ON HIS MARKS Actor Rhys Ifans chats about what it’s like to portray his old friend and hero Howard Marks in Mr Nice
‘I wasn’t born to play anything really, but for a plethora of reasons this is a very important moment for me as an actor. Howard Marks is a great friend and a great Welshman. We got to know each other in 1995/96 through a band called the Super Furry Animals, I wasn’t actually in the band when we met, I was sleeping on the drummer’s floor. I was there for the year when Howard started working with the Super Furries – that’s when we bonded. Officially the film became possible about two years
ago. Between me and Howard it was on the cards from the night we met. But when we met I wasn’t an actor and he wasn’t an author, he was a drug dealer and I was a drug user [laughs]. It was thirteen years of preparation for this role. When I got the role it wasn’t a case of “I’d love to spend some time with Howard Marks” because I’ve known him for so long it was kind of osmosis as opposed to diffusion. This is a unique situation for Howard and myself; can you imagine what it is like to have a film made about you and to be played by a friend? It was a very
natural film for us to work on.
For me this film is a journey – an odyssey in
classical terms – that’s the arc of it. As an actor, that’s what you are presented with and what you work with. Of course, the fact that I am Welsh is a huge factor in why I wanted to make this film. I’m a passionate Welshman, I have a culinary relationship with language, I taste what I say because I have two languages and each informs the other. Usually in films like this, if the guy you are playing
turns up on set it’s a big thing, but with this film it was totally normal. We just laughed at how much we looked like each other. Howard spent all the time laughing at my wig.
When you act you’ve got to be like a poet or a
musician. It’s not about evidence before court, it’s not a forensic subject, it’s poetry, it’s a completely different place. I immerse myself completely in research, but I’d say I’m more of a methadone actor than a method actor [laughs and phone buzzes]. Hold on a minute that’s my lawyer.’ (Interview by Paul Dale) ■ Mr Nice, general release, Fri 8 Oct. See review, page 52. This is an extract of a long interview with Ifans and Howard Marks, listen to it all at www.list.co.uk
ANIMATION/COMEDY A TOWN CALLED PANIC (PANIQUE AU VILLAGE) (PG) 77min ●●●●●
This insane Belgian animated feature is the big screen spin-off of the popular 2003 television series of the same name created by Stéphane Aubier and Vincent Patar. Its UK release is being championed by Hammer & Tongs, the pop promo/filmmaking outfit responsible for Son of Rambow, who, one guesses, were impressed by the film’s unbridled imagination and childish sense of fun. Aubier and Patar have utilised old-school stop-motion animation techniques to bring to life children’s toys against various painted backdrops. The action opens in a rural farming community where two pals, Cowboy and Indian, are scratching their heads over a birthday present for a third, Horse. They hit upon building a barbecue, but accidentally order 50 million bricks, and from there things go from wacky to worse. It would be impossible to synopsise the plot, but suffice to say the western trio’s adventures involve a journey to the centre of the Earth, a voyage to the bottom of the sea, a trip to the North Pole, a gigantic penguin robot piloted by mad scientists and cows raining from the sky.
All of the above unfolds with the same sense of frantic creativity young children bring to playing with their toys – literally anything can happen from one minute to the next and it does. No doubt, it’s delightful in small bursts, but despite the short running time, the non-stop action becomes exhausting. It would be better experienced in shorter chunks on television or the internet. (Miles Fielder) ■ GFT, Glasgow; Cameo, Edinburgh and selected release from Fri 8 Oct.
RYAN REYNOLDS Born 23 October 1976, Vancouver, Canada
Background The Canadian actor’s first prominent acting gig was when he appeared in the Nickelodeon series Fifteen between 1991 and 1993. Five years of bad Canadian TV movies later, the actor moved to LA in a bid to change his luck and he won a role in the TV show Two Guys and a Girl and a Pizza Place. His good looks ensured that he also started winning roles as a romantic leading man and he became gossip magazine fodder when he started dating Alanis Morissette in 2004. He is now married to Scarlett Johansson. What’s he up to now? Reynolds is the star of the one-man movie Buried, in which he has to try to escape from a coffin before he suffocates. Next up he will play the eponymous lead in Green Lantern and it’s also been announced that he will play another comic book character, Deadpool, although this is looking increasingly unlikely as a Green Lantern sequel has already been green lit.
On the difference between horror and thriller ‘I don’t want to disrespect that genre at all, but for me horror contains a lot more shock, and a much more specific kind of shock than seen in thrillers. For me horror contains a lot of splatter, a lot of blood and those kinds of things. I mean, for me a thriller is far more psychological – it’s viral, it gets into your system.’
On Buried being a sleeper hit ‘With all due respect I never thought anyone would see this film. At best I thought this would be in a small film festival somewhere and that we’d be a footnote in some book on weird, interesting quirky films that get made.’ Interesting fact Ryan Reynolds is scared of the small things in life, such as being caught unprepared, rather than snakes or being trapped in a lift. ■ Buried is out now on general release.
7–21 Oct 2010 THE LIST 51