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Edward Woodward has passed away. No more Ewar Woowar

Posted by LiveFor on November 16, 2009

edward-woodwardVeteran actor Edward Woodward has died aged 79, his agent has confirmed.

The Croydon-born star had been suffering from various illnesses, including pneumonia, and died in hospital, said Janet Glass.

Woodward is most famous for his roles in the cult 1973 horror film The Wicker Man, alongside Sir Christopher Lee, and TV series The Equalizer and Callan.

Sir Christopher described Woodward as “a very good friend and a splendid actor”.

Ms Glass said he had been ill for several months and passed away surrounded by members of his family.

The actor, who lived in Hawker’s Cove near Padstow, died at the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro.

“I knew him a very long time and he was a superb human being,” she said.

“That integrity shone through in the roles he played. I can’t ever remember, in all the productions he undertook, anyone having a bad word to say about him and he never had anything bad to say about anyone else either.”

Ms Glass added: “Universally loved and admired through his unforgettable roles in classic productions, he was equally fine and courageous in real life, never losing his brave spirit and wonderful humour throughout his illness.

“His passing will leave a huge gap in many lives,” she said.

He was last seen on screen in BBC One soap EastEnders as Tommy Clifford earlier this year.

Barbara Windsor said she was “deeply saddened” at the news.

“I have such fond memories of our time working together,” she added.

Diederick Santer, executive producer of EastEnders, said: “All of us at EastEnders are very sad to learn that Edward has passed away.

“We were thrilled when he joined us for a stint of six episodes earlier this year. He was a delight to work with, and delivered a characteristically touching and layered performance. Our thoughts are with his family.”

Robin Hardy, who directed The Wicker Man, said of Woodward: “He was one of the greatest actors of his generation, without any question, with a broad career on American television as well as British film.

“He was the absolute star of The Wicker Man. He was an extremely nice human being.”

Film critic Barry Norman described Woodward was a “very fine” actor.

“He made about three dozen movies but he was rarely given the chance to star in a movie, ” he told BBC News.

“The two films that do stand out are obviously The Wicker Man and Breaker Morant, about three British soldiers in the Boer War. In both he gave excellent performances.”

Actor Simon Pegg, who was a big fan of Woodward and cast him in his 2007 film Hot Fuzz, said on Twitter: “So sorry to hear we have lost the great Edward Woodward. Feel lucky to have worked with him.”

He later released a statement, saying that Hot Fuzz rehearsals “were often gleefully tossed aside just to hear him (Woodward) recount stories from his life and career.

“Edgar Wright and myself sought him out because we were fans of his work, by the time the cameras stopped rolling, we were devoted fans of the man. My love and sympathy goes out to Michelle and his family.”

Woodward is survived by his second wife, the actress Michele Dotrice, and four children, three of whom he had during his first marriage.

Source: BBC

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Paddy Considine – Red Riding, toys and rage.

Posted by LiveFor on March 3, 2009

After 10 years portraying loners, oddballs and psychopaths, Paddy Considine has decided it’s time to lighten up a bit. So why on earth is he playing a cop on the trail of the Yorkshire Ripper? He talked to Patrick Barkham of The Guardian.

The star of some of the most disturbing films made in England in recent years is mooching through the Toys of Yesteryear museum at a marina near his home in Burton-on-Trent. “Look at that little castle!” Paddy Considine exclaims with childlike wonder. “Look at that retro garage! It’s amazing!” He had a vast Star Wars collection, now passed on to his son, and still treasures his Happy Days figurines. “I’ve got Fonzie and I’ve got Richie and I’ve got Potsie. All of them in their boxes. Except for Fonzie.”

It feels unnervingly out of character for a working-class boxing fan renowned for his brutal turn as a grief-stricken soldier in Shane Meadows’ cult 2004 film, Dead Man’s Shoes, and perhaps best known for mainstream roles in Hot Fuzz and The Bourne Ultimatum. Reassuringly, Considine, who plays a detective investigating the Yorkshire Ripper in the pick of Channel 4’s superlative Red Riding Trilogy, is soon on more familiar territory. “That’s a really good toy machine gun,” he points. “And here’s Action Man. The business. The business,” he mutters, more to himself than anyone.

