After the success of Billy Elliot everyone expected director STEPHEN DALDRY to decamp to Hollywood. Here, Daldry clears up this and other misconceptions. Words: Catherine Bromley
ttst as the British press had a hard time getting
its head around the fact that hisexual director
Stephen Daldry got married two years ago v a news story was printed saying that the ‘British lilm industry was shocked' hy his secretly tying the knot - so too is it flummosed hy the fact that his new film is not an American one. (iranted. The Hours. which looks at the life of Virginia Woolf and two other women who resemble her literary creation .\lrs l)allow'ay. does feature a predominantly American cast. includes some footage shot across the pond and was Cit-produced hy the Hollywood studio Paramount. Yet it still is. as Dorset-horn Daldry was at pains to point otit at a recent press conference. yery much a British film.
With his disheyelled hlond hair and awkward hoyish demeanottr. the acclaimed theatre director resembles an older Version of Jamie Bell. the young actor who played the title role in Billy lz‘lliol. l)aldry‘s first cinematic success. lixcept there's no awkwardness here today as l)aldry's intent clearly seems to he to set the record straight. ‘l‘ii‘st of all.‘ he says. "I'lu' Hours is a British film. We argued yery heayily that it should he a British film. A British company was formed especially to make this and we shot it in llingland'sl Pinewood Studios. So. people ask me: “What was it like making a Hollywood film?" and [We got ahsolutely no idea. I had no arrangement at all with the studio except to show them the film on completion. which I then did and they said: “Thank you very much."'
With that cleared up. the next question at the conference throws up another misconception. namely
24 THE LIST ‘3—.‘ ‘ ‘1‘?
‘People ask me: “What was it like making a Hollywood film?” and I’ve got ' to play around with slittcc and
Nicole Kidman on location with Stephen Daldry
lhal l)aldry chose to helm 7716 Hours to deliberately meet high expectations of his directorial skills after the success of lii/ly lz'l/iol. ‘.\'o.' he corrects. ‘I committed to The Hours hefore Billy lilliot had come out and hefore anything had really happened to it. so it wasn't as if I was feeling particularly anxious ahout w hat I should do nest.’
Well and good. hut. chips in another informed
journalist. didn't you choose this film just to haye the
opportunity to work with some of Hollywood‘s greatest leading ladies Meryl Streep. Nicole Kidman and Julianne .\loore‘.’ Again. qttite the contrary. as Daldry explains that it was in fact Michael ('unningham’s noy'el The Hours and l)ayid llare's screenplay adaptation of it that first attracted him to the project. ‘llow you cast. for me. is very secondary to the emotional power. or dramatic power of the material.' he says. stating what you'd think would he the hleedin’ olwiotis.
With no shame left in the room hy this point. someone lets fly with the straight to tahloid question ahottt why on earth the ()scar-tipped Nicole Kidman had to wear that ridiculous prosthetic nose to play Virginia Woolf in the film. l'nsurprisingly. Daldry is quick to correct. ‘lt was ney'er a case that we thought we would hate to put a nose on Nicole Kidman to make it work. It was Very much something that came out of rehearsals. We were starting
dresses and wigs and it was really part of that particular process. I was incredihly happy with it though. I think it gaye Nicole a httgc amount of manoeuyrahility' with what she could do and I think she looks great in it. l’eople say: "Oh my (iod. what haye you done to .\'icole Kidman." and I say: "What do you inean‘.’ She looks gorgeous!“ .-\nd that. it would seem. is the only thing you could still possihly take issue with after Stephen Daldry has so kindly cleared things tip.
The Hours is on general release from Fri 14 Feb. See review, page 25.
Lights. camera. act/on
Alex Cox directs Eddie lzzard
‘FUNNY, CHEEKY, CANDID storyteller' is how The List describes Glaswegian filmmaker Peter Mullan. If you consider Mullan's comments in this issue's feature (see page 20), we're not wrong. Having proved himself a supremely accomplished actor with My Name is Joe. Mullan has been attracting equal praise for his work behind the camera on The Magdalene Sisters. Busy Mullan is back in his home town brieﬂy and will talk about the new film at the Glasgow Film Theatre, Monday 17 February.
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‘FESTIVAL FAVOURITES OR prize winners' is how new European cinema is described by the Glasgow Film Theatre, which brings you a short season of films under the banner Breaking the New Waves (Friday 14—Wednesday 19 February). Local lad done good David Mackenzie will introduce a preview of his film. The Last Great Wilderness. Tuesday 18 February.