News, Info and Schedule


Calendar. What is Alan Rickman doing now? Upcoming and future projects and appearances.


Schedule of Events
The Song of Lunch on BBC 2................................ Oct. 8, 2010
John Gabriel Borkman at Abbey Theatre, Dublin, Ireland................................ Oct. 6 to Nov. 20, 2010
Theatrical release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows - Part 1................................ Nov. 19, 2010
John Gabriel Borkman at BAM's Harvey Theater, NY................................ Jan. 7 to Feb. 6, 2011
Artist Talk: Jan. 16, 2011
Monday's With BAFTA New York (in-depth conversation and Q&A with AR), NY................................ Feb. 7, 2011
Friends of BAM Event: Die Hard (Post-Screening Q&A with AR) at BAM Rose Cinema, NY................................ Feb. 8, 2011
Theatrical release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows - Part 2................................ July 15, 2011
Click here for old schedule and past events

News & Information

Alan Rickman to star in CBGB film.

Heather Doggett
- Wednesday, May 23, 2012


After party photos from BAM


Claire
UK - Sunday, January 23, 2011


So let's get this Rickman in NY schedule straight: February 6 is closing night for JGB.

Feb 7 is the BAM Monday - A glass of wine and networking followed by an in-depth conversation with Alan Rickman and our moderator for the evening - Lisa Schwarzbaum, Film Critic, Entertainment Weekly.Cost: $25

Tuesday, Feb 8 is the DH screening and Q&A. Cost: Free to members, but sold out.

Monday Feb 21, AR's birthday. What a great month for him.
Renie
Wow, a triple post. So nice that he's so busy. , - Friday, January 21, 2011


Lucky BAM members moved quickly - BAM Die Hard screening/Post-Screening Q&A with Actor Alan Rickman on Feb 8 sold out yesterday as fast as a Radiohead concert. Hans on a big screen, then Hans in the flesh . . . Reports, please!
Renie
Reminds me to remove winter holiday "Ode to Joy" from DT. , - Friday, January 21, 2011


A new (to me) photo. From the Epoch Times.

[text to review]:

Theater Review: ‘John Gabriel Borkman’
A cold passion

By Diana Barth
Jan. 18, 2011

BROOKLYN, N.Y.—Direct from Dublin, Ireland’s Abbey Theatre, in a new version by noted playwright and poet Frank McGuinness, Henrik Ibsen’s dark drama John Gabriel Borkman burns up the stage in its U.S. premiere as the initial entrant in Brooklyn Academy of Music’s (BAM) 2011 Spring Season.

Starring a triumvirate of theatrical luminaries: Lindsay Duncan, Alan Rickman, and Fiona Shaw, the production grips and moves one under James Macdonald’s astute direction.

Arguably ranking as a co-star is Tom Pye’s frigid set design, which, consisting of a group of several high-piled snowbanks (surrounding a sedate drawing room), holds painful, and may I say, chilling familiarity to New Yorkers during this particular January.

Ibsen’s play, dealing with greed’s dire effects on various individuals, could not be timelier—shades of Bernie Madoff. Borkman, played with enormous dignity by Alan Rickman, has been convicted for embezzlement: A former wealthy banker, he stole funds from his own bank and has spent several years in prison for the deed. Since his release eight years ago he has lived in his home, but on the second floor, not having any contact with his wife and not emerging until this particular night.

His wife, Gunhild (Fiona Shaw), despises him, for he, in her very middle-class bourgeois opinion, has wrecked her life. What should have been for her a life of respect and ease has been turned into one of shame. But she has hopes that their son, Erhart (Marty Rea), can restore the family name.

However, Gunhild’s twin sister and Borkman’s former lover, Ella (Lindsay Duncan), pays an unexpected visit this evening. She wants to know why Borkman chose her sister over her in marriage, when she, Ella, could have given him happiness. Also, she has been close to Erhart and hopes to win him back to come live with her in the city, as she is fatally ill and wants him to spend her last days with her.

Unfortunately for all concerned, Erhart has his own agenda and plans to go off with the divorced Mrs. Fanny Wilton (Cathy Belton) with whom he is in love. “I am young!” he cries.

Throughout the evening passions erupt as conflicting desires collide.

A highly theatrical scene ensues, wherein Ella and Borkman go out into a violent snowstorm, handsomely and realistically displayed, and there Borkman meets his ultimate fate.

The three central actors carry the show magnificently. Fiona Shaw portrays Gunhild as a woman who does not hesitate to wound others with her rage over her disappointed life. Remember, this is an actress who has portrayed Medea to great effect, as well as had brilliant performances in many other great plays.

Alan Rickman’s presence is altogether powerful; in spite of Borkman having fallen from grace and being viewed by most as a virtual criminal, Rickman’s character never loses his sense of pride and the ambition to overcome his obstacles.

Lindsay Duncan’s Ella lends a still and quiet presence, as she unobtrusively goes about the business of gaining her ends. Duncan’s beauty also lends its own impact.

Supporting actors Joan Sheehy as the servant Malene, Amy Molloy as the young Frida Foldal, and John Kavanagh as Frida’s father, Wilhelm, round out the cast.

In addition to the wonderful sets by Tom Pye, Jean Kalman’s lighting, Joan Bergin’s authentic period costumes, and Ian Dickinson’s sound design fill out and support director Macdonald’s vision.

John Gabriel Borkman is a superior production and a welcome addition to BAM’s ongoing series of outstanding projects from abroad.

John Gabriel Borkman
BAM Harvey Theater
651 Fulton Street
Tickets: 718-636-4100 or www.bam.org
Running time: 2 hours, 45 minutes
Closes: Feb. 6


Renie
- Friday, January 21, 2011


Here's a few JGB reviews (including photos):

John Gabriel Borkman (Theater Mania, 1-13-2011)

[text of review]:

Reviewed By: Andy Propst · Jan 13, 2011 · New York

Any staging of Henrik Ibsen's rarely performed John Gabriel Borkman now at BAM is is a welcome treat for theatergoers. And director James Macdonald's uneven new production, which originated at Ireland's Abbey Theater, boasts two powerful and often frightening turns from British stars Lindsay Duncan and Fiona Shaw. When the two actresses share the stage, the production not only sparks with unexpected humor, but brilliantly catches fire.

It's unquestionable that Borkman, written over 110 years ago, resonates for contemporary audiences. The title character (Alan Rickman) is a once-powerful bank manager, who prior to the play's beginning was imprisoned for misappropriating his investors' money. And when Borkman's wife Gunhild (Shaw) describes the details of her husband's shame and the couple's profligacy, the specters of the Madoffs spring into theatergoers' minds. Later, as Borkman details how he had planned to harness the natural resources of his country to create an empire for himself, the memory of the Enron debacle stirs.

Yet, Ibsen's play does not focus on the intricacies of Borkman's misdeeds. Instead, it centers on the emotional and psychological devastation that the man's quest for power has wrought on himself and those around him -- not only his wife, but her twin sister, Ella (Duncan) and his son, Erhart (Marty Rea) -- and the ways in which all of these characters are attempting to rebuild their lives some 16 years after Borkman's fiscal transgressions were discovered.

For instance, Gunhild, whom Shaw imbues with a deliberate icy severity and brittleness, hopes to inspire Erhart to accomplish such great things that the family's disgrace will be erased. Unfortunately, Erhart, who, during the early part of his life, was raised by Aunt Ella, has little patience for his mother's demands, as he's fallen in love with Mrs. Wilton (played with cutting vivacity by Cathy Belton), a divorcee of whom Gunhild certainly does not approve.

Ella, brought to life with fatigued passion, indomitable strength, and understated compassion, by Duncan, also has an agenda for her nephew and for Borkman, who jilted her when they were younger. Ella wants to convince Erhart to reassume his role as her surrogate son. She has come to the Borkman estate -- which is actually her property -- hoping that she might convince his father to assist her in her plans and ready to do battle (on whatever level necessary) with her equally manipulative sister to accomplish her ends.

As the faded, yet still vital, Borkman, Rickman delivers sturdily, but never as intensely. The performer's deep voice certainly demands attention, but somehow in portraying this man who has convinced himself that he has wronged no one but himself, Rickman turns in a performance that is overly muted (particularly under Jean Kalman's overly dim lighting design). It's not until late in the play, when Borkmanrages against a blizzard into which he's wandered, that the actor actually captures audiences' imaginations.

While Rea's turn as Erhart underwhelms, there is fine supporting work from John Kavanagh as the warmhearted Wilhelm, a former subordinate of Borkman's, and from Amy Molloy as Frida, the latter man's daughter, who has become a companion to not only Borkman, but also Mrs. Wilton.

Tom Pye's elegantly spare scenic design surrounds the stage with snowdrifts and indicates the interiors with only a few pieces of furniture. It's a grand visual metaphor for the stormy barrenness of the central characters' emotional worlds.
----------------------

A ‘Borkman‘ for a long, cold winter (YourNabe.com, 1-13-2011)

[text of review]:

The Butcher's review finds this Alan Rickman-led production just a bit too chilly. But, hey, it's Ibsen, so what did he expect?

By The Butcher of Flatbush Avenue Extension
Thursday, January 13, 2011 9:08 PM EST

For a play that stars some of the best stage actors working today — as well as Snape from the “Harry Potter” movies — the true star may be the set.

In Abbey Theatre’s production of Ibsen’s “John Gabriel Borkman,” running now at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, white snow surrounds a house that is already chilled from within. It threatens to creep in, occasionally even getting swept up in the ladies’ long skirts. It’s a perfect metaphor for the inhabitants’ cold personalities, done in by scandal, deceit and betrayal.

“Borkman,” though written more than 100 years ago and presented here in a new version by playwright Frank McGuinness, is a story that is all too familiar: a once-prominent family is brought under by a financial scandal — in this case, embezzlement. Some 16 years after the fact, the klan is still reeling over the resulting shame and poverty.

Alan Rickman portrays the embattled Borkman, a man who spends his days pacing aimlessly upstairs. He’s estranged from his wife, Gilhund (Fiona Shaw), even though they live in the same house. She spends her days downstairs in the drawing room, listening to his pacing.

Enter into this unhappy scene Ella Rentheim (Lindsay Duncan), Gilhund’s twin sister, who first was Borkman’s lover, until his greed got in the way. She’s ill (the effects of a broken heart, we’re told), and wants her twentysomething nephew, Erhart (Marty Rea), to carry on her name. That doesn’t sit well with Gilhund, who sees her son as the only hope for the disgraced family to make Borkman a respected name again.

The only truly happy person is Erhart, and he wants to keep it that way, so he flees. You can’t blame the kid — these are people who wallow in their misery. They’re all dressed in black, as if perpetually at their own funeral, and they wear their despair like a badge. Gilhund at one point even spits out the word “happiness” as if it’s a disease, in a deft delivery from Shaw that earns laughs.

Indeed, for a play about miserable people, “Borkman” can be, at times, a good time, thanks to some witty performances by the cast. It’s also due, though, to the melodramatic nature of the plot; even the most serious scenes — a heated moment where Gilhund strikes her son comes to mind — elicited laughs from the audience.

But such “comic relief” isn’t enough to overcome the intensely overwrought remainder of the show, one in which it is not out of place for a woman to literally collapse onto the floor in grief, and say, “You killed the love in me.”

I enjoyed the quiet moments best, rather than the tour-de-force ones — Shaw with a chip on her shoulder and a smirk on her face, ready with a quick one-liner; Duncan when she’s dignified, not hysterical.

Of the men, John Kavanagh’s portrayal of Vilhelm Foldal, an old friend of Borkman’s, was excellent, giving a very natural, warm performance that was, alas, too brief. Rickman, surely the big draw for theater-goers here, sheds his usually formidable screen presence and effectively turns into a shell of a man on stage, lost and weak, though occasionally a bit of a mumbler.

And then, of course, there’s the elegant, sparse set by Tom Pye, paired with the precise lighting by Jean Kalman. During one particularly striking scene, Borkman and Ella leave the debatable warmth of the house and go out into the middle of a blizzard. Snow swirls around the stage — it’s snowing! — and the darkness of the night envelopes them. It’s a deep, deep darkness that seems to go on infinitely, even though the back of the stage couldn’t be more than 20 feet away. It just goes to show that even the simplest moments can be the most transporting.

“John Gabriel Borkman” at the BAM Harvey [651 Fulton St. between Rockwell and Ashland places in Fort Greene, (718) 636-4100], through Feb. 6. Tickets $25-$95. For info, visit www.bam.org.
--------------------------

Stage Dive: Fiona Shaw and Alan Rickman Rip into Ibsen (nymag.com VULTURE, 1-14-2011)

[text of review]:

By Scott Brown

“Henrik Ibsen,” wrote the New York Times in 1897, “is not a ‘nice’ person.” This was in response to his latest (and second to last) work, a windy tragedy of ambition and modern solipsism titled John Gabriel Borkman. The title character is a disgraced banker living under a sort of self-imposed house arrest after serving time for an embezzlement scheme that reached Madoff-ian levels of infamy and sullied the family name forever.

In the revival currently at BAM, Borkman is played with sour defiance by Alan Rickman. His bilious wife Gunhilde (Fiona Shaw) loathes him passionately and keeps him confined to the upstairs chambers, where he paces constantly, audibly, “like a sick wolf.” Her twin sister Ella (Lindsay Duncan) keeps them both afloat, out of longstanding loyalty to the man she once loved. Borkman felt the same way, but threw her over when a man in a position to advance his career made it known that he wanted Ella. Borkman shrugged and married her twin instead. “I am a man — remember that,” Borkman explains to his ex-inamorata. “I loved you as a woman — you meant more than life to me. But when, if it has to be, one woman is replaceable by another.” (If there’s a Norwegian equivalent of "Aw, snap!" please Google-translate and embed it here.)

This is not “nice” stuff, springing as it does from the grim chasms Ibsen opened up in his later work, where he moved beyond prescriptive social critique into more bleak explorations of modern moral vacuity. It’s so lavishly not-nice, in fact, that it plays today somewhere in the neighborhood of black comedy. (But don’t tell me Old Henrik didn’t know what he was doing: A senior citizen getting run over by the jingle-belled sleigh his daughter is riding in? That was just as funny at the turn of the century as it is today.) James Macdonald’s production for the Abbey (working from Frank McGuinness’s new version) looks plenty tundralike and blasted (the set is nothing but snowdrifts, shabby furniture, and a menacing wood stove with an infinite chimney pipe that goes up and up and up, into nothingness), but quite a lot of energy’s been (well) spent on refining the comic timing. No one does blustery, operatic fury quite like Shaw (“I will build a monument on top of your grave!”), and watching Rickman dig into Borkman’s demonic/heroic existential narcissism is worth the price of admission. “No one but you would have done it,” says Gunhilde, speaking to her husband about his crime. “No one but you.” “Perhaps not,” he shoots back, “but that’s because they could not do what I could do. And had they done it, that would not have been with my exact aims in mind. Things would have been quite different. So you see, I find myself innocent of all charges.”

Rickman’s gelid self-possession clicks best against Shaw’s piping-hot hate; in scenes with the chilly Duncan (whom Macdonald seems to have designated the straight man), the dialogue goes a little damp and drab, and the energy ebbs. There are moments when he looks ready to bow out completely, and the play’s near-Wagnerian conclusion, with its screaming snowy gales and swirling symbols of capitalist despoilment, remains a staging challenge. It’s occasionally difficult to parse Borkman’s overreaching as a master of the universe from Rickman’s over-extension as an actor: He works best at low, pensive, menacing volume, and his final fist-to-the-sky manifesto feels off-key. But the play practically guarantees this awkwardness for any actor; it’s trying to swallow itself up, to become the self-negation it seeks to describe in modern ambition. For better or worse, it succeeds.
------------------

Greed ruins banker in 'John Gabriel Borkman' (Washington Examiner, 1-14-2011)

[text of review]:

By: JENNIFER FARRAR 01/14/11 5:25 PM
Associated Press

A disgraced financier plotting his comeback; a family name and once-admired reputation in tatters; the banker's relatives struggling to emerge from the shadow cast over them by his greed and lust for power.

Sounds eerily like recent Wall Street news and film plots — but this story was actually written more than one hundred years ago, by Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen.

The delusional family members at the heart of "John Gabriel Borkman" are a complex lot, and the powerhouse cast now on display in a limited run at the Brooklyn Academy of Music's Harvey Theater create strong, nuanced interpretations of Ibsen's tragic characters.

Alan Rickman, Fiona Shaw and Lindsay Duncan co-star in the Abbey Theatre of Ireland's searing production. The new adaptation by Frank McGuinness, directed with precision by James Macdonald, finds the bleak humor in Ibsen's florid, charged dialogue, keeping the play in 1896 while allowing the audience to form their own contemporary parallels.

One eventful winter evening at the Rentheim estate will forever alter the once-proud Borkman family, with a devastating chain of events set in motion by a surprise visit from a long-estranged relative. Everyone's got long-stored grievances to air, and it's as emotionally cold inside the home as the icy blizzard outside.

After embezzling large sums from his trusting friends and countrymen, formerly powerful bank manager John Gabriel Borkman — along with his wife — has been scorned by society for sixteen years. Now isolated in his home, firmly unrepentant and still obsessed with regaining his power, he paces the upper floor, dreaming of his lost glory while awaiting a new job offer.

Rickman gives a hollow air to Borkman, cloaking him in a still-imperious attitude of hubris and weary contempt. His Borkman is a self-pitying, occasionally hammy man, layered with peevishness, surly humor and occasional bewilderment. Rickman saves true passion for Borkman's loving speeches about his dreams of the treasure and kingdom he nearly possessed.

Meanwhile, Borkman's resentful wife, Gunhild, portrayed as tense, semi-hysterical, and often grimly comic in a feisty performance by Shaw, confines herself to the first floor. Listening angrily to her disgraced husband's footsteps above, she still fitfully plots her own return to the good graces of society.

When Gunhild's twin sister, Ella Rentheim, suddenly arrives, strife immediately ensues. Played with cool, reserved power and luminous elegance by Tony Award-winner Duncan, Ella initiates a power battle over the Borkman's son, Erhart, just as the two sisters once competed for Borkman's love.

Ella also has demands to make of Borkman, who personally betrayed her long ago in his greedy quest for power. Alternating solicitude and bitterness, Duncan eloquently hurls Ella's long-nursed accusations at Gunhild and Borkman, who counter with snide, self-pitying defenses and equally accusatory outbursts.

These contentious interactions are relieved by glimpses of the younger generation, in particular Erhart, now in his twenties, to whom Marty Rea gives an exuberant, recklessly naive quality. While the three adults have desperately pinned their hopes for future redemption onto Erhart, he's got ideas of his own.

John Kavanagh is delightful as Borkman's equally delusional and only remaining old friend, Vilhelm Foldal. Along with Erhart, Foldal's cherished daughter Frida has fallen under the manipulative spell of a local divorcee, Mrs. Fanny Wilton, (a lively, glittery-eyed portrayal by Cathy Belton.) While Foldal blithely views this as aristocratic benevolence, this relationship will doom the future hopes of the Borkman household.

Tom Pye's set design, minimal period furnishings surrounded by encroaching mounds of snow, along with rich, dark costumes by Joan Bergin, anchor the play in Ibsen's repressed 19th-century society. Bleak, wintery lighting throughout portends the icy, melodramatic finale, enacted within a wondrous onstage snowstorm equal to the howling obsession that has consumed Borkman.
------------------------

A Bad Banker and a Blizzard at BAM (Carroll Gardens Patch, 1-15-2011)

[text of review]:

Cold weather and financial misdeeds — talk about a well-timed play!
By Stephen Brown | January 15, 2011

It is hard to imagine a more timely play than Henrik Ibsen’s “John Gabriel Borkman,” which chronicles a particularly dramatic day in the life of a disgraced banker during a brutal blizzard.

The Norweigan playwright’s penultimate work is being performed at the BAM Harvey Theater, and though many of its themes — namely, the consequences of a Madoff-esque lust for power — seem as relevant as when they were first performed in 1896, “Borkman” shows its age in the most critical moments, which come across as way over the top.

Rather, it is the more casual conversations among the play’s all-star cast that audiences will find most memorable.

The titular character is played by Alan Rickman, whose command of the stage is rivaled only by Fiona Shaw, who plays the banker’s disgraced wife, Gunhild.

Borkman, fresh out of jail, paces back and forth in his room like a caged lion, plotting his next move though he is doomed to a life of ignominy. Meanwhile, downstairs Gunhild plots her own road to redemption, though the anxiety etched in her face portends a similar fate.

Enter Ella Rentheim, played by an icy Lindsay Duncan, the twin-sister of Gunhild and a former flame of Borkman.

Both women struggle to cope with Borkman’s reprehensible greed, yet fight with each other for control over him and his son.

The casual exchanges that convey the characters’ shared history are the most compelling. Borkman’s bottomless greed and his wife’s hopeless obsession with her reputation draw regular laughs from the audience — they’ve all seen it before in the headlines.

Still, when the drama reaches its crescendo, Gunhild’s hysterics and Rentheim’s angst evokes a turn of the century view of women that detracts from the otherwise timeless themes in the play.

But “Borkman” has many riveting moments, just the same. When the trio venture into a blizzard the stage is blasted with snow, creating a stunning scene that might bring flashbacks of December 26.

Ultimately, it’s the way Ibsen’s work echoes through to modern times that make this play worth seeing. You may even find the tragic ending somewhat comforting —actual consequences for grand-scale financial misdeeds are apparently something more appropriate for the stage than real life.

“John Gabriel Borkman” at the BAM Harvey runs Jan. 7-Feb. 6. Tickets are $25-$95. 2

Suzanne <webmistress@alan-rickman.comfoo>
TX USA - Sunday, January 16, 2011


Anybody at opening-night? :-) Here's a great interview/article:
Alan Rickman is a Corrupt Banker (in John Gabriel Borkman) (The Village Voice, Jan 5, 2011)

[text of interview]:

By Alexis Soloski
January 05, 2011

Alan Rickman has a voice that's bitter and rich and sinister, like a malevolent cup of coffee. "At drama school, it was the subject of a great deal of criticism and a lot of hard work," he says during a recent phone interview. "They said I had a spastic soft palate. They were right." Actually, he can't discern his distinctive tones. "I don't hear what anybody else hears," he says. "I'm six-foot-one, I wear size 11 shoes, and I have this voice."

Rickman will lend that voice and that height and indeed those feet when he takes on the title role of Frank McGuinness's adaptation of Henrik Ibsen's John Gabriel Borkman, which begins at the Brooklyn Academy of Music on January 7. Borkman, Ibsen's penultimate work, concerns a disgraced banker (played by Rickman), who spends his days pacing an upstairs room and bemoaning his downfall. Below, his wife (Fiona Shaw) and her twin sister (Lindsay Duncan) battle for the affections of his son.

Considering the current economic climate—particularly in Ireland, where the production debuted at Dublin's Abbey Theatre—the role of a corrupt banker would seem quite a wicked one, though Rickman resists such a classification. "As an actor you must never judge the character you're playing," he says in a slightly scolding tone. He does suggest that audiences may see certain resonances between Borkman and the actions of Bernie Madoff or Conrad Black, and believes that the financial situation gives the script immediacy. "It's a play completely about now," he says. "It's about the dichotomy between the fact that this man has manipulated and used other people's money, but at the same time that even now we need these people because they have larger visions."

Does Rickman need "these people"? Surely, his career has benefited from playing villains, such as the German terrorist in Die Hard, the Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, and the menacing Severus Snape in the Harry Potter franchise. Borkman might easily be seen as joining their villainous ranks. But Rickman bristles politely at any suggestion of typecasting. "I've played many more people who aren't villains," he says. "Most of the work I've done, most of the people I've played don't have one word you could tie to them."

Indeed, you might struggle to find much in common among his three New York stage roles—the scheming, seductive Vicomte de Valmont in Les Liaisons dangereuses; the dapper, ironic Elyot of Private Lives; and the decrepit, rageful Borkman. Rickman doesn't see much similarity among them. "The part chooses you," he says. "You don't choose it. Time moves on, and you change, and you're not the same person anyway—your center is different, your experience is different, what you have to say is different."

Rickman first encountered the part of Borkman as a student at London's Royal Academy for Dramatic Arts. Sir Ralph Richardson, for whom Rickman once worked as a dresser, played the title role, flanked by Peggy Ashcroft and Wendy Hiller. "It was a rather seminal influence on me, actually, at the time," Rickman recalls. "Watching an extraordinary actor and two extraordinary actresses. It stayed with me."

The current production also boasts a pair of extraordinary actresses in Duncan and Shaw, though with one so fair and one so dark, few would think to cast them as twin sisters. This is Rickman's third pairing with Duncan, who previously played the Marquise de Merteuil to his Valmont and Amanda to his Elyot. "What I have is the most profound respect and affection for her," he says of Duncan, "but the important thing is that she would never trade on either of those things. We don't piss about. We're out there doing our best for each other." Duncan is equally complimentary, noting that Rickman "doesn't seek approval for the characters he plays, so you'd better engage and keep up. I think there's always an invigorating hint of challenge in the air."

Rickman has partnered Shaw almost as often. She also had a role in Les Liaisons dangereuses, and they have shared the stage in Mephisto and As You Like It. "It's one of those great moments in life," he says, "where you all come back into the rehearsal room again, and go, 'Well, where have you been for the last God-knows-how-many-years? What's been happening to you?' And, of course, in Fiona's case, enormous things, so it's a real privilege to get back together again."

Since they last prepared a play, Shaw has begun to direct operas, which Rickman suggests makes her particularly acute and inquisitive in rehearsal. Rickman has also become a director, staging the documentary play My Name Is Rachel Corrie, which ran at Minetta Lane after New York Theatre Workshop unceremoniously dropped it from the schedule, and a marvelous revival of August Strindberg's The Creditors, which played at BAM last spring. He says he would like to direct again, but can't discuss any forthcoming projects. "Ask me in a year's time, when the things that I'm attached to are over or have started or have found their financing," he says.

You might wonder why Rickman continues to bother with the theater at all, considering how much more remunerative film is and how it plays to a much wider audience. But theater, he notes, "is part of me, it's where I learned anything. It's in me, and it puts its hand up every so often and says, 'Oi, it's about time you used this.' " In addition to directing and acting in it, Rickman attends the theater as often as possible and will try to see Time Stands Still and The Merchant of Venice before Brooklyn rehearsal begins. "I'll go see anything," he offers. "I'm a willing listener, a willing viewer. The aim is to keep current."

And he's eager to assure viewers that John Gabriel Borkman is very current, despite its 1890s composition and setting. "To me, John Gabriel Borkman isn't an old play—it's brand-new and of the moment," he says. As to those who consider Ibsen rather hidebound, he absolutely dismisses the charge. Ibsen, he declares, "is thrilling and monumental and often very funny. Stuffy? Forget that. There won't be anything stuffed on view."

Suzanne <webmistress@alan-rickman.comfoo>
TX USA - Saturday, January 08, 2011


Need to relax from holiday errands with some photo overload? (And I do mean overload.)AR fanpop photos. Many I've never seen, some pretty awful, and some very intrusive (on the street). A few h*nd shots new to me. Which is why I pass it on. Click away.
R
- Wednesday, December 15, 2010


AR at the 2010 New York Stage And Film Winter Gala. Also some here.
A Happy 50th Birthday to Kenneth Branagh.
Renie, - Monday, December 13, 2010


I just came across this gorgeous John Gabriel Borkman picture. It literally took my breath away. Enjoy!

http://images4.fanpop.com/image/photos/16900000/Alan-in-John-Gabriel-Borkman-alan-rickman-16998144-455-700.jpg
Evelyn O. <odonnell.ev@gmail.comfoo>
Alameda, CA - Tuesday, November 23, 2010


New Snape movie clip from Deathly Hallows.
rose
usa - Wednesday, November 17, 2010


If you're lucky enough to be a Filmbase member, Filmbase presents an Audience with Alan Rickman - 3pm, Thursday 18th November
Amy
- Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Ah, I found the source. And it includes more great photos! They're on the Abbey Theatre website.

Suzanne <webmistress@alan-rickman.comfoo>
TX USA - Friday, October 22, 2010


Here's a great photo from John Gabriel Barkman. I don't know what the original source is, but I found it on Facebook. And I believe it's from the first scene of the play.

Suzanne <webmistress@alan-rickman.comfoo>
TX USA - Friday, October 22, 2010


Vera posted the link to a review from the Irish Independent on Claudia's website which was very interesting.

Reivew: John Gabriel Borkman (source: independent.ie)

[Text of review]:

Abbey Theatre

By COLIN MURPHY
Friday October 15 2010

HERE'S a paradox: John Gabriel Borkman is a tragedy about a banker with delusions of grandeur.

When it previously played at the Abbey, in 1928, one reviewer saw Borkman as a "broken idealist" and "a man in whom we could all believe".

Frank McGuinness's new version, as directed by James MacDonald, makes passing reference to those ideals: Alan Rickman's Borkman is a man whose desperation for power may have led him to overstep the bounds of legality, landing him in jail, but he claims he sought that power in order to improve the common weal rather than for its own sake.

Rickman broods and stalks the empty halls of his once fine house (strikingly rendered by designer Tom Pye), going over and over the sequence of events that led to his downfall.

"The only person I harmed was myself," he protests -- and the audience laughs.

Instead of seeing a tragic figure whose flaw was excess of ambition, they see a pathetic one whose self-deception renders him ridiculous.

In a play that needs a Lear at its heart -- a man of nobility, even in his rage and his madness -- the audience finds a Willy Loman (the hero of Arthur Miller's 'Death of a Salesman'), a small man laid low by the everyday temptations of capitalism.

As a play about a corrupt banker, Ibsen's drama certainly has contemporary resonance. But the audience appears to read it as satire; moments of dramatic revelation tip over into farce, pathos into bathos.

Ibsen's final act is known to be difficult. But MacDonald bizarrely decides to stage much of it with Rickman awkwardly on his knees, practically in the wings, leaving the audience's attention to fall on two thin plumes of fake snow falling unconvincingly on the centre of the stage.

There is much to enjoy or admire in this Abbey production -- Fiona Shaw's wild-eyed, muttering banker's wife in particular.

But the overriding sense is of a production that has not yet found its rhythm. I suspect it might be worth returning to.

Barbara
NZ - Friday, October 22, 2010


Ruth, from the Free Tibet Organization, sent me an e-mail to let us know that Alan Rickman did an audio recording this past January. It is for a campaign to stop the torture in Tibet. Alan's audio is Phuntsog ‘s testimony, a young Tibetan man who was tortured at the hands of the Chinese.

Three other British actors (including Juliet Stevenson) have also participated with video testimonies of survivors. If you are able, I would urge you to please try and make a donation.

Thank you, Ruth, for bringing this to our attention.

Suzanne <webmistress@alan-rickman.comfoo>
TX USA - Thursday, October 21, 2010


Posted on the BAM site
Tickets to John Gabriel Borkman Jan 7 - Feb 6 at the Brooklyn Academy of Music will go on sail Nov 22 (Nov 15 for Friends of BAM.
Also there will be an Artist Talk: Lindsay Duncan, Alan Rickman, and Fiona Shaw, Moderated by Paul Holdengräber
Sun, Jan 16 at 6:45pm / 75min BAM Harvey Theater $15; ($7.50 for Friends of BAM)

Rhue <orland1125@comcast.netfoo>
MD USA - Tuesday, October 19, 2010


Thanks everyone for the FANTASTIC links!

Here are a few more articles and reviews:

TV review: The Song of Lunch (source: Ethiopian Review)

[text of review]:
by Lucy Mangan
October 8th, 2010

A dramatised narrative poem might sound a bit dull but this one with Alan Rickman and Emma Thompson was wonderful

There are certain phrases that make the spirits of all but the most truly, thoroughly, devotedly highbrow television viewers (and I am not one of the eight left in the country) quail within them. They are "a dramatisation of a narrative poem", "to mark National Poetry Day" and "starring Alan Rickman and Emma Thompson". They were all deployed in the lead-up to The Song of Lunch.

But, if like me you steeled yourself, searched your soul for parts not yet rendered wholly moribund by a 10-year diet of reality TV and other assorted rubbish, and brought them quivering and blinking into the light, something rather strange happened.

The Song of Lunch – poem by Christopher Reid, direction by Niall MacCormick, brought to fruition against all the odds by the stump of BBC Drama Production – was the story of a man and a woman (played by Rickman and Thompson respectively – it wasn't that artsy-fartsy) who meet for lunch in a Soho restaurant, an old haunt, 15 years after their relationship ended.

She lives a glamorous life in Paris, married to a successful novelist, and is still vibrant, interested in the world and its people. He, on the other hand, has sunk into a melancholy middle age, bored with his publishing job, frustrated with himself and his lack of writing success. They sit across the table, two people in search of a wavelength they once shared but never quite finding it.

And it was wonderful. Every other line of the man's interior monologue – his mineral water's bubbles "mobbing up to greet him", the succour offered by another glass of wine "an insufficient bliss but repeatable later", even the smell of the men's toilets, "that jabbing kidney reek that calls all men brothers" – made you marvel. Rickman was, as apparently effortlessly as always, mesmerising, and even Thompson's apparently ineradicable de haut en bas inflection served her well in the role of a woman confronted with a now pitiable version of her past.

It was quietly moving, clever, beautiful, sad and true. Just wonderful.
------------

The Song Of Lunch - BBC2, 9pm (source: Mirror)

[text of article]:

by Jane Simon
Oct. 8, 2010

It was National Poetry Day yesterday, apparently. What do you mean, you didn't know? Well, you can catch up with this unusual, one-off drama based on a poem by Christopher Reid. And if your instinctive gut reaction to poetry is boredom or fear, then relax. You probably wouldn't even realise that it was a poem at all if I hadn't told you, though the language is a bit, well, poetic. You might have heard of Reid. His book of poetry A Scattering, inspired by his wife's death from cancer, won the £30,000 Costa Book Prize back in January. The Song Of Lunch is less emotionally devastating but it lends itself beautifully to being dramatised in this smart two-hander starring Alan Rickman and Emma Thompson. Rickman is the narrator, a copy editor in publishing, meeting an old flame (Thompson) at what used to be their favourite Italian restaurant in London's Soho. They've worked together before, most memorably on the film of Sense And Sensibility, and they're perfectly cast here. She as the glamorous and poised wife of a successful author, he as a grizzled alcoholic wondering where it all went wrong. Poetry that's modern, relevant, witty and absorbing? Who'd have thought it?
----------

John Gabriel Borkman - review (source: Guardian)

[text of review]:
by Helen Meany
October 15, 2010

The protestations of Ibsen's disgraced banker were greeted by laughs from the audience on opening night, but in Frank McGuinness's new version of the play contemporary echoes are not allowed to overwhelm the central drama. The period setting anchors us in Ibsen's world, where men take actions and women suffer their consequences.

Alan Rickman's John Gabriel Borkman has served a sentence for embezzlement but, returning home, is still imprisoned. He paces the upper storey while his wife Gunhild (Fiona Shaw), listening nightly to his footsteps, is also incarcerated.

Against mounds of snow, Tom Pye's miniature domestic interior reflects the text's wintry imagery beautifully. James Macdonald's production emphasises the inertia of this household, as the frozen landscape extends to the hearts of husband and wife, and to Gunhild's sister Ella. Once loved by Borkman, she was betrayed by him as he pursued his ambitions. Her arrival sets in train a battle between the sisters over Borkman's son, Erhart, to whom they have transferred what is left of their feelings.

The verbal duel between Shaw and Lindsay Duncan, as Ella, is riveting; one ironic and twitchy, the other glacially dignified. Rickman, meanwhile, presents a hollowed-out man, who could, as Gunhild says, already be dead. Unrepentant and vain, he waits to be vindicated. Rickman gives him chilling grandeur as he refuses to acknowledge the failure that nevertheless haunts him, denying the possibility of change.

Even these superb actors can't make the third act seem anything other than melodramatic. Each tries to hold on to a future with Erhart, while the young man makes his bid for freedom. The pace becomes laborious, and as Borkman walks into the snow, it seems histrionic rather than tragic. Only in the final moment, as the sisters clasp hands above his body, is there an eloquent image. It seems a belated acknowledgement of their complicity in his fate, leaving them as "two shadows over a dead man".
------------

Rush, Rickman, Jacoby to play BAM (source: Variety)

[relevant text of article]:

by Gordon Cox October 15, 2010

Geoffrey Rush, Alan Rickman and Derek Jacobi are among the thesps lined up for stage stints as part of the spring 2011 season at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

Theater-heavy lineup, which also includes opera and dance offerings, kicks off with the Abbey Theater production of Henrik Ibsen play "John Gabriel Borkman" (Jan. 7-Feb. 6), which reunites Rickman with his "Les Liaisons Dangereuses" co-star Lindsay Duncan. Fiona Shaw also appears in the play about a bank manager recently released from prison for embezzlement.

Production, helmed by James McDonald, recently began perfs at the Abbey in Dublin. Frank McGuinness provides the new version of the play.
----------

And another HP Deathly Hallows poster of Snape... very large and close-up

Suzanne <webmistress@alan-rickman.comfoo>
TX USA - Saturday, October 16, 2010


Check out this poster for the next HP movie! poster
Alicia <adtrezise@yahoo.comfoo>
Champaign, IL U.S. - Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Emma looks fabulous (even if it is shot softly) and I'm hunting for a link to the full poem. Meanwhile here's the Faber & Faber volume. I'll enjoy this film again (I promise) when it comes to the US on PBS.