Considine no longer wants to portray action men, “guys who rely on their physical aggression. All you’ve got to do is turn up and have a few facial tics and be a lunatic and throw someone around the room or blow their brains out and people think it’s good acting,” he says. Considine is not a big man but, in the flesh, he is as intense as many of his characters. When he talks, he peppers his speech with “mate”, “man” and “brother”, unfolding his arms and lunging forward to emphasise a point. We sit outside a cafe close to the toy museum; he usually comes here with his three kids and feeds the ducks.

If Considine was in danger of being typecast as a man of violence, he did his best to allay it by portraying a panicky, man-bag toting Guardian journalist opposite Matt Damon in The Bourne Ultimatum. He continues this middle-class career direction in 1980, the second of the Red Riding trilogy adapted from David Peace’s noirish novels about corruption in northern England. In the first, 1974, Andrew Garfield plays a Yorkshire Post journalist drawn into a nightmarish web of police corruption. In 1980, Considine is the hero as Peter Hunter, a (fictional) senior policeman parachuted in to probe West Yorkshire police’s shoddy attempts to find the Yorkshire Ripper. It is hard to do justice to the horror and suffocating sense of foreboding in the trilogy. It wasn’t just the sewing of the wings of a mutilated swan onto a murdered child, the torture of suspects with rats or the graphic explanations of how the Ripper killed his victims that made me feel physically sick, but a lurching realisation that, as 1980 neared its climax, Hunter was surrounded by evil. And almost every other character in the film was complicit in the conspiracy.

From his 1999 debut in Shane Meadows’ A Room for Romeo Brass to his comic turn as one of the local coppers in Hot Fuzz in 2007, Considine’s characters often start out calmly enough before erupting with suppressed rage. This explosive violence is present in his writing, too: he co-wrote Dead Man’s Shoes and, last year, won a Bafta for Dog Altogether, a short film he wrote and directed about a violent man’s relationship with his pet. Hunter, in contrast, is clean-shaven and wholesome, with a loving wife and a mild demeanour, and no hidden demons – apart from guilt. Considine seems good at conveying guilt. “Yeah. What does that say about me? What am I guilty of?”

Like Hunter, Considine believes that in real life he nearly fell victim to a conspiracy: a secret whispering campaign to stop him starring in 1980. “There was a very strong campaign, people who didn’t want me cast in this film,” he says. Why? “Just bullshit, really. And insecurity.” In the past, he says, “some people have even been frightened to direct me”. Is that because of your reputation? “I don’t know what my reputation was, I’ve no idea.” Was that part of this conspiracy against you? “I’m pretty sure it was,” he says, unwilling to explain precisely who was against him, or why.

It is all frustratingly opaque and, according to a senior member of the production, everyone loved Considine. Whatever went on, Considine’s contempt for those he felt were casting aspersions on his professional reputation does not extend to the director of 1980, James Marsh, who “fought to have me in this film, as his man”. And once Considine got started, he says, working with Marsh – who last month won both an Oscar and a Bafta for his documentary Man on Wire – was an “incredible” experience. “Good directors don’t bullshit you. They make you feel creative. That’s not blowing up your ego or filling you with lies – it’s when you go home at the end of the day and feel like you’ve contributed.”

Like Hunter, Considine feels like an outsider. He did not set out to be an actor and has no time for Hollywood. He still lives close to the council estate where he was raised in Burton-on-Trent. He was 18 when he met his wife, a graphic designer who is now full-time mother to their three young children, and met his friend and collaborator Shane Meadows a year earlier at Burton College. Considine got a first-class degree in photography from Brighton University and his portraits of boxers had been pub lished in the Guardian when Meadows, who also still lives nearby, invited him to play a role in A Room for Romeo Brass.

