‘People would kill to get the chance I got’
4 people speak. has to be very concrete. That‘s rule number one.
‘The west coast of Scotland is a good area to work in anyway.‘ continues Loach. 'lt‘s very culturally specific. it‘s contained in a way that nowhere else in Britain outside London is. It‘s a different country. so you’re not having to refer back to south eastern England all the time. And there's a huge amount of talent. So. it‘s a very fertile area.‘
Liam’s story arose out of My Name is Joe (also nominated for the Palme D'or and winner of the best actor award for Peter Mullan back in 1998). Remember the teenagers playing footy whom Mullan's titular hero coaches“? ‘Paul thought it would be worth developing one or two of the kids in the football tearn.‘ says l.oach. ‘l‘ind a story that would reveal them and reveal their situation. which is chaotic and extraordinary in some ways.~
This is how the director and his writer work. nurturing a number of projects until one them comes to fruition. Then they get what Laverty refers to as the ‘great cup of coffee test‘. ‘We‘re not great lunchers.‘ says Loach.
making a sly dig at the Hollywood model for film development. 'We pool our
thoughts over an espresso or two in the moming. That seems a good time to watch the world go by and chew over what films we should be doing. The question is never heir to do a film. but why do the frlm‘.’ We share certain concerns and out of that comes the story and out of that comes something very specific and precise.‘
Down the phone line from his London home I hear Ken slurping coffee. ‘Anything else up for the “great cup of coffee test”?’ I ask. ‘Mmmph. Paul’s digging out another script,‘ Loach says. ‘We‘ve been thinking about that for the past few months and hope to do it next. The cup of coffee test has yet to happen.‘
Let‘s hope. as with Sweet Sixteen. Loach and Laverty produce another full roast.
Sweet Sixteen is on general release from Fri 4 Oct. See review, page 28.
MARTIN COMPSTON is the cheeky Greenock teenager who plays the lead role in Sweet Sixteen.
Words: Jane Hamilton
What made you go for the audition?
I was in fifth year and I had just finished
my exams. A COuple of us had been skiving school. so my teacher says if we wanted to audition he wouldn't get us into trouble. He said: Martin, it's a boy who's older than 16. but he looks 16 and he's Cheeky —- it's just yOu.' At one audition I came in with my trackSLrit on and there was these boys wrth suits on. and I'm thinking: "They don't have a clue what happens in Greenock. so maybe I have got a chancef
How did you ﬁnd being Liam?
Liam is a smart ned. Honestly. that's all
I've been through. although I've never been in the situation when I've had to
sell drugs to survive. I've seen so many
of my friends living like that in
Greenock. so it wasn't hard to get into.
What is your best memory of Cannes?
The standing ovation. When the film finished we got a few claps and I thought they didn't like it. but as soon as the lights carrre on everyone just went wild.
Who are your ﬁlm role models? Peter Mullah is class. Ewan McGregor.
Robert Carlisle. PeOple I can look up to cos they have gone all the way. Anybody who has made it — I just respect them.
So, football or acting?
Hopefully acting, if anyone will take me. Two years ago I wanted to be a footballer. I tried to combine it and acting and it just wasn't happening. It was gut-wrenching cos it has always been my dream since I was a wee boy and I feel like l've sort of given up on it. But I've got an unbelievable opponunity and I know people would kill to get the chance I got. so to pass it over just wouldn't feel right.
What are your plans now?
I'm so busy with Sweet Sixteen I haven't had time to sit down and think. It's only two weeks since I‘ve said acting is what I want to do. but I've got a few things to look at. It's strange because until the film comes out I don't feel I've achieved anything.
Looking very smart for his day of
l/ iterwews (I re '(i much rather be wearing his tracksr lit). Corr rpstOI l leaves fora hot date before heading to the Toronto Film Festival. / think we can safely say that this 'smart ned' is about to achieve a great deal.
28 Days Later (1 November) No. not a sequel to the awful Sandra Bullock vehicle 28 Days. but the latest and frankly long-time coming film from the Trainspotting boys — once again Danny Boyle directing and Andrew Macdonald producing. For the team's first film since The Beach. however, Scottish doctor-cum-screenwriter John Hodge steps aside to allow Alex Garland to take his first stab at scriptwriting. 28 Days Later is a post-apocalyptic thriller in which a handful of lost souls (among them Christopher Eccleston and Brendan Gleeson) attempt to save the human race from extinction after a virus wipes out the planet.
Rabbit Proof Fence (8 November) Australian ex-pat Philip Noyce (Patriot Games) returns home to make his best film in years. Rabbit Proof Fence deals with the 'stolen generation“, that being the Aboriginal children of mixed race parentage who were kidnapped and forcibly relocated to white communities in an effort to ethnically cleanse 02. Kenneth Branagh plays the ironically titled Protector of Aborigines who masterminds the exercise. But it's the three child actors who play the Aboriginal girls. who walk across the country to be reunited with their mother. who excel.
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (15 November)
Ever heard of someone/something called Dobby? No? Well, shame on your for not having read the second Harry Potter book. Anyway. the second blockbusting adaptation of Rowling’s kids fantasy series (for adults too) arrives with Harry ignoring warnings not to return to Hogwarts and being haunted by a strange voice. The original cast are joined by Kenneth Branagh as Professor Gilderoy Lockhart and Shirley Henderson as Moaning Myrtle.
16 THE LIST 15ml 7 Oct (2002