If you like poems that include the those that are not so lost in the translation, try the poem "LItany" by Billy Collins.
*thud* Renie
- Monday, October 11, 2010


All of The Song of Lunch is, at the moment, available on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E5xPBNeIdPo
Susan CA
- Saturday, October 09, 2010


Saw that a paperback edition of Christopher Reid's The Song of Lunch has just been published by Faber in London. And guess whose faces grace the front cover? That's right, Alan's and Emma's!
pia susanna
edinburgh, - Friday, October 08, 2010


Here is a spectacular interview with Emma Thompson about Song of Lunch and working with Alan.
Ali-Pat
Dayton, OH USA - Wednesday, October 06, 2010


Here is a short youtube of the relevant bits of AR, Shaw and Duncan from the Late Late Show.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EW4Cxe52kL4

At 5:51 a weird pair of hands shows up in the background. Hmm.
Renie
Or maybe it's just me . . . , - Sunday, September 26, 2010


Here's a link to the Late, Late Show episode with Alan, Lindsay, and Fiona--they show up about 15 minutes into the show. Be sure to look for the phantom hands behind Alan (LOL!).
Ali-Pat
Dayton, OH USA - Sunday, September 26, 2010


Here's a couple of John Gabriel Borkman articles:
All the world's a stage for Rickman as Abbey calls (Independent.ie 9-22-10)

[text of article]:

HE has played arch villains in movies like 'Die Hard', Severus Snape in 'Harry Potter' and portrayed Eamon de Valera in Neil Jordan's 'Michael Collins'.

Now actor Alan Rickman is taking to the stage in Dublin to star in a production of Henrik Ibsen's play, 'John Gabriel Borkman' at the Abbey.

Directed by James Macdonald, this is a new version by Frank McGuinness as part of this year's Ulster Bank Dublin Theatre Festival.

The cast also includes actors Lindsay Duncan, Cathy Belton, John Kavanagh, Amy Molloy, Marty Rea and Joan Sheehy.

'John Gabriel Borkman' opens on Wednesday, October 13, for a six-week run.

Irish Independent
----------

Rickman, Duncan & Shaw Bring Back Borkman??? (whatsonstage.com 9-21-10)

[text of article]:

It’s a line-up worth travelling for – or possibly, so good it’s made for travelling. The Abbey Theatre, Dublin’s upcoming production of Henrik Ibsen’s 1897 classic John Gabriel Borkman stars Alan Rickman, Lindsay Duncan (whose previous renowned onstage pairings have been in Les Liaisons Dangereuses for the RSC and Private Lives in the West End and on Broadway) and Fiona Shaw. The play, in a new version by Frank McGuiness directed by James Macdonald, follows the once-great John Gabriel Borkman (Rickman) as he attempts to put his life back together following financial scandal and jail. But the arrival of an ex-lover, Mrs Ella Rentheim (Duncan) changes everything for him and his wife (Shaw).

The last major London production of the play starred Ian McDiarmid, Penelope Wilton and Deborah Findlay at the Donmar Warehouse in 2007. Is the West End ready for another one? With that kind of line-up, we’d guess yes – but you may want to book your flight to Dublin now to ensure you don’t miss out. John Gabriel Borkman is at the Abbey Theatre from 6 October to 20 November 2010.
--------------

Did anyone happen to see (or better yet, record) AR on the The Late Late Show on RTE One last night?

I don't see a video of it on their website, but I did find a Deathly Hallows trailer I haven't seen before (Snape speaks!) on their Video page.

Suzanne <webmistress@alan-rickman.comfoo>
TX USA - Saturday, September 25, 2010


Here is the direct link for the AR portrait by Raoul Martinez recently shown in the BP Portrait Award show at the National Gallery. You can send a free e-card or order prints directly from the website (print prices start at 6 pounds).

Text from the page: "Raoul Martinez left formal education at the age of seventeen in order to work as an apprentice in the studio of the artist Paul Benney (also selected for this year's exhibition). Martinez left to set up his own studio after two and a half years, and is working towards his first exhibition.

The portrait is of actor Alan Rickman who is collaborating with Martinez on a project called �Creating Freedom', comprising a series of paintings with films by Martinez which Rickman is narrating. Martinez wanted the portrait to capture Rickman's grounded and relaxed presence."

There is a larger version of the image on the artist's own website, as well as a brief blurb about the "Creating Freedom"project.
JJ
Philadelphia, PA USA - Friday, September 24, 2010


First cast picture from Dublin HERE
sue
- Tuesday, September 21, 2010


Here's a couple of articles about The Song of Lunch:
Alan Rickman & Emma Thompson Star in The Song of Lunch (Rapid Talent 9-16-10) Includes a great photo.

[text of article]:

Alan Rickman and Emma Thompson star in The Song Of Lunch, a powerful and visually arresting film, made by BBC Drama Production for BBC Two, to mark National Poetry Day on 7 October.

The film, a dramatisation of Christopher Reid's narrative poem, tells the story of an unnamed book editor (Alan Rickman) who, 15 years after their break-up, is meeting his former love (Emma Thompson) for a nostalgic lunch at Zanzotti's, the Soho restaurant they used to frequent.

"The Woman" is now living a glamorous life in Paris, married to a world-renowned writer, while the unnamed editor has failed in his writing career, detests his mundane publishing job and regrets the end of their love affair.

When he arrives at Zanzotti's he finds it under new management and much changed, and this seems to fuel his resentment about growing older and being left behind. The stage is set for an emotional and bittersweet reunion.

As the wine flows, and the couple rake over their failed relationship, nostalgia turns to recrimination.

The single film sees Alan Rickman and Emma Thompson working together once again – they both starred in Sense And Sensibility and Alan directed Emma in A Winter Guest.

Poet Christopher Reid won the Costa Book Of The Year for A Scattering, in early 2010. The Song Of Lunch has been described as displaying the full range of Christopher Reid's wit, craft and human sympathy.*

The Song Of Lunch is directed by Niall MacCormick (Wallander, The Long Walk To Finchley) with producer Pier Wilkie (Criminal Justice) and executive producers Greg Wise and Sarah Brown for the BBC.

RapidTalent's Industry Buzz reporter Jason Nicholls on 16/09/2010.
------------

Movie stars serve up a taste of Hollywood (Tottnham Journal 9-15-10)

[text of article]:

A RESTAURANT has become the set for a new BBC film.

San Marco Italian restaurant in Bruce Grove, Tottenham, will feature in a BBC2 dramatisation of Christopher Reid's narrative poem The Song of Lunch.

The film, due to appear on television screens on October 7, stars Academy award-winning actress Emma Thompson alongside veteran actor Alan Rickman, perhaps best known for his portrayal of Professor Snape in the Harry Potter films.

The Song of Lunch follows the story of a book editor played by Rickman who, 15 years after their break-up, plans to meet his former love (Thompson) for a nostalgic lunch at Zanzotti's, the Soho restaurant they used to frequent.

Tottenham-based San Marco appears in approximately 40 minutes of the one hour film.

Owner of San Marco, Graziano Parletta, 45, describes meeting the stars as "a surreal experience".

He believes his restaurant, which was hired for a two-week period, was partly chosen to avoid the high fees of filming in a central London location.

He said: "Given the economic times that we're in, they just decided to come to Tottenham. The restaurant was dressed up to look like they were in Soho. People walking past during the filming did notice us, but I tried to keep it low profile."

Like the restaurant in the film, Parletta is considering giving his restaurant a re-brand.

"There are parallels between us and the story - it was a catalyst for me changing my business," he said.
------------

Does anyone know if this will air on BBC America?

Suzanne <webmistress@alan-rickman.comfoo>
TX USA - Tuesday, September 21, 2010


From a translator:

"New this year is no doubt that "poets between the towers of Volterra Dante D'Annunzio" conceived, written and directed by Migliorini and his comrades Avventuracolorata see that even in the challenging recital written by Luigi Lunar "Bad, very bad bastards and, in the theater of Shakespeare, the festival's program is enriched by the participation of the Hollywood actor Alan Rickman, who will appear in recital on 17 July, and 18 replicate reciting from the towers, before the is conseganto Award "Franco Cristaldi" Shadow of the evening for the cinema. "

It'a a Theater festival in Volterra, home to alabaster craftsmen.
Renie
Actually I'll be in Florence July 17. Hmmm. The recitation from the tower on Sunday sounds divine. (In Riomaggiore that night.) If you're in the area don't miss the Umbria Jazz Festival. , - Thursday, July 01, 2010


Thanks, Heather.

A little more on BBC Reid project with a split photo:

***story spoiler***

"The new film tells the story of an unnamed book editor played by Rickman who, 15 years after their break-up, is meeting his former lover, played by Thompson, at a Soho restaurant they used to frequent.

Thompson's character, also unnamed, is now living a glamorous life in Paris, married to a famous writer, while Rickman's character has failed in his writing career, detests his publishing job, and regrets the end of their love affair.

***end spoiler***

The BBC2 controller, Janice Hadlow, called the commission "truly ambitious" and described the poem as "touching and witty".

The drama will be directed by Niall MacCormick and produced by Pier Wilkie.

New (to me) photo of them togetherhere.
Renie
- Thursday, July 01, 2010


From BBC today:
Emma Thompson and Alan Rickman will play former lovers in a BBC Two adaptation of Christopher Reid poem The Song Of Lunch.

The pair previously played an unhappily married couple in the 2003 movie Love Actually and have also appeared together in Harry Potter films.

Reid's poetry collection, A Scattering, won the Costa Book of the Year in 2009.

The TV adaptation, described as a blend of drama and poetry, will be aired on National Poetry Day on 7 October.

Rickman plays a disillusioned editor who has lunch with his former mistress at the Soho restaurant where they used to meet.

BBC Two controller Janice Hadlow said Reid's poetry would be brought to life "with a truly ambitious project and a stellar cast".

"We hope that audiences will enjoy this dramatisation of Christopher Reid's touching and witty poem and maybe feel inspired to indulge in a little more poetry themselves," she added.
Heather
Bury St Edmunds, UK - Thursday, July 01, 2010


Thought this was pretty widely known but apparently not.

Alan will appear in a production of Ibsen's John Gabriel Borkman at BAM. He will be acting, not directing, and most likely play the title role (none of the others seems appropriate). Not beyond the imagination to think they will be using the David Eldridge adaptation presented at the Donmar Warehouse in 2007 but I'm just guessing.


Ali-Pat
Temporarily in the wilds of Preble County, OH USA - Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Alan Rickman from the BAFTA Tribute to Mark Shivas (Producer of "Truly, Madly, Deeply") 8 March 2009.
Renie
I hadn't seen that tribute before. , - Tuesday, June 01, 2010


Nelson Mandela's Favorite African Folk Tales, to which Alan contributed two tracks, has just won Audiobook of the Year (also Best Multi-Voiced Performance). Congrats to all involved!
Ali-Pat
Dayton, OH USA - Wednesday, May 26, 2010


You can listen to the entire BAM Director's talk here.

[Source: WNYC Culture]:

Love, Marriage, and Cruelty: Alan Rickman Explains Strindberg’s 'Creditors'
Tuesday, May 04, 2010
By Sarah Montague

The packed house at BAM's Harvey Theater was probably eager to have a look at the protean actor whose dulcet malevolence has brought many nasty characters to life, including Professor Snape in the Harry Potter films, the Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and terrorist Hans Gruber in Die Hard. But Alan Rickman was just as wily and entertaining as the director of Strindberg’s “relentless” (his words) marriage a trois, in a conversation with the New York Public Library’s Paul Holdengraber.

Ali-Pat
Dayton, OH USA - Wednesday, May 19, 2010


A blog review of Creditors-- a jello mold of disjointed errors of grammar, spelling, word choice and nearly every writing transgression I can think of--though the author seems Earnest with a capital "E". Maybe he just watches too many movies.

[text of review]:

Owen Teale and Tom Burke in BAM’s production of Strindberg’s ‘The Creditors’ playing at Harvey Theatre (directed by Alan Rickman)
by Sam Juliano
May 17, 2010

One could rightfully draw parallels between Swedish playwright August Strindberg and filmmaker Ingmar Bergman, as in their work we find high octane and remarkable levels of insight into human nature, mental anguish, and an acute understanding of the feminine psyche. Bergman’s Scenes from a Marriage, in particular, echoed the master dramatist, with it’s naked and no-holds-barred examination of marital discord and deep-rooted issues of domination and manipulation. Yet Strindberg taps into his own failed marriages to inform consideration of these issues with some first-hand experience, and The Creditors ultimately stands as a savage tragicomedy that in actuality is a joke on all three of its participants. Nearing the end of a four week run at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Harvey Theatre, the short play is generally regarded as Strindberg’s greatest work (Miss Julie and Comrades push close) and the one with the most pared down, and economical examination of its blackly comic depiction of gender warfare. Hence, the play attracted the attention of Scottish playwright David Grieg, who penned the adaptation from its Scandinavian source, as a taut ninety-minute vehicle that exposed delicate sensibilities, and some volcanic familial confrontations that are incredibly modern. Greig stated in an interview: “It seemed to me it was beautifully structured, funny but also an intense fight between two men and a woman in real time. Strindberg’s a primal, vital, raging spirit. He dosen’t have protective armor. He dosen’t come across as a writer with a conscious mind trying to construct an argument. He can’t stop himself just throwing his unconscious at the stage in all its nakedness.”

Strindberg’s difficulty with his three wives (even going as far as to call one “the vampire”) resulted in many critics pointing to a marked misogyny in his work, though it’s clear in The Creditors, there is a ”trio” of complicity, where each character drains the other’s energy levels. Of course, Tekla, the play’s one female character, is more than a caricature, as she’s manipulative and complex, and more than a little contradictory, while at the same time she shows a spirited and charismatic vaneer that supplies the play with some of its humorous underpinnings.

Basically The Creditors concerns a painter, actually the ailing second husband of a novelist, who comes under the spell of a man who knows a great deal about the novelist, since he is her ex-husband. While the woman is away on a trip, Gustav, her incognito former spouse, achieves a mesmeric hold on Adolph, the present husband, in the seaside hotel where all three just happen to be staying at. Teale’s manner here is to madden rather than to cure his patient. He prods the invalid to surrender his crutches, so he can be amused while watching him totter, and the manipulated Adolph is led to accept the proposition by Gustav that he will have to forswear sex, because the wife’s demands are driving him to epilepsy. Adolph is seen here as a whimpering, bullied masochist, who is ineluctably drawn to what he does not want to hear, and is excrutiated by his tormentor.

The play’s apt title suggests that we all have a balance due, whether it be money, favors, forgiveness or apologies, and we all must pay the piper, even if it’s ourselves we need to make reparations to. At one point the “creditors” will arrive to collect. The central themes of vulnerability, truth and confession are suggested in a neutral set design (by Ben Stone) that is bereft of color or character. It’s a neatly transcribed hotel room with slatty windows and an outer balcony overlooking the sea, that serves as a tranquil counterpoint to the interior dramatic turbulence. At the beginning, Gustav is seen winding up the blinds on the slanting overhead windows that shed a chalky white light on the seemingly bleached hotel room. Director Allan Rickman wisely subdues potential ‘distractions’ by focusing his magnifying glass on the three characters, who truth be told, could have been cast in Samuel Beckett with similar results. But it’s still clear from the outset, that this hotel-by-the-sea location is no vacation respite.

The play’s three performances are in their own way, electrifying. As Adolph, Tom Burke is dressed down to the point where’s he lost his self esteem, and he’s both painful and fascinating to watch. The excellently calculating and troubled Owen Teale is a torrent of aggression, one who holds a mesmeric hold on his subject. And then there’s Anna Chancellor’s high-handed Tekla, whose domination is a feast for the eyes and ears, a character whose inner machinations are negotiated here in an altogether ferocious performance.

Noted for its thematic clarity and unusual brevity, The Creditors may well have more modern-day relevence than the time it was set and written in, well over a hundred years ago. By revealing the deep-rooted psychological issues it’s protagonists must face in any culture at any time, it’s likely that damage-control will be all that more difficult. The Creditors is one powerful drama, and this production is a stunner in every sense of the word.

Note: I saw ‘The Creditors’ on Thursday, May 6th at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s ‘Harvey Theatre’ all by my lonesome. I endured some hellish traffic in downtown Manhattan crossing over to the Brooklyn Bridge, but luckily found parking almost immediately. I secured an excellent seat in the orchestra, which greatly enhanced my ability to decipher this brilliant stage work.


R
Oish., This is when the news feed scrapes the bottom. - Monday, May 17, 2010

Time Out New York review plus brief clips of Creditors.

To give Rickman credit, he has crafted a cracking good 90-minute thriller with a fine three-person cast, and playwright David Greig�s muscular new version expertly shifts between laughs and gasps.

Rickman and his actors create a dark, thrilling atmosphere for this battle of the sexes, in which lovers incur debts that must be paid.

Sorce: Time Out New York (ny1.com)
By: David Cote

May 5, 2010
[text of review]:

August Strindberg's overlooked play "Creditors" is now onstage at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, compliments of the Donmar Warehouse in London. Time Out New York contributing critic David Cote filed the following review.

August Strindberg had a busy 1888. That was the year the great Swedish dramatist wrote both "Miss Julie" and "Creditors." It makes sense, as both plays are intense portraits of men and women locked in erotic mortal combat. Today, "Miss Julie" is remounted all the time, but the relative obscurity that "Creditors" fell into has been broken by the Donmar Warehouse.

The stylish London company, which presents a mix of refurbished classics and new work, has brought its 2008 production to the Brooklyn Academy of Music for a limited run. Part of the reason is no doubt due its high-profile director, film star Alan Rickman. To give Rickman credit, he has crafted a cracking good 90-minute thriller with a fine three-person cast, and playwright David Greig’s muscular new version expertly shifts between laughs and gasps.

Tom Burke plays the sickly, agitated artist Adolph, and Owen Teale plays Gustav, a man who claims to be a local doctor. In the opening section, Adolph complains that his marriage to the strong-willed Tekla is practically draining him of life. Gustav plants the seed of doubt that Tekla may be unfaithful and counsels his young friend to abstain from relations with her.

This becomes difficult upon the entrance of said Tekla. Played by the gorgeous and vibrant Anna Chancellor, Tekla is a free spirit who demands attention and obedience.

What ensues is a battle of wills, with the mysterious Gustav playing a key role. Without revealing the plot twists, I’ll just say that Gustav is playing a deadly game and that revenge is in the air.

Rickman and his actors create a dark, thrilling atmosphere for this battle of the sexes, in which lovers incur debts that must be paid.

It might seem strange to recommend "Creditors" as the perfect date play, but if your relationship can survive 90 minutes of Strindbergian angst, it can outlast anything.


R
Some things never change . . . , - Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Here is an April 22, 2010 review of "Creditors" from The New York Times:

A Sly Suggestion is All It May Take to Kill a Marriage

Source: The New York Times
by BEN BRANTLEY
April 22, 2010
[text of review]:

In the world of August Strindberg, where everyone is always armed and dangerous, it takes only 90 minutes to destroy a marriage. That’s the time required to perform the thrilling new interpretation of “Creditors,” which opened Tuesday night at the Harvey Theater of the Brooklyn Academy of Music. When this impeccably acted three-character drama has put the last of those minutes to cruel and careful use, you’re likely to feel you’ve had the breath knocked out of you. Despite yourself, you’ll probably be smiling too.

Pity and terror may have been what Aristotle demanded a tragedy elicit from its audience. But Strindberg, who held to the courage of his perversity, tweaked that formula like no other dramatist before him in his naturalistic plays from the late 1880s. Laughter and terror are what’s incited by his chronicles of to-the-death struggles between men and women, a hard laughter that both cuts and heightens the pain of your response.

It is unusual these days for a production to invoke that paradoxical response as thoroughly and skillfully as this one, an import from the invaluable Donmar Warehouse in London, directed with surgical exactitude by Alan Rickman. (An example of how Strindberg’s tragicomedy can slip into camp was provided earlier this season in the Broadway production of “After Miss Julie,” which starred Sienna Miller.) Presented in a new translation by David Greig that brings out the feral poetry in Strindberg’s prose, this portrait of a fatal sexual triangle is both coldly objective and scathingly passionate.

Both sides of that equation are fully evident in the opening scene. The setting is the lounge of a Swedish seaside hotel, and as rendered by Ben Stones it’s a disquietingly sterile place, as white as a hospital operating room and saturated in unnaturally even natural light (designed by Howard Harrison).

Just how appropriate this environment is for the action that follows becomes clear with the entrance of Gustav (Owen Teale), a composed man of tidy mien and measured speech, and the younger Adolph (Tom Burke), who has a limp and an open, anguished expression. Having met only recently, they are in the middle of a conversation about the state of Adolph’s marriage, and the older man questions and counsels the younger with professorial patience and persistence.

Adolph, an artist, says that he has given himself so completely to his older wife, a novelist, that he has no identity of his own left. Or that’s the conclusion that Gustav leads his new acquaintance to. The images used in describing the marital connection are biological, and Gustav’s diagnoses are literally, and sometimes grotesquely, medical.

It soon develops that under the paternal guise of a sort of psychological surgeon, here to cut away an unhealthy love as if were a tumor, Gustav is systematically poisoning Adolph by suggestion. At first, the dialogue has a breezy, almost Wildean wit. “That’s why one ought not to marry anyone one hasn’t been already married to — at least once,” says Gustav, though without a trace of an epigrammatist’s smirk.

As the conversation continues and deepens, the men’s interaction becomes increasingly physical, and there are moments when Gustav fastens his body onto Adolph’s, ostensibly to offer strength but looking like a succubus. “Life offers a thousand means by which we can hurt each other,” says Gustav, with a musing detachment that belies our awareness that he is a master of such means.

The missing member of the triangle, the wife, makes a late entrance into this laboratory of human feelings, though we’ve seen her naked image in a provocative, harshly ambivalent sculpture by Adolph. Tekla (Anna Chancellor) wears her strength more flamboyantly than Gustav does, and her hold over her boyish husband is still firm enough to bend him back to her own will, at least partly. Adolph leaves the room angrily, allowing Gustav — who has been waiting, hidden — to demonstrate anew his particular talent for hypnosis.

On one level “Creditors” isn’t so far from the classic French farce of infidelity. And it features some genuinely funny moments in that vein. “I feel you’re trying to steal my soul,” Tekla says breathlessly in the middle of a horizontal clinch with Gustav. “There is no soul,” Gustav says. Tekla, good free-thinker that she is, answers in a rush, “I know, I know, I know.”

But if these people are on occasion funny, it’s because they’re so deadly — and I mean deadly — serious. Only Gustav has a sense of irony about who he is and what he’s doing, and it’s not a pleasurable perspective. Though Strindberg is usually regarded as a painter of vampire women who suck the life out of their male prey, “Creditors” offers a view of the human predator that has, one might say, gender parity.

And what a lonely view it is. Relationships, even (no, especially) those of love and friendship, incur feelings of indebtedness. And debt breeds a resentment that festers and a need to break free of obligations. The characters speak with ostensible self-detachment of modern theories of psychology, which reduce people to genetically programmed animals, bereft of free will. What’s so killing about “Creditors” is how completely they embody those theories.

Mr. Rickman, best known as an actor, has steered his ensemble into making us believe that for each of these unhappy people character is fate, that they couldn’t act other than they do. Even more than Strindberg’s later “Dance of Death,” “Creditors” is a template for a kind of take-no-prisoners drama that would flourish in the 20th century, practiced by writers as different as Eugene O’Neill, Edward Albee and Harold Pinter. But it’s rawer and harsher than anything that would follow.

The cast here couldn’t be better in playing out the shifting power games that give the play its structure, keeping us in their grip even as the script slides into the devices and denouements of old-fashioned melodrama. Germaine Greer, in a program note, writes that the characters in “Creditors” are mythic archetypes. But what’s so compelling about these performances is how specifically defined each one is.

If Adolph is a sort of tabula rasa, to be written on by more experienced hands, the emotionally translucent Mr. Burke guarantees that this blank page has an achingly individual fleshly texture and shape. Ms. Chancellor’s Tekla is a magnificent amalgam of vanity, imperiousness and just enough lingering self-doubt to be taken advantage of. Mr. Teale calmly and devastatingly embodies a man who has drained himself of all feelings but one: the thirst for vengeance, to be top dog once again. And in Strindberg’s primal jungle of life, that’s really the only feeling that matters.

Creditors

By August Strindberg, in a new version by David Greig; directed by Alan Rickman; sets by Ben Stones; costumes by Fotini Dimou; lighting by Howard Harrison; music and sound by Adam Cork. A Donmar Warehouse production, presented by the Brooklyn Academy of Music. At the Harvey Theater, 651 Fulton Street, Fort Greene; (718) 636-4100. Through May 16. Running time: 1 hour 30 minutes. WITH: TomBurke (Adolph), Owen Teale (Gustav) and Anna Chancellor (Tekla).


Christine
NJ USA - Wednesday, April 21, 2010

This week's printed edition of Entertainment Weekly includes The Wildest Dream in its Summer Previews section with a small paragraph that mentions Alan along with the other voice talent. Opening day in the US is August 6.
Ali-Pat
Dayton, OH USA - Saturday, April 17, 2010


There's a really nice interview in the New York Times (not to mention a cool photo!):
Mapping the Dark Heart of Strindberg

I envy all of you going to New York. Have fun and please tell us all about it! Are videos or pictures allowed at the q&a? :)
Emma
USA - Saturday, April 10, 2010


Creditors: Full page ad with photo of Tom Burke and Anna Chancellor in the April 5, 2010 New Yorker magazine (page 37). Includes a Guardian UK snippet which says, "* * * * Alan Rickman's bracingly intelligent revival". Running for a month April 16-May 16. Enjoy all!
Renie
Missing the talk, but getting to see Thom Yorke/Atoms for Peace both nights in Oakland, CA. , - Wednesday, April 07, 2010


A chance to own Professor Severus Snape's Wand! Yes you read that correctly, you have the chance to own the wand used by Alan Rickman when he portrays Severus Snape in the HP films. Not only that you would be doing a great thing for one of the charities Alan Rickman supports. This from Twitter:

ImogenEJ Alan Rickman is donating his Severus Snape wand frm Harry Potter films 4 grt charity called SAFE - to bid auction@sponsoredarts.org

So what are you waiting for? You have the rest of this month to get your bids in! Spread the word. :)


Sheena <purple-dragon@sky.comfoo>
Berkshire UK - Thursday, March 18, 2010


I'd love to know what was so funny!

Alan and the prince.


Georgiana ((Or who the blonde is--someone must know)
Seattle - Sunday, March 07, 2010


Alice premiere photo of AR .
R
- Tuesday, March 02, 2010


Here's a video clip of Alan at the Royal Premiere of "Alice in Wonderland":
http://www.citrusdaily.com/royal-welcome-johnny-depp-and-alice-cast/2010/02/26/31384.html

And some photos too:
http://www.stitchkingdom.com/disney-news/movies/photo-call-alice-wonderland-royal-premiere-party/

Emma
- Saturday, February 27, 2010


Hey everyone,
As you probably know, Alan Rickman's birthday is coming up on February 21st, so it's time to celebrate! To continue our tradition, the Just Giving page has been updated to take our donations in his honor. RADA and the students are extremely grateful for all the donations that are provided in Alan's name. The money that we donate goes directly to students who might not otherwise be able to continue their RADA studies and training.

Last year's donations, which totaled more than £800, including Gift Aid, helped two students, Lydia Wilson and Caroline Perry, and it would be wonderful if we could continue that tradition. This is a very worthy cause, one that is very near to Alan's heart, so if you are able to give a donation, I believe it's what he would appreciate most as a birthday present.

Donating is really easy, please just click on this Just Giving link (or on the the Birthday Page link at the top of the GB). It is the same straightforward website that we have used in previous years, and means that people from around the world can donate easily with their credit cards. UK taxpayers can even boost the donations further with Gift Aid, at no extra cost to themselves. And if everyone could please spread the word to other Alan Rickman web-sites, groups, forums, live journals, Facebook accounts, etc. by posting this link: http://www.justgiving.com/AlanRickman2009-10, the donations will be boosted even more. I tested the page and got the ball rolling with a donation and have already received a "Thank You" e-mail from Alan Rickman. :-)

I would also like to give a BIG thank you to Catherine, who has been our contact with RADA and who has so kindly and wonderfully made the arrangements since we started this tradition seven years ago. She has decided to retire and transfer the job to me, so I just hope I can do her justice by continuing the amazing job she has done all these years. THANK YOU, Catherine, for all your help!!! *huge round of applause*

Suzanne <webmistress@alan-rickman.comfoo>
TX USA - Sunday, February 07, 2010


And according to this article in the Nashville Scene, there will be 40-minute peek at For Love of Liberty (AR is one of the narrators). It will take place this Friday (January 29) at the Sarratt Cinema in Nashville, TN. The director, Frank Martin, will host and conduct a Q&A afterwards. The article also goes on to say that the 2-part documentary will air locally (does that mean only in Tennessee?) February 11 and 18 on NPT-Channel 8.

Suzanne <webmistress@alan-rickman.comfoo>
TX USA - Thursday, January 28, 2010


Alan will reportedly take part in the Concert for Haiti in London on February 3rd.
Sara
- Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Rickman's segment from the Harold Pinter Celebration is on YouTube HERE
sue
- Monday, January 25, 2010


ATTENTION UK VIEWERS

9.00pm TONIGHT - TV Channel BBC4 is showing the Harold Pinter Celebration performance that Alan Rickman appeared in last June at the National Theatre. I attended this and it's well worth watching for all the performances (including Lindsay Duncan, Colin Firth, Jude Law, Jeremy Irons and many more).
Sue
- Sunday, January 24, 2010


MORTIMER'S TRIBUTE TO LATE DAD to take place at the Royal Court Theatre on November 15th.

[text of article]:

MORTIMER'S TRIBUTE TO LATE DAD

05 November 2009 12:12
contactmusic.com

Stars including JEREMY IRONS and ALAN RICKMAN will help EMILY MORTIMER pay tribute to her beloved father SIR JOHN by taking to the stage in London to perform some of the author's most famous works.

The actress has organised a live show to celebrate her dad's career, entitled John Mortimer At The Court... And Later At The Bar, which is set to take place at the Royal Court Theatre on 15 November (09).

It promises to be an emotional night for Mortimer, who was devastated when her father passed away in January (09), as he had always dreamed of writing a play for his talented daughter to star in. A source tells Britain's Daily Express, "It will obviously be a very emotional night for her as they were so close and she misses him terribly. But she knows this is just the kind of night her father would have loved and that she has to be part of it. He'd expect her to be up there."

Sara
PA USA - Sunday, November 08, 2009


From the New York Times:

‘Julie & Julia’ for the Rugged: Tracing a Fatal Everest Trek

By MICHAEL CIEPLY
Published: October 30, 2009

LOS ANGELES — Natasha Richardson, working on what was to be her last film, had trouble with a line last February.

This photograph is believed to be one of the last images of George Mallory and Andrew Irvine the men before they disappeared on Mt. Everest in 1924. Ms. Richardson was providing the voice of Ruth Mallory, wife of George Mallory, for a new documentary, “The Wildest Dream,” about Mallory’s 1924 attempt to climb Mount Everest. And she was supposed to read from a telegram reporting his death on the mountain.

“ ‘I can’t read this,’ ” Anthony Geffen, the film’s director, recalls her saying, as she broke down in midsentence. “ ‘I can’t imagine getting the letter, or Liam’s getting a letter like that.’ ”

Ms. Richardson was referring to her husband, Liam Neeson, who narrates the movie. Weeks later she died of a head injury suffered while skiing in Quebec, leaving Mr. Neeson and their children to cope with the sort of loss that dissolved Mr. Geffen’s take in a puddle of tears.

But Ms. Richardson finally delivered her line, and “The Wildest Dream,” five years in the making, is now jostling for a place among 15 or so documentaries that will be included on a “short list” of Oscar candidates scheduled to be released in mid-November by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Last year almost 100 films from an increasingly crowded field vied for a place on the list, from which the five nominees for best documentary feature are chosen. This year’s contenders are as varied as “Anvil! The Story of Anvil,” which follows the life and hard times of an aging heavy-metal band; “The Cove,” about the slaughter of dolphins; and Michael Moore’s “Capitalism: A Love Story,” about the dark side of big business.

Few demanded quite as much from its cast and crew as Mr. Geffen’s film, which is scheduled to be released by National Geographic Entertainment on both conventional and Imax screens in April, after having qualified for Oscar consideration with screenings in New York and Los Angeles this year.

“The Wildest Dream” is devised as a kind of “Julie & Julia” for the rugged. It follows Conrad Anker, an Everest veteran, and Leo Houlding, his protégé, through an attempt in 2007 to mimic, if not quite duplicate, the ill-fated climb in which both Mallory and his companion, Andrew Irvine, died near the summit.

This required a difficult assault from Tibet, in the north, as Mallory about 85 years ago had no access to a less demanding southeastern alternative from Nepal. It also meant scaling a rock formation near the top, the Second Step, in the way Mallory and Irving would have had to do it — without the benefit of a metal ladder that for years has been giving climbers a leg up.

*snip*

In the film the various historical figures are voiced by a cast that includes Ralph Fiennes as Mallory, Hugh Dancy as Irvine and Alan Rickman as Noel Odell, a fellow climber who survived the 1924 expedition.

The New York Times plays a minor role in the picture. During a visit to New York Mallory was asked, “Why did you want to climb Mount Everest?” The Times, on March 18, 1923, reported his answer, the now famous “Because it’s there.”
R
- Saturday, October 31, 2009 at 08:43:24 PM (EDT)


How did i miss Sue's post? Thanks, Sue. These eyes . . . sheesh.

Stephen Dillane will appear as Jaques in Sam Mendes' As you LIke It (and will be Prospero in the Tempest) as part of the Bridge Project -- a three-year series of co-productions by BAM, The Old Vic, and Neal Street Productions. Runs January 12-March 13.
Renie
- Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Rickman's London production of Strindberg's Creditors is going to NY next April. Details HERE. Another source lists that he will do a Director's Talk on 27th April.
sue
- Monday, October 19, 2009


FREE COPY of NOBEL SON in Sunday's MAIL ON SUNDAY

The Mail on Sunday is to be the exclusive distribution channel for the feature film Nobel Son, in what is thought to be a first for a UK newspaper.

The film, starring Alan Rickman, Mary Steenburgen and Eliza Dushku, will be given away on Sunday (4 October). The title will be distributed with the Mail on Sunday on 4 October.

The Mail on Sunday bought the rights to the film and it has not had a cinema publication was the first newspaper to be the exclusive distribution channel for new full-length CDs when it secured a deal to release Prince's new album Planet Earth in 2007.
sue
england - Wednesday, September 30, 2009


From IGN Entertainment:

Bottle Shocking Contest
Indie wine comedy offers a promotional contest.
by David McCutcheon

September 18, 2009 - The makers of Bottle Shock have taken their do-it-yourself promotional approach to another level by announcing a new contest.

The contest encourages viewers to watch Bottle Shock, and share their experience – including what wine they were drinking, who they were with, where they were etc., through an interactive blog. The winners will then be hosted for a unique Bottle Shock experience.

Bottle Shock is based on the real events surrounding the 1976 blind tasting in Paris pitting California wines against the French. The film stars Alan Rickman, Bill Pullman, Chris Pine, Freddy Rodriguez, Rachael Taylor, Dennis Farina and Eliza Dushku. Bottle Shock was shot in Sonoma and Napa during August 2007, and premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2008. When big studio buyers weren't acquiring films that year, the producers of Bottle Shock opted for a do-it-yourself theatrical release, raising more funds and hiring Freestyle Releasing to run a marketing campaign and book the film into as many as 400 theaters across the country last August through October.

The getaway package includes the following:

2 nights at the Lodge at Sonoma, where the cast of Bottle Shock stayed (Alan Rickman, Bill Pullman, Chris Pine, Rachael Taylor, Freddy Rodriguez, Dennis Farina, Eliza Dushku).

Helicopter tour with the producers capturing those beautiful aerial shots over Napa and Sonoma and stopping for tours and tastings at key filming locations.

A guided tour of Chateau Montelena in Napa Valley, whose 1973 Chardonnay was the winning white wine at the 1976 Judgment of Paris.

A guided tour of Kunde Estates in Sonoma Valley where several scenes were filmed, including the boxing ring scenes with Bill Pullman and Chris Pine, and the final judging "tasting" scene inside the Ruins at Kunde - the first winery in Sonoma Valley.

Dinner with the producers at Della Santina in Sonoma, where scenes with Alan Rickman and Dennis Farina were filmed.

Food and wine pairing with Gustavo Brambila (played by Freddy Rodriguez in the movie) at his own Napa winery, Gustavo Thrace.

A bottle of Chardonnay from Chateau Montelena, signed by the cast. Movie poster

The best story will be determined by the Producers of Bottle Shock in November, 2009. Stay tuned to IGN DVD for more information about the film.

Truly Sonoma is really special. Della Santina is good eats, and Chateau Montelena is good wine. But no helicopters for me, so go for it!
Renie
- Friday, September 18, 2009


I received an e-mail from Patricia (thanks!) with the following link from the Sept. 3, 2009 London Evening Standard:

Alan Rickman and Ian McKellen show support for Alan Cumming in his play, I Bought a Blue Car Today.