His “ordinary” lifestyle is not some kind of statement. He is as ambivalent as anyone about living in his home town: it can get a bit claustrophobic, he says, but it is handy for his eldest child’s school and their relatives nearby. “I wanted to be married, wanted to be a father. I’ve met some great people through [acting] but I don’t quite understand what living the life of an actor is. Does that mean poncing around Soho, falling out of the Groucho?” He gets stopped on the street, usually by men, who like to re-enact violent scenes from Dead Man’s Shoes. “If you’re in the mood it’s fine. I do take exception when I’m eating a pizza with my wife and children and someone knocks on the window and says ‘You, you cunt!’ and all that.”

In the past, Considine has talked of a “black hole” of childhood experiences from which he dredges his characters’ scary levels of anger. Is this where his understanding of violence comes from? He sighs. “Now I’m a little bit older – I’m 35 – I don’t want to trivialise my experiences and the people around me who I’ve got a massive amount of love and affection for. I didn’t grow up in hell. But there’s certain things that did shape the way that I am and my outlook on the world.”

In Dead Man’s Shoes, he played Richard, a soldier who returns from duty to find thugs have bullied his little brother and acts out a shocking retribution. Richard’s anger, he says, is drawn from how everyone feels at times. “Isn’t he how you feel? I dunno, I feel that way when kids are being broken in half by adults and having chocolate smeared on their faces. Don’t you feel that sometimes you want to lock yourself in a room with these people and spend half an hour giving them a good hiding? Doesn’t anybody in the dark recesses of their mind think, ‘You bastards, you deserve your back breaking, you deserve chocolate smeared over your face?’ That’s what Richard is – that frustration.”

It may be that in Red Riding’s blend of fiction and fact, the presence of the Yorkshire Ripper attracts the most publicity but, as Con sidine points out, the true story of Peter Sutcliffe is actually the backdrop to a much wider tale of corruption and evil. Nevertheless, the malevolent appearance of the Ripper, played by Joseph Mawle (Jesus in the BBC drama The Passion), at the physical and immoral heart of the trilogy, was an event for everyone. “That was one of the days on set when it was like there had been a snowfall. Everywhere was dampened and quiet. I remember just looking through the glass and just watching him. Joseph played him so beautifully and gently and humanely.”

Considine hopes “people don’t feel it’s propaganda for the Ripper”. The filmmakers spoke to Andrew Laptew, the real detective who interviewed Sutcliffe 15 months before he was caught and reported he could be the Ripper, but was ignored. “He said Sutcliffe was like a little frightened rabbit.” Currently serving life in Broadmoor for the murder of 13 women and the attempted murder of seven more, Sutcliffe could, it has been reported, be reclassified as a lower risk prisoner. Some have suggested he could then, in theory, be eligible for release. “I don’t think that’s gonna happen,” says Considine. “People are still reeling from what he did today. The scars are still there, the wounds are massively deep, and I think people would be happy if he never saw the light of day again.”

Considine describes his job as a “constant struggle”. He is currently out of work. “It’s a monster you’ve never got a grasp on; you’ve never got it cornered where you want it.” This is probably because he has taken the unusual step of refusing to audition for any role. “They want you to walk in and have your lines learned and be there pretending to thrash an imaginary sword around your head in some office in Soho. It’s like no, man, I find it disrespectful and impersonal,” he says. Only working with directors who approach him is “a trust thing, do you understand? I need trust. Now Hollywood hasn’t got time to set up trust. It hasn’t got time to nurture. You’re in and out.”

This attitude could be confused for grandiosity but it seems instead to come from self doubt. “As an actor it’s just not comfortable for me to watch [the film 1980]. All I see is a big fat head and the things I didn’t do in a scene or the things that I should’ve done. In some respects, mate, I don’t want this to sound stupid but I’m a bit of an anti-actor.” When he is asked to “act” in an orthodox way, he closes up. “Then I think I can’t act, I obviously can’t act. I say that to people and they go mad and I say, ‘You don’t understand, I can’t act.'”

