routemaster

Coming to you weekly from my vantage point in good old Blighty, it’s Slashfilm UK. Anglos and Anglophiles rejoice as every Friday I’ll be bringing you a round up news, links and coverage specific to the motion picture comings and goings here in the UK. Sometimes we’ll be talking about films that have already played in the US, other times it will be films that won’t make it to the US for a good while yet, and from time to time you’ll read about films that will never make it to the US at all.

This week, be warned that there’s an auto-play video clip with a word or two of NSFW language below the break. Sorry – I can’t do anything to make it not launch itself. At least you now know why a voice will suddenly start booming out at you, anyway.

Apparently, Sky TV are bringing 3D broadcasting to UK living rooms as early as the spring of next year. According to a new Times piece on their trials, however, the broadcaster are not shooting their close-ups in 3D at all saying “Sky’s 3D team tried 3D close-ups but the effect was just too jarringly unnatural for prime-time”.

Patrick Stewart tells The Telegraph that his next project “is highly political and should be perfect timing because it should be opening in early April. It’s about literature and politics, but that is all I am going to say”. He’s pro-Labour, if you were wondering.

Variety report on how much public money is spent to keep the wheels turning in the so-called British film industry. They’re asking for more private investment, which might become more and more necessary very soon if anything like this rate of production is to be maintained. At the same time, Screen Daily have a piece on the Film Agency for Wales and their £1.9 million of investment over the last twelve months.

Struggling as much, if not more, than the overall British film industry is the animation sector. A Broadcast article into a fight for tax breaks also contains the odd tid-bit of creative news. For example, it seems that Steve Coogan’s Baby Cow will be collaborating with Disney on something called Tomax and the Amazing Things. Some bad news in the sotry that I hadn’t previously heard: animation studio Cosgrove Hall were “wound down” last month. Eek. As Chorlton would say, “Bye bye little old lady”.

Talking of Disney, the BBC have reported on them selling their 25% stake in GMTV. Can’t say I blame them really.

Want to see Where the Wild Things Are and a Spike Jonze Q&A? Move fast – the BFI are booking for the event on December 5th now.

Here’s a couple of commercials directed by Moon‘s Duncan Jones and starring… well, Moon‘s Kevin Spacey. Interesting audio in places… not very clean sounding at all. What do you reckon the idea is there? These ads are currently running quite heavily on UK TV.

Revolver’s slightly scary sounding Robert Pattinson stalkumentary Robsessed will be available via iTunes in the UK, US and Canada, say Screen Daily.

Practically perfect in every way, Mary Poppins herself is coming back to the British stage after 20 years hiatus. According to The Telegraph (quoting another newspaper but not saying who), Dame Julie Andrews will be performing a few solo songs and a heap of duets during a gig at the O2 next May.

The Junior Common Room at Magdalen College, Oxford has now been renamed Gryffindor in honor of Harry Potter. I repeat: this is at Magdalen College, Oxford. These people are our future leaders. The Banbury Cake, a local newspaper named after a local cake, have the dish. Best bit:

The student paper Cherwell reported this week that Magdalen JCR president Laurence Mills is planning to contact the JCR presidents of Christ Church, St Hugh’s and Merton, urging them to rename their common rooms Slytherin, Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw respectively.

Here are three clips from Jordan Scott’s Cracks, featuring Eva Green as a schoolteacher becoming a little too close to one of her students. The film is just one week away in the UK now.

The Mighty Boosh turned on the Christmas lights for Stella McCartney’s shop. Adam and Joe had been the first choice, as they (perhaps unprofessionally?) revealed on their radio show, but had turned her down.

boosh_mccartney1

Ever wanted to know what goes on inside an actor’s brain while they’re in the moment? Not until I mentioned it, I bet. Now you’re curious, however, let me tell you that Fiona Shaw agreed to have her grey matter monitored mid-performance and the findings are on the BBC website. Now let’s compare actors and see if, say, Charles Dance, Simon Pegg and Daniel Radcliffe show similar patterns to one another.

Ken Loach‘s son Jim is making his directorial debut with Sunshine and Oranges, based upon the true story of a Nottingham social worker in the late 80s who uncovered the “Home Children” scheme by which children were being forcefully migrated from the UK to Australia, Canada and other far flung corners of the Commonwealth. Variety inform us that Emily Watson has joined the cast, presumably as Margaret Humphreys the social worker, alongside David Wenham and Hugo Weaving.

Here’s my video, made under far less than ideal conditions on the red carpet of Peter Jackson‘s The Lovely Bones Royal Premiere. Thanks to Way to Blue and DDA for arranging for /Film to have a slot there. Sadly, it was a slot sandwiched between louder and more agressive camera teams who simply wanted to ask everyone “Who are you wearing?” and “What do you think of the British weather?” and who appeared to scare off some of the more interesting guests.

The BFI have made some “best bits” of their sexploitation panel from the Schlock! The Secret Cinema of American Movies event available in video form.