And here are a couple more links with more photos from the first night after party:
celebutupia.net
whatsonstage.com

Suzanne <webmistress@alan-rickman.comfoo>
TX USA - Friday, September 04, 2009


Here is some cool news I swiped from Claudia's:

National Geographic picks up 'Wildest Dream'
Distrib buys pic about Everest climber George Mallory
By DAVE MCNARY

National Geographic Ent. has acquired "The Wildest Dream," which explores George Mallory's obsession with becoming the first person to reach the peak of Mt. Everest.

It's the third acquisition for the newly recast distrib, which opens Cherien Dabis' "Amreeka" in New York and Los Angeles today and "City of Life and Death" in early 2010.

Mallory's remembered as having said, "Because it's there" in reply to the question "Why do you want to climb Mt. Everest?" He and his climbing partner disappeared in 1924; they were 800 feet from the Everest summit before the clouds closed in.

"The Wildest Dream" is directed by Anthony Geffen and produced by Geffen and Claudia Perkins, with Mike Medavoy exec producing. Story's told through the explorer's letters to his wife, Ruth; previously unseen photos; and film from 1924 and from the 1999 expedition led by Conrad Anker, who found Mallory's body on Everest.

"Dream" is narrated by Liam Neeson, with the voices of Ralph Fiennes as Mallory, the late Natasha Richardson as Ruth Mallory, Hugh Dancy as Mallory's fellow climber and Alan Rickman as the last person to see Mallory alive. NGE said the film is dedicated to Richardson.

From Variety .
Ali-Pat
Dayton, OH USA - Friday, September 04, 2009


The August 14 issue of the Times Literary Supplement has a story on the Rose Theatre short film The Genius of Christopher Marlowe. The writer, who I suspect is a Rickman fan, singles out his performance as follows:

“With such a cast, it seems unfair to single out any one actor but Alan Rickman's spine-chilling Duke of Guise from The Massacre at Paris merits mention. Rickman rescues his character from cartoon comic-strip villainy. His Guise is unmoved and unwavering.........His Guise offers words and concepts in inverted commas, as if holding them at the end of his intellectual fingers. We watch them squirm under scrutiny before he crushes them beneath his boots. Rickman's voice is a low growl: this is an animal with intellect.
...on opening night, the real audience barely drew breath during the Guise's sotto voce snarls. Even the crisp crackling of his leather gloves sounded threatening.

"
Gail <gail.rayment@sympatico.cafoo>
Cobourg, Ontario Canada - Wednesday, September 02, 2009


Thought you may like to know that Rob McDougall has shared the other four photographs of Alan Rickman from the photo shoot.

As he has been kind enough to share with the fans and he is a professional photographer it would be nice if the fans could credit him when they repost. After all he could of kept them to himself and he only shared because of fans on Twitter ;-)
Sheena <purple-dragon@sky.comfoo>
Berkshire UK - Thursday, August 20, 2009


Article and a hair-blown photo from BBC News:

Film star Alan Rickman is in Edinburgh to support Scotland's Year of Homecoming.

Rickman, who has starred in blockbuster movies such as the Harry Potter series, first appeared at the Edinburgh Festival more than 30 years ago. He said: "I've had so many extraordinary experiences at the festivals. "I always feel that when I come to Edinburgh in many ways I am coming home."

The 63-year-old star of films such as Die Hard, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and Love Actually first appeared at the Edinburgh International Festival in 1976 with a double bill of The Devil Is An Ass and Measure For Measure.

Over the years he has returned with productions of Brothers Karamazov and Tango At The End Of Winter.

In 1986 he directed Ruby Wax in her show Live Wax. While he is in the city, Rickman is seeing festival shows including Simon Amstell at the Bongo Club, Muriel Spark's The Girls of Slender Means at Assembly, and performances of Faust and Gelabert Azzopardi at the Edinburgh International Festival.

Homecoming 2009 is a programme of events marking Robert Burns 250th birthday and celebrating Scotland's contributions to the world, such as the Edinburgh festivals.

The aim is to engage Scots at home and abroad, as well as those who love Scotland, to take part in a celebration of culture and heritage. Other celebrities who have recently shown their support for the festivals include Alan Cumming, Brian Cox and Ian Hislop.


Renie
And thanks, Ali-Pat for the original info on Marlowe., - Wednesday, August 19, 2009


From: londonse1:

Star cast performs Christopher Marlowe’s greatest hits in aid of Bankside’s Rose Theatre

Tuesday 18 August 2009

A short film featuring Sir Ian McKellen, Dame Judi Dench, Sir Derek Jacobi, Sir Anthony Sher, Henry Goodman, Alan Rickman and Frances Barber is showing nightly at the Rose Theatre on Bankside till the end of this month.

The remains of the 1587 playhouse were found in an excavation two decades ago and the charity that safeguards the site is now raising funds to return the Rose Theatre site to its rightful status at the heart of Bankside's cultural life.

The film has been devised by local resident Robert Pennant Jones and is intended to give visitors an idea of how his plays might have been seen and heard by audiences in the place they were first performed.

Pennant Jones says that visitors "can expect a series of brilliant professional actors acting magificient extracts from all of Christopher Marlowe's plays to give a flavour of the variety and genius of Christopher Marlowe".

The 35-minute film features Ian McKellen, Alan Rickman, Henry Goodman, Frances Barber, Shaun Parkes, Joseph Fiennes, Charlie Cox, Kevin McNally, Clive Francis, John Shrapnel, Rebecca Night, Anthony Sher and Harriet Walter, together with the voices of Judi Dench and Derek Jacobi.

The extracts have all been shot against a green screen which will enable the performances to be used in future plans to project the actors into the space where the Rose's stage would have stood.

In this initial presentation the actors appear in front of a virtual representation of the original playhouse.

"The remains of the Rose Theatre were discovered here in excavations which started in late 1988," explains archaeologist Harvey Sheldon. "They were only intended to last three weeks.

"When, by the end of December 1988, it was clear that some of the remains of the first Elizabethan theatre on Bankside were actually here, we had to mount a huge campaign to ensure that excavations could continue.

"In that we were greatly helped by the theatrical profession and the world of arts and literature generally. Without that I'm sure we wouldn't have had the media interest and political support that allowed the Rose to survive."

The Rose Theatre Trust was set up to protect the remains of the playhouse and to find a way of continuing the performance tradition on the theatre site.

Ten years ago a permanent exhibition was created and the space has been used sporadically for public performances.

The trust is now seeking Lottery funding to excavate the remaining portion of the site and to recreate the playhouse in sight and sound.

There is also a plan to create more a more permanent performance space, perhaps on a platform that could be lowered into position above the archaeological remains.

• The Genius of Christopher Marlowe is showing nightly at the Rose Theatre Exhibition in Park Street until Saturday 29 August; tickets £4.50 (under-14s free) from 020 7261 9565 or boxoffice@rosetheatre.org.uk


Renie
"That like I best, that flies beyond my reach.", - Wednesday, August 19, 2009


I emailed Mr Rickman's agent for an update about the social networking sites, because yet more people claiming to be Mr Rickman have turned up and some fans are really being taken in by these FAKES.

"as far as social networking sites go, you are right and Alan Rickman doesn't have any sites of this kind."

I'm not going to post the rest of the conversation as it was stuff for my eyes only. Please feel free to repost this to other fan groups and sites to get the information out there and to stop people getting taken in by the fakes.

So as you see she has backed up what Melanie Parker told me two years ago and it is still current information. As I have stated (it seems till I am blue in the face on some sites LOL) Alan Rickman does not have a Twitter account, Facebook Account, Myspace Account, Bebo Account... well you get the picture! All of the ones you find on such sites are FAKES!

Sheena <purple-dragon@sky.comfoo>
Berkshire, UK - Tuesday, August 11, 2009


This was posted over at Claudia's. I plan to attend--anybody else?

The Genius of Christopher Marlowe

Film presentation - for a limited period only

10th July - August 31st

A remarkable film, The Genius of Christopher Marlowe, has been produced which will be shown on a cinematic screen in the Rose, to enable visitors to have an idea how his plays might have been seen and heard by audiences in the place they were first performed. The film will help to raise funds and support for the Rose Theatre Trust in their efforts to fund the preservation and presentation of the oldest excavated theatre on London's Bankside.

The film boasts a cast of outstanding actors which includes Sir Ian McKellen, Dame Judi Dench, Sir Derek Jacobi, Sir Anthony Sher, Henry Goodman, Alan Rickman and Frances Barber to raise funds for the Rose Theatre Trust to preserve and present to the public the oldest excavated theatre in Europe.

Screening times
The Genius of Christopher Marlowe, which has a running time of 35 minutes, will be shown Monday to Saturday at 6 p.m. at the Rose Theatre on Bankside (200 yards from Shakespeare’s Globe) from 10th July to the end of August.

Bookings
Entrance £4.50 (under15s free)
Box office: 020 7261 9565
Email: boxoffice@rosetheatre.org.uk

Ali-Pat
Dayton, OH USA - Friday, July 31, 2009


INTERVIEW UK SAGA MAGAZINE - JULY2009

Master of the dark arts

Alan Rickman is back on screen as the sinister Severus Snape in the latest Harry Potter film. Gabrielle Donnelly is truly, madly, deeply entranced

Link for the photo

There is, says Alan Rickman when we meet in Beverly Hills, a certain sort of Englishman you can recognise all over the world.

“He’s usually from an upper-class background, and he’s the sort of person who will make no concessions whatsoever to the country he happens to be in,” he muses, his famously expressive voice neutral, so that, unless you listen carefully, you are unsure whether he regards the person he is describing as being on the whole a good or a bad thing.

“He is an alien abroad. He wears a suit and tie and socks even in 100 degrees of heat. His attitude is, ‘I created an Empire. I go where nobody has trodden before, and I say, Now you are mine.’” He stops, and for the first time, allows a glimmer of humour to appear. “Of course, he’s going to lose it all later… but for the time being, the land is his.”

It is tempting to suppose that he speaks so knowledgeably of the breed because this is the sort of Englishman he is himself. At 63, he certainly looks the part today, sitting languidly in this celebrity-ridden hotel, with agents and producers patrolling the courtyard and the sun beating down overhead.

He has the patrician vowels down flat, the world-weary stare, the off-beat, is-he-kidding-or-isn’t-he delivery of jokes so dry you could stick an olive in them and serve them shaken-not-stirred. But appearances can be deceptive, and if you did suppose that he was describing himself, you’d be wrong. Alan Rickman is not upper-class, and does not pretend to be. He’s not even English but half-Irish, half-Welsh; and although his naturally mournful countenance – combined, I suspect, with a touch of honest shyness – can make him seem initially aloof, once you get him talking, you find he is anything but.

“I’ve been excited by America ever since I first came here,” he remarks mildly, sipping at the regulation Californian glass of designer water. “That was, oh, years ago. I’d just finished a season at the Royal Shakespeare Company, it was holiday time, and a friend at the company had a family who had a house in Florida. She said, ‘Come to Miami, I’ll take you to the Fontainebleau Hotel.’” He raises an eyebrow just the merest jot, immediately conjuring youthful high jinks.

He does not say if the friend was fellow RSC graduate Ruby Wax, but he and the effervescent comedienne have been fast friends for nearly 30 years. “So I went. It was all incredibly exciting, especially the food, which was very interesting when you were as young as I was then, and the part I remember being most excited about was the weird discovery of a thing in a restaurant called a … doggy bag.” Ever the actor, he furrows his brow in remembered bemusement. “We don’t have those in England, do we? We eat everything on our plate.” He raps sharply on the table – now he is being a stern schoolmaster. “Or we’re told to. Anyway, we went to this restaurant and somebody asked for a doggy bag, and the food came back all wrapped in aluminium foil and shaped like a swan…” Large, elegant hands swoop gracefully into the foil swan shape beloved of a certain type of American restaurant in the excessive Eighties. “So that was when I knew I’d come somewhere else than England.” His voice changes again, becoming wistfully affectionate. “We’re still close, my American friend and I. Her son is my godson, in fact.”

Claire
UK - Friday, July 24, 2009


The teaser trailer for "Alice in Wonderland" is up here but may not stay, as it appears it may have been posted a bit before it's ready time. No caterpillar in this one.

R
Snape, snape, we like your shape....when you FILL the screen. *wicked grin*, - Wednesday, July 22, 2009


If you have iTunes, you can download for free today only (tuesday, july 7) alan reading an excerpt from "nelson mandela's favorite african folktales." (if you know iTunes, tuesday is the free selected download day). i imagine that it'll still be on iTunes after today, but maybe not for free. it is 8 minutes long.
pam
- Tuesday, July 07, 2009


From This is London:

Scacchi calls for boycott against restaurants that put endangered fish on menu
By Aline Nassif
08.06.09
"Film star Greta Scacchi today urged Londoners to boycott restaurants that continue to serve endangered fish species like bluefin tuna.

The actress - inspired by a new documentary End Of The Line, in cinemas from today - asked people to give active support to sustainable fishing.

Ms Scacchi, who starred in White Mischief and Presumed Innocent, will be joined by other famous faces including actors Alan Rickman, Colin Firth and Sir Ian McKellen and restaurateur Tom Aikens at a private screening of the film."

You will recall that Greta Scacchi as Tsarina Alexandra in Rasputin received an Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress. AR received the Emmy, the Golden Globe, and a SAG award for the leading role. ("First, you must sinnnnn.")
Renie
Judging by the photo, she must really like our finned friends! , Of course, she was airbrushed in the photo, but she looks amazing nonetheless., - Tuesday, June 09, 2009


Thanks, Sue! I hope you will give us a report after you attend with all the details. :-)

To others who would like to attend:
Tickets for the celebration are limited to two per person and are available in person or by telephone from the National Theatre box office: 0207-452-3000.

Suzanne <webmistress@alan-rickman.comfoo>
TX USA - Monday, May 11, 2009


From The Stage

Jude Law, Sheila Hancock and Colin Firth will be among the performers featuring in a special celebration of Harold Pinter’s work at the National Theatre next month.

Harold Pinter in The Hothouse at the Minerva, Chichester in 1995
Photo: Tristram Kenton
Harold Pinter: A Celebration will feature excerpts of the late playwright’s works, directed by Ian Rickson and with performers including Eileen Atkins, David Bradley, Kenneth Cranham, Janie Dee, Andy de la Tour, Lindsay Duncan, Firth, Henry Goodman, Hancock, Douglas Hodge, Lloyd Hutchinson, Law, Gina McKee, Sophie Okonedo, Stephen Rea, Alan Rickman, Michael Sheen, Indira Varma, Samuel West, Lia Williams, Penelope Wilton, Henry Woolf, and students from LAMDA.

The performance will take place on Sunday, June 7 in the NT’s Olivier Theatre.

Pinter died on December 24, 2008. A number of his plays premiered at the National - Betrayal, No Man’s Land, Other Places and Mountain Language and his adaptation, with Di Trevis, of Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past. Other productions of his work at the NT have included The Caretaker, The Birthday Party, The Homecoming, a revival of No Man’s Land which he also directed, The Hothouse and, most recently, Landscape and A Slight Ache. The many awards in recognition of Harold Pinter’s work included the 2005 Nobel Prize for Literature.

Tickets are on sale now (I just got mine) and cost £10 for the Circle (Stalls are for invited guests only)
sue
england - Friday, May 08, 2009


Nobel Son Wins DVD
Alan Rickman crime-drama comes home.
by David McCutcheon

May 5, 2009 - On June 9, 2009, Fox Home Entertainment will release Nobel Son on DVD.

***spoiler summary follows*****

On the eve of Barkley Michaelson's father receiving the Nobel Prize, Barkley is kidnapped and the requested ransom is the $2,000,000 in Nobel Prize money. When his father refuses to pay, it starts a venomous tale of familial dysfunction, lust, betrayal and ultimately revenge. Featuring an ensemble cast starring Alan Rickman, Bryan Greenberg, Mary Steenburgen, Shawn Hatosy, Bill Pullman, Ted Danson, Danny Devito and Eliza Dushku.

It will contain bonus materials and extra features, and the DVD will be available for the MSRP (Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price) of $19.98.

The Nobel Son DVD will feature the following bonus materials:

Commentary with director/producer Randall Miller, writer/producer Jody Savin, musician Paul Oakenfold, cinematographer Mike Ozier and actors Brian Greenberg and Eliza Dushku.
Deleted scenes with optional commentary from director/producer Randall Miller and writer/producer Jody Savin
Alternate ending sequence

Renie
, - Wednesday, May 06, 2009


A May 6, 2009 article from the Globe and Mail about the first North American public screening of "Rachel", a documentary by the Israeli filmmaker Simone Bitton about Rachel Corrie, hosted by the Tribeca Film Festival.
Renie
- Tuesday, May 05, 2009


On 14 May AR will receive an honorary award from the University of the Arts, London. So will some other people. Honorary Fellowships and Doctorates are mentioned in this context. Some earlier recipients are Giorgio Armani, A.S.Byatt, Judi Dench, and Ken Loach.
pia susanna
edinburgh, - Saturday, May 02, 2009


Nice interview at The University Observer

[text of article]:

The Reluctant Villain

Submitted by Zelda Cunningham, Deputy Editor on Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Zelda Cunningham speaks to legendary actor, Alan Rickman about Severus Snape, Sense and Sensibility and great big smoking caterpillars.

“WHERE ARE YOU getting this from? I have been acting for 35 years and those five or six roles make such a small part of my career!” Alan Rickman reposts a question about his penchant for playing so many villains. While it is true that after exiting the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA), Rickman has acted in a variety of roles from Shakespeare’s Tibalt to Colonel Brandon in Sense and Sensibility, his more sinister portrayals seem to burn their way into audience’s memories. And sitting in front of a mass of students in Theatre P in the Newman Building, there is a distinct air of Severus Snape in Rickman’s demeanour.

He is restrained, almost hesitant and his trademark deep voice is slow and pounding and slightly unnerving while answering questions. As with his onscreen persona, Rickman possesses a refined sophistication – his manner of speaking is eloquent, almost poetic and is interspersed with a wry wit which ignites the fixated audience into intermitted bouts of uproarious laughter.

When Otwo meets the actor in the, admittedly fitting surrounds of the darkened Arts Block ‘exit’ corridors, Rickman is keen to point out that his acting résumé far exceeds the remit of a suave arrogance of Hans Gruber or the devious Sheriff of Nottingham. “When selecting roles, you just try and do what you didn’t just do.”

It seems to be with this mantra in tow that Rickman chose his next role – a caterpillar. Rickman explains that he has joined the macabre circus that is Tim Burton’s distorted adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s fantastical tale, Alice in Wonderland, having worked with the eccentric director in the grisly musical, Sweeney Todd: the Demon Barber of Fleet Street.

Rickman explains that, as seems to be the norm with Burton, production for this work is nothing short of surreal. “Well, I believe what is going to happen is it will be my head on an animated caterpillar. I mean, Tim Burton just has a mind like a fairground. I aim to do everything he ever does. I am a crawling sycophant to him!”

Alice in Wonderland is set to be released in 2010, but Rickman relays the difficulties of working on a child’s film by saying, “Well, we’re fighting with Disney at the moment… They are worried about having a character [the caterpillar] that smokes,” he adds, dramatically rolling his eyes to heaven.

From the surreal to biographical depictions, Rickman is versed (and critically lauded) for his metamorphosis and cohesion when he takes on a role. However, with certain roles, Rickman discovered that treading carefully is necessary to avoid unwanted controversy.

In discussing Neil Jordan’s controversial Michael Collins, Rickman confirms that despite malaise about the film’s depiction of Eamonn DeValera, he had no intention of rendering him the villain that many argue he was seen as.

Rickman, whose father is Irish, recalls during a read through of the script, Jordan approached him and inquired, ‘do you hate him [DeValera] yet?’ Rickman denies that he chose to play the former-Taoiseach and president in a negative light and counteracts criticisms that DeValera was portrayed as being linked to Collins’ assassination.

“Of course with roles like that, there is a certain delicacy you must apply, but I don’t think that the film indicated that DeValera had any influence in Collins’ death.”

Historical adaptations will undoubtedly be problematic for any actor, but trying to immerse oneself in a role that millions of people know and love (or indeed hate) is even more perilous.

When it was decided to adapt the Harry Potter books onto the silver screen, the author of the works, J. K. Rowling reportedly was adamant that Rickman played the sinister Severus Snape, the seeming nemesis of the hero wizard, Harry Potter.

However despite the author’s support, Rickman explains that he was somewhat dubious about taking on a character with such a weighted fan-base.

“I said to Jo Rowling, ‘Look, I can’t play him unless I know him’. She then gave me this elliptical piece of information that I didn’t really understand at first. It was information she hadn’t told anyone else, not even her sister, but it gave me what I needed to take on Snape.”

Despite obtaining much the much coveted ‘inside scoop’, his interpretation of character so renowned could have been very ill-received. Thankfully, this was not the case and fans of the books have intertwined the cinematic and literary versions of Severus Snape into one being.

Another work which Rickman was apprehensive about taking on was in his role as the dignified, noble Colonel Brandon in adaptation of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility.

“I was very wary about it. I happen to love Jane Austen. When I first read her work, it was that type of moment where you wanted to show it to people and tell them how beautiful it is,” he explains.

“It was challenging, especially with the period clothes. You have to wear them for weeks, just practising how to walk and bow… and learning how to go to the bathroom. But I like limitations. They are good for a role. They help apply imagination to the story,” Rickman continues, before drolly adding, “Like with my rubber head in Galaxy Quest.”

Unlike many actors of such a profile, Rickman has managed to leave the theatrics and drama on the film side and has retained a relatively private life beyond the limelight. Until Otwo almost trampled his wife in said blackened hallway, I was unsure if Rickman was even married. However, being the face of the most famous film saga does tend to attract some attention, yet nothing compared to that of other celebrities.

“Fame is all relative. I mean, when you are with Johnny Depp (who Rickman starred with in Sweeney Todd and in the upcoming Alice and Wonderland), you realise ‘I’ve nothing to worry about,” he says, “I mean, sometimes I even fly economy!”

“When you live in London, as I do, being famous isn’t really a problem. People just stare at the pavement so they don’t really come up to you. In New York, weirdly, there is no class system. People just walk past you and say ‘like your work’, directly and honestly and walk on. But it difficult being famous and when you’re English. There is an idea that you have to get back in your little bus. ‘Get back in your box’ should be the national emblem.”

And nothing puts you ‘back in your box’ like negative critical reaction to your work. Although it is impossible to ignore the reflection of a mirror held up to an actor as an artist, Rickman remains unaffected by reviews.

“I remember reading a review of saying that I had a voice that sounded like it came out of the backend of a drainpipe. There is always going to be someone who hated you in print. You just cannot let it affect you,” says Rickman.

Inevitably, with any art form, the worst criticisms are often self-inflicted. Rickman admits that he is his own harshest critic and therefore cannot bring himself to watch his own work.

“I never watch [my films]. Genuinely, I’m not just saying it. All I can see is my mistakes. In theatre, I can’t watch myself or be objective, so it suits me better in some ways.”

Having commenced his career in theatres, Rickman has an enduring affinity for the stage. He expresses an interest in focusing more on this side of acting and directing in the future.

In 2005, Rickman directed the critically acclaimed My Name Is Rachel Corrie, a play bases on the diaries of a 23-year-old American woman who died after being hit by an Israeli bulldozer. The play debuted at the Royal Court Theatre, London, where Rickman was honoured with by audiences who gave him the Theatre Goers’ Choice Awards for best director.

His enthusiasm for more unusual roles on screen (Dogma, Galaxy Quest and indeed Alice and Wonderland), seems to also translate itself to theatre roles.

“I love new writing. I love seeing what’s going on in a writers head and you go, ‘Where the hell did that come from?!” Rickman says excitedly.

For an actor who was accused of being typecast as a villain, on closer reflection Rickman is a paradox of stability yet versatility. Despite being at retirement age, it seems clear that he has no intention of limiting his theatrical scope.

When Otwo asks the actor if, after 35-years, he grows weary of the centre stage he replies, “No, life has shifting horizons so you might as well keep swimming.”

Alan Rickman received the Literary and Historical Society’s (L&H) James Joyce Award last month.

Emma
U.S. - Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is being released two days earlier to July 15th.

Suzanne <webmistress@alan-rickman.comfoo>
TX USA - Saturday, April 18, 2009


Found by chance something else on youtube -- AR taking part in a BAFTA tribute to film and TV producer Mark Shivas (think "Truly Madly Deeply"). This event took place about a month ago, on 8 March. Nothing to do with the International Women's Day, I suppose! Shivas passed away last autumn; must be sad for AR, with those people he's worked with dying within the span of some year. Hope this video hasn't been mentioned here before; I don't think it has:

Alan Rickman-BAFTA Tribute to Mark Shivas

pia susanna
edinburgh, - Thursday, April 09, 2009


I received another great e-mail from Kristin (thank you!), who wrote:

Here is the direct link to that YouTube video already mentioned:
"Alan Rickman's Most Recent Pictures - 27th of March 2009, Dublin"

And here is an MP3 interview from NewsTalk with Orla Berry when he was in Dublin:
http://83.138.170.50/podcasts/audio/2803AlanRickman.mp3

It's a great interview with (finally!) great questions -- talk of the James Joyce award, the controversy about the movie Michael Collins, Natasha Richardson/Liam Neeson, playing Steven Spurrier, working in LA, on not talking about his role as Professor Snape, directing movies and plays, and Tim Burton.

Suzanne <webmistress@alan-rickman.comfoo>
TX USA - Monday, April 06, 2009


And if you wish to see pictures from that event, this is one way: Go to youtube & type in:

Alan Rickman's Most Recent Pictures - 27 of March 2009, Dublin

This SHOULD work, but you'll never know!

As somebody has already commented, it's nice to see him looking happy again.
pia susanna
- Wednesday, April 01, 2009


AR has received the James Joyce Award, for his acting, from the University College of Dublin's Literary and Historical Society. This was on 28 March.
pia susanna
edinburgh, - Tuesday, March 31, 2009


In the Hello Canada magazine dated 6th April there is a photo of Alan at Natasha Richardson's funeral, accompanied by Timothy Dalton and Holly Hunter.
Gail Rayment <gail.rayment@sympatico.cafoo>
Cobourg, Canada - Saturday, March 28, 2009


And here's a video from the funeral (including AR).

Also, I receive the following e-mail from Kristin (thank you!):

Anthony Mandella Event Article + Pics: So far this is the only article I've found with any photos of Alan at the event. I'm guessing there wasn't a lot of press allowed inside out of respect for Anthony.

Stars shine on Minghella marathon

In the scrolling photo slideshow at the bottom of this article, there is a shot of Alan hugging someone near a car (I think that is Anthony's sister?) and I believe the red-head with her back to the camera is Rima. So nice to see that they attended together, if it is in fact her.

Suzanne <webmistress@alan-rickman.comfoo>
TX USA - Wednesday, March 25, 2009 at 05:44:37 PM (EDT)


Photo of AR at Natasha Richardsons Funeral
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/03/22/natasha-richardsons-funer_n_177865.html

Carol
New York, NY - Tuesday, March 24, 2009 at 08:37:14 PM (EDT)


ITHGOW, N.Y. (AP) - A somber group of friends and family gathered in a small Hudson Valley town Sunday to say a final farewell to Tony Award-winning actress Natasha Richardson.

Liam Neeson, in a dark suit and sunglasses, was at the head of the casket as he and five other pallbearers carried his wife's coffin into St. Peter's Episcopal Church, near the home where the two married in 1994.

He and Richardson's mother, actress Vanessa Redgrave, waved to the dozens of reporters crowded behind a police barricade on the dirt road leading to the tiny white clapboard church. The grieving family - including the couple's two sons, Micheal, 13, and Daniel, 12 - then paused to allow the media to photograph them in front of church before the service.

Ralph Fiennes, Alan Rickman, Laura Linney, Uma Thurman and Timothy Dalton were among the friends who filed into the church on the chilly spring afternoon.
Carol
New York, NY - Monday, March 23, 2009 at 10:14:01 AM (EDT)


There is going to be an Anthony Minghella Movie Marathon on the Isle of Wight from March 13th to 15th. Tickets are available for £ 50 and according to this article, AR is among the star-studded guest list.

Suzanne <webmistress@alan-rickman.comfoo>
TX USA - Thursday, March 05, 2009


That's fantastic, thanks so much, Catherine! I have updated the link at the top of the GB. Last year, the total donated was over £1,900 including Gift Aid, which helped seven students (listed on the current Just Giving page)! Alan Rickman and RADA are depending on us to help more students this year, so please, everyone, spread the word to other Alan Rickman web-sites, groups, forums, live journals, etc. by posting this link. This is a wonderful way to honor Alan Rickman for his birthday. So, let's see if we can hit £2,000 this year. :-)

Suzanne <webmistress@alan-rickman.comfoo>
TX USA - Wednesday, February 11, 2009 at 07:42:33 PM (EST)


Hello! February 11th already = ten days to Alan's birthday! And I think we all know what that means - yes it's time for the RADA donation 2009!

RADA are extremely grateful for all the donations that are provided in Alan's name. The money that we donate goes straight to students who might not otherwise be able to continue their RADA studies. Last year's donation helped a lot of students, and it would be wonderful if we could continue that tradition.

I have checked the page and it works perfectly, it is as straightforward as ever, and the donations of UK taxpayers are eligible for Gift Aid, too.

The link to the page should be in the signature below, and of course if you have any queries, just drop me an e-mail!

All best
Catherine

Catherine <catherineharpham@hotmail.comfoo>
Reading, UK - Wednesday, February 11, 2009


For anyone who remembers Alan in the remarkable The Preacher episode of Peter Barnes's Revolutionary Witness, here is some news--it is now available on DVD at Phoenix Learning Group. Still a bit beyond the average fan's budget, but a truly astounding performance worth looking at over and over and over and over and over... Honestly--I jumped out of my seat the first time I saw it!
Ali-Pat
Dayton, OH USA - Wednesday, February 11, 2009


According to posts over at Claudia's it looks like the release date for the Nobel Son DVD is March 10.
Ali-Pat
- Thursday, February 05, 2009


The Daily Journal calls Bottle Shock charming:

"Then we have wine connoisseur Steven Spurrier (the always welcome Alan Rickman), who, after attracting few customers to his shop in Paris -- save for Maurice (Dennis Farina), the business owner next door -- pays California's Napa Valley a visit after hearing about the upstarts there. After meeting the locals and tasting the fruits of their labor, he begins to realize maybe he's not on such a fool's errand after all."
Renie
There could have been scene of him handling a whole avocado. I could have directed that. Yeah., - Wednesday, February 04, 2009


"Bottle Shock" is now available at Netflix, and is also offered as an instant movie, so you won't need to wait for delivery. I enjoyed it so much more than Nobel Son .

Renie
Despite its flaws, BS was a breezy movie and the AR in it is great fun. , - Wednesday, February 04, 2009


According to the Amazon.com, "Bottle Shock" is supposed to be released on February 3. 2009. I can't wait to watch it. He is so wonderful.
Julianansa
- Saturday, January 31, 2009


Here's some thing that snuck up on me: For Love of Liberty. Wonder when it will appear on TV?
Ali-Pat
Dayton, OH USA - Friday, January 23, 2009


Here's a recent interview from readingeagle.com:
Alan Rickman plays a prize-winning pain

By Ian Spelling
The New York Times Syndicate

12/5/2008

- "I need to do these smaller movies, the independent films," Alan Rickman said. "It's crucial for my mental health and, I guess, the mental health of audiences too.

"Nobel Son" is playing at Cinema Center Fairgrounds. "It's a human need to be told stories, rather than just feed something to them that's the cinematic equivalent of the popcorn and Coke that they're eating constantly. I think that what I do is a craft that I like to work at and, when you get offered brave, independent projects with brave, independent filmmakers, it's wise, at least for me, to do them when I can.

"Really, when you measure it in your life, it's only a few weeks at a time. It's usually rich and complicated, and I get to meet and work with all these great people."

The result is that, at 62, the British actor has a filmography that includes plenty of mainstream entries, including "Die Hard" (1988), "Sense and Sensibility" (1995), all the "Harry Potter" films - in which he plays Professor Snape - and "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" (2007), but also a steady stream of independent films such as "Truly Madly Deeply" (1990), "Judas Kiss" (1998), "Snow Cake" (2006) and "Bottle Shock" (2007).

Rickman's current project, "Nobel Son," reunites him with much of the "Bottle Shock" cast and crew, including the husband-and-wife team of writer/director/producer Randall Miller and writer/producer Jody Savin, as well as actors Bill Pullman and Eliza Dushku.

The violent, intricately plotted thriller, playing locally at Cinema Center Fairgrounds, stars Rickman as Eli Michaelson, a brilliant, arrogant, womanizing professor whose ego balloons exponentially when he wins the Nobel Prize for Chemistry.

It should be a great period for Michaelson, but the kidnapping of his only son, Barkley (Bryan Greenberg), sets in motion a series of cons, romances, double-crosses, murders, unanswered ransom demands and family feuds that will forever change the lives of all involved.

In addition to Rickman and Greenberg, "Nobel Son" features Mary Steenburgen as Michaelson's forensic-pathologist wife, Shawn Hatosy as Barkley's scheming kidnapper and would-be half brother, and Danny DeVito as an obsessive-compulsive neighbor. Then there's Dushku as City Hall, an eccentric, sexy poet who takes a liking to Barkley, and Pullman as the detective trying to track down the missing Barkley.

Sitting for an interview at a Manhattan hotel, Rickman is his usual droll self. He calls "Nobel Son" characteristic of Savin and Miller's work, which also includes "Marilyn Hotchkiss Ballroom Dancing & Charm School" (2005).

"You can't really hang any labels on this film or their films at all," the actor said, "and I like that. It means that you're walking into a kind of playground, really, and I was able to play, as it turned out, a grown adult who's sort of 12 years old in there somewhere. There's a scene where Eli farts in the limo after winning the Nobel Prize, and that was in the script. So that's what I mean.

"People will work out for themselves how they feel about Eli, if they think he deserves what happens to him. But if, at the end of the movie, they have a sneaking fondness for him, that's OK. I have a sneaking fondness for him. I recognize the guy who walks into a hotel suite and looks for the chocolate in the free basket."

Much of "Nobel Son" occurs around Eli rather than dealing with him directly. There's a love scene between Barkley and City Hall, for example, and an extended sequence involving a runaway driverless car in a mall. Rickman needed to watch the entire film in order to fully grasp his character's effect on the plot and on the rest of the characters.

"I have seen the whole film," he said, "and you need your wits about you, which is another good thing. It actually asks the audience to concentrate and think and work and put two and two together, and also to have their preconceptions whipped away from them. It's a great ride in that sense."

Those same words could be used to describe Rickman's career. Striking-looking but not typically handsome, he has proven himself as a villain, as a romantic lead and as a sympathetic everyman. His upcoming films include "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" and "Alice in Wonderland," Tim Burton's adaptation of the Lewis Carroll classic, with Rickman on board as the Caterpillar. And he's hoping to bring "Creditors," a play he directed this past fall in London, to Broadway in the near future.

He owes it all to "Die Hard." Rickman had spent years on the stage in both London and New York, but when he played the villainous Hans Gruber in the original 1988 movie, he became a Hollywood star overnight.

"All I know is that it's 20 years ago and all I know is that's fast," Rickman said, grinning slyly. "And all I know is that, if you fast-forward 20 years, you'd better get on with it.

" 'Die Hard' was such a shock. I had no idea I was ever going to make a movie in my working life. So to find myself sitting here talking, 20 years later ... I had no plan. I have no plan. It would be stupid to try to have one. I try to keep myself interested in my life and in my work. The two things have some sort of negotiation with each other, and everything comes and hits you around the face and is a surprise."

Suzanne <webmistress@alan-rickman.comfoo>
TX USA - Friday, January 02, 2009


Have you all seen this? Wonder what kind of award? Perhaps an MBE or the like? Or maybe the time for the long-coveted knighthood has finally arrived. Not that he himself covets it, but many fans have clamored for knighthood for years. Whatever--we shall find out on Wednesday.

Ali-Pat
Dayton, OH USA - Monday, December 29, 2008


Thanks, Renie!!!!

Here's a 10 minute Radio Interview from BlogTalkRadio - Movie Geeks United 12-3-08
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And three more recent print interviews:

Exclusive Interview: Alan Rickman (including very nice photo!)

from Moviehole.com

Alan Rickman is an actor who moves with effortless ease from mainstream Hollywood through to independent cinema. While movie audiences may know him best as Snape in the Harry Potter franchise, the actor has appeared in a plethora of films dating back to the original Die Hard, Robin Hood, Truly, Madly Deeply and Sense and Sensibility.

More recently, apart from Potter, Rickman starred in Galaxy Quest, Blow Dry, Snow Cake, Sweeney Todd and Bottle Shock. Rickman also is part of Tim Burton's take on Alice in Wonderland.

His latest movie, Nobel Son, casts him as a narcisstic Nobel-prize winner who refuses to pay the ransom to free his kidnapped son. Shall we say, this is not the most flattering character in Rickman's arsenal, as he explained to Paul Fischer in this exclusive interview.

Question: I know you wanted to work with Jody Savin and Randall Miller again after Bottle Shock, but it seems to me this is a character we haven't seen you play before.

Rickman: Yeah. I think this was somebody with absolutely no boundaries. [LAUGHTER] I think - you know, he's capable of anything and everything, and appears to learn nothing. And so that becomes kind of a playground to go into.

Question: Do you need to have sympathy or empathy for a character like this, to play him effectively?

