival on 0131 221 8709 or simply email a request to firstname.lastname@example.org
THE GOLDEN GLOBE AWARDS winners were announced on 23 January, which provides us with further clues as to who the recipients of the more famous Oscar statuettes will be on 26 March. Kevin Spacey didn't win Best Actor — shock, horror! That award went to Denzel Washington for The Hurricane. Still, American Beauty did collect Best Film (Drama), Best Director (Sam Mendes) and Screenplay (Alan Ball). Hilary Swank took Best Actress for Boys Don ’t Cry and Angelina Jolie (trumpeted in The List’s Preview Of The Year 2000) took the Best Supporting Actress for Girl, Interrupted. Sharon Stone lost out to Brit Janet McTeer for Best Actress (Musical or Comedy) in Tumbleweeds, which is as it should
be. Jim Carrey took Best Actor in the
same genre for Man On The Moon (see feature, next issue), while, surprisingly, the film lost out to Toy Story 2 for Best Film (Musical or Comedy). Another surprise in Tom
Cruise's Best Supporting Actor Globe
for Magnolia - what about the kid
i in The Sixth Sense? All About My
Mother scooped Best Foreign Language Film, and deserved it,
Ennio Morricone won Best Score for
The Legend Of 1900, and you don't
want to know which ex-Genesis
member grabbed Best Song for Tarzan. Babs Streisand was
honoured with the Cecil B DeMille award and, for TV fans, The ¥ Sopranos cleaned up.
Next important date for the bookies: 15 February's Academy Award nominations announcement.
Over the moon: Jim Carrey