Talking of sexploitation, I have this week been watching Nucleus Films’ Betty Page pictures Teaserama and Varietease, just out on DVD in the UK. For me, they functioned best as belated supplementary material to Mary Harron’s splendid biopic The Notorious Betty Page. Curiously chaste and kinky at the same time, these silly burlesque movies have great charm and an odd polish, of sorts, despite almost no compelling through-line of any sort and some of the ropiest production values I have ever seen. If you aren’t a 50s fetishist or regular burlesque attendant, I’d advise switching on the audio commentaries even on your first go around to get some context for the crazy sights and sounds.

There’s a mini-documentary spread across the two discs called Under the Influence of Tease. It’s pretty much a talking heads piece with modern day Burlesque performers reflecting on these works from years gone by, but has also been sprinkled with footage of the participants doing their stuff on stage.

Other special features include short Berry Page subjects and something called Party Girls!, which loops the dancing girls on each disc in a way suitable for background play at parties. That’s a very useful feature, I’d imagine, because I can see these discs absolutely flying off the shelves and into the talking-point and showing-off collections of hipsters everywhere – VJs also take note.

One final note: it’s sweetly pleasing that the real Betty Page is better looking than Gretchen Mol and even more endearingly, rubbishly awkward.

Back to the Southbank. The red shoes – as in The Red Shoes – are spending some time at the BFI while the film’s back on the big screen. Here they are with Moira Shearer‘s daughter. They apparently belong to Martin Scorsese now… do you think he ever tries them on? I think I’d just about be able to resist if they were mine, no matter how much I love the film – which is an awful lot.

Steven Soderbergh‘s The Girlfriend Experience finally reaches UK screens next Friday, December 4th. Last chance, then, to round up all of our business with the picture. First of all, a competition. If you’d like a quad poster for the film signed by porn star Sasha Gray, then all you need to do is a) live in the UK and b) follow me on Twitter and request one via a tweet. The lucky winners will get followed back and DMed so that they supply their details in private.

Secondly, here’s a clip from the film featuring Glen Kenny as “The Erotic Connoisseur”, a character who functions as both comic relief and appalling villain. Then below this clip will be the third and final piece of the puzzle, a little mini interview with Ms. Gray I conducted last week.

Here’s the choice quotes that Sasha Gray offered me during our chat. We began by discussing the film’s day-and-date release in the US and the options that presented for viewers:

I always recommend the theatre because it’s an experience. I prefer seeing comedies with a large group of people, I prefer seeing horror films with not too many people but still on the big screen.

I was a fan of Bubble so when I met with Steven, he told me the film was going to be heavily improvised the same ways as with Bubble and I said It’s great, I loved that film. I even bought the DVD the same day I saw it in theatres.

We had an outline which, to us, it was very loose. It would say Chelsea meets with client A, or Chelsea meets with client B but we’d get to set and we are told this is your client, you’ve been seeing him for three months or this is your client, you’ve been seeing him for two years. So we’d learn most of the information day of and I’d ask Steven what’s my motivation in this scene, what am I trying to accomplish here. Sometimes he’d just give me one point, sometimes he’d just say just talk to him like you’ve known him forever and sometimes he’d just give me three points, but as far as the dialogue itself that was all up to us.

The arc was completely invisible to me, but as far as who Chelsea or Christine was, I started working on her a couple months before we started filming so I kept a detailed character journal and I’d share that with Steven. I didn’t even know her name until the week we started shooting.

I’d share all of this information with him and he’d say yes or no and we’d figure out what traits that I’ve created go with who Chelsea or Christine is.

For me, I write it down and I tried to share it with him right away so if he said that doesn’t work, okay, it goes into the garbage. Most of it I did it on my own and then sent him an e-mail every week or so.

Personology for her is a way of screening her clients and if her birthday matches up with this birthday of this client… in this instance, this client’s matched up to her perfectly. In these Personology books there is like four catgories and one of them is love so they connected on love, and she thought it’s in the books, it must be true because there’s a scientific study that’s been done for 25 years. To her, there’s four books on Personology. It’s like a religion, right? I think for her, Personology is escapism, it’s a way to have an excuse should something go wrong in her life so she doesn’t have to take responsibility for her actions because it’s fate, it says here.

The other cast members, even more so than myself, played a version of themself. Chris who plays my boyfriend in the film he was actually a personal trainer for eleven years and he has his own brand of clothing that he sells on his own website. David, the guy I fall in love with, is actually a writer on the film. A lot of the guys who play Johns don’t actually see escorts but they play a version of themself. A lot of the johns in the film are hedge fund owners or CEOs in real life.

For Steven it was a way to put people in front of the camera who are going to make choices other actors would not make because there is a process and if you are a person playing just a version of yourself there is no process, you’re just being yourself. For me, opposed to other actors in the film, I had my process. I was trained in theatre so I took what I knew, but it was also finding a way to marry that to what Stephen wanted.

I’ve noticed that people who aren’t from The States like the fact that the film pokes fun at capitalism in America. People that I’ve spoken to that have seen the film in different countries really enjoy that. It’s really a window that probably most Americans wouldn’t exploit in a film or in literature. The film captures these people, these types, not necessarily America as a whole.

For even more on The Girlfriend Experience (is this not enough?) there’s always the official site to fall back on.

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