Rickman: Well, you don't think sympathy or the opposite. You just get on with it. And, you know, every person, and therefore every character has objectives in their life. They want this, they want that, they try to get this, and they try to get that. Basically, his appetites are fairly venal and also, I suppose, to make a judgment - he may be a grown-up. But he's also, perhaps, about 11 years old somewhere.

Question: Could you identify with him in any way?

Rickman: I think every man probably can, if they're honest. You know, one's always struggling to grow up.

Question: What is it about these guys that gets your creative juices flowing, these filmmakers? I mean, why do you think they get these kinds of characters?

Rickman: Randy and Jody, you mean?

Question: Yeah, Randy and Jody.

Rickman: I think it's because somehow or other, they're fearless and their fearlessness is born out of true independent spirits. You know, they're not controlled by anybody, at any point of the whole game. But also, they're very good writers.

Question: Do you think you've become more fearless yourself as an actor, the older you've gotten, and the more work you've done on film?

Rickman: I hope so. I hope so. It's the aim.

Question: Is it more difficult for you to continue to find stuff that really gets your juices going?

Rickman: Well, I direct as well and so I suppose - you know, you're asking me at a moment in my life where I've just come from directing a very extraordinary play by Strindberg in London. And that takes fearlessness to a whole new level, because of the fearlessness of that writing and also the word "redefine." You can't ever know what the rules of the game are. It depends on the script. It'll ask you to go into different areas. But it just depends what you're trying to protect - your imagination, or your career.

Question: What do you learn as a director in your writing, and vice versa?

Rickman: It's like being two different animals, you know? The one has really got very little to do with the other. I think it would be very annoying for another director, if you didn't come to the set just as an actor.

Question: Now, you've worked with Tim Burton now a couple of - well, you've now worked with him again and I'm just wondering, even though these are big movies, he seems to me to be both an independent and fearless filmmaker, but within a very mainstream industry, in which he works.Is that what you notice, working with somebody like Tim?

Rickman: He is a born storyteller and that's what guides him and also, a very personal vision. If you take - you know, great instincts, storytelling, and personal vision into the studio system-yeah, that is what you're gonna notice. There's very - you know, the usual kind of - the entourage. But it's driven by an independent source. It's also to do with - same as Randy and Jody, people who've got a balance between their life and their work. You know, they're real people, as well. They're not this kind of career construct.

Question: Do you let your imagination run away with you, when you play a character as the father in Nobel Son?

Rickman: Yeah, I did, really, because it's a kind of rare privilege, in a way, to play somebody who seems to have no limits, or seems to not set any limits on himself in terms of his unutterable selfishness. QUESTION: How about the caterpillar character in Alice?

Rickman: Well, with the caterpillar, I've only just started work on it, because you know, the film is part live-action, part animation, part stop-motion. And mine is just, I've done an early, very rough draft for a camera. And then they'll go away and draw it, and then they'll come back, and I'll redo it. So I think there's a lot to be discovered yet in that.

Question: Are you looking forward to working with Tim again?

Rickman: I love working with him. And, you know, I'm standing here, weirdly - we're doing this junket on an adjacent sound stage to where Tim is filming, here in Culver City. So he feels strangely close at hand. Added to which, Danny DeVito's just down the corridor. So it's like a family.

Question: I know you don't like talking about the Harry Potter movies, so I'm going to be very discreet in the question I ask you about them.

Rickman: Yeah.

Question: But, are you going to be glad when this franchise is finally put to bed?

Rickman: I think it's like any movie. It has its life. And it's not a question of being glad or anything at all. You know, there is a very big resolution to the story. And that's still got to be lived through. And, you know, I'm looking forward to that, at the moment.

Question: Having done the part in the film, did they enable to do these small movies that you obviously love to get away and do?

Rickman: Yeah, I'm sure every actor would probably say that - you know, part of it is doing a bigger movie - I never really know the difference between big movies and small movies, because I'm the same person showing up. But, you know, the one allows the other, I guess.

Question: Now, having directed the Strindberg play, do you relish going back and doing more directing? And do you want to direct - I think the last time we spoke, you were talking about directing a movie as well. Is that still happening?

Rickman: Yeah. That is very much on the cards, and conversations are going on about it at the moment. It's a movie of a book called The House in Paris, which we might even shoot it next year.

Question: Are you looking forward to getting behind the camera again?

Rickman: Very much. It's a great script, of a great book and beautifully-told story. So, I guess if the stars collide, and the forces convene, and the world allows it, we'll make a movie.

Question: What else are you planning, acting-wise? Do you have anything else on the cards?

Rickman: Not really, until I know about directing this movie. You know, I have my - whatever the commitment will be to Alice in Wonderland, and also, the play I directed in London is due to come to New York at some point next year.

Question: So it's going to be on Broadway?

Rickman: I think not, because the Donmar Warehouse is very much a force that shapes productions. And then to expose them to larger houses is not what happens. I'm sure that the play itself could be seen on Broadway, but this production is intimate. So, we'll see.

Question: I don't know how you're able to fit in your life, with all this work commitment that you have. How do you do it? How do you keep sane outside of the acting and the directing?

Rickman: Well, I didn't have to go on stage every night for seven weeks. [LAUGHTER] You know, I nipped in and out and watched them. So once it was on, I had a freedom that they didn't have. And it works out somehow.

Question: I also know that you're interested in politics because we talked last year about the Australian election. Did you have the same interest in the American election?

Rickman: Absolutely. Hallelujah.

Question: Were you gratified that this past eight years is going to be behind us soon?

Rickman: That would be a mild word. I think that I mean, quite apart from anything else, what's a huge relief - I was watching yesterday Obama announcing his security team- Hillary Clinton and the rest of his team. And I just thought, the confidence with which the questions were answered. The fact that huge questions are taken on board - it's something that we haven't heard for the last eight years. And it's done with such lack of ego, and such openness. And, you know, all one can do is wish them well. Because the rest of the world depends on it.

Question: Now, I know that British politics is undergoing a shake-up, and it'll be the reverse. I assume that the Labour Party will not win the next election.

Rickman: Oh, don't be too sure.

Question: Really?

Rickman: Don't be too sure. I think if you put David Cameron next to Obama, you can put underneath, "What's wrong with this picture?" You know, a week is a long time in politics, I believe.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Patricia Sheridan's Breakfast With ... Alan Rickman

Monday, December 08, 2008
By Patricia Sheridan
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Alan Rickman says it was fun to play the role of a college professor and Nobel Prize winner in "Nobel Son."

The 62-year-old British actor Alan Rickman has proved he can do it all, playing the flawed, the villainous and valiant. American audiences became aware of him after his portrayal of the evil German mastermind Hans Gruber in the 1988 movie "Die Hard." And as Severus Snape in the "Harry Potter" movies, Rickman is almost as wicked as He Who Shall Not Be Named.

Theater-trained, Rickman bounces between stage and screen, balancing a lucrative career and a longtime relationship with partner Rima Horton. Currently he can be seen playing egomaniac and Nobel laureate Eli Michaelson in "Nobel Son." In theaters now, it's a complex story with twists and turns dealing in relationships, familial bonds and the lack of absolutes in both.

Q: In the movie, the idea is expressed that good and bad are not so absolute. Is that a concept you incorporate into all the characters you play?

A: Well, I try. Just because of my training and everything else, and because of what I believe about storytelling -- that certainly as an actor you must not judge your character. It's for the audience to do that. You kind of hand over, for want of a better word, your equipment to the character, and you hope that you've judged it to be good writing because that will support you.

Q: You have said the key to a good performance begins with the writing.

A: Totally. I'm nowhere without a good script.

Q: Do you think bits and pieces of the characters you have played stay with you?

A: Um, no, I don't. I think you keep the two things very separate. My life is pretty separate. My life informs my work rather than the other way around.

Q: Was there anything about your character in "Nobel Son" you particularly liked playing?

A: I think that any man who is vaguely honest will recognize this is a world run by men for men, on the whole. This is like taking that to a ridiculous extreme. What happens then is he may be a grown man in a suit, but he's actually got the conscience and soul of a 12-year-old. So that actually, in certain places, just makes it fun to play. It doesn't mean it's fun to watch, but it's fun to play. [laughing]

Q: You appear to be very sure of yourself. How much of your confidence is manufactured, and how much was instilled in you by your mother or others?

A: I'm as insecure as the next actor in terms of, you know, whether you are ever going to work again and all of those things. I think any actor you ask will say that. This is a business not only based on ability; it is based on fashion and age and youth and all sorts of trends and tricks and so-called qualities. I come from certain strong values via a working family and family that has always been incredibly supportive. But I'm not at all starry-eyed about anything. I went to a great school, and I had some great teachers. I suppose I have always seen my job as also connected to the real world, not just, as it is, to fantasy. I hope actors see themselves on some level as being responsible citizens, as well as part of a dream factory.

Q: Have you ever considered doing a part just for the money?

A: No.

Q: Do you think you have lived up to your potential?

A: No. No, the horizon, you keep swimming toward it, and it always stays just as far away.

Q: Did you consider yourself attractive growing up?

A: No, not at all. But I never really thought about those things. I don't know, I think things changed so much when I was growing up from a teenager into the 20s. Youth started to take over the world a bit, and judgments of people changed. Eccentrics were more allowed. I think I've always seen myself as being not particularly in the mainstream.

Q: Your character portrayals are so multilayered. Is that instinctual, or do you do a lot of prep work?

A: It's just keeping myself interested, I suppose. People live in three dimensions, and they are not cartoons, and if you've got good writing, you owe it to that writing to delve exactly into this person and what they might be capable of.

Q: Do you think that great English accent gives you an advantage when it comes to seducing American audiences?

A: I don't think so. I think there are a lot of preconceptions about accents. There is a wonderful marriage of accents in people like Katharine Hepburn or Spencer Tracy. That is a beautiful use of the English language.

Q: How have you managed to keep celebrity from affecting your life?

A: Because theater remains as important to me as film, and I came to film pretty late. You have to roll your sleeves up in the theater and really confront issues in a very straightforward and nightly way. That becomes about stamina and discipline. You learn that you don't have any real freedom without real discipline. It means years and years of hard work, and you never get it right and the horizon keeps moving away. Look at this crazy world. It gets crazier and crazier to try to be an actor in the middle of things going on in Mumbai or Israel and Palestine or wherever. OK, we make people's lives easier, but we can also challenge them. There is nothing wrong with being purely entertaining, but as actors it is to our advantage to try and keep our feet on the ground.

Q: You have been in a great long-term relationship. I think you've been together with Rima Horton something like 40 years. Why haven't you married, and how do you keep it going?

A: Well, you know, those are very personal questions, and maybe one of the things that has kept me sane is not answering them [laughing].
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Alan Rickman a prized villain in ‘Nobel Son’

By Stephen Schaefer
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Boston Herald

Alan Rickman is at it again.

The English actor who played memorable baddies like Hans Gruber in “Die Hard” and Severus Snape in the “Harry Potter [website]” film series is back in villain form, as a malicious philanderer in “Nobel Son,” opening Friday.

In a one-on-one interview with the Herald at New York’s Regency Hotel, Rickman explained his character Eli Michaelson, a chemist who has just won the Nobel Prize: “On the one hand he is a grown adult and on the other, he’s 9 or 10. Which is a kind of a luxurious place to be. It’s a place where only men seem to manage.”

Michaelson is unfaithfully married to Sarah (Mary Steenburgen), and the disinterested father of Barkley (Bryan Greenberg). Just before Michaelson is to receive the Nobel, Barkley is kidnapped and ransomed for the prize money.

“Nobel Son” reunites the stage and screen actor with his “Bottle Shock’ writer-director Randall Miller.

“Having done two Randy Miller movies, I can now say this is typical - which is why I show up to do them. They defy any kind of labels, because you can’t say it’s this or that. Everything goes on in them, they’re thrillers, adventures, comedies, which is why I love his work.

“You read the script and say, ‘This is an original mind at work.’ He writes them with Jody Savin, his wife and writing partner,” Rickman said.

“We made ‘Nobel Son’ first and ‘Bottle Shock’ later, but it was released the other way around. I think he had quite a fight to get ‘Nobel Son’ to the actors.”

That’s because agents are gatekeepers for their clients and will often only show an actor a script that has a budget or a start date.

“But my agents know that I always want to read everything,” Rickman said. “Just in case there was exactly what this was: This rogue, vagabond movie script that was out there. In a way it attaches itself to you rather than you to it. It jumps when you’re reading it: Do it!”

Suzanne <webmistress@alan-rickman.comfoo>
TX USA - Saturday, December 13, 2008 at 06:12:24 PM (EST)


AR photos from LA Premiere of "Nobel Son" and Movieweb Video Interview (with AR. Hands.


Renie
It must be hard for him to suffer through some of these interviewers.... - Tuesday, December 09, 2008


Here's another VCR alert! If you get the Reelz Channel, tune in to watch Dailies Weekend. Around 47 minutes into the show they have a segment on Nobel Son that lasts about 3 1/2 minutes, including interview with AR. The show will be repeated a couple of more times today and tomorrow (check your guide for schedule).

I really enjoyed seeing AR on the Jimmy Kimmel Show the other day. For those who missed it, several people already have it up on YouTube.

Suzanne <webmistress@alan-rickman.comfoo>
TX USA - Saturday, December 06, 2008


AR wasn't on KCMQ-FM this morning as scheduled. Didn't hear why. Hmmm......

I received an e-mail from Kristin (thank you!) with this nice interview from The Boston Globe.

[text of interview]

Q&A with Alan Rickman, man of many roles

The Boston Globe

From love interest to master of the dark parts

By Jason Matloff, Globe Correspondent | November 30, 2008

NEW YORK - When it came to casting the lead character Eli Michaelson for the dark-comic crime thriller "Nobel Son," the film's creators didn't have a Plan B. Alan Rickman was their first and only choice to play the Nobel Prize winner (and pompous jerk) whose son is kidnapped and held for ransom

"We had a dream that Alan was going to play Eli," said writer-producer Jody Savin, whose husband, Randall Miller, was director-writer-producer on the film. "We were very lucky."

Indeed they were. Since Rickman's movie-acting debut in 1988's "Die Hard," the actor has delivered acclaimed performances in films such as "Sense and Sensibility," "Galaxy Quest," the Harry Potter series, "Love Actually," and "Perfume: The Story of a Murderer." After wrapping "Nobel Son," which opens locally on Friday, Rickman starred in Miller and Savin's follow-up effort, "Bottle Shock," an indie comedy that was actually released first, this past August.

On a chilly November morning, the London native sat down to discuss playing Eli Michaelson, life after Harry Potter, and why it's important to take a close look at his filmography before making assumptions about his career.

Q. What was your initial reaction to the script of "Nobel Son"?

A. I thought, "Who the hell wrote this?" And then I spoke to Randall and Jody on the phone, and again thought, "Who are these people?" But that's what I love about them, that there is no easy way to label their work.

Q. Eli seems easy to label: How about "miserable"?

A. He knows what he wants. He's happy. [Laughs]

Q. Was it enjoyable to embody such a person?

A. It's great fun, actually. Because on one hand he's a grown-up, and on the other, he's about 11 years old.

Q. You've said in the past that your character in "Snow Cake" [Rickman plays an ex-con who forges a friendship with an autistic adult] was more like you than anyone else you have played. How much of you is in Eli?

A. Well, you have to drag it from somewhere. I guess there is a selfish creep inside every man.

Q. Eli wins the Nobel Prize for chemistry. For research, did you dust off your old school textbooks?

A. That would have been a waste of time, because I was so useless in anything that had to do with science in school.

Q. Speaking of awards, your "Die Hard" character, Hans Gruber, was voted by the American Film Institute as the 46th best movie villain of all time. Does that make you proud?

A. Again, I don't know about labels, but if by saying that, they mean I gave a good performance in a good film, then great, thank you.

Q. Over the years, many journalists have categorized you as an actor who often plays heavies. Does that get tiresome?

A. Look up and down my [curriculum vitae], and there will probably be a total of six of that type of role.

Q. Is that why in the past, you haven't been that keen on speaking about "Die Hard"?

A. I'm very proud of that film, but, again, just look up and down my CV.

Q. If one does, they'll find a mix of big-budget studio pics ["Sweeney Todd," the Harry Potter films] and indies ["Snow Cake," "Bottle Shock"]. Do you have a preference?

A. I suppose on the whole, I'm more attracted to independent projects. But that's not to say that I wouldn't do something more mainstream if it had energy and vision.

Q. Which of your films are you most recognized for?

A. "Sense and Sensibility," "Truly Madly Deeply." Teenagers really love "Dogma."

Q. Do children recognize you as Harry Potter's Severus Snape?

A. Not really, because I'm generally not walking around wearing a black wig.

Q. "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" comes out in July, and later in the year, you'll begin filming the series' final installment, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows." How do you feel knowing that the end is in sight?

A. It means that I'll be able to do more theater as an actor. I couldn't really because I never know what my commitment could be.

Q. Would you ever do another film, knowing it could be six sequels?

A. Only if I was provided with a wheelchair and an oxygen tank.

Suzanne <webmistress@alan-rickman.comfoo>
TX USA - Monday, December 01, 2008


There was a free screening of Nobel Son for UCLA students and a post-film Q&A session with AR and Randall Miller on November 25, 2008. A detailed livejournal page with photos reveals that Rickman's character, Eli Michaelson, is based on Miller's own father, who was a professor at UCLA.

AR also "seems' to have indicated that JKR had not told him beforehand the full story of Snape. (I hope I said that delicately enough.)

Also, don't miss the fingers/hand photos in the report. (Ahem, no further comment.)

Lastly, for those of you who are wary of such things, you might want advance warning that Nobel Son is rated R for "some violent gruesome images". Here is one of two promotional posters at IMDB.
Renie
Note mob scene of girls after the Q&A., - Monday, December 01, 2008


Thanks, Merry, for the heads up! Also, I received an e-mail today that he will be on the Bob & Tom Show on KCMQ-FM Radio at 7:30 a.m. on Monday, Dec. 1st. I'll try to record it, but if anyone else can, please do, just in case mine doesn't work.

Suzanne <webmistress@alan-rickman.comfoo>
TX USA - Friday, November 28, 2008


Happy Thanksgiving to you all. Here's something else for Americans to be thankful for: TV-now.com says Alan Rickman will be on the Jimmy Kimmel show Dec. 4 on ABC!!
Merry <Mwieder1@elp.rr.comfoo>
El Paso, TX USA - Thursday, November 27, 2008


From the Evening Standard. In the running for the Evening Standard Theatre Awards are Alan Rickman as director for Creditors and Kenneth Branagh for Best Actor in Ivanov.
Renie
- Wednesday, November 05, 2008


Peace Arch Nabs Three Films, Screening at AFM

By Billy Gil | Posted: 30 Oct 2008
homemediamagazine.com
bgil@questex.com

Arch Entertainment Group has acquired international distribution rights to the dark comedy Nobel Son, the drama Explicit iLLS and the thriller Two: Thirteen. Peace Arch will showcase the films at the American Film Market (AFM) in Santa Monica, Calif., Nov. 5-12.

Nobel Son stars Alan Rickman, Eliza Dushku and Dannny DeVito; releases theatrically Dec. 5; and will have its U.S. DVD release through 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment. Explicit iLLs stars Paul Dano and Rosario Dawson, and won the Audience Award at the 2008 South by Southwest Film Festival. Two: Thirteen stars Mark Thompson and Teri Polo, and will world premiere at AFM.

“These three films reflect our on-going commitment to acquiring outstanding content with wide appeal,” said John Flock, president and COO of Peace Arch Entertainment Group. “We anticipate great success for these movies at AFM and in the international markets.”

Suzanne <webmistress@alan-rickman.comfoo>
TX USA - Saturday, November 01, 2008


Are we actually to believe this or is it just a tease? Alan is rumored to be providing the voice of the "hookah smoking caterpillar" for the version of Alice in Wonderland Tim Burton is working on for Disney. Read more here.
Ali-Pat
Dayton, OH USA - Monday, October 27, 2008


Harry Potter star Alan Rickman funds school bursary

Alan Rickman, who plays Prof Severus Snape in the Harry Potter films, is to fund a bursary at his old school to give someone the same opportunity he enjoyed.

By Graham Tibbetts
telegraph.co.uk
Last Updated: 10:57PM BST 24 Oct 2008

The actor's donation will pay for a pupil from a disadvantaged background to attend the £13,470-a-year Latymer Upper in Hammersmith, west London.

Rickman, 62, won a scholarship to the school after his father, a factory worker, died when he was eight.

A spokesman for Latymer Upper said: "We're very glad when someone donates to the school, regardless of their background."

During his time at Latymer Rickman did well and was made a prefect.

In one interview he said its air of detachment suited his temperament, observing that "Latymer was like a cold gust of wind to the brain".

However, he said it was difficult leaving his previous world behind.

"You want to run away, you know you've got to come to terms with it. You find yourself becoming middle class, and you have to deal with that. You feel guilty and you have to come out the other side of that," he said.

Two years ago Rickman addressed A-level drama students at the school and promised to get a couple of them work on the next Harry Potter film as extras.

Former pupils of Latymer include Lily Cole, the model, Heston Blumenthal, the chef, and the comedian Mel Smith.

Another old boy, Hugh Grant, also established a scholarship which he recently doubled to pay the fees of two pupils. It is named after his late mother, Fynvola.

Smith has also funded a bursary by donating £1.5 million.



Suzanne <webmistress@alan-rickman.comfoo>
TX usa - Saturday, October 25, 2008

From the SundayScotsman:

Never lose composure - Patrick Doyle interview
Published Date: 05 October 2008
After surviving leukaemia, Patrick Doyle knows he can't get carried away by Hollywood, writes Anna Millar
SOMETIMES having Robert De Niro as a fan, Alan Rickman round for dinner and Ewan McGregor in your bed simply isn't enough.

"Composing the music for Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire made me marginally cooler," laughs twice Oscar-nominated Scottish composer Patrick Doyle. "But it's still: 'Dad, don't try and dance ok?' My kids find the whole celebrity thing, refreshingly, under-whelming," laughs the 56-year-old.

"That said," he admits, "my wife wasn't objecting when Ewan (McGregor] rented out our Beverly Hills apartment with his family. We obviously weren't there, but she could still say that he had slept in her bed for three months."

Long before Quentin Tarantino paved the way for a hip new age of movie soundtracks, Uddingston-born Doyle was one of Hollywood's most prolific composers, working with some of its most influential players, from Al Pacino and De Niro to Brian De Palma and Robert Altman, on Sense And Sensibility (for which he was nominated for an Academy Award), Carlito's Way, Bridget Jones's Diary, Gosford Park, Donnie Brasco and the aforementioned Harry Potter.

In his latest project he is providing the soundtrack for animated 3D monster, Igor, starring John Cusack.

"While others have been typecast into drama or comedy or musicals, I have not," says Doyle. "I never stop being grateful for it."

Growing up in Lanarkshire, as one of 13 children, Doyle quickly learned that to get noticed he had to speak up. "I was brought up in a very Scottish, pre-karaoke, house," he laughs. "Both my parents were musicians, so there was never a time when music wasn't there; we were surrounded by it."

Inspired by the talent around him he joined the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama to study piano and singing. Before long he was spotted by Scottish playwright John Byrne and offered a part in the stage production of The Slab Boys; then later a small part on hit TV comedy Tutti Frutti.

"It was such a special time in Glasgow. I was involved in the Citizens' Theatre, meeting people like Alan (Rickman]. It was that which really opened the door to me heading south and joining Kenneth Branagh's Renaissance Company."

It was this professional relationship with Branagh that would catapult Doyle's career; his collaboration with him on Henry V in 1989 earning Doyle an Ivor Novello for best film theme.

Ten good years followed, jetting around the world and working with some of Hollywood's biggest players before illness struck in 1997. Aged 44, Doyle was diagnosed with leukaemia.

During the "darkest time" of his life he immersed himself in the love of his family and his other great passion: music. While dealing with the painful indignity of chemotherapy and battling the depression that ensued, the composer found solace writing music, even completing a soundtrack during his recovery. Nurses and doctors would watch in wonder as "dear friends" such as Emma Thompson, Robbie Coltrane, Branagh and Greg Wise would visit.

They were there again, with Brit pack royalty such as Dame Judi Dench and Derek Jacobi, last year when 10 years on from his illness and now in remission, Doyle held a charity concert and raised thousands for Leukaemia Research at the Albert Hall.

"It put things in perspective, but I had never taken any of it for granted anyway. I remember once when I had to teach Robert De Niro a little bit of music on a film, we got to talking about what makes Glasgow great. He compared it to New York. There's honesty there, even today. It's so alive, and so while I have always felt at home in New York and LA, the notion of celebrity is lost on me; that was there before I got ill and it's there now."

Happy to spend his time away from the Hollywood glare, Doyle lives in Surrey with his "wonderfully talented" children and wife, but still enjoys taking time out with them at their flat in Glasgow's West End. He hopes to find some time there in the coming weeks to work on the two solo piano albums and a string compilation that he is currently working on.

"Anyone will tell you that you are only as good as your last job, I never lose sight of that. I've met some incredible actors, directors and musicians in my career and the truth is most, like me, are just normal people trying to do their job. The great thing is, you never quite know what's around the corner. Each day I try to remind myself that the fun has only just begun."


Renie
So glad he pulled through his illness--it's everything to have friends, - Monday, October 06, 2008


Here are some more reviews:

metro.co.uk
independent.co.uk
thestage.co.uk
timesonline.co.uk

Vera
- Saturday, October 04, 2008


First night photos on WhatsonStage.com plus their 4* review HERE
sue
england - Wednesday, October 01, 2008


Review: Creditors at the Donmar Warehouse
By Charles Spencer
The Telegraph: 12:01am BST 01/10/2008

What I love best about Strindberg is his utter lack of decorum.

At his most basic, and his best, he shows men and women knocking great lumps out of each other.

His plays have both the thrill and the horror of a bare-knuckle fight - a battle of the sexes in which no punch is too low, no trick too dirty, and only a sickeningly powerful and usually lethal blow will settle the matter.

Creditors (1888) is rarely performed, yet it comes over like the distilled essence of Strindberg in Alan Rickman's gripping, powerful and blackly comic production.

It also seems highly influential. I think it unlikely that Osborne would have written Look Back in Anger, or Pinter The Homecoming and Old Times, quite as they did had they not had knowledge of Creditors.

But then Strindberg was also under the influence of another writer when he wrote his own play.

There are distinct echoes of Othello in the opening scene in which the apparently sympathetic and detached academic Gustav reduces the sickly young artist Adolph to a state of desperate jealousy and despair about his older wife Tekla, a novelist.

With a doctor's bedside manner, in a holiday hotel by the sea, Gustav insists that Adolph's infatuation is so bad that it could reduce him to a state of epilepsy.

Tekla, he says, is a cannibal who is emasculating him, and a whore who is betraying him.

It's impossible not to be reminded of the great scene in which Iago plants the seeds of jealousy in the Moor. But Strindberg has a further brilliant twist up his sleeve.

The gullible artist is puzzled that Gustav seems to know so much about his wife, but the audience begins to get an inkling.

He is Tekla's first husband so roundly abused as a fool in her first novel. Now he is the creditor, and predator, who has come to collect the debts of love, and leave emotional havoc in his wake.

David Greig's translation powerfully captures the drama's cruelty and sudden thrilling surges of lust, as well as its elegant structure, so at odds with the emotional violence, in which the action consists of a series of duologues that work all the possible permutations between the three characters.

Set designer Ben Stones places the action in an elegant white room, suspended above a murky pool of water, somehow conjuring the idea of a psychiatric institution as well as a holiday hotel, and all three performances are superb.

Tom Burke harrowingly conveys the mental and physical disintegration of the second husband, looking like a helpless, blushing boy in a grown-up world as he finds himself helplessly entangled in coils of jealousy, fear and desire.

Owen Teale brings icy authority and hypnotic precision to the stage as the avenging Gustav, while Anna Chancellor delivers an erotic tour de force as Tekla, who kinkily treats her second husband as if he were her younger brother and blazes with a fierce amoral desire for both the men in her life.

Welcome to the Creditors crunch!

Renie (who is gripping, powerful, and blackly comic, ummm sometimes.)
Who needs to make dinner?, - Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Creditors, Donmar Warehouse, London

Michael Billington
The Guardian, Wednesday October 1 2008

"Strindberg was right. "Miss Julie," he wrote, "made concessions to romanticism but Creditors is a really modern piece." That is exactly how the play, written in 1888, emerges in Alan Rickman's bracingly intelligent revival. It is modern in its violently compressed 90-minute form, in its tragi-comic tone and in its scathing portrait of raw, undiluted destructiveness.

The constant charge against Strindberg is misogyny. What he shows here, however, is the warped power of male vindictiveness. Setting the action in a Swedish resort hotel, he shows how a credulous artist, Adolph, has his mind poisoned against his wife, Tekla, by a bilious visitor, Gustav. On her return we see the disastrous consequences, as Adolph seeks to erode his novelist-wife's buoyant independence. And, in the third of Strindberg's intense duologues, Gustav himself confronts Tekla who is both his former wife and the real object of his corrosive scorn.

You can see the play in many ways; Germaine Greer, in a programme note, interprets it as a mythic portrait of warring coupledom. But both David Greig's new version and Rickman's production shift the focus towards the insanity of revenge. Gustav, in Owen Teale's masterful performance, becomes a frayed, scruffy-suited Iago who, in preying on Adolph's sexual insecurity, embodies a destructive nihilism.

Deserted by Tekla, Gustav turns his hatred on the whole sex, absurdly suggesting a naked woman's body resembles "a fat boy with overdeveloped breasts". Creatively impotent himself, Gustav derides Adolph's artistic faith by dismissing sculpture as "an antiquated medium" that cannot express the complexity of the modern world. Strindberg was always hooked on the sex-war; but in this play he gives us one of drama's finest portraits of wrecking negativity.

Admittedly Strindberg's modernity is compromised by his excessive use of eavesdropping and by his melodramatic conclusion. But one forgives his faults for his psychological penetration. And Teale's performance is well matched by that of Tom Burke who plays the impressionable Adolph as an overgrown child-man whose doubts about his wife's talent and fidelity are perfectly articulated by his tormentor. Anna Chancellor also admirably plays Tekla from her own point of view as a woman filled with an ardent sexuality that finds expression in nursery games in which she becomes her husband's self-styled Little Sister. Ben Stones's all-white set and Adam Cork's echoing sound design add to the richness of a production giving a fascinating new perspective on Strindberg: one in which the supposed embodiment of woman-hatred turns out to be its fiercest critic."

Creditors by August Strindberg
Donmar Warehouse, London
Until November 15
Box office: 0870 060 6624

Renie
"bracingly intelligent" is good., - Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Excerpt from the Independent:

Life after Duckface: Anna Chancellor tackles Strindberg
Since Hugh Grant dumped her at the altar, Anna Chancellor has specialised in strong female roles. Tonight she tackles Strindberg.
By Sophie Morris
Thursday, 25 September 2008

Anna Chancellor opens our interview with a comment about Hugh Grant, the man who left her standing at the altar in Four Weddings and a Funeral. The hugely successful romantic comedy cast her for ever after in the role of "Duckface", the jilted lover with an acid tongue, and she knows she will always be asked about it. She is also trying to evade questions about herself and her latest part, as Tekla in August Strindberg's Creditors, which opens tonight at the Donmar Warehouse in London's Covent Garden.

Tekla is a woman torn between two men, and Chancellor has spent the weekend in Dorset, getting some head space before the opening night. She has been acting since primary school, but has the nerves of a first-timer.

"Even talking about Creditors is making me nervous," she confides. "It's an exposing thing being on stage. It's a high-voltage thing, even if it doesn't always look like that from the audience."

She says she doesn't enjoy talking about herself, though she is very chatty, a little gossipy, and has a breezy and honest demeanour. "I feel so bored talking about myself. Sometimes you just don't have the energy or the will to talk about yourself. As a defence mechanism I ask other people loads of questions."

At work, she can hide behind other people's words, though Strindberg's scripts are no picnic. Creditors is a little-known play and this is a new version by David Greig, co-starring Owen Teale and Tom Burke and directed by the mighty Alan Rickman.

Chancellor feels it is a luxury to play a part that is below the radar of most theatre-goers and so complex. "Tekla is charming, open, funny, insecure, ostracised, vain," she explains. "Like anybody she's got many different facets." Strindberg, born in Stockholm, Sweden, in 1849 and friend of Ibsen, Kirkegaard and Hans Christian Andersen, has a reputation as a misogynist, because of his warts 'n' all female characters and his own troubled personal relationships.

"He's written a great part for an actress, so that's not exactly misogynistic, is it?" counters Chancellor. "He's exploring his feelings and he's honest about how he feels. He feels the power that women have over him and that makes him mad. Strindberg's out there. He's like Sid Vicious. People who are genuinely radical throw the javelin much further than anyone else. They have to. Maybe the misogynists are the ones who write cute parts for young girls. Maybe half of Hollywood is misogynistic."

Chancellor has been in a good number of Hollywood films but does not feel she has lost out to the dearth of decent acting roles for women. She has, however, at 43, played mothers to men old enough to be her brother.

She has acted with a roll call of leading men. She has played Jeremy Irons's wife twice, most recently in Never So Good at the National Theatre. Hugh Grant, though she lost him to Andie MacDowell in the end, is enviable rom-com totty. As Caroline Bingley in the BBC's much-loved 1995 adaptation of Pride and Prejudice she had a stab at Colin Firth, though Elizabeth Bennet eventually wins Mr Darcy.

Creditors is something of an about-turn, with Chancellor's Tekla the object of two men's affections. She is full of praise for Rickman's directing, because he empathises with the job of an actor. "Not only has he done a lot of acting, but he has thought a lot about acting," she explains. "Alan knows what you should and shouldn't do. A lot of directors don't."

Doing Four Weddings in 1994 made earning a living as an actor easier, she says. It was her first film and an amazing experience, but she has never felt part of its phenomenal success. She is not bothered by the Duckface moniker. "I really love ducks," she says.

Renie
- Friday, September 26, 2008


An article on the box office of Bottle Shock.

Kenneth Branagh has a smashing Ivanov. Here's hoping that AR has an equally good reception for directing Strindberg--Michael Grandage is a great guy.

"Alan Rickman has already proved himself to be a wonderful director as well as a wonderful actor," says the Donmar's artistic director, Michael Grandage. "As we continue to explore the European repertoire here at the Donmar, he felt like the perfect match for this material."

Renie
- Friday, September 26, 2008


Hello! Alan was among the nominees announced on Wednesday for Spike TV's 'Scream 2008' Awards. Judge Turpin, along with Johnny Depp's Sweeney Todd made the nomination list. An article listing all the nominees can be found here!
Maggie Umbra <subtle_incandescence@yahoodotcomfoo>
Kansas City, MO 64151 - Friday, September 12, 2008


Alan's play "My Name is Rachel Corrie" is opening in Chicago this Friday, September 12. It will be directed by directed by Emmy Kreilkamp and assisted by Matthew Zaradich. Chicago actress Jessie Fisher will play Rachel Corrie,

My Name Is Rachel Corrie

I am looking forward to finally seeing it after all this time.
martissima
chicago, il usa - Thursday, September 11, 2008


Hi everyone! Just got my Rolling Stone magazine (RS 1060 Sept. 4, 2008 issue) and there is a nice Fall Movie Preview, which to my surprise has "Nobel Son" as an "Under the Radar" film to see. The review:

Alan Rickman, teaming with his Bottle Shock director, Randall Miller, goes for the jugular as a scientist who receives a Nobel Prize at the same time his son is kidnapped. Miller laces his thriller with dark comedy matched by the pitch-perfect performances of Rickman and Mary Steenburgen as his wife. (November 7th)

Rolling Stone calls the coming season of films "The Smart Season." Well, WE know any film season with Rickman is a smart one! hehe.

Rolling Stone grades the Summer Film Season and Alan Rickman in Bottle Shock receives a Grade A! Woo!

Just thought I'd share this tidbit with you. This issue of RS is worth picking for the nice reviews of the Fall Season films and the Early Oscar Handicapping (no Rickman mention, sadly :( )
Kimberly
MI - Saturday, August 30, 2008


Forgive me if this has been posted before:

"Noble Son" web site.
Georgiana
Seattle - Thursday, August 21, 2008


The BBC reviews "Bottle Shock" on their evening news tonight, which can be seen online.
Georgiana
Seattle - Tuesday, August 19, 2008


The Boston Globe
August 13, 2008 Wednesday
THIRD EDITION
Not exactly a true vintage
BYLINE: Stephen Meuse Globe Correspondent
SECTION: FOOD & ARTS; Pg. E2
LENGTH: 877 words

In the spring of 1976, Gerald Ford was in the White House, the federal minimum wage was $2.30 an hour, and Perrier water had just made its appearance here. Americans were looking forward to their bicentennial celebration, and a Paris-based British wine-trade professional named Steven Spurrier was busy organizing a blind tasting of French and California wines - an event aimed at highlighting advances in American winemaking over the last couple of decades. When that "Judgment of Paris" was over, two California wines from the Napa Valley had bested all challengers. On hearing the stunning results, Jim Barrett, part-owner of Chateau Montelena, whose chardonnay won the white-wine competition, is said to have quipped, "Not bad for kids from the sticks."

