He’s not an internationally famous movie star. No, IAN HART is something far better: one of Britain’s finest and hardest-working actors. He tells William Bucks about focusing the mind on the job.
couple of years ago. around the time [an that
appeared as the slimy Professor Quirrell in
Harry Potter and the .S'rn'eerer's Stone. the 3‘)- year-old Liverpudlian actor told the press that being attractive is all in the mind.
‘I was reading something Nicolas (‘age was saying about how being sexy is about how you view yourself.‘ said Hart. ‘And Nicolas (‘age is an ugly bugger but he views himself in a sexy way. therefore he feels sexy. therefore he can play leading men. That is still an obstacle l have to conquer in some respect. ‘Cos I don’t mind being ugly. I can play ugly —- that doesn't bother me. It doesn‘t bother me seeing myself looking like a hideous mess. That doesn‘t frighten me zit all.~
Hart‘s hardly attractive in his latest film. Blind l’lig/it. a dramatisation of the kidnapping. confinement and bond of friendship which formed between Brian Keenan and John McCarthy in the Lebanon during the l‘)8()s. After years of starvation and abuse while in captivity. the men were bags of bones. To play Keenan. Hart had to shed pounds — and bare in mind. the camera. they say. puts six more on an actor.
‘We had to lose a lot of weight.. says llart. now reverted back to his Scouse accent. having mastered a Northern Irish one to play Keenan. ‘And once you loose body fat. it’s really hard to stay warm.‘
Particularly when it‘s January and February in Belfast and Glasgow and you’re there being filmed virtually naked in chilly warehouses doubling for the stifling heat of the Lebanon. Considering what Keenan went through in captivity beatings. starvation. the threat of death — l-lart says he feels like 'a bleedin' two—year-old moaning about that. ()oh. it‘s a bit cold in here. Jesus. that‘s just a poncey little acting piece of shite.~
22 THE LIST 1—4:") Apr 7004
‘IT FOCUSES YOUR MIND WHEN YOU KNOW THERE'S SOMEONE WHO'S REALLY BEEN THERE. YOU'V E GOT TO DO SERVICE'
llart the Scouser rather than the thespian. might have a point. but what he has invested. physically and emotionally. in playing Keenan typifies his approach to acting it’s all about dedication to doing a good
job. not courting the glamour associated with
showbusincss. lle's proven that time and again during the course of his 20-year career. lirom the Irish political activist
in .lli'eliuel ('ulli'ns. through his laddish lout of a father
in llbnderlund. to tougher still dad in Lia/n. Hart's
choice of roles has made him a convincing character
actor rather than a bland leading man.
Not that he can‘t put a little glamour on screen and when he compared himself with Nicolas ('age. noting that playing a leading man was an unconquered obstacle. Hart was being somewhat modest. He did. after all. first come to the public’s attention when he played John Lennon to great acclaim
twice in the early l‘)‘)()s in the films The Hours and lll(’ limes and Buekln'ur. Following that rock‘n‘roll double act. llat't took the lead and carried Land and Freedom. Ken l.oach‘s political romance set during the Spanish ('ivil War.
Whether llart‘s playing ugly or charismatic. what always shines forth from any performance is his striking natural ability and admirable work ethic. lle changed his body via a starvation diet to play Keenan in Blind Flight. and really got under the man‘s skin by spending time with him in Dublin to work out what made the man tick.
'You go in there thinking you can‘t make a mess.’ says Hart of filming Blind I’lig/ii. ‘lt focuses your mind when you know there‘s someone lKeenanl who's really been there. You've got to do service.”
Blind Flight is on selected release from Fri 9 Apr. See review, page 23.
Jes Benstock’s Orders of Love
FANCY HEADING SOUTH? YOU could do a lot worse than checking out the Raindance East Film Festival (23—29 April). the third edition of this important east London—based event. which focoses on cultural diversity and gives a voice and inspiration to the local community. The festival highlights include the cult classic sequel Bait/e Roy/ale //_ Jes Benstock‘s great Scottish short Orders of Love and the new Bollywood hit Wai'sa Bh/ Hora Hal from the “Indian Tarantino'. director Shashanka Gosh. Special events include Nitin Sawhney. a festival patron. presenting a music masterclass on film composition and a night of hip hop followed by the UK MC Freestyle TOur. Interested? Then visit www.raindanceco.uk or contact: raindanceezist<a>dial.pipexcom. FANCY HEADING NORTH? then you really couldn’t do much better than the Celtic Film and Television Festival which is celebrating its 25th anniversary in Dundee. You’d better get your skates on though, as the festival ends on Sat Apr 3. www.celticfilm.co.uk
HEADS UP ON THE STELLA ArtOIs After Dark tour (CCA. Glasgow 4 Jun). An eclectic evening bringing together cinema" inspired graffiti art from theymademedoit. film scoring of classic film from DJ Yoda. chill out tunes from the Philosophie Collective, short films introduced by the UK's hottest new filmmakers and an exclusive set from the legendary UNKLE. Tickets are priced at £10 with concessions of £8 for NUS card holders and will be available exclusively on the After Dark website: www.afterdark04.com. FINALLY, THE ITALIAN FILM Festival kicks off at the GFT and Filmhouse on Fri 16 Apr. This year’s line-up looks like a scorcher, so check out the respective cinemas’ brochures and websites.