Rhys lfans : and Shirley Hendersqp


Ricky Tomlinson

- Robert Carler and Henderson

He is one of the finest young British directors working today, yet none of his films have ever made any money. But with Once upon a Time in the Midlands, things could be about to change for SHANE MEADOWS. Words: Paul Dale

re yott Shane Meadows 1" It's an ttnusually warm A day on lidinburgh's Lothian Road and on a yague

whitn he approached a shayen headed beast and two men who appear to be his dad and his uncle.

‘Yeah mate. how are you‘." It couldn‘t really he anyone else. with those soft Midlands vowels and that wide. expressiye face.

listen. I‘m interyiewing you tomorrow morning.’

"l‘hat‘s great. Listen mate. do you know where we cart get some electric fans. we're tnelting in this heat'."

I direct them to Ali’s (‘aye tat emporium and lose them somewhere between the Korean shoe polish and the Lebanese Bl‘illo pads.

Ten o'clock the next morning is far too early for me it is a Sunday alter all. but for him. it seems it is the perfect time. ‘l’m inyincible in the morning. it’s just iii the eyening I begin to take the knock.‘ he says.

We are sat in the (‘aledonian Brewery (‘ompany‘s l-‘estiyal Hall out on Slatcford Road. Meadows has decided that this time in lidinburgh (he was here three years ago to promote his remarkable second featttre A Room for Rmm'u Is’ms's') he is going to do all the press and parties on his owtt terms ~- thus he has hired this strange cross between a social club and a

rawhide line dancing venue for his entire stay. In the far corner. the nation‘s press are getting hot under the collar oyer

the arriyal ofone of the film‘s stars. Robert (‘arlyle

For the moment. though. I haye this gifted and yery loquacious filmmaker to myself. He‘s bursting to talk about his new moyie and boy. can he talk: ‘l‘d always planned before I made this one to move away.‘ he says. “You know. he got a reputation -- the gtty from the Midlands. the gtty

from Nottingham. the Robin Hood of film. all that kind of and obyiously that‘s sound. bttt I was so frightened of

stuff people thinking that was all I could do. So I had planned to do something that wasn‘t set in the Midlands. Bttt when tne attd

18 THE LIST 5) 7‘.) 8m; 71:1?

l'i'aser ll’aul. co-writerl went away to write a film we had a big discussion about the last films to come out of the Midlands and it was like l‘)(i() Saturday Night and Sunday Morning attd we started thinking. y‘know. take yourself ottt of the picture and it’s actually a fttcking good thing we‘ve done. not like a (‘ltristian thing but the reason we tnade those films was because it meant something to tis. So it‘s like there hasn't been a film tnade in the Midlands for 30 years and then there's this guy who wants to make a trilogy there. If l never make another film there at least I ntade those three.’

()Il('(' 11pm! it Time in l/lt’ .l/n/lum/x. if you hadn't already guessed. is a modern day western in which its semi- rogue/hero Jimmy ((‘arlylei trayels down from (ilasgow to the (‘arlton area of Nottingham to win back his childhood sweetheart Shirley (Shirley Henderson) from the geeky suburban clutches of l)ek (Rhys lfans). It's a gentle. strangely moying film that is totally otit of step with the current British film \‘ogtle for gangsters and 'manors‘.

"l‘hc film was born ottt of a desire to celebrate.’ says Meadows. 'l‘ye ntade o5 short films. all based in the Midlands. The challenge for me on this one was to get the actors I really wanted to work with which was difficult because none of my films have eyer tnade any money. Bttt I really wanted to work with Ricky l'l‘omlinsonl and Kathy lBurkel. so a lot of the reason for making this film was to fttllil that tlesire.‘

Meadows got 'l‘omlinson to agree to be in the film by booking him so far ahead he couldn't say no. and Burke willingly catne on board. ‘Ricky as a natural talent is astounding.’ he says. ‘\\'hen you are on a set with him you realise just how astounding he is. Some actors have a moody side. btit when fans come tip to him during shooting he‘s just great with them. What you see is what you get with Ricky. This film contains my dream list of actors. I really thought I‘d be lucky to get just one of them.’