He was joking, of course. Barrett, who came to Napa in 1972, was a wealthy law partner from Southern California who was anything but a hick. But Randall Miller, who has directed and co-written a new movie based on the Paris tasting, has decided to tell the story as if Barrett's remark were gospel. This artifice is the founding myth of "Bottle Shock," a film that casts so golden a glow over the Napa Valley wine business it might have been storyboarded by the Vintner's Association. As in "Sideways," whose 2005 success the Randall film was surely designed to replicate, it isn't really wine that's front and center here so much as a host of shopworn narrative-anchoring tropes: father-son rivalry; nobody believed we could do it; implausible last-minute rescue; the drama (yawn) of romantic competition. "High Noon" with hints of "Rocky."

In the film, Spurrier (the excellent Alan Rickman) is barely making it as a wine educator and retailer in Paris when he conceives the idea of promoting himself and his business by arranging the contest. Egged on by Maurice, the chatty, loudly dressed American who runs the shop next door (pompadour-sporting Dennis Farina), Spurrier heads off to Napa to sample the local wares, where he encounters various Valley characters including Barrett's wastrel son Bo (Chris Pine), who is proud of the wine made on the property but not really committed to following his dad (Bill Pullman) into the challenging work of managing Montelena.

Bo, pal Gustavo (Freddy Rodriguez), and most everyone else here is besotted - who wouldn't be? - with the beautiful Sam (Tasmanian actress Rachael Taylor), who has come to Montelena to intern. While Jim and Bo work out their mixed-up feelings toward each other in a jury-rigged outdoor boxing ring and Gustavo beds Sam in a field hands' shed, Spurrier doggedly visits one property after another in his rented AMC Hornet. He buys up barrel samples and introduces himself to the pleasures of fresh guacamole. When in a cafe, as the quality of what he's tasting begins to sink in, he murmurs, "This California wine ... is so good," a saucy waitress flings back, "What did you expect - Thunderbird?"

Once back in Paris (the tasting of a dozen California wines against eight French was actually held in the courtyard of the Intercontinental Hotel, while in the film the venue is distinctly countrified), the anti-French sentiment flows thick as creme fraiche and twice as acid. Bo's honest-frontiersman-meets-effete-courtiers act couldn't recall Ben Franklin's first appearance at Versailles more emphatically if they had stuck a coonskin cap on his head.

As far as we can tell, the film does get the names of all nine official tasters right - all of them French and each a bona-fide gastronomic star, including Raymond Oliver of the restaurant Le Grand Vefour and Odette Kahn, then editor of Revue du Vin de France, the country's premier wine monthly.

This punctiliousness becomes downright suspicious, however, when you realize that aside from a brief postscript, this film avoids all mention of other California properties that made their bones that day. Neither Stag's Leap Wine Cellars nor its winemaker Warren Winiarski figures in any scene, despite the fact that their cabernet carried away the laurels in the red wine competition - an arguably greater achievement than Montelena's. Nor does European-born winemaker Mike Grgich receive so much as a howdy-do here, though it was he, not Jim Barrett, who vinified those 800 cases of Montelena's prize-winning chardonnay. Lots of wine people think Winiarski and Grgich are the real heroes of '76. It's gaffes like this that make you want to ask for a do-over.

And guess what - we're getting one. The real Spurrier and journalist George Taber have joined forces with screenwriter Mark Kamen to offer what amounts to a second sample from this barrel. The "Judgment of Paris," a film based on Taber's 2006 book of the same name (Taber was the only journalist present at the original event and wrote the story for Time magazine that included the immortal line "California defeated all Gaul") is said to be in production now. One can only hope it sets the record straight on the roles played by Winiarski and Grgich. As for being a better movie, it can't really miss on that score - considering the competition, I mean.

A footnote: Chateau Montelena was sold in July - to those pesky French, of all people, who seem to have decided that if they can't beat the hicks, they might as well buy them out.

Georgiana
Seattle - Tuesday, August 19, 2008


St. Petersburg Times (Florida)
August 14, 2008 Thursday
TOP 5
SECTION: WEEKEND; TOP 5; UPCOMING RELEASES; Pg. 6W
LENGTH: 191 words

Current movies recommended by the Times:

1 The Dark Knight - The late Heath Ledger's taunting, haunting Joker terrifies Gotham City, and only Batman (Christian Bale) can stop him. The greatest comic book movie ever.

2 Bottle Shock - Alan Rickman is deliciously droll as a wine expert who proves California vines are equal to France's. Based on a true story.

3 Mamma Mia! - Admit it: Abba's music is irresistible, especially with Meryl Streep belting it out among Greek island locales. The summer's feel-good, sing-along treat.

4 Vicky Cristina Barcelona - Woody Allen's Euro-tour of neuroses continues, this time in Spain with Javier Bardem seducing three women.

5Pineapple Express - Seth Rogen and James Franco are stoners on the run in an ultra-violent, relentlessly offensive comedy.

. . . . . . . . . .

Georgiana
Seattle - Tuesday, August 19, 2008


The Globe and Mail (Canada)
August 15, 2008 Friday
BBC Chekhov comedies are serious business
BYLINE: WARREN CLEMENTS, wclements@globeandmail.com
SECTION: THE GLOBE REVIEW 7; NEW MEDIA: DVDS: DVD: NEW RELEASES; Pg. R23
LENGTH: 1051 words

. . . . . . . . . .

Also out: Alan Rickman has a tasty role in The Search for John Gissing, as a cunning British executive determined to keep an American upstart (Mike Binder) from stealing his job. But this is one of those painful comedies in which the plot demands that characters avoid saying the very things that would clear up misunderstandings, since otherwise the farce would stumble. Much depends on whether you can tolerate the brash whininess of the character played by Binder, who also wrote and directed the film (as he did 2005's The Upside of Anger). Janeane Garofalo co-stars as the upstart's wife.

. . . . . . . . . .

Georgiana
Seattle - Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Daily Variety
August 15, 2008 Friday
HEAT'S ON 'TROPIC'
BYLINE: BEN FRITZ and DAVE McNARY
SECTION: NEWS; Pg. 01
LENGTH: 733 words
HIGHLIGHT: Starry laffer will have to hold off 'Clone'

. . . . . . . . . .

And Freestyle is expanding Alan Rickman starrer "Bottle Shock" from 48 to 117 playdates over the frame.

. . . . . . . . . .


Georgiana (Translation, anyone?)
Seattle - Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Los Angeles Times
August 16, 2008 Saturday
Home Edition
Alan Rickman, the comedic corker; In 'Bottle Shock,' he plays British snobbery with attuned subtlety, not gross caricature.
BYLINE: Matthew DeBord, Special to The Times
SECTION: CALENDAR; Calendar Desk; Part E; Pg. 14
LENGTH: 938 words

Alan Rickman practices a stealth approach to comedy -- laughs for him are the product of a dry, reserved and withholding theatrical temperament. All veddy, veddy English, of course (appropriate for an actor who spent time in Britain's Royal Shakespeare Company). But Rickman also delights in flouting expectations.

He's funny. But he's funny in a way that audiences can connect with. Anyone who has enjoyed him as Severus Snape in the "Harry Potter" movies, the continually flabbergasted Sheriff of Nottingham in "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves" (1991) or the psychopathic and exasperated villain Hans Gruber in "Die Hard" (1988) can attest to this.

Rickman calls this quality the "once-upon-a-time factor." Relaxing with a cup of tea at the Four Seasons Beverly Hills, he explains that it occurs "when it feels as if a movie is about the audience and people are truly engaged with the story."

Rickman's talent for humor, storytelling and, above all, generosity is on abundant display in "Bottle Shock," which opened last week in Los Angeles. It's the second film that he's done with writer-director Randall Miller and co-writer Jody Savin (the first was the yet-to-be-released "Nobel Son").

"This is the Randy and Jody part of my life," Rickman says with his trademark weary archness, a quality that he deftly alternates with effusive praise for his artistic collaborators. "It's a unique thing that Randy and Jody have -- a totally unique and independent energy."

If 2004's "Sideways" gave us the melancholy-romantic-middle-age-loser take on the wine world, then "Bottle Shock" gives us the mock-heroic-triumph-of-the-underdog version. Set in 1976 (with the wardrobe and hairstyles to prove it), the film dramatizes the well-worn story of the so-called Judgment of Paris and the now-legendary wine-tasting competition staged in the City of Light, in which a batch of upstart California bottlings were pitted against the best France had to offer -- and won. The understandably shocking results made it into Time magazine, and the California wine boom was officially off and slurping.

Rickman, 62, plays Steven Spurrier, who in the early years of the Me Decade was a struggling, 32-year-old British wine merchant in Paris. (Clearly, "Bottle Shock" has taken some liberties with the age thing.) There's a long history of Englishmen and their long love of French wine -- the Anglophone oenophile essentially defined the popular caricature of the wine snob. Spurrier was cut from that cloth. His objective in staging the Judgment of Paris, according to the "Bottle Shock" script, was to gin up publicity for his store. Little did he know that he would, by traveling to the then-backwater Napa Valley and returning with their finest juice, set the wine world on its ear. (Spurrier has been more closely involved with another movie on the Paris tasting, which has not yet been cast; reportedly he was less than thrilled with the way his character was written in "Bottle Shock.")

Rickman, who spends the entire film outfitted -- and, he says, sweltering -- in bespoke-ish three-piece suits and a necktie, nails Spurrier without ever descending into easy cliches. There are, of course, the cerebral ruminations on the aromas and flavors of wine, notably a Chardonnay produced by Chateau Montelena, the winery that the script focuses on (and that, ironically, was recently purchased by a French winery, Bordeaux's Chateau Cos d'Estournel). There are also moments of hilarity, such as when Spurrier's clattering, rented Gremlin blows a tire on a dusty Napa byway. But Rickman also delivers revelation: Spurrier came to America to find the wines wanting but in the end, he admits, slightly awe-struck, "these California wines are so good."

In a weird twist on events, Rickman had actually met Spurrier years ago, "at a friend's vineyard in Italy." So, naturally, as Rickman puts it, he "rang him up." At the time, Spurrier was keen to remind Rickman that in 2006, he had restaged the Judgment of Paris -- and that the California wines won again (an outcome that serves as an epilogue in "Bottle Shock").

Beyond that, Rickman didn't particularly model his performance on Spurrier, choosing instead to add nuance to a familiar English type. "I knew it was going to be an impersonation," he says. "I was playing the alien abroad." He imbued Spurrier with an essential attitude of English imperiousness but set about equally to reveal him as he undertakes a process of discovery.

Still, he concedes, there's "nothing funnier than an angry Englishman." The script repeatedly places Spurrier in humiliating experiences, all of which he seethingly endures. Even the broiling Napa weather, so crucial to producing ripe grapes, doesn't faze the guy.

"He doesn't feel the heat," Rickman says, "because he's English."

This careful balance between emerging enthusiasm and cultural reserve is on vivid display in "Bottle Shock" when Rickman acts opposite Bill Pullman, who portrays Chateau Montelena's crusty, visionary founder, Jim Barrett (the film also features several young actors, including Chris Pine as Jim's randy, directionless son, Bo, and Freddy Rodriguez as an ambitious winemaker of Mexican heritage struggling to overcome racist attitudes). Rickman knew during the filmmaking process that Pullman had the tougher role to pull off, and he credits him with a terrific performance.

Still, while the movie has many heroes, it's Spurrier's experience that drives the action. This provoked Rickman's more important quest. "Given that his objectives are so clear, I had to locate the moments when he discovers things. I had to find out where his innocence is."

Georgiana
Seattle - Tuesday, August 19, 2008


I found a must-read interview conducted by Backstage. 'Shock' and Awe Alan talks about all kinds of stuff, including his ideas as a director, his voice, his schooling, and of course Bottle Shock! [text of article]:

'Shock' and Awe

Alan Rickman almost convinces us he's just the average working actor.

August 15, 2008
By Dany Margolies

Alan Rickman's newly released film Bottle Shock, the actor is called upon to create an entrepreneurial and rather uncomfortable life for his character. The film tells the real-life story of Steven Spurrier, a British expat wine purveyor living in Paris in the mid-1970s. Spurrier is someone only Rickman could play: an open-minded snob, ripe for introduction to the upstart California wine industry. Also required by the role: Rickman must eat KFC and drive a Gremlin.

Yes, this is the iconic actor with the mellifluous voice and aloof demeanor who elegantly plays 19th-century romantic leads and 21st-century stylized villains. This is the actor who is at home on Broadway and London stages, as well as in cult-inducing goofy film comedies. And yet, to hear him tell it, he found the get-his-hands-dirty work on Bottle Shock inspiring and challenging.

Most of us remember our first sighting of the actor. For the lucky ones, it was in 1987 on Broadway in Les Liaisons Dangereuses. For some, it was in Die Hard, where he played debonair villain Hans Gruber. By 1990, many of us who saw him as the mostly lovable ghost in Truly Madly Deeply felt we had discovered a brilliant new leading man. His Colonel Brandon in 1995's Sense and Sensibility confirmed his allure. But just as we locked him into the sultry-romantic category, he made Galaxy Quest and earned a new wave of fans for his great comedic sense.

In the last decade, he has been playing the complex villain Professor Snape in the Harry Potter franchise, to whom Rickman brings more heartache than evil, a man who has all talents except those with which to earn the admiration of his students. And in 2007's film version of Sweeney Todd, Rickman plays Judge Turpin, in the actor's vision more subtly chilling than overtly diabolical.

Rickman recently spoke with Back Stage about the actor-director relationship, his early acting lessons, and the devaluation of American theatre.

Back Stage: After you get your script, when do you start creating your character?

Alan Rickman: You know, I know less and less about what I do as time goes on, I'm afraid. I know that I'm only as good as the script, and frequently it's a darn sight better than I am. And so, when I read it, part of the process of saying yes is, the images start to dance about on the page, and you want to grab hold of them. But as one goes on in this profession, more and more I'm waiting for interaction with other actors and an environment, if you talk about film, and to be fed by that, so that there's some element of not knowing involved.

Back Stage: So does the interaction start at the table read?

Rickman: I don't think we had such a thing [for Bottle Shock]. And I think as a director I would never do that. I'd never sit people around and say, "And now here's the moment where you prove why you got the job." Horrible. I'd never trust in that. We just move organically into.... I mean, I'm about to direct a play in London [Creditors, by Strindberg], and I don't think it will have a read-through as such.

Back Stage: When directors get too hands-on with you, what do you do or say?

Rickman: Honestly, depends who I'm working with. When I played Hamlet [in the 1980s], I did it with Robert Sturua, from the Rustaveli company in [Soviet] Georgia. Russian directors come from a completely different tradition, where the director is god and the actor is a tube of paint, to some extent. There was a negotiation with that relationship, with him. I did a play with Yukio Ninagawa [Tango at the End of Winter in London in 1991], who's a great, great Japanese director. That was completely different. Working with Howard Davies on Private Lives [2001-02] and Liaisons Dangereuses [1985-87] was very democratic, as it is most of the time in the British theatre, because it's had to be over the years. You usually have little rehearsal time, so there'd better be a conversation going on. But that came as a big shock to Robert Sturua: The actors had opinions. And I love him. He's a fantastic man, not least because he adapted to this culture that he found himself working with.

Back Stage: Directing Creditors, will you have the actors find their way through? Are you going to block it?

Rickman: To a large extent, I don't know. I know what the space is. So at times I'll say, "It's going to be better if we really look at how we're using the space." But that will be late on. We'll say, "Let's try and move you around the space here." But maybe they'll have found that anyway. I'll certainly never say, "Sit on this line; stand on that."

Back Stage: How did you create your Bottle Shock character? Did you wait for the costumes to come?

Rickman: Well, the costume is very important because it's period, No. 1. And so it feels very different on your body. It's not free; it's waisted. And also he's from a particular strand of the British class system, which means you make no concessions to the environment, and so he's in 100 degrees of Napa Valley heat in a wool suit and a tie and socks and shoes.

Back Stage: And a Gremlin.

Rickman: And a Gremlin car. And that has to become food for your character. It's part of his totally uncompromising attitude to an alien culture in a very particular British kind of way. "I have landed, I am here, I will now repossess you." He's an emblem, in a way, put down in this strange world, and so you see how he collides with it, which is why [director] Randy [Miller] and I talked about moments of him discovering strange food and driving a strange car and just seeing how this man interacts with this environment, given that he's not going to be intimidated by it.

Back Stage: Tell us about your early interests in acting and about getting into the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.

Rickman: Well, I went to a school [Latymer Upper School] that had a hugely strong focus on theatre in the English department. So I had done a lot of theatre at school. And it had an after-school society where we did plays, but we'd always read them — in full costume and fully rehearsed, but we'd read them. And it'd be, like, Coriolanus one week and [laughs] Chalk Circle the next. Yeah, big learning experience. And then I went to art school, so there was a bit of a pause, and then I was working in design for a couple of years and then eventually said, "Now's the time."

Back Stage: Do you remember your audition for RADA?

Rickman: Burned on my memory. Yes, I do. I had to do two. I had already had a grant to go to art school, and so I couldn't get government support, so I had to audition for a scholarship. So the first time? I did Richard II and a piece from a play by James Saunders called A Scent of Flowers. And the second audition was from The Relapse — a Restoration comedy by Vanbrugh — and Long Day's Journey Into Night.

Back Stage: Was your voice this wonderful always, or is this a lot of RADA training?

Rickman: My voice. Well, I don't know, I hear something completely different to everybody else. No, my voice teacher had a constant struggle. And likewise people working with diction. Huge problems. My voice teacher at the time, who was called Michael McCallion — sadly dead now but is the author of a very fine book about voice and speech in the theatre — he said, "You sound as if your voice is coming out of the back end of a drainpipe." So, clearly I had work to do.

Back Stage: A BBC survey voted the perfect man's voice as a blend of yours and Jeremy Irons'.

Rickman: Hey, ho! [Laughs]

Back Stage: Tell us about getting your very first jobs.

Rickman: Well, of course when I left drama school, the actors' union was powerful — at least to some extent. It's had a lot of that power ripped away from it. Because when you left drama school, you had to get 44 weeks on your Equity card, and that had to be done in the regions because you were not allowed to work in the West End or on film or in television for 44 weeks. Which meant those of us who left at that time did a lot of terrible work, personally, in the regions, but in big brave productions where you were completely miscast but you learned a lot and without getting overly judged. It's much harder for young actors now because there's no union requirements. You don't even have to be a member of a union in England to be an actor; you can just wander in to a West End theatre [laughs] and say, "I want to audition."

Back Stage: So you had experience in the regions.

Rickman: I did all that for, like, two years. Then I did a production at the Edinburgh Festival of a Ben Jonson play called The Devil Is an Ass, which led to me going to the Royal Shakespeare Company for the first time in the late '70s and then left fairly quickly, and my life changed a lot because I did some fringe theatre in London, which led to going to the Royal Court, which I suppose is my spiritual home. And as a result of working at the Royal Court Theatre, I then got invited back to the Royal Shakespeare Company but a bit more on my terms. So then I did Liaisons Dangereuses, and that went, eventually, to Broadway, and then as a result of that I was offered a movie. So you can see the steppingstones.

Back Stage: How is the Royal Court your spiritual home?

Rickman: Well, because the Royal Court is absolutely known as the home of the writer; it's not about the actor. Of course it's also where Olivier did some of his greatest work. And it's filled with wonderful actors, and its history is full of wonderful acting. But the absolute cornerstone of its existence is to work with and nurture writers. So the conversation there is always about the play and new writing and developing new writing both nationally and internationally, because it has a whole international arena.

Back Stage: And the focus at the RSC?

Rickman: The Royal Shakespeare Company of course has to focus on Shakespeare, largely, and also over the years has developed its ongoing relationship to new work. But that's the company I, as a schoolboy, grew up watching — and going to see Judi Dench and Diana Rigg and Ian Richardson and [Paul] Scofield and all of those people, and sitting up way back in the cheap seats, watching the magic.

Back Stage: Did you say, "I'd love to do that someday"?

Rickman: No, I kind of always knew that it was what I wanted to do, but some voice inside said, "You have to deal with the other thing first," which was art school. When I came to direct the first time, it was like I reached out to the shelf where I'd put that part of myself that had come from art school. I have quicker conversations with the production designers, the set designers, the DPs, costume designers, because of the art school training. And it's certainly crucial to what I do as a director.

Back Stage: How do you cast?

Rickman: I go to the theatre a lot. I see everything — in London, anyway. I'm also vice chair of [RADA], so I have a very strong ongoing awareness, if not knowledge, of all the young actors in London, and I'm aware of what's happening. And so I suppose the simple answer is, if I was going to cast a play full of 19- and 22-year-olds, then I would meet with young actors.

Back Stage: Do you teach?

Rickman: Well, I don't really teach, no. What I do is, from time to time, I'll go into question-and-answer sessions with a roomful of students, and we just have a conversation. They ask a question, and I say, "Well, this is my point of view," and then a couple of hours later we stop. So I don't know what that's called. Just handing something on.

Back Stage: What are their concerns?

Rickman: A combination of the joy of it all and the panic of it all, especially when they're about to leave training. And I suppose, with hindsight, the one thing I can absolutely tell them is that they're at a very competitive moment, especially at drama school. You've just spent two years being a functioning unit — a company almost — and then suddenly the world steps into your oyster and says, "You will now compete with each other." And so somebody gets an agent and somebody gets a job and somebody doesn't, and suddenly the world absolutely changes. But that's the real world. And so I suppose what I can say to them with total accuracy is that "you can look around the room at each other, and I can promise you, all of your careers are going to be completely different, and there will be moments when one of you is working and the other isn't."

Back Stage: You've had such a prolific career, but have you had times between projects when you panicked and thought, "I'll never work again"?

Rickman: God, yes. And it never leaves people, the whole "I'll never work again" thing. Yeah. Loads and loads of times.

Back Stage: Any words of wisdom to the starving young actor out there who is done studying and has put the time in?

Rickman: Well. I just wish there was more opportunity for them to get on a stage regularly here [in the U.S.], and I wish that actors would fight for a subsidized theatre in this country because, whilst it's constantly in the hands of — I mean, thank God for sponsors and all the rest of it. But the only reason I can go direct a play called Creditors at the Donmar Warehouse, which will have four weeks' rehearsal and run for six weeks with people at the top of their profession, is because it's subsidized and it does not have to make a profit. I mean, libraries and swimming pools don't have to make a profit. Why does theatre?

Maggie Umbra <subtle_incandescence@yahoo.comfoo>
Kansas City, MO USA - Saturday, August 16, 2008


From the San Diego Union Tribune:

A Mild Shock: Alan Rickman is not a snob
By Todd Hill
August 14, 2008

Although we told the actor Alan Rickman that we liked his new film, “Bottle Shock,” we also had to admit to him that we knew less than nothing about its subject matter, the making of wine.

“But you still enjoyed it. See, that's the thing, because they're interesting people and an interesting story. You don't need to know anything about it, any more than I did, which was nothing,” said Rickman, whose film opens in San Diego County tomorrow.

“You have to acknowledge the fact that knowing about it takes years and years of experience,” said the actor. “You can't just, for want of a better word, imbibe all that stuff and suddenly say you're a wine expert.”

Rickman admitted that, having now done “Bottle Shock,” he still knows very little about the art and science of viticulture. But that's not to suggest that he simply walked away from the movie, either. “I think on every film you take something with you because it becomes part of your life,” he said.

“It's a very weird set of circumstances where you go to a world where perhaps you know absolutely nobody and six weeks or two months later you have a whole bunch of new, real friends. It's kind of a miracle, really.”

As he often does in movies, Rickman takes on a colorful supporting part in “Bottle Shock,” based on the true story of how in 1976 a novice vintner from California's Napa Valley took on the exalted wines of France and beat them in a blind taste test, an event that put the California wine industry on the map.

Rickman, a 62-year-old Englishman, plays Steve Spurrier, the British wine seller who set up the taste test after touring the Napa Valley and doing several taste tests of his own.

The film, which is virtually drunk on Napa's golden vistas and bathes the audience in scenes of dusty pickup trucks, long hair and the music of the Doobie Brothers, makes much of the snobbish Spurrier's fish-out-of-water status. Rickman, therefore, seems a natural for the role.

“The work was to find ways of just reminding you from time to time that Steve Spurrier was an alien who has landed, and so images of him confronting life in America felt important,” said the actor of his character. “A man in suit and tie, what the hell is he doing with his suit and tie in 100 degrees?”

Rickman spent about four weeks in Napa, which he had never visited before, for the film's shoot, and was captivated by the region.

“I'm sitting by the roadside furious at this car, trying to get the tire off in a vineyard that goes on forever,” he said of one particular scene in the movie. “You almost jump outside yourself and become the viewer of the film at moments like that because you can see yourself in the landscape and you know that that's going to be part of the story.”

While disarming and funny in person, Rickman otherwise can seem only a stone's throw from the snobbish characters he's played so well on screen, from 1988's “Die Hard” (his first credited film role) to 1999's “Galaxy Quest” to Severus Snape in the “Harry Potter” movies.

This probably has everything to do with his distinctive accent and little else. Rickman himself doesn't like to be associated with any kind of snobbery.

“I realize now that coming from a country that has an ingrained class system, the word 'snob' is like such a verbal assault. I hate the actual word, I don't like the letters that are put together, I don't like the sound of the word,” he said.

“I think it's very, very much more pernicious in England, that word. It's more casual out here.”

While Rickman may be best known in this country for the snobbish villain he played in “Die Hard” or the snobbish television star portrayed by him in “Galaxy Quest,” he takes equal pride in the small films he's taken on, like last year's utterly overlooked indie “Snow Cake,” in which he starred opposite Sigourney Weaver's autistic character.

“These are the things you hang your hat on as an actor, and you have to keep fighting because otherwise we'll just be force-fed things where we come out of the movie theater and if we can even frame the sentence we'll be saying, 'Well, there's two hours I'll never get back again,' but I suspect we won't be able to frame that sentence because our stomachs will be so full of popcorn and Coke that our perceptions will have been altered and we'll think we had a good time just because we were slammed over the head so hard,” he said.

“No, here's to the independent movies, I say, because otherwise how the hell do we know who we are unless we tell stories about ourselves to each other? Absolutely a case in point is 'Snow Cake.' That film will have its life.”

Rickman said he no longer pays attention to the size or profile of the film when choosing a role – “no, because I'm not 23 and it doesn't feel like a life-or-death decision” – and even so, guessing which films, big or little, will break through is in his opinion a fool's errand.

“My experience has told me that things like 'Galaxy Quest' become cult movies absolutely rightly because they're very special. At the time, people who were involved in its distribution didn't understand what they had,” he said.

And if all these years later people approaching the actor still reference his performance as Hans Gruber in “Die Hard” – well, who's to say they do?

“I hear as much reference to 'Sense and Sensibility' or 'Dogma' or 'Galaxy Quest' as to that. It may be your perception, but it isn't everybody's,” said Rickman. “I've never been typecast. You just have to present a moving target, I guess.”


R
- Friday, August 15, 2008


Still looking for an opportunity to see Bottle Shock--wish it would open wider already. Roger Ebert was generous with it, some other critics not so much (a C+ average on yahoo, what do they know?).

Ebert says: ***some spoilers****

"Much of its effect [milking great entertainment] is due to the precise, quietly comic performance by Alan Rickman as Spurrier. “Why do I hate you?” asks Jim Barrett, who resists the competition. “Because you think I’m an asshole,” Spurrier replies calmly. “Actually, I’m not an asshole. It’s just that I’m British, and, well ... you’re not.”

We see him navigating the back roads of Napa in a rented Gremlin, selecting wines for his competition and getting around U.S. Customs by convincing 26 fellow air travelers to each carry a bottle back for him. That the momentous competition actually took place, that it shook the wine world to its foundations, that it was repeated 20 years later, is a story many people are vaguely familiar with. But “Bottle Shock” is more than the story. It is also about people who love their work, care about it with passion and talk about it with knowledge.

******End spoilers and quote******

I saw most of the BS trailer, and AR looked suitably pinched in his suit, and, with all due reverence to Jamie and a passing nod to Elliot, the mustache here is just plain . . . ick. (There's a photo on Ebert's review page.) Also annoying on the yahoo review page for Bottle Shock is a list of five actors in the film where it says, "starring" with no mention of AR. Humph.
Renie
- Friday, August 15, 2008


Muggles, get ready for some bad news: there will be no Harry Potter movie this year.

In a surprise move, Warner Bros. has moved back the release date of "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" from Nov. 11 to July 17, 2009.

In a statement, Warner president Alan Horn said part of the reason for the shift was the writers strike, which left the studio in a bit of a dearth of tentpoles.

"Like every other studio, we are still feeling the repercussions of the writers strike, which impacted the readiness of scripts for other films-changing the competitive landscape for 2009 and offering new windows of opportunity that we wanted to take advantage of," he said. "We agreed the best strategy was to move 'Half-Blood Prince' to July, where it perfectly fills the gap for a major tent pole release for mid-summer."

The studio had hoped to have movies like super-hero group "JLA" ready for the summer season, though that movie ultimately was delayed indefinitely.

Warner released the last Potter movie, "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," July 11, 2007, and it became the second-largest entry from the series after the first movie.

The studio said it still plans to release the two-movie adaptation of the final book, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows," as planned, with the first part still on for November 19, 2009.

"Half-Blood," which translates the sixth book to the big screen, is being directed by David Yates. According to the studio, post-production had been completed on time.

Source: Hollywood Reporter
Sheena <purple-dragon@sky.comfoo>
Berkshire UK - Thursday, August 14, 2008


At last an original (and well-written) nterview with Alan about Bottle Shock and other matters.

[text of article]:

Rickman, Pour Man
Because the script for Bottle Shock was one that Alan Rickman felt did not deserve to be heaved across the room, the actor has added a Paris wine merchant to his long list of memorable characters.

Friday, August 8, 2008 at 12:00 PM
By Pam Grady

In many ways, the trajectory of Alan Rickman’s career breaks every rule in the Hollywood playbook. He came late to the stage, entering the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts at 26 after a career as a graphic designer, and soon rose to the top of the British theater world.

What’s more, the movies didn't come knocking until he was in his forties, after producers caught his Tony-nominated performance as the silky Le Vicomte de Valmont in the Royal Shakespeare Company's 1987 Broadway staging of Les Liaisons Dangereuses. After making his film debut as the charismatic terrorist Hans Gruber in 1988's Die Hard, he has worked steadily on screen while still maintaining an active career in the theater.

"I'm very happy to work 52 weeks a year if it's stuff I want to do," the 62-year-old Londoner tells FilmStew on a sunny Sunday morning at the Chateau Montelena in Calistoga, California, the bucolic setting for his latest movie Bottle Shock. "I'm [also] very happy to work two weeks a year. If I'm sitting somewhere like this, I tend not to sit there thinking, 'Oh, I wish I was acting!'"

The actor earned the affection of women everywhere for his role as Juliet Stevenson's ghostly lover in Anthony Minghella's Truly Madly Deeply, probably garnered the resentment of Kevin Costner for his scene-stealing Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, and his sinister-seeming potions professor Severus Snape in the Harry Potter movies has made him a superstar in the eyes of children worldwide. Through it all, he has paid little attention to the size of a movie's budget or its blockbuster potential.

Lately, Rickman has starred in the Canadian indie Snow Cake as well as Randall Miller's thriller Nobel Son, a film that led Miller and his wife and co-screenwriter Jody Savin to cast him and co-star Bill Pullman in their next project, Bottle Shock. Ultimately, Rickman says he has a simple formula for choosing his roles.

"I think the clue is when you keep turning the pages of a script, rather than heaving them across the room," he laughs, adding, "I love Randy and Jody's spirit and independence and the fact that you can't put easy labels on their films. It isn't something that can be nailed down.”

“I like all of those things, because it's just a story,” adds Rickman. “And I think audiences become innocent when they're watching pieces of work like that… That's what I'm looking for."

In the fact-based Bottle Shock, Rickman plays Steven Spurrier, a Paris wine merchant who comes to the Napa Valley in the American bicentennial year of 1976 in search of wines to compete against their French counterparts. The contest sponsored by Spurrier catapulted Northern California wines to the world stage, creating a seismic shift in perceptions.

The real Steven Spurrier was only 34-years-old at the time and a much more successful retailer than Rickman is in the movie. But in making Spurrier hungrier and as desperate for success as Jim Barrett (Pullman) and his son Bo (Chris Pine), the Chateau Montelena winemakers he stumbles across, it ups the dramatic stakes, even as Rickman's bone dry delivery and expressive mien enhance the story's comic potential.

Spurrier is truly a stranger in a strange land, as alien in the rural environs of the Napa Valley as he would be on Mars. The expressions on his face as he samples a piece of Kentucky Fried Chicken or when he is proffered a bowl of guacamole are priceless. Dressed in a heavy suit that marks him immediately as an outsider in the arid heat of the region, he is out of place, and yet game.

Making the film marked Rickman's own first visit to the area, so he could identify with Spurrier – up to a point. "It's just sort of instant research, isn't it?" he observes. "You just think, 'How do I feel?' I'm an English person and I'm absolutely surrounded by another culture.”

“But, of course, Steven is not cowed by this, he regards – like a lot of upper-class [Englishmen], that's how we built the British Empire,” Rickman muses. “We walked into places and said, 'I conquer you! You are ours! We will look after you. We will tell you what's what.'"

But while Spurrier seems to regard his trip as a visit to a vaguely hostile land, Rickman appreciates the way the location shoot enhanced the story. "It's an incredible luxury," he says. "I never take it for granted. There were many times during filming when I told myself, ‘I can't believe I'm actually here, in the Napa Valley and we're shooting a scene in the Napa Valley.'"

"Filming kind of commandeers the landscape in a weird way," he adds with a laugh. "It sort of becomes the set. You find yourself thinking, 'Can't they just move that tree? It's in the way!' Coming to shoot scenes here at Chateau Montelena, amazing."

Next month, Rickman – whose lone feature film directorial effort is the 1997 drama The Winter Guest - will guide a production of Strindberg's Creditors at London's Donmar Warehouse. He says he would also like to return to film directing with a screen adaptation of Elizabeth Bowen's 1935 novel The House in Paris.

"You know, watch this space," he jokes. "It's all about putting it together and then knowing when I'm free, because I can't do it until I know what my work filming commitments are over the next year."

"The problem is that theater always wants its players to book a long time in advance, while film wants you to be available tomorrow,” Rickman bemoans. “Theater is a kind of religion - it's what everything springs from - but having said that, I do it very irregularly. It's hard to organize, to spend six months on a stage and then transfer it to America, maybe, is a year of your life. It's hard to do."

“And then to direct a piece, which travels all over the world and you don't know that's going to happen. I don't know what will happen with Creditors, but film is terribly important to me, because of the power it has.”

Barbara
NZ - Tuesday, August 12, 2008


I just received an e-mail from Mary Anne (thank you!) with a link to another great interview, this time from orlandosentinel.com.

[text of article]:

The Great Unknown

By Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel
August 10, 2008

There's something so right in that moment Alan Rickman considers, curls his lip and then tastes Kentucky Fried Chicken in the new movie "Bottle Shock."

It's 1976, rural California. His character, Steven Spurrier, is a British wine snob about to sample the wines of California. And, heck, it's Alan Rickman taking a bite from the Colonel's special recipe.

"Spurrier was experiencing a strange taste sensation," Rickman says in those flutey, master-thespian tones.

But don't confuse the actor for the snob. Rickman grew up working-class. That cultivated air of cultivation? Perfected at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. He's been working in American film for more than 20 years. So he and the Colonel have met before.

"Not my first time," Rickman says of KFC. "One is often desperate."

Rickman has an air of mystery about him, one that allows him to, at 62, still surprise. But he is still, as Boston Globe critic Ty Burr described him, "this great, undersung actor" famed for villainy committed decades ago.

Rickman's character in "Bottle Shock," which opened Wednesday, is the Brit who set up a blind wine-tasting in Paris in 1976 and thus changed the world.

"It was a courageous thing that Steven Spurrier did," Rickman says. "This 'Judgment in Paris' was a singular event, though, very important. Nobody knew anything about American wines, California wines. Nothing good, anyway. Then, presto! People discover California, then South African wines, Australian wines and Chilean wines. The world became the wine lovers' oyster."

Is Rickman, like his character, a wine expert? "I like drinking it."

Ah, but he is modest. He has spent his vacations visiting wineries from Italy to South Africa to California, where "Bottle Shock" is set.

"I find it very affecting, watching these collisions between man and nature to create this wonderful thing, wine," he says. "Of course, I don't let any of that concern me when I put a corkscrew in."

The Rickman image, so planted in the public mind, was minted in two blockbusters from long ago. His villainous turns in "Die Hard" (1988) and"RobinHood: Prince of Thieves" (1991) gave him bad-guy baggage, which he admits he carries to this day. See Rickman in last year's "Snow Cake" or in the " Harry Potter" movies, in which he plays the imperious potions teacher, Severus Snape, and immediately you're put on your guard.

"People might have feared Snape, and continue to fear him," Rickman purrs, suggestively. "But eventually, when Harry's story works its way out, perhaps they'll be surprised."

He's even cagier about his personal life. But somehow, one can believe that Rickman is closer to his wine-loving Steven Spurrier than his Severus Snape. The man knows his grape.

"You know, you really can't go wrong with Chateau Montelena, where I am standing right now," he says of the winery where much of "Bottle Shock" is set and was filmed. "They make an amazing cabernet.

"And Heidi Barrett, who is the wife of Bo Barrett [played by Chris Pine in the film], has her own vineyard, La Serena. She has one of the great palates in the wine world, and she makes one of the most delicious things I have ever had cross my lips. Just an experiment, she said, but it's a dry muscat. Extraordinary. Check that one out."