Considine has turned his Bafta-winning short into a full-length script, Tyrannosaur, and is trying to raise funds to make it with Peter Mullan, a friend and co-star in the Red Riding Trilogy, in the lead role. A second project close to his heart is King of the Gypsies, a film he co-wrote with Meadows about Bartley Gorman, a legendary bare-knuckle fighter, who was befriended by Considine when he was a photographer. After taking his photograph, Considine joined him in visiting Reggie Kray (“It was like he was holding court still”) in prison. “I’ve been sent scripts, and these people love and enjoy violence, and get a buzz out of hurting others; think it’s gee-whizz. Bartley Gorman wasn’t that man. He’d seen violence and he’d inflicted it in his arena but he was so humane and brilliant and funny. He was the Muhammad Ali of the Gypsies.” Considine would have to turn red-headed and put on at least three stone for the role. “It’s possible.” He sounds defiant. “Stallone’s smaller than me, man. I’m ready to do it.”

The only time Considine veers into luvvie territory is when he talks about his band, Riding the Low. This, I say, sounds a bit like Russell Crowe, or any of those actors who dabble in hobby bands and vanity projects. He says he warned his band. “I said, ‘Actors in bands does not equal good stuff,’ but I can assure you, man, we are good and we’ve got some great songs. I’m more excited about that. I can talk about it and get animated whereas I look at my acting work and I just think,” he sighs, “I dunno – you decide.”

I wonder at the similarities between Considine and Crowe: both express contempt for celebrity, are studiedly anti-metropolitan, form bands with dodgy names and love boxing. The pair worked with each other on boxing flick Cinderella Man but Considine does not think much of the comparison. “He [Crowe] was telling me about how he went to LA and had no money and he got paid nothing to do his first few jobs, and he grinded it out. That’s the difference. I’m not doing that. I don’t want the world and everything in it. I really don’t. My only problem is the pressure I put on myself.”

Considine wonders whether I am going to write about the “conspiracy” against him. Extras, he almost spits, give filmmakers a harder time than he does. “The people who know, know, and they would work with me any day of the week.” He strides ahead with a new urgency, dragging the toes of his shoes into the footpath. “I just want to do a good job. What’s wrong with that?” He is almost speaking to himself now. “I just don’t want to be bull-shitted. What’s wrong with that? What’s wrong with that, son?”

Red Riding starts on Thursday, 9pm, Channel 4.

Red Riding Trailer
Interview with Tony Grisoni – Screenwriter
Interview with Sean Bean

HOMEDiscuss in the Forum

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Simon Pegg: ‘I’d Swap Acting For Directing’

Posted by LiveFor on October 2, 2008

British funnyman Simon Pegg would like to swap acting for a more low-key role in showbiz – he wants to become a director.

The Shaun of the Dead actor wrote and starred in a number of British television shows before making the move into Hollywood movies, and is now considering working behind the camera.

And the star confesses the reason he wants to start directing is because he is sick of all the crap he has to deal with as an actor.

He says, “I think I’m ready now because I have a lot of ideas of my own. Part of me just wants to do that (directing) and f**k off out of the limelight.

“I completely understand why a lot of actors retreat into directing. You get to be part of the world of filmmaking, but you don’t have to deal with any of the s**t.”

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Simon Pegg chats with Jonathan Ross about Star Trek, How to Alienate People

Posted by LiveFor on September 27, 2008

Great interview. Pegg discusses Star Trek but is limited by the studios as to what he can say. He can’t even do the scottish accent! They then discuss How to Lose Friends and Alienate People before disco dancing. They then go on to discuss the third in the Ice Cream and Armageddon trilogy (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz) and the forthcoming road movie, Paul, with Nick Frost. The interview is in two parts. Let me know what you think.


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