Suzanne <webmistress@alan-rickman.comfoo>
TX USA - Sunday, August 10, 2008


Two more interviews:

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: ALAN RICKMAN

- PAUL FISCHER
moviehole.net
August 8, 2008

Alan Rickman may best known as Severus Snape in the ''Harry Potter'' franchise, but try asking him about Potter and you get a polite, no comment from the British actor. “I don’t talk about Harry Potter,” Rickman says, unapologetically. “I try to protect little children’s innocence about being able to hang on to their Harry Potter thing.”

Rickman will finish shooting the seventh and final film in the franchise next year, and does that admit that his involvement in the franchise has helped him to work on lower-budget Indie fare, such as ''Bottle Shock''. “Whatever freedoms you have are offset by the fact that most films are going to be about young people these days, so there are freedoms and there are strictures everywhere.”

''Bottle Shock'' casts Rickman as a snobbish wine seller in Paris, determined to beat the French at a major blind wine tasting, and decides to do so by travelling to Northern California’s Napa Valley in search of some untested Californian wines during the mid-seventies. Bottle Shock reunited Rickman with the director of the as yet unreleased Nobel Son, so it was the overall project that appealed to the acor. “I so enjoyed doing Nobel Son with Randy [Miller] and Jody [Savin] that it was just the idea of working with them again, because you know that there is the improvisatory nature of the atmosphere and the day to day workings, and anything would be possible, anyway. But there’s always, if you’ve got an idea of an upper-class Englishman in a suit and tie in the middle of the Napa Valley, and then you’re saying, OK.”

Rickman loved the idea of doing a film that, in part, explored the British class system. “The producers are upper class Englishmen,” Rickman says, laughingly. Shot on location in Napa, the actor agrees that geography helps one enhance character, “because very much in my case, you’re playing an alien who has landed, so you need to see the alien—there he is, in a suit and a tie, and where has he landed, in incredibly beautiful sunlit place, so sunlit that it’s over 100 degrees a lot of the time and there is a kind of weird insanity about the two things together.” Based on fact and a real character, Rickman did some research on the actual events depicted in Bottle Shock. “I read about it. It’s a fairly straightforward set of circumstances and piece of information, so it doesn’t take long. I also spoke to Steven Spurrier on the phone. Both of us aware that this was never going to be an impersonation of him, so I was just kind of borrowing his name and the circumstances. I don't know if he’s seen it, but I hope he feels that, in as much as everybody else calls him a snob from England, at the same time he’s also not without courage and vision.”

A successful actor of stage and screen for over two decades, Rickman has divided his time between mainstream Hollywood blockbusters and this more Indie world in which he is clearly more comfortable. He says he triers to be as selective as possible “but I’m always looking for open minds, fresh thinking and good writing,” all of which is hard to find, he adds. “You know, it’s harder and harder to get independent movies off the ground. Randy and Jody have seemed to, now that I’ve done two films with them, they seem to have constructed their own way of doing it, and all power to them.”

Before shooting the two parts of ''Deathly Hallows'' next year, Rickman will find himself returning to the theatre – as a director, Creditors by Strindberg. “It’s fairly new to me. I did it 10, 12 years ago, and then I did it again two and a half years ago, and now this one. So I’m still finding out about it, but that’s a good place to be.” And over a decade since his film directorial debut, The Winter Guest, Rickman says he is also ready to return to the movie set’s director’s chair. “I have a movie that I’m attached to, which Hilary Shaw is producing, called The House in Paris, from a book by Elizabeth Bowen, and when I know what my available dates are, this year and next year, then hopefully that’s when it’ll get fitted in. But we have to figure out a climate, daylight hours and stuff like that, but it’s a beautiful script of a beautiful book.”
------------ --------

Freddy Rodriguez, Alan Rickman Feel ‘Bottle Shock’

okmagazine.com
August 8, 2008

[relevant text]:

We’re told not to ask Alan Rickman about Harry Potter, but he provides drama of his own by dissing Kentucky Fried Chicken.

“I’m a little scared by it,” Alan says. “The words ‘secret recipe’ – I can think of a few secret recipes. But I wouldn’t want to criticize Kentucky Fried Chicken publicly. I’m sure it’s marvelous and health-giving.”

Suzanne <webmistress@alan-rickman.comfoo>
TX USA - Sunday, August 10, 2008


Hi I found a little article in the Washington Times and thought you might like to read it. Rickman, The Epitome of Englishness

Alan talks briefly about Anthony Minghella and also mentions that he will be directing a new film.

[text of article]:

Rickman, the epitome of Englishness

Actor's 'ideal voice' comes through in everything he does

Kelly Jane Torrance
The Washington Times
August 8, 2008

British researchers announced this spring that they had used a mathematical formula to determine the ideal human voice. The well-known actors who came closest to having the perfect male voice, they declared, were Jeremy Irons and Alan Rickman.

Mr. Rickman, speaking by telephone from New York, hadn't heard of this research. He didn't sound much impressed by it, either.

"All I can say is you probably know only too well that we hear our own voices completely different to the way other people hear them," he says. "Watching a film I've been in is a painful experience. I think, 'That isn't what I was doing.'"

Mr. Rickman has been a fixture on the big screen since he made his feature-film debut in 1988's "Die Hard" as the deliciously evil mastermind Hans Gruber. Though some seem to think he specializes in villains - he also was memorable as the Sheriff of Nottingham in "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves" - he has played just about every type of role. He was a romantic lead in Anthony Minghella's debut "Truly Madly Deeply" and the Jane Austen adaptation "Sense and Sensibility." He was the Spock-type character in the parody "Galaxy Quest." He's portrayed the ambiguous Professor Severus Snape in all the Harry Potter films.

He even made his first musical last year with "Sweeney Todd." Given that he's not too fond of his own voice, one has to wonder if the actor found the experience just a little scary.

"I like scary," he responds. "It reminds you that you're still alive."

Mr. Rickman plays a real-life figure in his latest film, which opened in theaters this week. "Bottle Shock" is about the famous Judgment of Paris wine tasting in 1976 in which California red and white wines beat their French counterparts in a blind taste test by French judges. The film focuses on the white wines, and Bill Pullman and Chris Pine play the father and son whose Napa Valley winery is struggling to survive.

The best part of the film, though, is Mr. Rickman's Steven Spurrier. The English wine expert has a wine store in Paris and organizes the tasting at the urging of an American friend who thinks California wines are ready for the world stage. The snobbish Mr. Spurrier doesn't expect them to beat the tradition-soaked French grapes. Old World meets New World in an age-old story of culture clash.

"You've got an immediately visual parallel," Mr. Rickman notes. "There they are in jeans, straw hanging out of their mouths almost, and me, an alien, arriving in suit and tie with a briefcase and not changing, even though it's 100 degrees out. That kind of English stupidity is fun to play."

Mr. Rickman is one of those English actors who seems to ooze Englishness. The snobby type he plays in "Bottle Shock" is a long way from his own humble, working-class background, however. "The English class system has rich pickings in terms of characters to play," Mr. Rickman says. That class system flourishes even today, he says, though a lot has changed since he was born in London in 1946.

"If you think back to what happened in the '60s, when suddenly it became fashionable to speak with a Liverpool or cockney accent, young English people formed a kind of new aristocracy, I suppose. And certainly politically, it's no good anymore just having the gentry running the country," he says. "But one's still aware of it in economic terms."

The snobbish Mr. Spurrier turns out to be one of the heroes of this story, helping open up an entire industry to Americans.

"It has an amazing response from audiences," Mr. Rickman says of the film. "It doesn't have to be an audience that gives two hoots about wine, because the story's about more than that. It's very timely, I think. It's good for America to celebrate."

Mr. Rickman is considering buying a place in the United States because he spends so much time in Manhattan and says, "I love New York, and I'm immensely grateful to America." He's heading back to London at the end of the week, though, to direct August Strindberg's "Creditors" at the Donmar Warehouse. After that, he'll begin work on his second film as director, an adaptation of Elizabeth Bowen's 1935 novel "The House in Paris."

His directorial debut was 1997's "The Winter Guest," which won a number of awards at international film festivals. He got some very special insight into the craft from Mr. Minghella, who died earlier this year. Has he sometimes thought of the great director in the months since his death?

"Not just sometimes. He was a huge figure in mine and many other people's lives," he says. Mr. Minghella loved to encourage other talents, and his death opens up a great vacuum, Mr. Rickman says.

"When I came to direct film for the first time, he let me sit in the editing room with him and Walter Murch when they were cutting 'The English Patient.' It was an incredibly generous thing to do," he says. "I got a master class over the course of about a week."

He seems so busy, with work as an actor and director of stage and screen, one wonders if he ever takes a vacation. Not lately, he admits, but he makes the most of his shoots.

"We're very lucky as actors; we get to travel all over the place," he points out. "It wasn't like being in the Napa Valley was like a holiday, but it feeds your senses. That's what holidays are supposed to do as well."

Maggie <subtle_incandescence@yahoo.comfoo>
Kansas City, Missouri USA - Saturday, August 09, 2008


The official Bottle Shock website. And the filmmaker's blog.
Renie
Opened in SF. , - Friday, August 08, 2008


Another article on Rickman, this time in the Toronto Star here. A much friendlier tone - maybe because the interviewer is a woman?! Curiously, the photo in the printed paper is different - and very yummy. It is a 3/4 shot and he is wearing what looks like a leather 3/4 jacket with a soft goldy colour. He is quite blond. The credit is to Frank Micelotta/Getty Images.

[text of article]:

Alan Rickman's Canadian memories

'Bottle Shock' star fondly recalls his 2005 visit

August 05, 2008
Linda Barnard
Movies Editor

Alan Rickman makes an interviewer work for it – but the payoff is a chance to hear that incomparable voice, which warms considerably when he talks about his fondness for Canada.

Over the phone from Los Angeles, the actor's actor, known for playing everyone from romantic leads (Truly Madly Deeply) to the archetype modern-day villain (baddie Hans Gruber in Die Hard) seems a bit weary of this whole media thing.

He's on a press tour for his latest movie, Bottle Shock, which opens tomorrow. Based on the true story of the blind tasting that pitted California vintners against the best of France in 1976, the resulting American victory in what became known as the Judgment of Paris thrust Napa onto the world wine stage.

Rickman plays Steven Spurrier, the wine agent who ventured into the then-unknown California wine country to see if any of the products could be deemed "palatable."

Rickman portrays him as a frosty snob who is shocked by the quality of the Napa wines and thaws as he is completely seduced by them. Bill Pullman and Chris Pine also star.

But it seems the real-life subject of the film wasn't too pleased with Rickman's casting and the way he is portrayed onscreen. For one thing, Spurrier was 32 when he went to Napa. Rickman is 62.

"I spoke to him on the phone and, as he and I agreed, in no way is this an accurate portrayal of him," Rickman said. "I could not be more inappropriate to play him, except I have the quality of being English."

Adds Rickman, "I think he would have liked me to be younger ... I hope when he sees the movie he feels he's respectable."

As for his own wine experience, Rickman says, "I tend to be loyal to the country," and drinks the wine made in whatever part of the world he is visiting. He sampled a variety of Canadian wines in 2005, when he dined with a friend, then-governor general Adrienne Clarkson, at her Ottawa residence.

"I was staying at Rideau Hall and Adrienne Clarkson produced all these glorious wines," recalled Rickman. But when asked which ones he drank, Rickman wryly replied: "You drank them, rather than staring at the bottle."

He met Clarkson in 2002 when she came backstage after his performance in Noel Coward's comedy Private Lives on Broadway.

"We were in one room, her bodyguards were in another," Rickman recalled with a chuckle. "She is an amazing woman. Canada ought to be very proud of her."

Rickman's work seems to facilitate friendships. He said he became close to the Barrett family, the then-struggling winemakers involved in the Judgment of Paris, and those at other Napa and Sonoma wineries.

"You're in a beautiful place and I made a bunch of real friends."

Rickman has also found Canada to be a special place. In 2005, he spent time in Wawa, Ont., shooting the critically acclaimed Snow Cake. He admits with a chuckle he didn't sample the wine there, but he enjoyed exploring that part of Ontario. He also rode the Canadian, the storied VIA train, between Jasper and Vancouver.

"It was wonderful, everybody should do that," said Rickman. "We had 24 hours in the Rockies and then took a float plane to Tofino and Sooke Harbour."

As for his next projects, Rickman reprises his role as Severus Snape in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, out Nov. 21. He'll finish shooting the seventh and final Potter film next year – and doesn't want to talk about either of them.

Up next, he'll direct for the London stage this fall (August Strindberg's Creditors), followed by directing a movie version of The House in Paris, from the book by Elizabeth Bowen.

Would he consider doing a play at Stratford? He'd be more likely to tread the boards in Toronto.

"I was terribly impressed with everybody at Soulpepper," said Rickman, who has yet to see a production done by the theatre company. He "was taken around as it was being built and I thought, `Here is a (theatre company) being run by actors and I like this enterprise.'"

Should we look for his name on a local marquee?

"I have to be asked," came the rich and resonant reply.

Gail Rayment <gail.rayment@sympatico.cafoo>
Cobourg, ON Canada - Tuesday, August 05, 2008


Alan did some interviews for Bottle Shock in LA on Tuesday and got to experience his second >5.0 earthquake--apparently he was also in LA for the 1994 Northridge one (our last really big one, epicenter in LA, which caused billions of $$ in damage, killed 72 and injured over 1000 people). The one Tuesday did no damage to speak of but gave all of us in SoCal a few moments' pause. - - - -

[text of article]

ALAN RICKMAN Does “Bottle Shock”

Posted by Bonnie Siegler on August 1st, 2008

He certainly doesn’t look like the villainous Hans Gruber in “Die Hard”, nor does he display any of Professor Severus Snape’s Potions Master characteristics from “Harry Potter” films. Alan Rickman could pass for any other British gent visiting Beverly Hills, dressed in dark jeans, white cotton tea and slightly coiffed salt and pepper hair. But at a closer glance, Rickman is a villain extraordinaire with a comedic personality, dry wit and romantic leading man characteristics.

Rickman comes walks into the Four Seasons Hotel which, just an hour ago, shook and rattled to a 5.4 earthquake, one of the largest Southern California had demonstrated in a decade. None worse for wear, the handsome – and jovial - Brit is eager to talk about his new movie “Bottle Shock” in which he plays real-life Steven Spurrier, a snobbish British expatriate trolling Napa Valley, California in search of wine bottles for an upcoming wine tasting event he has arranged in France. Rickman came on board this project after 20 pages were quickly written for his review. He had previously collaborated with Jody Savin and Randy Miller on “Nobel Son”, and decided to join the movie because of their previous creative relationship. In 1976, a small American winery sent shock waves through the wine industry by besting the exalted French wines in a blind tasting, putting California wines on the map for good. Chateau Montelana vineyard and novice vintner Jim Barrrett, along with his son, Bo, risked everything to realize their dreams. What ends up on the screen is a 2008 Sundance Film Festival dramatic comedy based on a true story that quickly became an audience and critic favorite.

Welcome to the land of shake and bake. Is this the first earthquake that you’ve been through.

No, it’s not. I was also here for the 1994 bit one.

This one never compared with that.

I know, but the body doesn’t know that and the body goes `It’s that again!’ (laughs) All natural thought leaves your body, doesn’t it. All.

So if you had to play an earthquake scene in a movie, you’d have it down.

No research required (laughs). Yeah. (fakes wide-eyed terror and hangs onto the table). That’s what I did in ’94. I woke up and just hung on to the bed. How stupid was that? (laughs)

Well, how much do you know about wine now after this movie?

Not a lot more than I knew before, to be honest. I still enjoy it very much. Fortunately, when you talk to great experts like Bo Barrett and we were at Chateau Montelena for the premiere the other night, he said rather encouragingly, well, it’s not so complicated. Wine is somewhere between grape juice and vinegar (laughs).

So what is your alcohol of choice?

It would be red wine, yeah.

Any favorites – is it French?

It depends a lot on what country I’m in and what food I’m eating. I tend to be loyal to the country I’m in. I tend to spend a lot of time in Italy so I would never think of drinking anything other than Italian wine. And similarly in South Africa.

Can you tell us how you got involved in this project?

Yeah, Randy and Jody said `we got this script. There’s a part we think you should play. Here it is.’ (laughs) And it’s an English part so maybe that was a clue.

None of it was shot in the south of France, was it?

No. No, it’s never that sunny in France (laughs). But they did a good job. And I was there with some European know-how to say don’t park the cars so neatly.

What kind of preparation did you do for the role – your character speaks French, knows French culture and knows how to taste wine.

Thank god for school. I took French lessons in school so I was at least able to do that. And because I’m playing that kind of upper class Englishman, it’s a matter of honor to speak French with a terrible accent. (laughs). No concessions would be made at all. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard the Queen speaking French. (laughs) You still know she’s the Queen. And I did accidentally as it turns out, meet Steven Spurrier a few years ago in Italy but, of course, at the time didn’t know what any future agenda was going to be. I spoke to him on the phone. I’m so million miles away from being the right casting to play him but in a sense, you’ve just got to go well, it’s OK, he’s called Steven Spurrier and there are facts circulating around this story; we honor those and it is true. It is based on him so in a sense it isn’t an impersonation of him apart from being English and a man in a suit and tie. And we tend not to take our suit and ties off even in 100 degrees (laughs).

You smile at the end when you give the award away…did you ask him how he felt that day when he found out that Napa Valley had won for the best wine?

No. I just thought, there again, it’s a movie and there’s a relationship there so it has to become part of that story. Similarly, the end of the movie is largely because of the conversation with him on the phone because I didn’t know he had restaged the competition in 2006. And he said to me on the phone, I was sure this time that the French wines were going to win and it would rescue my reputation among the French. America won again.

You played some very iconic characters over the years and several have been written for just you. Angela Pell made no secret about when she wrote you Alex in “Snow Cake”, Randy designed and retooled Spurrier for you. Does this put a greater burden on you as an actor knowing that you are the man they want?

Not really. In the case of those 2 films, fortunately, neither of those characters has anything to do with the other. And so, that means that they’re expecting you to get a particular color of the character; it means, they’re going to let you free and that’s luxury.

There was also a period of Die Hard and Robin Hood where you had these classic villain performances. Do you still get offered a lot of villains after all these years later?

No. Nor did I really over that period of time. It’s just like they were a couple of movies that had huge publicity budgets, but there was a lot of other stuff in between that…it depends on where you’re looking at it from and what you’re setting it against but you are talking about 20 years.

With Harry Potter, your character….

First of all, I never talk about Harry Potter.

There’s a great line in “Bottle Shock” where Spurrier says “I’m not really an asshole; It’s just that I’m British.” He so succinctly put the other guy in his place. Have you ever wanted to say that to somebody?

No, it’s an appalling thing to say, isn’t it? But it’s an absolutely true line for Steven Spurrier cause it’s got a vaguely, charming honestly to it. It’s very typical of that strand of teabag. We had an empire, we made it. People like him created an English empire; people like him lost it.

Going over the production notes, several crew members worked before with you and Randy, and you’ve been part of another sequel franchise…is it easier for you working with the same people as you go from one film to another?

Well, I’m always wary of words like “easy” because that’s not the point. The point is that it’s gratis and that doesn’t always mean easy.

Well, comfortable perhaps?

Even comfortable. I like it being difficult and uncomfortable but at least it means there’s a conversation that’s possible because there’s a lot of mutual trust and respect but at the same time, nobody’s fawning over anybody. I like breathing that air which isn’t always easy but it’s constructive and creative and rewarding.

What did you like about filming in Napa Valley?

Well, it’s beautiful and it feeds your imagination because you’re in the real thing. It’s not like it’s a film set…Oh, this really exists. It’s not so much fun wearing a wool suit and a tie and socks and shoes in 100 degrees but then again, you just have to make it part of his lunacy. There’s no way his tie comes off because he’s British.

Are you the type of actor that likes to do a lot of research?

It absolutely depends on what you’re doing. For Snow Cake, absolutely none because it was very important I was playing somebody who knew nothing about autism, and I was working with Sigourney Weaver who’d done like six or nine months of research because she needed to know everything. So if you named a project I could tell you how much research had been done, it’s just a question – ultimately what you want to be is free, not trapped, so the knowledge you put in there, in other words research, is only to free you. So it just depends what you need to do.

So many times on movie sets you also see the actor say, ‘Oh we didn’t really drink wine, it was grape juice.’

It was grape juice. First of all I should think it’s probably illegal to have alcohol on set, in fact I’m absolutely certain of that, because the continuity people just said, ‘The insurers would just have our guts for garters.’ And it’s actually dangerous. You’re in a fairly – literally explosive environment, so I don’t think it can happen. They do it in France, of course. They have big lunches, French movies, drink a lot of wine.

What do you look for in the roles that you play? And is there a genre or role that you’d like to play that you haven’t done?

Well, I never thought I’d do a musical and that just happened. You’re a changing unit yourself and so you open a script and it depends on who you are as to what combustion there is between you and a piece of writing. But it’s always the writing, I don’t have any – they are usually tall characters that I play.

Do you miss playing the villain at all, since it’s been awhile since that role has come around?

No, but I don’t put labels on anything I play, I don’t call them that. They’re not that to me, whatever they are, it’s the last word – I would never put any judgmental word on any character, you can’t play it if you do that.

Do you have a preference of theatre or film?

Not really, because the thing is you guys see the finished result. This took five weeks in my life, with a whole bunch of people, so you see the word Bottle Shock and you just remember people and places and –

No alcohol?

Right, just grape juice.

Gillian
Del Mar, CA USA - Saturday, August 02, 2008


Today's Globe and Mail paper in Canada carries an interview with AR here. I get the distinct impression he didn't have much time for the interviewer.

[Text of article]:

Dry, with a distinctive British bite

R.M. VAUGHAN
From Friday's Globe and Mail
August 1, 2008 at 3:46 AM EDT

According to Hollywood, there are three types of British men: drunken but kind-hearted dolts (the Simon Pegg type); oafish Oxbridge twits with floppy hair and equally unstable morals (the Hugh Grant type); and villainous fops with permanently curled upper lips (the Alan Rickman type - in fact, almost always Alan Rickman).

Although Rickman has played a variety of characters and, as he proved in the classic Truly, Madly, Deeply and the giddy Brit-com Love Actually, also makes a convincing comedic lover, he is far more likely to be remembered for his wonderfully sinister presence in such films as the Harry Potter series, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, the title roles in Rasputin and Mesmer, Tim Burton's Sweeney Todd and, of course, the original Die Hard.

Rickman's latest film, Bottle Shock - a period film about California vintners determined to beat the odds (and the critics) at 1976's infamous "Judgment of Paris" wine competition - is a perfect vehicle for the actor's particular brand of arch Britishness.

Playing real-life British wine dealer Steven Spurrier, an obliviously obnoxious but likeable snob, Rickman need only lift his voice a half octave, or his wiry eyebrows a few millimetres, to telegraph the vast cultural differences sustained by the Atlantic Ocean. It's hardly surprising, then, that his real-life conversation is equally measured, reserved and very, very quiet. Full, robust sentences are, one guesses, un-English.

Whatever his off-screen nature, Rickman the actor steals Bottle Shock with all the aplomb, and speed, of a seasoned car-jacker. While watching the movie with a flock (a casket? a barrel?) of wine nerds, I noticed that Rickman's charm had half the crowd agreeing with his character's blinkered, highly disagreeable world view. Now that's acting.

Aren't there two films being made about the 'Judgment of Paris'?

I'm not really sure. I think there are. We were only allowed, or could only tell the story, of the white wine. Because I think there is a project relating to the red wine.

Are you playing Steven Spurrier in that one too?

I shouldn't think so.

Would you want to?

Well, it would be the same plot.

I've read quotes from the real Steven Spurrier wherein he has praised the film, and quotes wherein he has denounced the film.

Well, then, you better get on to him, because I don't know.

You didn't meet with him, follow him around and study him?

I spoke to him, but this was way ... you know, a long before kind of thing. I dunno. I didn't study him. I met him, like three or four years ago, and I don't even remember. But somebody said we were in the same place at the same time in Italy. But of course there was no knowledge on either part.

This film makes gentle fun of wine connoisseurship -

And it's respectful, of wine makers.

Yes. But there is definitely a gulf depicted - between the people who make wine and the people who comment on it.

Well, in terms of playing Steven Spurrier I'm only playing someone who was, and indeed is, a highly respected expert in the field. You know, there's nothing bogus about him whatsoever. He really knows what he's talking about. And I think that was true then as well. It just wasn't his expectation ... that what happened was going to happen.

Are you a wine man or a pint man?

I'd be more of a wine man. Because, uh, it's not rocket science - one of the great pleasures in life is sitting around a table with friends, food and a glass of wine.

Do you collect?

No, no. I tend to drink it.

Bottle Shock reminds us that, 30 years ago, Europe and North America were much more alien to each other than they are now.

Completely! Not only North America, but because of this thing [the 'Judgment of Paris' contest], doors were opened to South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, South America, and indeed to Canadian wine, which I've enjoyed.

But back then, to me, wine was what was cheapest, something to take to a hideous party with a red light on the ceiling. And there would be many bottles of this crap, and many vomiting young people afterward.

There's nothing stopping you from continuing the tradition.

What? Cheap, horrible wine? Oh, no, no, you've got to learn something as you get old.

Can we talk about the awful seventies suits you wear in the movie?

Let's! Ha!

They didn't look very comfortable.

They certainly were not, and certainly not in 100 degrees of heat. Only an upper-class Englishman would keep those clothes on in that.

Were they made for you, or were they vintage?

Oh, no! Our costume designer was brilliant at going to vintage stores and hire shops. So they were real, old, and extra itchy.

You usually wear your hair quite long and wispy in films. Wouldn't you like to shave it all off and play an army commando?

Ha! Um, it's pretty short at the moment, actually. I'm trying to think ... 1976, this film, demanded it [be long]. But I think it's pretty short in another film I have coming out soon, called Noble Son. But no buzz cuts. No, I don't think I'll be going to get cast in that part. It just doesn't seem likely to ever happen.

Bottle Shock opens on Wednesday.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

PARTICULARS

Born
Feb. 21, 1946, London

A humble upbringing
Rickman is the second-oldest of four siblings. His mother was a housewife; his father, a factory worker. His father died when Rickman was 8. His mother married again but divorced after just three years.

Rickman excelled at art and attended the Chelsea College of Art and Design, aspiring to a career as a graphic designer.

"Drama school wasn't considered the sensible thing to do at 18," he has said.

The dresser
He won a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (class of 1974). To pay his way through school, he worked as a dresser for Sir Nigel Hawthorne and Sir Ralph Richardson.

Gail Rayment <rayment@sympatico.cafoofoo>
Cobourg, ON Canada - Friday, August 01, 2008


The Express
July 26, 2008 Saturday
Scottish Edition
The accent is always on Brit villains
BYLINE: by Rod Mills Chief Reporter
SECTION: LEADER; 14
LENGTH: 801 words

. . . . . . . . . .

UNDERSTATEMENT is said to be an English trait but a clipped delivery can also make outrageous behaviour seem normal.

Alan Rickman's over-the-top portrayal of the evil Sheriff of Nottingham in the Hollywood blockbuster Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves, earned him a Bafta. When he collected the award, Rickman commented archly: "Understatement isn't everything." Similarly, the mere fact that Kevin Costner insisted on playing Robin with an American accent made his performance seem hammy.

Strangely, British villainesses are far less common and, if they do occur, it is usually in an entirely British context. Otherwise, British women in films tend to be eccentric or the good egg.

The one glorious exception is Joan Collins, as Alexis Carrington in the Eighties soap, Dynasty. Alexis had big hair, big shoulder-pads and more venom than a binload of cobras.

And she was resolutely, unapologetically British.

Over the years, Hollywood has flirted with Russian crooks, a few Arabs and even Gallic villains, with French actor Vincent Cassel cast as the baddie in Ocean's Twelve.

But it didn't last and the Brits were soon recalled into service. When it comes to villainy, nobody does it better.

Georgiana
SeattleThe New York TimesThe New York Times - Wednesday, July 30, 2008


The New York Times
July 30, 2008 Wednesday
Late Edition - Final
No Film Distributor? Then D.I.Y.
BYLINE: By JOHN ANDERSON
SECTION: Section E; Column 0; The Arts/Cultural Desk; Pg. 1
LENGTH: 1316 words

When ''Bottle Shock'' played at the Sundance Film Festival in January, it appeared to possess that mix so tantalizing to well-heeled indie distributors.

It had a name cast, including Bill Pullman and Alan Rickman. The director came with a track record and a critically acclaimed short film. And the story, about a small American winery that triumphed over its French competitors in a blind tasting in 1976 and changed the world's view of California wine, was an accessible one for audiences who flocked to ''Sideways'' a few years back.

But ''Bottle Shock'' found no love among distributors in Park City, Utah. So the director, Randall Miller, is opening the film himself next week in 12 cities. With their hopes for conventional movie deals increasingly dead on arrival, more and more indie filmmakers are opting for a do-it-yourself model: self-distribution, once the route of the desperate, reckless or defiant, has become an increasingly attractive option for movies otherwise deprived of theatrical exhibition. ''Ballast,'' ''Wicked Lake,'' ''The Singing Revolution'' and ''Last Stop for Paul'' are among the indies currently or recently taking the maverick route.

The motivations can be complicated. For example, John Turturro's ''Romance & Cigarettes'' was self-distributed late last year, having been left to languish after its producer, United Artists, was sold. In other cases it's simply a matter of distributors' tastes differing from those of the filmmakers.

But increasingly, indie filmmakers find themselves caught in a glutted marketplace with too few theaters to handle all the movies, and the basic laws of supply and demand have depressed the prices they can fetch. In 2007, even with the big Hollywood studios trimming their offerings, about 600 films were released in the United States; five years earlier that number was nearly 450, according to the Motion Picture Association of America.

While the orphan-indie route may not be the way a moviemaker dreams it will happen, do-it-yourself is better than a straight-to-DVD release -- and certainly better than outright oblivion.

By going their own way, Mr. Miller (whose directing credits include ''Marilyn Hotchkiss Ballroom Dancing & Charm School'' and the upcoming ''Nobel Son'') and his wife and co-writer, Jody Savin, retain the DVD and other rights to their dramatic comedy. They also get to control how their movie is rolled out and marketed.

The downside? ''An enormous amount of work, an enormous amount of stress, no sleep and lots of people I've come to know and love who have given me millions of dollars,'' Mr. Miller said.

But Mr. Miller and Ms. Savin said they felt they had little choice. With the rash of prominent distribution houses recently shuttered or placed in figurative foreclosure -- including Paramount Vantage, Picturehouse, Warner Independent and ThinkFilm -- options for the indie filmmaker are evaporating.

What remains is the slim chance of being picked up by one of the surviving ''mini-majors'' like Sony Classics, Fox Searchlight or the Universal-owned Focus Features, or finding themselves at the mercy of smaller distributors. While many are well regarded, most offer small cash advances (if any) in exchange for most of the rights (DVD, TV, international release), but don't usually spend the kind of money necessary to assure public awareness and ticket sales. This, in turn, virtually precludes entree to the racks at Wal-Mart or Blockbuster, outlets without which a film's post-theatrical existence will be one of obscurity.

''You've got to have the phone numbers,'' said Tom Bernard, the longtime co-president of Sony Pictures Classics. ''Self-distribution is good, it can work, but filmmakers who are so innovative in making movies have to channel some of that into learning how the marketplace works.'' He said major pitfalls were ''carpetbaggers'' and ''middlemen'' who may agree to represent a movie at a place like Sundance, but gravitate to the easy sale and leave their less fortunate filmmakers high and dry.

''We're in the business of discouraging people from self-distributing,'' said Gary Palmucci, general manager of the venerable Kino International, which will be releasing ''Momma's Man'' on Aug. 22. That film, by Azazel Jacobs, came out of Sundance this year with the all-important buzz, and had a deal with ThinkFilm until that company's money problems scotched it. Mr. Palmucci said Mr. Jacobs might have chosen self-distribution, but wisely didn't because the cards are stacked: the enormous expense of opening a film in major markets like New York, the average filmmaker's unfamiliarity with the logistics of booking a movie, the hassles in collecting money from exhibitors on time.

To help navigate the sometimes treacherous world of film distribution, Mr. Miller and Ms. Savin hired Dennis O'Connor, a former top marketing executive at Picturehouse, to serve as a consultant. Freestyle Releasing of Los Angeles has been engaged, for an upfront fee and a small percentage of the gross, to handle the physical distribution of the movie (moving prints, booking theaters, etc.). And the publicity on the film is being orchestrated by Mr. Miller, Ms. Savin and Mr. O'Connor, with others enlisted by Mr. O'Connor from among the ranks of distribution veterans.

For the possibly lucrative DVD market, ''Bottle Shock'' has separate deals with Fox Home Entertainment and the all-important Netflix, both of which have helped in the marketing (which ensures them a better return later). Mr. Miller also negotiated his own deals with airlines and with advertising outlets, and has worked out his own price for prints. Most significant, he raised most of the money for filmmaking and prints and advertising through private investors.

''Wealthy people are really into wine,'' Miller said, laughing. ''You couldn't do this with a horror movie.''

But most indie filmmakers won't be able to raise the $10 million Mr. Miller raised for ''Bottle Shock.'' Instead they will have to use more cost-effective ingenuity.

The established distributors have regular circuits in which they play their films, media outlets through which they advertise and audiences they court religiously. A self-distributed movie like ''Ballast,'' which is cast with African-American nonactors and is about down-and-out characters (and opens at Film Forum in October), is compelling its champions to think outside the art-house box and explore new frontiers and demographics, like black churches and Southern audiences. (The movie, which won cinematography and directing prizes at this year's Sundance festival, had a tentative deal with IFC Films before the director Lance Hammer decided to release the film through his own Alluvial Film Company.)

''At one time distributors were paying so much money they could do anything they wanted, maybe consult respectfully with the filmmakers but essentially do what they wanted,'' said Steven Raphael, a consultant on the movie. ''But now there's no money and filmmakers get resentful, so they're taking back control.''

Neil Mandt, the director, producer and star of ''Last Stop for Paul,'' a comedy about two men traveling around the world sprinkling the ashes of their dead friend, had a prospective deal with Magnolia Pictures. But the distributor was interested only in a DVD release. Mr. Mandt passed.

''I will be the first to admit that I never imagined that the movie would connect as well as it did when it won a prize at 45 festivals,'' Mr. Mandt said. ''That's a crazy number. Despite that, we never were approached by another company for a domestic distribution deal again.''

''Last Stop for Paul'' opens next week in New York, and Mr. Mandt hopes a successful opening will lead to a larger rollout. ''If all of this goes as planned,'' he said, ''maybe in another year we will make our money back.''

Georgiana
SeattleThe New York TimesThe New York Times - Wednesday, July 30, 2008


The Harry Potter Gallery has 5 pics of Alan at the "Bottle Shock" premiere (at the Chateau Montelena Winery in Calistoga, California on 7-26-08).
lisa
- Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Alan Rickman At The Picture House

Posted by Westchester.com
Thursday, 24 July 2008

Pelham, NY - The Picture House has announced the latest “Conversation” to be hosted by eminent Rolling Stone film critic Peter Travers: a Q&A with actor Alan Rickman, director Randall Miller and producer J. Todd Harris, along with a sneak preview of their not-yet-released film, BOTTLE SHOCK.

“I’m pleased to bring these three film-making luminaries to the Picture House to help support its transformation into a state-of-the-art film and education institution,” said Mr. Travers, senior editor, Rolling Stone magazine. “To begin delivering on the Picture House’s promise, this ‘Conversations’ series is providing our area residents with exciting, direct interactions with major independent film stars, directors and producers, as well as a deeper perspective on some of the great films of our time.”

“I am excited to have a preview of BOTTLE SHOCK in Pelham” said Jeff Morfit, CEO of Lighthouse Financial Group, LLC. “Independent films are critically important in our lives and I’m personally very supportive of the creation of a film-focused cultural center in this area – film can change people’s lives, and we need to create more alternatives to the multiplex.”

BOTTLE SHOCK tells the story of the early days of wine-making in California. The film focuses on the 1976 “Judgment of Paris” wine tasting, in which for the first time a California wine beat out a French wine, and put Napa Valley vineyards on the map. The film stars Alan Rickman, best known for his portrayal of the villain, Hans Gruber, in the original DIE HARD as well as iconic roles in GALAXY QUEST, DOGMA, and the HARRY POTTER series.

“Conversations with Peter Travers” is a discussion series in which members of the film industry – actors, directors, writers, and producers – talk about their art and lives with Rolling Stone senior editor and film critic Peter Travers. Mr. Travers is also a member of the Picture House Film Advisory Board. Recent participants in “Conversations” have included George Clooney, Tom Cruise, and Sean Penn. These events drew sell-out audiences from across the region including the Bronx, lower Westchester, and Connecticut. The Picture House is in the leadership phase of a capital campaign to transform its historic theater into a state-of-the-art film and film education center.

Tickets will be available beginning Saturday, July 26 at 9:00AM only on the Picture House website, www.thepicturehouse.org. Tickets will be $35.

About the Picture House
The Picture House is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to restoring, renovating, and transforming an historic 1921 movie theater. The organization has a two-part mission:

GREAT FILMS...
In the newly restored Picture House, audiences will see independent films – features and documentaries from around the world -- classics, retrospectives, themed series, festival films and revivals.

... AND FILM EDUCATION
The Picture House believes in the power of movies to change peoples’ lives for the better. The group’s educational focus will provide people of all ages and from diverse backgrounds with the opportunity to learn about the art, technology, and business of film.

Suzanne <webmistress@alan-rickman.comfoo>
TX USA - Saturday, July 26, 2008


There's a really nice Bottle Shock interview of AR (and Bill Pullman, Randall Miller & Jody Savin) while at the Sundance Film Festival at GrapeRadio.com (AR is the last one interviewed).

Suzanne <webmistress@alan-rickman.comfoo>
TX USA - Tuesday, July 22, 2008


Nelson Mandela's Favorite African Folktales to be Produced as Audiobook Featuring Archbishop Tutu, Gillian Anderson, America Ferrera, Whoopi Goldberg, Samuel L. Jackson, Alan Rickman and Jurnee Smollett, Directed by Alfre Woodard
Posted on : 2008-07-17 | Author : Artists for a New South Africa News Category : PressRelease

ARTISTS FOR A NEW SOUTH AFRICA TO PRODUCE, HACHETTE AUDIO TO PUBLISH AND DISTRIBUTE IN '09 TO BENEFIT PROGRAMS SERVING AFRICAN AIDS ORPHANS LOS ANGELES, July 17

LOS ANGELES, July 17 /PRNewswire/ -- In honor of Nelson Mandela's 90th birthday this week, Artists for a New South Africa (ANSA) announced plans to produce an audiobook version of Nelson Mandela's Favorite African Folktales, an award-winning book of legendary tales hand-picked by the Nobel Peace Prize laureate. An array of celebrated, award-winning performers are donating their talents to the charitable endeavor; those already signed on to voice stories include Gillian Anderson (Emmy/Golden Globe winner; X Files), America Ferrera (Emmy/Golden Globe winner; Ugly Betty), Whoopi Goldberg (Oscar/Tony/Emmy/GRAMMY(R) winner), Samuel L. Jackson (Cannes/BAFTA/Independent Spirit winner and Oscar nominee; Pulp Fiction), Alan Rickman (Emmy/Golden Globe winner, Rasputin; Harry Potter film series) and Jurnee Smollett (Critics Choice/ NAACP Image Award winner; The Great Debaters). Nobel laureate Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu will record a special message to the world's children that will be featured on the audiobook.

Emmy/Golden Globe winner/Oscar nominee Alfre Woodard, who co-founded ANSA in 1989, will serve as Creative Director of the audiobook. She said, "I was privileged to be with Nelson Mandela recently in London, where he challenged us, saying, '... our work is far from complete. Where there is poverty and sickness, including AIDS, where human beings are oppressed, there is more work to be done ... after nearly 90 years of life, it is time for new hands to lift the burdens. It is in your hands now.' With this audiobook, ANSA pays tribute to our friend and our hero, Nelson Mandela, on his 90th birthday. It will take the hands of all mankind to lift that burden and carry on the work. We hope you will join in and support this effort."

The audiobook, slated for a Summer 2009 release, will be published and distributed by Hachette Audio, a division of Hachette Book Group USA, one of the largest and most respected publishing groups in the world. Proceeds will benefit the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund (NMCF), a South African organization founded in 1995 to improve dramatically the way society treats its children; and ANSA, which works in the U.S. and South Africa to combat HIV/AIDS, provide comprehensive assistance to children orphaned by HIV/AIDS, advance human rights, educate and empower at-risk youth and build bonds between both nations through arts, culture and the shared pursuit of social justice. Both organizations are working to address the impact of the AIDS pandemic on children in South Africa, which has more people living with HIV/AIDS and more children orphaned by the disease than any other country.

Nelson Mandela's Favorite African Folktales was first published in 2002 in hardcover internationally by NB Publishers and in hardcover and paperback in the U.S. by W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., which have granted worldwide English language rights for the audiobook to ANSA and Hachette Audio. Individuals and companies involved in the effort have donated services or waived fees to allow a maximum amount of proceeds to benefit the charities. In addition to waiving all sales and distribution fees, Hachette Audio will donate 100% of proceeds to ANSA and NMCF, and NB Publishers has waived fees so additional royalties can benefit NMCF. The CDs and audiobook packaging will be manufactured by Ivy Hill/Cinram, which is donating a significant portion of their services. Time Warner intellectual property attorney Bradley Silver is contributing his legal services to ANSA, in line with Time Warner Inc.'s pro bono endeavors. The actors and creative director are fully donating their talents, as are two-time GRAMMY(R) winner Gavin Lurssen, who will master the audiobook, and Gregory Robinson, who will handle the mixing and sound effects.

"We're deeply grateful to our generous partners and to the gifted artists who are helping bring these remarkable stories to life," said ANSA's Executive Director Sharon Gelman. "Our goal is to create an audiobook that can be enjoyed by people around the world, increasing awareness of Africa's rich cultural heritages and creating a better future for South Africa's most vulnerable children."

In his original foreword for the folktale collection, Nelson Mandela wrote, "It is my wish that the voice of the storyteller may never die in Africa, that all the children of the world may experience the wonder of books." With the forthcoming audiobook edition of Nelson Mandela's Favorite African Folktales, his vision comes full circle, as the timeless tales he selected return to the great oral tradition that allowed them to be passed down for centuries, and will now enlighten and entertain children of all ages the world over.

For more information: http://www.ansafrica.org

SOURCE: Artists for a New South Africa

http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/nelson-mandelas-favorite-african-folktales,471330.shtml#

Suzanne <webmistress@alan-rickman.comfoo>
TX USA - Friday, July 18, 2008


New Bottle Shock Website with a behind the scenes featurette, pictures, trailer and a list of all the US cities it opens in in August HERE
sue
england - Thursday, July 17, 2008


This may well be old news, and if it is I apologise, but Amazon is advertising the DVD of The Search for John Gissing as available for pre-order. Release date is Aug. 12.
Gail Rayment <gail.rayment@sympatico.cafoo>
Cobourg, Ont. Canada - Thursday, July 10, 2008


Rickman to Direct Chancellor, Teale and Burke in Donmar Creditors
By Mark Shenton
16 Jun 2008
Anna Chancellor

Casting has been revealed for the Donmar Warehouse's forthcoming production of Strindberg's Creditors.

The previously announced Alan Rickman will direct Anna Chancellor, Owen Teale and Tom Burke in the play, which will begin previews Sept. 25, open Sept. 30 and run through Nov. 15.

Written in 1890 and described in press materials as Strindberg's most mature work, Creditors is a darkly comic tale of obsession, honor and revenge. It is presented in a new version by regular Donmar playwright/adaptor David Greig.

The production continues the Donmar's commitment to presenting European drama in new adaptations for a modern audience. Rickman, best known as an actor, has also previously directed My Name Is Rachel Corrie (Royal Court Theatre and subsequently at the West End's Playhouse Theatre and Off-Broadway) and The Winter Guest at the Almeida. Playwright/translator Greig previously provided the Donmar with a new version of Caligula, while his original play The Cosmonaut's Last Message to the Woman He Once Loved in the Former Soviet Union was revived at the Donmar in 2005.

Chancellor returns to the Donmar, where she previously appeared in 2001 with Zoe Wanamaker and Lyndsey Marshal in the British premiere of David Mamet's Boston Marriage. More recently she appeared in a touring production of Amelia Bullmore's Mammals, in 2006. She is also known for her film and TV work, appearing as Duckface in "Four Weddings and a Funeral," the 1995 BBC adaptation of "Pride and Prejudice" and as a regular character in BBC1's "Spooks."

Teale won the 1997 Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Play for re-creating his West End role as Torvald Helmer in A Doll's House. He also appeared as John O'Brien in a stage and TV version of Catherined Cookson's The Fifteen Streets, and did two seasons with the RSC, where his roles included Hotspur in Henry IV, Mark Antony in Julius Caesar and Edmund in King Lear. More recently, he played the title role in Macbeth for director Terry Hands at Clwyd Theatre Cymru in May 2008.

Burke was last seen at the Donmar Warehouse in Mark Ravenill's The Cut. Other theatre credits include Romeo in Romeo and Juliet at Shakespeare's Globe and Macbeth at the Almeida.

For tickets contact the box office at 0870 060 6624 or visit www.donmarwarehouse.com.

Georgiana
Seattle - Tuesday, June 17, 2008


Alan gets the needle at Seattle Film Festival

The nearly one month long Seattle International Film Festival wraps up today in the Pacific Northwest. Tony Barbieri's "Em" won the Grand Jury Prize in the festival's New American Cinema competition, the film praised by the jury both for its focus on love and mental illness and for the lead performances by Stef Willen and Nathan Wetherington. In the festival's New Directors Showcase, Canadian Yves-Christian Fournier was honored with the grand jury prize for "Everything is Fine," while Isaac Julien's "Derek" won the grand jury award in the festival's documentary competition. German filmmaker Doris Dorrie's "Hanami" won the Golden Space Needle Audience Award for best film, while other Golden Space Needles went to Danny Tedesco's "The Wrecking Crew" (best documetary), Amin Matalqa for "Captain Abu Raed" (best director), Alan Rickman for "Bottle Shock" (best actor), Jessica Chastain for "Jolene" (best actress), and Andreas Utta's "Felix" (best short film). Short film jury awards went to Atul Taishete's "Rewind" (narrative grand jury prize), Rebecca Dreyfus's "Self Portrait With Cows Going Home and Other Works: A Portrait of Sylvia Plachy" (documentary grand jury prize), and Luis Cook's "The Pearce Sisters" (animation grand jury prize). Earlier this month, indieWIRE published a dispatch from the Seattle festival. [Eugene Hernandez]
sue
england - Sunday, June 15, 2008


The Daily Telegraph (Australia)
May 15, 2008 Thursday
1 Edition
Shock treatment
BYLINE: ALEX LALAK
SECTION: FEATURES; Pg. 44
LENGTH: 1000 words

The world was shocked in 2003 when 23-year-old American activist Rachel Corrie was killed by a military bulldozer during a peaceful protest in Gaza. Her tragic death inspired a spate of artistic tributes, including a controversial new play honouring her memory that is having its Australian premiere this week at the Belvoir St Theatre.

Edited by actor Alan Rickman and journalist Katharine Viner, My Name Is Rachel Corrie is a one-woman show that has been created using Corrie's emails and journal entries from the period before her death.

Belinda Bromilow, who is taking on the challenging role, believes Corrie's story should succeed in stirring a reaction in Sydney audiences.

"This play should encourage people to become active and involved in the world," the 32-year-old says.

"I feel like there's a cloud over our society, people are so fear-based and the idea of community is less important than it used to be. It's related to the fact that kids don't climb trees and people don't talk to each other anymore. It's affecting our spirituality, and that will be the death of us."

Corrie captured the imagination of people around the world with her decision to leave her comfortable life in Olympia, Washington, and join the International Solidarity Movement in the Gaza Strip in the Middle East.

She was in the Middle East for only two months before her death, taking part in protests against the demolition of civilian homes by the Israeli defence forces and displaying a level of passionate activism rarely seen in young people today.

"I can relate to Rachel because I had a lot of passion when I was younger and I used to have a lot of that energy. People get into their 20s and are apathetic and start navel-gazing about their own lives," Bromilow says.

"To do this role I had to tap into being 23 and remember what things were like at that age."

Since premiering in London in 2005, the play has sparked passionate debate and has been accused of being a crafted piece of Palestinian propaganda. The New York premiere was cancelled, a move the creators of the play publicly denounced as political censorship.

"I wouldn't be happy to receive a negative response to our production but if it means people are active and responsive and thinking, then it'll be a good thing," Bromilow says. "I think it'd be a shame if the play passed by with no response, and I'd hate itto be just a polarising right-wrong thing."

Director Shannon Murphy believes the mixed reception has drawn attention away from the moving personal story at the centre of the play.

"What's interesting is a lot of the criticism has come from people who have not actually seen the play," Murphy says.

"It's really a coming-of-age story about a young woman coming to terms with something difficult and the first half is quite comedic, but people jump over that."

The idea of social interaction and involvement is a recurring theme in discussions about Corrie's legacy, and her determination to find truth has become a source of inspiration.

"The reason Rachel Corrie went over to Gaza is because she wanted to see what's happening to the taxpayers' money, and Australia has become so close to America that we really should care too," Murphy says.

However, Bromilow is keen to stress that Corrie was in no way a martyr and her decision to go overseas was a source of much contention with her parents who, since her death, have become heavily involved in spreading their daughter's message of peace.

"Her parents were not cool with it and there was a lot of family arguments about her going," Bromilow says. "At first they were not so much concerned that she'd be killed but of her being arrested, until she started sending emails home and then they became really worried."

Corrie's message is valuable on both a domestic and international level, and is likely to stir heated consideration of Australia's involvement in overseas conflicts.

"September 11 was such a big thing because, for the first time, it involved Americans, but in Australia we're also very sheltered," Bromilow says.

"People are beginning to not care any more, and I want this play to open up discussion."

* My Name is Rachel Corrie, Belvoir St Downstairs Theatre, Surry Hills, May 16-June 1, 9699 3444, belvoir.com.au

PAST PLAYS THAT HAVE CAUSED A STIR

The theatre world is no stranger to controversy. Audiences have been up in arms over numerous plays dealing with politically and socially sensitive issues.

My Name is Rachel Corrie is the latest in a long list of contentious plays that include:

EQUUS: Paul Shaffer's Equus has continued to inspire controversy since it first opened in 1973, most recently with Harry Potter lead Daniel Radcliffe last year starring in a London production as the boy with a pathological religious and sexual fascination with horses.

THE GOAT: Feathers were ruffled in 2002 with the opening of Edward Albee's play The Goat: Or, Who is Sylvia? in which an architect falls in love with a farmyard goat, drawing the audience into an examination of taboo subjects such as incest, infidelity and bestiality.

THE LARAMIE PROJECT: Since Moises Kaufman's play, about a university murder which was widely believed to be a homophobic hate crime, was first performed in 2000, productions around the world have been picketed by angry protestors.

CORPUS CHRISTI: Terrence McNally received death threats in 1998 following the premiere of his play Corpus Christi - a transformed story of Jesus and his apostles as a group of gay men. A recent Sydney production was denounced by a Sydney bishop as "deliberately, not innocently, offensive".

THE CRUCIBLE: When it was first performed in 1953, playwright Arthur Miller's tale of witch hunts in Salem was seen as a thinly veiled criticism of the anti-communist trials in the US during the 1950s.

SALOME: In 1896, Oscar Wilde wrote his version of the story of Salome in French, to sidestep strict English laws. In it, King Herod's step-daughter feels a perverse love for John the Baptist and insists on his death when he rejects her..

Georgiana
Seattle - Thursday, June 12, 2008


The Daily Telegraph (Australia)
May 15, 2008 Thursday
1 - State Edition
YOUR SYDNEY ...
SECTION: FEATURES; Pg. 32
LENGTH: 594 words

Not in vain
THEATRE
* My Name Is Rachel Corrie
* Belvoir St Downstairs Theatre, 25 Belvoir St, Surry Hills
* Tonight 8pm
* $23-$29, 96993444, belvoir.com.au

Peace activist Rachel Corrie was mown down and killed by an Israeli bulldozer during a protest against the destruction of Palestinian homes in Rafah on the Gaza Strip in March 2003.

Within days of her death, emails and journals she had written to family and friends were published with the consent of her family. Two years later, actor Alan Rickman and journalist Katharine Viner adapted them for the stage.

Corrie's passionate writings from her childhood in the US until her death epitomised one woman's journey in the struggle for sense and justice.

The play, which stars Belinda Bromilow (pictured) in the Sydney version, had two sell-out seasons in London and had runs in the US and Canada, including a controversial last-minute cancellation in New York, which the English producers denounced as censorship.

On the fifth anniversary of Corrie's death, on March 16, the first Arabic version of the play premiered in Israel before touring the country and the occupied West Bank.

The cause of her death is still being disputed. An Israeli military investigation ruled the death an accident, while other activists at the scene said she was deliberately run over.

Georgiana
Seattle - Thursday, June 12, 2008


The Australian
May 19, 2008 Monday
1 - All-round Country Edition
Passion beyond the political
BYLINE: John McCallum
SECTION: FEATURES; Pg. 16
LENGTH: 455 words

THEATRE
My Name is Rachel Corrie

The writings of Rachel Corrie, edited by Alan Rickman and Katharine Viner. Bareboard Productions and B Sharp, Belvoir Theatre Downstairs, Sydney. May 15. Tickets: $29. Bookings: (02) 9699 3444. Until June 1.

IF the real Rachel Corrie was anything like the astonishing young woman portrayed in this production, then she ought to be a role model for young people everywhere, indeed, for us all.

This is not because of the supportive stance she took on the Palestinians, which the play presents in all its intensity and which led to political controversy when productions of it were cancelled in North America, but because she seems to have been an otherwise ordinary girl who developed a social conscience and did something about it.

The script, by Alan Rickman and Katharine Viner, is based on Corrie's own writing. There can't be many young people whose juvenilia letters, diaries and emails could provide enough rich material for such a powerful drama. That Corrie died under an Israeli defence force bulldozer at the age of 23 is not the most important thing about her story, although, of course, it haunts the production.

It is painful, listening to her here -- especially her reports from the frontline of her activism in Rafah, in the Gaza Strip, during the two months before her death -- to know that this vibrant and passionate voice is soon to fall silent. The most important thing, at least as it is told in this play, is that she sensed the suffering of a people alien to her and so went to live and work with them.

Belinda Bromilow gives a stunning performance. She portrays a young woman feverishly interested in everything around her but also self-reflective and aware of the contradictions of her position.

She is gushy and awkward as a teenager but we watch her grow up to become a young woman of courage and understanding. As director Shannon Murphy has said, this is a coming-of-age story as much as a political one, and Bromilow performs it superbly.

The final speech -- presumably the one that led some commentators to dismiss the play as Palestinian propaganda -- is simply Corrie telling it as she has come to see it, through experience, hard work and compassion.

The speech is from a letter to her mother and, as if to remind us that this is a play, not a tract, it concludes with a characteristic line that reminds us how young and vulnerable this girl is: ``Sorry about the diatribe!''

In the last section she also reads out letters from her parents. As a father of daughters, I was moved by Corrie's father's faltering letter of encouragement, expressing his anxiety about the dangers she is facing in Rafah: ``I'm proud of you. But I'd rather be proud of somebody else's daughter.''

Georgiana
Seattle - Thursday, June 12, 2008


Sydney Morning Herald (Australia)
May 20, 2008 Tuesday
First Edition
Beyond the politics of hate;
THEATRE
BYLINE: Reviewed by Mark Hopkins
SECTION: NEWS AND FEATURES; Arts; Pg. 14
LENGTH: 388 words

MY NAME IS RACHEL CORRIE
Belvoir Theatre Downstairs, May 15

THAT this play about a young American peace activist crushed to death by an Israeli army bulldozer in Gaza in March 2003 has generated such controversy says much more about sensitivities around the conflict in the Middle East than the text itself.

The play is unashamedly personal in its perspective, a coming-of-age story about a naive but passionate idealist. The British actor and director Alan Rickman and Katharine Viner, the features editor for The Guardian, crafted My Name Is Rachel Corrie from the emails, letters and diaries of Rachel Corrie from the age of 12. Corrie had only 50 days in Gaza before she died and she knew little about the Middle East before landing in Israel, so it is hardly surprising that this one-woman play is short on political insight.

The first half establishes Corrie's loud antipathy to the insular complacency of her community in Olympia, Washington State. Conscious of her own material wellbeing, her early writings are charmingly quirky, predictably romantic about lost love and disarmingly self-critical: the scatty unfocused musings of a privileged, educated, protected middle-class activist.

In performance Belinda Bromilow captures superbly the yearning for a deeper connection with community that Corrie's writings have at their heart. Romilow is so convincing in her portrait of Corrie's unself-conscious sincerity that when the writings come from Gaza in the second half, Corrie's naive bias only serves to emphasise the sadness in her death. With such a passion for expressing her values in non-violent action, one wonders what writings and breadth of understanding may have flowered if Corrie had lived. The director, Shannon Murphy, and Bromilow keep the focus on the personal. In their interpretation Corrie is upset more by her parents' fear than her own, inspired more by Palestinian preservation of family solidarity than active resistance. She is awakened to the reality of a territorial conflict where the goodness of human nature is often obscured and her humanistic challenge is directed to those ignoring the conflict rather than to its participants. Murphy and Bromilow ensure Corrie's plaintive cry that this is not the world we asked for becomes an inspiring voice that includes but transcends the conflict in Gaza.

Georgiana
Seattle - Thursday, June 12, 2008


The Times (London)
May 24, 2008 Saturday
The Good, the Bad and the Russians
SECTION: FEATURES; Pg.18
LENGTH: 336 words

When members of the Russian Communist Party complain that in his new movie, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Harrison Ford is dogged by an evil KGB agent played by Cate Blanchett, it really makes you think. What it makes you think mostly is: who on earth complains about being portrayed by Cate Blanchett?

One problem for Hollywood is that it is running out of villainous stereotypes. Native Americans, the staple of the western? Politically incorrect. The inscrutable Chinese? Tricky when we are trying to woo China into becoming a liberal democracy. An inscrutable Japanese? That was easier in the days before Japanese corporations owned half the studios in Hollywood. When the French fell into the frame (in The Matrix Reloaded and Mission Impossible and Oceans 12), Paris Match bridled: "A smoker, not very clean, vain, cowardly and unfaithful, the Frenchman has come to embody the depraved morals of old Europe as evoked by George Bush." Iranians moaned at how Ancient Persians were depicted in 300, a movie about the Battle of Thermopylae.

But did the Romans whine when they were portrayed as brutes in Spartacus? No. Nor, more significantly, did the British actors - Laurence Olivier, Charles Laughton, Peter Ustinov - who played all those icy Roman senators. Why not?

Because the British know that villainy is where the artistic gold lies. Anthony Hopkins was voted all-time screen baddie by the American Film Institute for his role as Hannibal Lecter, leading a legion of villains such as Alan Rickman, Steven Berkoff, Christopher Lee, David Bowie (yes, playing Pontius Pilate) and even Richard E. Grant - men with such toffish British accents you wonder why Labour election campaigners in Crewe aren't stalking them. Why do they crave such roles? "The more successful the villain, the more successful the picture," said Hitchcock, who knew who usually stole the cinematic glory.

When Russians twig that, they'll be a threat not just to archaeologists but to Hollywood itself.

Georgiana
Seattle - Thursday, June 12, 2008


The Sun Herald (Sydney, Australia)
May 25, 2008 Sunday
First Edition
My Name Is Rachel Corrie;
OUR PICK
BYLINE: Jason Blake
SECTION: S; Entertainment; Pg. 28
LENGTH: 328 words

My Name Is Rachel Corrie
Belvoir St Downstairs
Until June 1
Tickets $20-$29
Bookings (02) 9699 3444
Critic's rating 8/10

AS YOU walk into the theatre you'll see a grim photograph on the wall to your right. It shows 23-year-old Rachel Corrie dying in the dirt. An Israeli Defence Forces bulldozer squats menacingly in the distance, apparently having run over her. But, as with everything connected to the death of the young American activist, the factual basis of the image is hotly debated.

For supporters of the Palestinian cause Corrie is a martyr. For Zionists she was a dupe of Arab terrorists and their sympathisers, her death the result of her own recklessness.

This 90-minute monologue, distilled from Corrie's own writings by British journalist Katharine Viner and actor Alan Rickman, makes no attempt to be even-handed. How could it? But it does offer adherents to either viewpoint - and the vast majority of us in between who don't really know what the hell to think - a portrait of a passionate young woman and a window on an appalling situation.

Although it never really becomes anything more than a well-edited series of diary and email excerpts, the power of Corrie's reportage - her observational skills were considerable - will move you. Her gaucheness and the odd passage of "dear diary"-style purple prose serve to make her less of a saint and more human.

In this modest but effective production directed by Shannon Murphy, Belinda Bromilow's performance is, in its unflashy and very focused way, a stunner. Addressing the audience directly - often making eye contact - she seldom misses a beat. Subtle sound (Jeremy Silver) and lighting (Matt Schubach) maintain focus.

The piece concludes with a brief video: the real Rachel Corrie, aged 10, making a plea for social justice and an end to hunger by the year 2000. Regardless what you think of her politics, after watching this it's hard to think of her death as anything but a waste of extraordinary promise. JB

Georgiana
Seattle - Thursday, June 12, 2008


Daily Record
May 30, 2008, Friday
JUDI'S A SOUND CHOICE
SECTION: NEWS; Pg. 11
LENGTH: 78 words

SCIENTISTS have created a formula for the perfect female and male voices.

According to the research, a combination of Mariella Frostrup, Dame Judi Dench and Honor Blackman make up the perfect female voice.

The most appealing male voices echo the rumbles of Alan Rickman, Jeremy Irons and Michael Gambon.

Researchers at Sheffield University said the formula represents the subtle blend of tone, speed, frequency, words per minute and intonation that make up the perfect voice.

Georgiana
Seattle - Thursday, June 12, 2008


The Evening Standard (London)
June 2, 2008 Monday
SECTION: B; Pg. 20
LENGTH: 90 words

CAMDEN: Beverley Knight, Nick Mason and Toyah Willcox are to play at a rock 'n' roll gala on 12 June to raise £500,000 for the Roundhouse's education programme to keep young people off the streets. Helen Mirren and Alan Rickman will be among guests at the event, which includes a celebrity auction. While the upstairs space has hosted performers ranging from The Who to the Royal Shakespeare Company, the downstairs studios have seen 12,000 young people taking part in music, film and television projects.

FOR MORE INFO www. roundhouse. org. uk

Georgiana
Seattle - Thursday, June 12, 2008


The Toronto Sun
June 6, 2008 Friday
FINAL EDITION
This Name is simply stunning
BYLINE: BY JOHN COULBOURN, TORONTO SUN
SECTION: ENTERTAINMENT; Stage; Pg. E6
LENGTH: 626 words

Rachel Corrie was an articulate young American who, some suggest, was working out of her political depth.

Yet no one has ever said she was working with less than the full measure of her passion, and her compassion, to end a conflict that leaves even some of the most sophisticated political minds of the day reeling in confusion.

And even though her death in March 2003 -- on Palestinian soil, at the business end of a bull-dozer driven by an Israeli operator -- was a full-fledged tragedy, one can't help but wonder if that death would have been any less tragic if she had been on Israeli soil, blown apart by a suicide bomber.

Or hiding from the Nazis in a Dutch attic.

Or fighting against English invaders for the Dauphin of France -- or by her own hand, mourning a lost love, for that matter -- for there is something about the death of innocents and innocence that has always seared the human soul.

In the end, it proves to be Corrie's passion and not her politics -- her innocence and her determination to do her part to change world gone awry -- that matters most.

That and so much more is driven home by Theatre Panik's production of My Name is Rachel Corrie, which opened an already extended Toronto run on the stage of the Tarragon Extra Space Wednesday.

Drawn from the writings -- her journals, e-mails and even a few of her drawings -- of their late heroine, My Name is Rachel Corrie has been edited by Alan Rickman and Katherine Viner into a compelling 95 minutes of theatre.

And despite controversy the work has generated since its London premiere -- an earlier Toronto production was cancelled in the face of rumoured political pressure -- the work is often surprisingly apolitical, dealing as it does with the innermost workings of a mind only starting its struggle to comprehend the complexities of global politics.

Born and raised in relative comfort in Olympia, Wash., Corrie grew up in a liberal milieu and was only 23 when she journeyed to Gaza as a member of an international youth group determined to help end the conflict between Palestinians and Israelis.

And while it is not the job of a theatre critic to judge her politics, her writings -- as used in My Name -- make it clear she arrived at her determination after considerable thought, surely a major criterion for any political action, and certainly more than is asked of most soldiers and bulldozer drivers.

They also reveal her passion, her zest for life, her complexity, her naivete and the kind of overriding belief in her own passion and her own immortality that drives parents to the edge of distraction and beyond. She could have been your daughter, your niece, your sister, your grand-daughter -- if you were very lucky.

All of these things and so much more are captured in a deceptively simple performance executed by Bethany Jillard, under the unobtrusive direction of Kate Lushington -- a riveting and compelling tour de force that echoes with the kind of from-the-heart honesty that has captured hearts and transformed certain young women into tragic heroines for centuries.

It is, in short, a jewel of a performance that finds a perfect setting in Astrid Janson's set, embellished by Bonnie Beecher's lighting and Cameron Davis' video designs. On the surface, this set may seem simple, but this is the kind of simplicity -- the same kind of stripping away of everything not completely essential to the tale that we see in Jillard's performance -- that takes a real artist to achieve.

It's the kind of artistry that Rachel Corrie might have found had life -- and death -- not intervened.

Politics are incidental here. It is the passion that endures.

Georgiana (nice parallel to "Ann Frank")
Seattle - Thursday, June 12, 2008


National Post (f/k/a The Financial Post) (Canada)
June 7, 2008 Saturday
Toronto Edition
She Suffers, We suffer; Engaging and baffling, Rachel Corrie's life and passion make it to the stage
BYLINE: Robert Cushman, National Post
SECTION: TORONTO: MUST DO; Theatre; Pg. TO23
LENGTH: 803 words

When My Name is Rachel Corrie was announced for production in New York, there were protests and the play was cancelled. It got on later, at another address. The same thing happened in Toronto; Canadian Stage announced a production and then abandoned it, and though the company denied that it was caving in to any kind of pressure, it's hard to believe the protestations. Anyway, the play is now on; and if objections ever were levelled on political grounds, they were misguided. Well, assuming you believe in freedom of speech.

Which is not to say that the play is impartial; it isn't. Rachel Corrie was the 23-year-old American peace activist who died in 2003 while trying to stop an Israeli bulldozer from demolishing a Palestinian home in Gaza. She may well have been naive-- standing in front of a bulldozer is naive -- and the play, assembled by Alan Rickman and Katharine Viner from Rachel's letters and journals, provides no evidence that she even attempted to talk to an Israeli. Her focus is entirely on the Palestinians whose lives she shared and whose hospitality she enjoyed, while remaining guiltily aware that she, unlike they, could leave at any time.

Her mother in Oregon, whose consciousness she raises, writes to her that this is the first time she's been aware that Palestinians have a case; where she lives, the words "suicide bombers" are enough to put a stop to any conversation. Rachel herself seems to have been in the opposite situation; suicide bombings, and all that they imply, never get into the conversation in the first place. Rachel isn't much concerned with context. When she talks of the Palestinians she knows practising "non-violent resistance," she sounds starry-eyed, not because they're really all potential terrorists but because she's using fancy words to describe the day-today process of getting by in an abhorrent situation. It is abhorrent, and no amount of "context" makes it less so: more, if anything. You end up rooting for Rachel.

You also, of course, mourn her death. But that doesn't necessarily mean that you want to know as much about her life as the play wants to tell you. It's a monologue, much of which is devoted to the protagonist's student years, trying to find a focus for her own idealism. Hers is a marathon role, brilliantly played by Bethany Jillard under the acute direction of Kate Lushington. In about a year's worth of work, Jillard has become our reigning interpreter of the contemporary North American teenager and early twentysomething; whether she's playing tough or vulnerable, whole or abused, shy or in-your-face, she has the accents, the attitudes and the rhythms down perfectly. She comes by them naturally, of course, but it's still a feat to shape them into a performance. The salient quality of her Rachel Corrie is its restlessness, emotional, intellectual and physical. (She turns somersaults or does handstands at moments of perplexity.) She can also, without any affectation, play passion. Rachel was something of a writer, as well as a cause looking for an outlet. She agonized about right and wrong, justice and injustice, before settling on the Middle East as her battleground. She seems to have been selfless, or a least no more concerned with playing out her own dramas than everyone is.

But her adolescent agonies are hardly unusual, and though that gives them a kind of representative interest, her words aren't inspired enough to sustain it. The thinking seems to have been that a bleeding political situation, a martyrdom, and an autobiographical paper trail should add up to a play. Some of the best parts are the letters she reads from her proud but worried parents; it's good to hear other points of view and theirs -- trying cheerfully to be supportive, but leaking any number of doubts -- are very recognizable. The piece goes from engaging to monotonous to baffling to gripping-- the baffling part being a pre-climactic retrospective detour -- the only point at which the play makes its heroine seem self-indulgent. It recovers itself to plunge into something like tragedy, with a ground-down Rachel's despairing conclusion that there may be more evil in the world than good; Jillard rises thrillingly to the challenge. She recovers her optimism, which I suppose means that the play does. But I'm not so sure; her end -- which, of course, we've been anticipating all evening -- still comes shockingly fast. Just one death, of course, in a world that's full of them, and no more to be lamented than anyone else's, but the theatre doesn't work that way. We suffer with those whom we've seen suffer, and here, whatever news she herself may bring of others, there's only one of them. - My Name is Rachel Corrie plays through June 29 at the Tarragon Extra Space. Call 416-531-1827 for ticket information.

robert.cushman@hotmail.com.

Georgiana
Seattle - Thursday, June 12, 2008


The Globe and Mail (Canada)
June 7, 2008 Saturday
As a play about youthful idealism, drama is tremendously affecting
BYLINE: J. KELLY NESTRUCK
SECTION: WEEKEND REVIEW; THEATRE: REVIEW; Pg. R12
LENGTH: 859 words
My Name is Rachel Corrie

Taken from the writings of Rachel Corrie
Edited by Alan Rickman and Katharine Viner
Directed by Kate Lushington
Starring Bethany Jillard
A Theatre Panik production at Tarragon Extra Space in Toronto

***

My Name is Rachel Corrie left me in tears. It left my seatmate in a fulminating rage. We argued well into the night. This is theatre that, despite what Canadian Stage Company's faint-hearted artistic producer Marty Bragg said when he backed away from producing it a year and a half ago, absolutely strikes a chord.

Rachel Corrie, a native of Olympia, Wash., left the safety of Evergreen State College for the Gaza Strip during the second intifada in 2003. For two months, she worked as a human shield with a non-violent organization called the International Solidarity Movement.

Weeks shy of her 24th birthday, she was crushed under a Israel Defence Forces bulldozer while trying to prevent a house from being demolished.

Two years later, actor Alan Rickman and Guardian editor Katharine Viner stitched together bits and pieces of her diaries and e-mails to create this "verbatim" one-woman show at the Royal Court Theatre in London. Corrie's death had become iconic, a focal point for a vigorous and often vicious debate, and the editor-playwrights wanted to put her voice back in it.

Corrie's writings mix the angst and romanticism of a teenager's personal blog and the ideology of the university global justice crowd with a healthy dose of self-deprecating humour. She drops buzzwords like "privilege" and "neo-liberalism" one moment, then pens a fanciful sentence like "The salmon talked me into a lifestyle change."

Depending on where you're coming from, you may find this charming, silly, obnoxious or inspiring. (I found it all of these at different times.) Bethany Jillard is a very talented actress whom I last saw as a shy, restrained ingenue in the musical A Man of No Importance; she has completely transformed into this outgoing, loud young woman, full of the self-righteousness and self-absorption of youth as well as a genuine desire to make the world into the one she was promised in her Grade 2 class - one where "everybody must feel safe." Beginning the play soft and flighty, she hardens in front of us as she encounters the suffering she has read about firsthand.

Under Kate Lushington's fluid direction, Corrie hops from textbook to textbook like she's crossing a river on stones and writes her journal in chalk on the back wall, a blackboard that also serves as the screen for Cameron Davis's lush projections. The simple, bare set design by Astrid Janson features one giant grate that descends when Corrie arrives in the occupied territories.

Save the excessive dry ice, Theatre Panik's production is mostly excellent. But is the play itself as one-sided as its critics say?

Absolutely, though it never pretends to be more than the personal writings of one individual who identified with the Palestinian cause.

We might want Corrie to view the conflict through a wider lens, to not excuse suicide bombings the way she does, but we're stuck with her the way she actually was.

To a certain extent, anyway. Rickman and Viner have watered down Corrie's views to make her more palatable, a questionable decision that seems politically rather than artistically motivated. The references to "chronic, insidious genocide" that appear in her published letters, for instance, are omitted in the passages quoted here. The decision not to present Corrie with all her warts (some do remain) is problematic, verging on the propagandistic.

Another issue is the repeated sentimental references to Corrie's girlishness. The script instructs that the play end with a video of her at her school's fifth grade "Press Conference on World Hunger."

Lushington's production adds a projection of a girl on a swing projected on the back wall; the swing becomes empty when she dies.

That everyone who dies was once a child is a point both trite and mawkish. Corrie was 23 when she met her tragic fate. She made her own choices and knew the potential consequences. It is both condescending to Corrie and manipulative to the audience to then make it seem as if an innocent child had been lost.

As a play about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, My Name Is Rachel Corrie is not particularly satisfying, regardless of your political beliefs. As The Observer has reported, "On the night of Corrie's death, nine Palestinians were killed in the Gaza Strip, among them a four-year-old girl and a man aged 90." Their plays are unwritten.

As a play about youthful idealism, however, it is very tremendously affecting. As Panik's artistic directors write in the program, "Rachel Corrie has become a symbol but she was, in fact, simply a young woman in search of a way to participate in this complex world." Similarly searching, of course, are the North American Jew who goes and joins the IDF, or the young American who heads off to topple Saddam and bring democracy to Iraq. Their stories would be equally uncomfortable to watch for some, and heroic to others.

My Name Is Rachel Corrie continues until June 22 (416-531-1827).

Georgiana
Seattle - Thursday, June 12, 2008


The Times (London)
June 10, 2008 Tuesday
The word on the dancefloor
BYLINE: Donald Hutera
SECTION: FEATURES; Times2; Pg.23
LENGTH: 371 words
READING ROOM. Queen Elizabeth Hall. ***

Jonathan Lunn's new touring show is a polished attempt to marry the body language of dance with spoken text. The British choreographer has invited a different high-profile actor - Juliet Stevenson, Miranda Richardson, Alan Rickman or Dexter Fletcher - to deliver the same set of writings at each performance while five creditable dancers dance in a fidgety, resolutely contemporary style.

Lunn is testing what these two forms of expression can jointly reveal about our (in-)ability to communicate. Stevenson set the tone of the evening at the London premiere, reciting a wry, self-referentially literary poem by the American Billy Collins. She then exited, allowing Carly Best to articulate a quirky solo structured as a string of claustrophobically neurotic, broken poses.

Best is like an enormously adept but slightly soulless machine. I felt a greater affinity for Rachel Krische, a dancer of exceptional wit, character and compact power who warms up Lunn's work by several degrees.

Featuring prerecorded music by Scanner, Aphex Twin and DJ Shadow, the performance is smoothly staged. The designer, Peter Mumford, sheds immaculate light on the moveable walls of a set that keeps shifting between room-like spaces. Stevenson was a slippery presence. Reading Samuel Beckett's typically gloomy, precise prose, she was both a witness and an accompaniment to Chris Evans's dismayingly overliteral solo. She vanished after delineating a Raymond Carver poem, paving the way for a troubled relationship duet by Chris Rook and Lilou Robert that felt familiar but was well done.

At each venue Reading Room spotlights a different youth dance company. On the South Bank it was EDge, the postgraduate performance group of London Contemporary Dance School. Nice work, even if their ensemble moves exposed Lunn's habitual reliance on seemingly arbitrary gestural filigree.

The performance concludes with a clever duet, Self Assembly. Here the uncertainties and cracks in Best and Evans's partnership are refracted through the late Anthony Minghella's voiceover, a series of flat-pack instructions marked by self-congratulatory irony.

Touring. Details from www.turtlekeyarts.org.uk.

Georgiana
Seattle - Thursday, June 12, 2008


The Times (London)
June 11, 2008 Wednesday
Film club gives children a new taste for old treasures
BYLINE: Ben Hoyle, Arts Reporter
SECTION: HOME NEWS; Pg.21
LENGTH: 491 words

In a noisy primary school classroom in East London, 15 very small film buffs are arguing about whether The Red Shoes is better than Duck Soup.

Three of them feel that Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger's ballet fantasy is the superior work, even though they were too scared to finish watching it. Most of the others preferred the Marx Brothers' 75-year-old knockabout "because it was so funny".

There is no contest as to the most popular film they have watched through FilmClub, a new nationwide scheme to give children free access to classic films. They all adore Grease.

"They made me rewind it four or five times so they could dance to all the songs again," said Karen Parker, who helps to run the branch of FilmClub at Lauriston Primary School in Hackney.

That Duck Soup, The Red Shoes and Grease were made in 1933, 1948 and 1978 sails over the heads of the children, who are all aged between 7 and 10 and probably can't remember the first Harry Potter film coming out. Nor are they bothered that Duck Soup is in black and white or that Monsieur Hulot's Holiday, which they still talk about long after seeing it, has subtitles.

Emma Thompson and the film director Alan Parker will help to introduce the scheme tomorrow, but already, up and down the country, hundreds of schoolchildren are watching films that they would otherwise never see and learning that their tastes extend far beyond mainstream blockbusters.

According to Beeban Kidron, the co-founder of FilmClub, many are also discovering far more: a sense of belonging, wonder and personal ambition. "I've seen at least a dozen kids have a life-changing experience in front of me, a light going on," she said. "There's one boy I'm thinking of who's in the lower sixth who hadn't made a single friend at school, had lots of problems at home and had basically never seen a film before. Now he's made loads of friends through FilmClub. All he talks about is film, he goes to the cinema every weekend and he's written a screenplay."

Ms Kidron, the director of Bridget Jones: the Edge of Reason, set the club up in 2006 with Lindsay Mackie, an educationist, to do something for "all the feral kids running around like lost causes because they have no sense of the big picture. It works. A lot of teachers are saying to us that the ones getting most of it are the difficult kids, and particularly the difficult boys."

Ms Kidron calls herself "the most hated do-gooder in the industry right now" for the way that she has "battered" her address book to get film stars to visit schools and talk to FilmClubs. Rosamund Pyke, Thandie Newton and Kevin MacDonald have all done visits, as have leading make-up artists, composers and film electricians. Alan Rickman, Sienna Miller and Lord Attenborough are lined up to help soon.

After a pilot scheme last year FilmClub has secured government funding and is being introduced to 7,000 schools over the next three years.

Georgiana
Seattle - Thursday, June 12, 2008


Hi! First time post-er here! There is a new photo of AR in the HBP movie. Here's the link: The Leaky Cauldron

Hope that works!
Alicia <atrezise@gmail.comfoo>
Champaign, IL US - Saturday, May 31, 2008


Sidney Pollack passed away today. He was involved in several films that starred and co-starred Alan, so I assume that they were friends as well. What a loss to the film community; first Minghella and now Pollack.
Dottee
- Tuesday, May 27, 2008


"Bottle Shock" is the closing night film at the Seattle International Film Festival on June 14, 6:30 pm at Cinerama in Seattle.
Georgiana
Seattle - Thursday, May 22, 2008


A couple of things I nabbed from Claudia's page (thanks, Sue!)

Alan appears on an Anita Roddick tribute documentary. You can buy the DVD or download it electronically here.

And just for fun, you can see Alan's extremely brief cameo appearance at an art gallery on this YouTube video.
Ali-Pat
Dayton, OH USA - Friday, May 16, 2008


I just found these at Rexfeatures, if anyone can get the bigger ones it would be much appreciated but here you go RexFeatures , there are 3 from when Alan Rickman appeared at the Oxford Union on 6th May.

More pictures here BrunoPress http://www.brunopress.nl/fotoweb/ just enter Alan's name in the search.


Sheena <purple-dragon@sky.comfoo>
Berkshire UK - Friday, May 09, 2008


More wine on film (Bottle Shock released in August).

Ha Ha! Nice photos in the link inside the link L)
Dottee
- Friday, May 09, 2008


The Point

Jonathan Lunn Dance Company
featuring Alan Rickman

Friday 27th June at 7.30pm
Saturday 28th June at 7.30pm
Critically acclaimed international choreographer and director Jonathan Lunn brings his company to The Point for the first time. This inspiring show includes specially commissioned text by the late Anthony Minghella performed by special guest actor Alan Rickman. The Reading Room is a series of scenes focusing on different lives and relationships and examining the connections, disconnections, pacts, secrets and lies of our human interactions. This very special evening brings together an array of artists from the worlds of film, dance, music, literature and opera and features a choreographed section by Hampshire Youth Dance Company. Lunn’s previous credits include opera work in London, Los Angeles, Washington and Paris and for the National Theatre, whose production of Pericles earned him an Olivier nomination for best choreography in theatre.

Duration: 60 minutes approximately
Recommended age: 12 years+

Tickets: £10

Buy tickets
Friday
Saturday

“The dancers perform intricate movements with careful delicacy drawing the audience into the tiniest detail. Light humour and tenderness completed this intelligently executed beautifully wrapped package including striking lighting designs. A subtle and compelling work.”
DANCE EUROPE

Reeds
Perth, WA Australia - Friday, May 02, 2008


[quoted from] The Oxford Union
The Union is the world's most prestigious debating society, with an unparalleled reputation for bringing international guests and speakers to Oxford.

Event Name: Gina Carter
Start Date: 6th May 2008 8:30pm
Description
GINA CARTER is one of the UK's foremost producers, having worked with some of the UK's biggest names in film and television from Michael Winterbottom to Stephen Fry and Alan Rickman. Her recent projects include 24 Hour Party People and Bright Young Things.

There will be a screening of GINA’S recent and highly acclaimed film Snow Cake in the Chamber at 4pm and then, Alan Rickman with Gina will be taking questions at 8.45pm about the film, their life and work in general, and what it takes to make it in the industry. Alan has said that Snow Cake contains his finest performance, indeed the only ONE that he enjoys re-watching.

All those present [members only, I think] at the screening will get a free drink in the bar and priority entry to see Alan speak at 8.45

Susan
- Tuesday, April 29, 2008


For those interested I found this on the Isle Of Wight County Press website last night.

Stars Line Up for Anthony Minghella Tribute (with video clip).

Amelia x
Amelia
UK - Monday, April 28, 2008


Alan will be debating at the Oxford union on Tuesday may 6th!

Trinity Term 2008
Event Name: Alan Rickman
Start Date: 6th May 2008 8:30pm
End Date
Duration: N/A
Description: ALAN RICKMAN is not a bad man; he's just very good at playing them. One of Britain's most versatile actors, many of Rickman's most high profile roles have involved playing silver screen villains. The Emmy, BAFTA and Screen Actors' Guild Award-winning actor has played Hans Gruber in Die Hard and the Sherriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood, as well as more recently portraying Judge Turpin in Sweeney Todd. His acting career began with a scholarship to RADA before moving onto the RSC, picking up numerous acting prizes and medals in the process. More recently he has starred in the enormously successful Love Actually and was voted one of Empire's 'sexiest stars in film history'.

Dottee
- Monday, April 28, 2008


Many people attended the memorial for Anthony Minghella.

From The People UK:

"Actors Jude Law and Alan Rickman joined hundreds of family and friends yesterday at a thanksgiving service for Oscar-winner Anthony Minghella. Law and Rickman both addressed the service at Minster Church of St Thomas in Newport, Isle of Wight. Minghella was born and brought up in nearby Ryde, where his parents Edward and Gloria still live and run an ice cream business.

His brother Dominic told the service: "He was a genius but he was also a person - human, flawed, gorgeous and infuriating."Quoting from his brother's film Truly, Madly Deeply, he said: "Anthony is still with us: Really, truly, madly, deeply, passionately, remarkably."

The BBC will broadcast a series of plays in his honor.

And in the back catalogue of Rickman films, this month, "Die Hard" is Blu-Ray available, and one reviewer says:

" . . . Led by the dignified but deadly Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman), this gang is out to rob the company Holly is employed by for a cool $600 million while the FBI and LAPD, thinking they are dealing with terrorists, fumble about outside. But with his wife’s life at stake, McClane is only more than happy to do the job for the feds and screw with Gruber’s holiday plans."

"But what really set the original Die Hard apart from the rest of the pack for were the performances by Willis and Rickman. Willis gives McClane an everyman type of quality that instantly allows the viewer to connect with the character and buy into his situations without hesitation. He also displays great onscreen chemistry with the entire cast, while delivering his memorably profane one-liners like nobody else. Rickman’s Gruber is a perfect blend of dry humor and menace who dominates any scene he is in without chewing up the scenery. Rickman has had many memorable roles over the past two decades, but this one, the actor’s screen debut, is still far and away my personal favorite."

(Hmm. My personal favorite for entirely different reasons.)
Renie
- Monday, April 28, 2008


Copley News Service
March 28, 2008 Friday 3:26 AM EST
Bloody musical 'Sweeney Todd' is hard to swallow
BYLINE: Robert J. Hawkins
SECTION: DVD SELECT
LENGTH: 1168 words

So, you pick up a copy of director Tim Burton's interpretation of the Stephen Sondheim musical "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" (DreamWorks, 2 1/2 stars) this week and you see it is rated R.

These days they tell you why a movie is rated R - so that if you are a teenager, you'll know whether it has enough nakedness or sex or violence to be worth your while.

On "Sweeny Todd," the label merely says "For graphic bloody violence." (Well, it actually says "FOR GRAPHIC BLOODY VIOLENCE," but there's no need to shout.)

"Graphic bloody violence"?

Bloody hell.

You'd better believe it has graphic bloody violence.

By my count - and I am just sick this way - Sweeney Todd (Johnny Depp), the demented barber, slits 10 throats even. Not conceptual or off-camera slittings but 10 horrific, graphic, bloody in-your-face-and-you-could-be-next throat slittings. And he tosses one slightly mad dame into the roaring flames of a furnace. She's alive.

There's one last throat slitting in the picture, and you can imagine whose it might be, at the hand of a 10-year-old boy who has a fondness for gin. It is as cleanly and surgically done as any by the mad Mr. Todd. And yet, not gratifying in the least.

But I'm getting ahead of myself, so to speak. Perhaps because this has been a Broadway musical off and on since 1979, and performed on stages all over the world, you haven't the slightest idea what I'm talking about.

Sweeney Todd was once a fine young barber by name of Benjamin Barker with a lovely wife and child. The lustful Judge Turpin (Alan Rickman) trumps up charges and sends Barker off to the penal colonies in order to steal his wife. Fifteen years later, a grim, Gothic, raging Barker comes back as the reinvented Todd Monster and sets up shop in his old quarters above Mrs. Lovett's Pie Shop. Nellie Lovett (Helena Bonham Carter) is as gothically creepy as Todd. A nice pair. A frightful pair. And she boastfully makes the worst meat pies in all of London.

Sweeney Todd learns that his wife had been raped by the judge and took poison and that his daughter is now the ward of the judge. So, can you blame the guy for being a little homicidal?

Right off, Todd's true identity is flagged by another imposter, the pseudo Italian barber Pirelli (a scene-stealing Sacha Baron Cohen). Throat slit. Problem solved.

And suddenly Mrs. Lovett has a tasty new source of filling for her meat pies. Win-win for the goth team.

Sweeney merrily slits away and Mrs. Lovett whips up her now-popular pies but neither keeps their eye off the prize: the grizzled neck of the nasty Judge Turpin and his porcine sidekick Beedle Bamford (Timothy Spall).

There are secondary characters, like the young sailor Anthony Hope (Jamie Campbell Bower) who falls for Todd's daughter Johanna (a fragile lovely sprite named Jayne Wisener). And there's the scruffy workhouse child Toby (Ed Sanders) who is a heartbreaking mix of innocence and experience.

All of these characters have one thing in common. Not a one has ever sung before, in a professional musical, that is. But they could all coalesce around the singular detail that director Tim Burton hates musicals.

His wife Bonham Carter discloses as much in a most entertaining feature on the DVD titled "Burton + Depp + Carter = Todd." She also astutely notes that the main characters in all Tim Burton movies seem to "end up somehow a version of himself."

Burton says of Depp and Carter together "They had that quality of a weird couple."

Apparently there was great drama in the words of producer Richard Zanuck over the fact that "we are spending millions of dollars on the picture (in pre-production) and not one person on Earth had ever heard Johnny Depp sing. And he's the star of the picture."

It must have come as a relief when all discovered that Depp can't sing. Well, not really. But it doesn't matter. When you're a half-craze, vengeance-driven, homicidal barber who is slitting a throat every 2.3 minutes - the singing comes as welcome relief, no matter how awful.

In 30 years, audiences have about evenly loved and been revolted by "Sweeney Todd." I think Burton's personal style has ensured that 70 percent will now feel revolted. He may well have slit the throat of musicals on film for the next 20 years.

On the other hand, "Sweeney Todd" is perfectly positioned to replace the well-worn "Rocky Horror Picture Show" as the cult midnight audience participation movie of a new generation of people who have no life of their own. Just don't wear your good clothes because by picture's end you'll be drenched in fake (hopefully fake) blood.

"Sweeney Todd" comes with a second disc that is chucky jam full of great sounding features like "Sweeney Todd Press Conference Nov. 2007" and "Grand Guignol: A Theatrical Tradition" and "A Bloody Business" and "The Razor's Refrain" but I'm gong to need another week or two to recover from Disc 1 first.

Georgiana (I thought a bit about cutting out the plot rehash in the middle of this, but decided it was all of apiece; sorry)
Seattle - Monday, April 28, 2008


VNU Entertainment News Wire (Online)
April 8, 2008 Tuesday
This week's Broadway scene
BYLINE: ROBERT OSBORNE
SECTION: COLUMNS; RAMBLING REPORTER
LENGTH: 516 words

. . . . . . . . . .

Also starting the prevue process Saturday will be Laura Linney in the Roundabout's revival of Christopher Hampton's "Les Liaisons Dangereuses" at the American Airlines Theatre. It is directed by Rufus Norris and also stars Ben Daniels, Sian Phillips and Mamie Gummer. It most recently appeared on Broadway in 1987 in a stunning production that starred Alan Rickman and Lindsay Duncan. ...

Georgiana
Seattle - Monday, April 28, 2008


Sunday Mail
April 27, 2008, Sunday
TRIBUTES PAID TO MINGHELLA
SECTION: NEWS; Pg. 31
LENGTH: 69 words

HUNDREDS paid tribute to Oscarwinning director Anthony Minghella at a memorial service yesterday.

The English Patient writer and director died in hospital from a fatal haemorrhage last month aged 54.

Mourners at yesterday's service in his home town of Ryde, Isle of Wight, included actors Jude Law and Alan Rickman and TV gardener Alan Titchmarsh.

Minghella's parents Edward and Gloria run an ice cream business in Ryde.

Georgiana
Seattle - Monday, April 28, 2008


Mail on Sunday (London)
April 6, 2008 Sunday
Stars farewell to the talented Mr Minghella
SECTION: 2ND; Pg. 43
LENGTH: 216 words

HIS work spanned the worlds of showbusiness and politics and Anthony Minghellas funeral featured some of the biggest names from both yesterday. Gordon Brown and his predecessor Tony Blair sat with Hollywood stars including Matt Damon, Renee Zellweger and Maggie Gyllenhaal at the memorial service for the Oscar-winning director behind films such as The English Patient and Truly, Madly, Deeply.

The 100 mourners also included the Duchess of York, English Patient star Kristin Scott Thomas, actors John Hurt, Bill Nighy, Dexter Fletcher, Ray Win-stone, Jamie Bell, Martin Freeman, Alan Rickman and film-makers Richard Curtis, Sir Richard Attenborough, Alan Parker, Mike Figgis and Stephen Daldry.

Minghella died last month, aged 54, after suffering a haemorrhage following an operation at Charing Cross Hospital in London.

His funeral was a private affair, held at the Golders Green crematorium in North London, for family and close friends, including Jude Law, who worked with him on The Talented Mr Ripley. Following a wake at a local church hall, the mourners gathered at the Thomas More Roman Catholic church in Hampstead.

There was a small moment of drama when Jill Scott, who starred as Precious in his final film, The No1 Ladies Detective Agency, fainted and had to be carried out of the church.

Georgiana
Seattle - Monday, April 28, 2008


Wales on Sunday
April 13, 2008, Sunday
North Edition
GOWNING AROUND!; EXCLUSIVE
SECTION: NEWS; Pg. 3
LENGTH: 399 words

RONALD Reagan, Diego Maradona, Michael Jackson... Dirty Sanchez?
The Welsh nutters might be best known for spending their lives battering their bodies and bending their minds in pursuit of cheap laughs, but they're now sharpening their minds after being invited to join the roll call of speakers at one of the top debating societies - the Oxford Union.

Previous guest speakers have also included Richard Nixon, Gerry Adams, Stephen Fry and Cherie Blair - all a far cry from the antics of the Welsh pranksters. Their catalogue of stunts has seen madmen Pritchard, Dainton, Pancho and Englishman Joycey fight professional wrestlers, roll in fields of nettles, shoot their private parts with BB guns and glue their nostrils together.

But they are now facing their biggest challenge - after being included among big names like Tory leader David Cameron in the latest round of invited speakers.

Ringleader Dainton, of Newport, thought the invite itself was a prank after he was told about it by agent Steve Hogan.

But Oxford Union confirmed the invite was real and that Dirty Sanchez is in esteemed company.

Also invited to talk to the toffs are:
Rolling Stone Ronnie Wood;
Tory leader David Cameron;
White Stripes' warbler Jack White;
one-time Spice Girl Geri Halliwell;
designer Roberto Cavalli;
screen baddie Alan Rickman;
British armed forces boss General Sir Richard Dannatt; and
Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga.

But Dainton, 34, said some members of the crew had never even heard of poshTory, Cameron.

He added: "I've been to some ridiculous places that I've really thought I had no place being. But this is the highlight of my career, because I've not even gotaGCSE.

"What amI going to say to them? I find it hard at times to string a sentence together. But I'm sure I'll hold my own. I'm looking forward to rubbing shoulders with Alan Rickman.

"And I'll be sympathising with Geri Halliwell, because my daughter's ginger." Sadly for the boys, all the other guests will be appearing at the union on different nights, if at all.

But 35-year-old Pritch said: "First I can't believe they've asked us to come. Who would have thought Dirty Sanchez was up their street?"

Ben Tansey, president of Oxford Union, said: "They are going to be coming next term because they are quite big stars. The programme is really popular with the students, it's going to be a really fun event."

Dirty Sanchez are due to talk on April 22.

Georgiana
Seattle - Monday, April 28, 2008


Press Association Newsfile
April 26, 2008 Saturday 3:32 PM BST
DIRECTOR REMEMBERED IN THANKSGIVING SERVICE
BYLINE: Ben Mitchell, PA
SECTION: HOME NEWS
LENGTH: 689 words

Hundreds of family members, friends and colleagues from the movie industry today attended a thanksgiving service for Oscar winning director Anthony Minghella, who died last month.

The 54-year-old died on March 18 after suffering a fatal haemorrhage at Charring Cross Hospital in west London after undergoing an operation on a growth in his neck.

Among the mourners at today's ceremony were the actors Jude Law and Alan Rickman. The service was organised by his family and the Isle of Wight Council.

Minghella was born and brought up in Ryde where his parents Edward and Gloria Minghella still live and run an ice cream business.

The director of The English Patient, Cold Mountain and Truly, Madly, Deeply was made the first and now Freeman of the Isle of Wight in 1997.

Also in attendance was television gardening expert Alan Titchmarsh who was recently made the High Sheriff of the Isle of Wight and was attending as part of his ceremonial duties.

The service began with a rendition of Sonata for Viola Gamba and Keyboard by JS Bach. The order of service says: ``Anthony loved Bach. His music played a significant role in much of his work. The two pieces played at the beginning and end of this service feature in Truly Madly Deeply, and Anthony's first film as director.''

The service ended with Suite for Unaccompanied Cello Number One in G Major.

Jude Law read the poem When Death Comes by Mary Oliver. The order of service says: ``This was one of Anthony's favourite poems, read by Jude, one of Anthony's favourite people.''

Minghella's sister Gioia then read Katharine's last words from The English Patient.

Alan Rickman then read from Hang Up, a short radio play by Minghella which won the 1998 Prix Italia. Rickman is described as: ``A dear friend and colleague of Anthony's for 20 years.''

Other music used in the service included Lullaby for Cain which was written by film music composer Gabriel Yared, with lyrics by Minghella for The Talented Mr Ripley. Minghella's sister Edana Minghella read the poem So Many Different Lengths of Time by Brian Patten.

The order of service says: ``This poem is described as one of the most comforting answers to death. Brian Patten who wrote it in homage to Pablo Neruda, a poet Anthony loved very much.''

In a statement, the Minghella family said: ``We will miss Anthony more than we can say. Of course he was a brilliant director and writer, acclaimed worldwide for his amazing talents.

``But more than that he was a wonderful son, husband, father, brother and uncle, who loved and was loved by all who knew him.

``His genius and his gift of gentle human kindness live on in his work and in the hearts of those he has so tragically left behind.

``He never forgot his island roots and was honoured to be made the first Freeman of the Isle of Wight.''

Minghella's parents Edward and Gloria were accompanied by the Reverend Cannon Dr Stephen Palmer, vicar of the Minster Church of St Thomas when they arrived at the church.

Minghella's brother Dominic said that his brother was as happy surrounded by people as he was alone on a deserted beach and he never forgot his roots of his home town on the Isle of Wight.

He said he was a workaholic who had a great love for poetry, photography, music and Portsmouth Football Club.

Describing him he said: ``He was great, he was a genius but he was also a person, human, flawed, gorgeous and infuriating.

``His presence blessed you and his absence bruised you.''

He said that his brother's death had been a shock for all who knew him. He said: ``We were all expecting another reel in his story or knowing Anthony several more reels - we can only imagine how those extra chapters would have gone.''

He finished his tribute by quoting from the film Truly, Madly Deeply. He said: ``I would like to list a few ways in which Anthony is still with us: Really, truly, madly, deeply, passionately, remarkably, to name but a few.''

Dominic's son Dante also read a poem he had written about his uncle titled: ``My Superman''.

The family asked for charitable donations to be made to Cancer Research UK and The Number One, a charity dedicated to helping the women and children of Botswana.

Georgiana
Seattle - Monday, April 28, 2008


Alan attended and spoke at a memorial service for Anthomy Minghella today on the IoW.
sue
england - Saturday, April 26, 2008


Hey! Alan's directing Strindberg's Creditors in London this September! Read all about it on Playbill.
Ali-Pat
Dayton, OH USA - Friday, April 18, 2008


Freestyle to distribute 'Shock' By Gregg Goldstein

April 17, 2008

NEW YORK -- "Bottle Shock," the true story of a California winery family, will be distributed in North America by Freestyle Releasing.

Randall Miller's feature starring Chris Pine, Alan Rickman, Bill Pullman and Freddy Rodriguez premiered in January at the Sundance Film Festival. It revolves around a vineyard owner (Pullman) and his slacker son (Pine) who join forces with a British winemaker (Rickman) to launch the 1976 Paris Tastings, which put the California wine industry on the map.

The film will be released this year in more than 250 theaters nationwide. Odd Lot International will handle foreign sales on the project at next month's Festival de Cannes, part of a two-picture rep deal with Freestyle.

Miller co-wrote the film with Jody Savin and Ross Schwartz. He also produced the film with Savin, J. Todd Harris, Brenda Lhormer, Marc Lhormer and Marc Toberoff.

Freestyle also is distributing Miller's darkly comic thriller "Nobel Son," which also stars Rickman and Pullman.

Source: Hollywood Report


Sheena <amber64dragon@gmail.comfoo>
Berkshire UK - Friday, April 18, 2008


Tributes at premiere of Minghella's final film
Mark Blunden and Sophie Goodchild
From tonight's London Evening Standard

The premiere of Oscar-winning director Anthony Minghella's final film became a celebration of his life with tributes led by BBC Director General Mark Thompson.

Mr Thompson said corporation bosses were in two minds whether to hold the screening of The No1 Ladies' Detective Agency, only hours after the film-maker died from a sudden brain haemorrhage.

But they went ahead with the showing at the British Film Institute on the South Bank last night at the request of Minghella's widow Carolyn, his son Max, daughter Hannah and other members of the family.

Mr Thompson said: "We weren't sure whether to go ahead with it or not but his family and people closest to him were very keen to show it and I think it was the right decision.

"Many people were not sure what tonight would feel like but in the end it felt right, it's such a life-affirming film. He was in the middle of a fantastic career and as a writer, director and producer. Maybe his best work was still to come."

Minghella, 54, had undergone an operation for cancer of the tonsils and neck and doctors at Charing Cross hospital were optimistic he would recover.

But while he was recuperating from surgery, the English Patient director suffered complications and severe bleeding, which triggered a heart attack.

A source at the hospital told the Standard: "The complication arose after he had the operation. This is a tricky operation - in patients who have a sudden haemorrhage one of the results is cardiac arrest." Broadcaster Andrew Marr, who attended last night's screening, said: "It feels like a party that's become a wake. I think there's an enormous amount of shock and people are incredibly upset.

"People are supposed to be having a good time but feel like they've been hit round the back of the head with a wet sandbag."

Stars, many of whom became close to Minghella, told how his direction brought out the best in them. Alan Rickman and Juliet Stephenson, who starred in his debut film Truly, Madly Deeply, spent much of the evening in deep conversation.

Stephenson, tears in her eyes, said: "To work with him was to be taken to the very edges of what you can do and made better, it was empowering."

Rickman added: "It's impossible to talk objectively. We're here because of a very personal relationship with Anthony. He was a profoundly talented film-maker. This evening was driven by his family, who felt it was the right thing to do. The atmosphere tonight is very unreal for us."

The No1 Ladies' Detective Agency, adapted by Minghella and Richard Curtis, tells the story of a company of women-only private eyes in Botswana. It will be screened on BBC1 on Easter Sunday.

sue
england (hoping the paragraphs come out, it's a long time since I did this!) - Wednesday, March 19, 2008


Excerpt from Slate:

"Because Anthony Minghella died with decades of work still ahead of him, we'll never know whether Minghella would have made another movie with the lasting power of his first one, Truly, Madly, Deeply, a 1990 made-for-television comedy that was successful enough to gain a big-screen release and a BAFTA for Best Original Screenplay. The story of a grief-stricken pianist (Juliet Stevenson) whose cellist lover (Alan Rickman) comes back from the dead to hang around the house they once shared, Truly, Madly, Deeply is on my semisecret list of all-time favorite movies. Semisecret because I don't know that I could entirely defend the choice: It's not as if the film is formally innovative or visually impressive or thematically original. It's just so damn wonderful.

The ghost who comes back to help his or her loved ones mourn is a familiar figure, from Hamlet to Ghost (also released in 1990) to such recent grotesqueries as P.S. I Love You. But Truly, Madly, Deeply manages to make that familiarity feel less like a cliché than a profoundly resonant archetype. The scene in which Rickman's character, Jamie, first appears to Nina (Stevenson) is an example of how Minghella tweaks a formula to evoke the agony of real grief. As the bereft Nina sits playing the piano, the camera revolves to reveal the blurred outline of Jamie sitting behind her, accompanying her on his cello. At first we take this as a familiar bit of cinematic syntax: Jamie isn't really there, we're just seeing a symbol of Nina's memory of him. Any minute now, she'll snap her head around and see only an empty chair. Instead, Jamie puts down his cello and moves out of the frame himself, confirming the viewer's assumption: His presence was just a figment of her imagination. The camera then pans a little to left to reveal the unambiguously real Jamie, and we realize at the same moment Nina does that the man she buried months ago is standing in her living room. What follows is a reunion scene that, even in this decontextualized and blurry clip, should reduce anyone who's ever loved and lost—or even just loved—to a quivering jelly.

Minghella started his career as a stage director, and his touch with actors is palpable in every scene of Truly, Madly, Deeply. Rickman and Stevenson, both extraordinary performers, are given the freedom to improvise in scenes like this one, in which she dances around the living room as they belt out a decidedly amateur version of "The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore." The result is an on-screen romance of unusual texture and intimacy. By the time Jamie is ready to rejoin the world of the shades, you sense the true magnitude of what both he and Nina have lost (and if you're me, you've also developed a debilitating, lifelong crush on Alan Rickman).

Over the years, I've discovered that there's a kind of secret cult for Truly, Madly, Deeply. People who have no clue who Anthony Minghella is can passionately quote great chunks of dialogue from this film. The movie's potent appeal isn't surprising; how many psychologically accurate portraits of grief also hold up as romantic comedies that are both funny and madly romantic? I've recommended Truly, Madly, Deeply to friends mourning their own losses as a kind of homeopathic remedy. And I have one friend who watched it with his ailing wife only weeks before she died, both of them laughing and crying as they wondered what kind of ghost she would be.

The British film industry is still stunned by the unexpected and early death of Anthony Minghella, who was an important figure there; he held the title of commander of the British Empire and was, until recently, the chairman of the British Film Institute. Minghella also leaves behind a wife and two children. (His 22-year-old son, Max Minghella, has acted in several films, including Syriana and Art School Confidential.) It might make Minghella happy to know that those still figuring out how to mourn him can turn to his own best movie for advice.
Renie
- Wednesday, March 19, 2008


About Anthony Minghella's TMD, from the NY Daily News. If you haven't seen it yet (you haven't SEEN it yet??) then a SPOILER ALERT of sorts, and for heaven's sake, see the movie, and be prepared to love Bach.

""Truly Madly Deeply" (1990) was his first feature as a writer-director after spending time as a University lecturer and a writer for radio, television and the stage. The story seemed familiar, culled from Hollywood standards like "A Guy Named Joe," "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir" and Warren Beatty's "Heaven Can Wait": A woman is visited by the ghost of her lover until she eventually begins a new relationship with a lovable but deserving goof. But Minghella's take on it all was fresh and just slightly askew.

For starters, Juliet Stevenson and Alan Rickman's characters aren't lifelong marrieds, as might be typical, but rather were in the early-middle part of a relationship, when people are just starting to see a future with each other. It's a crucial detail, since when Stevenson's Nina breaks down and bawls a bucketful to her therapist about how she misses Jamie (the first of Rickman's rogueishly charming romantic heroes), the tears are those of someone who misses not just a partner but also of all the promise he embodied. Similarly, Jamie wasn't a typical "Ghost"-like lost ideal: he was a cranky, curmudgeonly, prickly wise-ass who was peeved he died of, essentially, a bad cold. But it's exactly those (very human) qualities that make Nina miss him ... and to reluctantly think she should give Michael Moloney's Mark a chance, which even Jamie sees is the right thing to do."
Renie
- Wednesday, March 19, 2008


Anthony Minghella has died - his first film was Truly Madly Deeply starring Alan and Juliet Stephenson


Claire
UK - Tuesday, March 18, 2008


Just saw in The Guardian (London), whose source is the LA Times, that the last HP book will be filmed as two separate movies. Clearly, Warner don't really wish to part with their golden calf . . . ;-). The official reason/version is that it would be bad, for artistic reasons, to cut out much of the novel. The first of these two final (?) films is scheduled to be released in November 2010, the second in May 2011. I suppose that AR will appear in both (?).
pia susanna
edinburgh, - Thursday, March 13, 2008


AR helping out as usual King's Head theatre
Glowbox
France - Sunday, March 09, 2008


This month's issue of Chatelaine features an interview with Carrie-Anne Moss, and although the cover boasts of her opening up about " what it's like to kiss Alan Rickman," the inside just features a small still from Snowcake (the scene where they are sitting on the rocks by the lake), and for those of you who don't want to spend the $4.50 for the relevant quote (or their recipe for "Terrific Tofu Pizza"), she says, "It was so effortless to be intimate with him."

I hear ya, Carrie-Anne. I always thought it'd be easy, if only I had the chance! ;-)
Julia
Canada - Tuesday, March 04, 2008

There are new pictures of Alan Rickman from the charity performence of Motherland at The Young Vic theatre on 2nd of March 2008 in London England

Wire Image

Getty

Enjoy :-) If I find more elsewhere I will post again, once I get a chance to look.

Sheena <dragon@amberdragon.freeserve.co.ukfoo>
Berkshire, UK - Tuesday, March 04, 2008


Sunday Times (London)
February 3, 2008, Sunday
Sweeney's scream queen
BYLINE: Stephen Price
SECTION: FEATURES; Eire Culture; Pg. 14
LENGTH: 1257 words

. . . . . . . . . .

"My upbringing was very normal, but I always had that little eccentric streak at the back of my head, and I loved that thrill of performing, the thrill of people applauding."

A few years later her eccentric streak would bring her from school festivals to playing opposite Alan Rickman, who, as the evil Judge Turpin, destroys the life of the youthful barber Benjamin Barker before molesting his wife and stealing his daughter. Barker returns from transportation many years later as the demonic Sweeney Todd, itching for revenge. But Johanna is now 15 and a temptation to her degenerate ward's eye, who keeps her locked away.

"Alan was charming socially, but I was very nervous of him on set, very intimidated. But then Lucy is supposed to be intimidated and Alan was staying in character. Tim (Burton) even took me aside and went through our main scene, just the two of us, to prepare me. But I was terrified."

. . . . . . . . . .

Georgiana
Seattle - Monday, March 03, 2008


Variety
January 28, 2008 - February 3, 2008
BOTTLE SHOCK
BYLINE: ROBERT KOEHLER
SECTION: REVIEWS; Pg. 56
LENGTH: 811 words

An IPW presentation in association with Zin Haze Prods. of an Unclaimed Freight production. Produced by J. Todd Harris, Marc Toberoff, Brenda Lhormer, Marc Lhormer, Jody Savin, Randall Miller. Executive producers, Dan Schryer, Art Klein, Erik Cleage, Robert Baizer, Diane Jacobs. Co-producer, Elaine Dysinger.

Directed by Randall Miller. Screenplay, Jody Savin, Miller, Ross Schwartz; story, Schwartz, Lannette Pabon, Savin, Miller. Camera (color, Panavision widescreen), Michael J. Ozier; editors, Miller, Dan O'Brien; music, Mark Adler; production designer, Craig Stearns; set decorator, Barbara Munch; costume designer, Jillian Kreiner; sound (Dolby Digital), Nelson Stoll; supervising sound editor, Kelly Oxford; re-recording mixers, Kevin Burns, Todd Orr; stunt coordinator, Rocky Cappella; associate producers, Bill Abraham, Randall Bingham, John Colton, Jack Miller, Phil Trubey; assistant director, Brian F. Relyea; casting, Rick Pagano. Reviewed at Sundance Film Festival (Spectrum), Jan. 18, 2008. MPAA Rating: PG-13. Running time: 112 MIN.

Steven Spurrier ..... Alan Rickman
Bo Barrett ..... Chris Pine
Jim Barrett ..... Bill Pullman
Sam ..... Rachael Taylor
Gustavo Brambilia ..... Freddy Rodriguez
Maurice ..... Dennis Farina
Prof. Saunders ..... Bradley Whitford
Mr. Garcia ..... Miguel Sandoval
Joe ..... Eliza Dushku
(English, French dialogue)
A true story that only Hollywood could have made up gets the Hollywood treatment in "Bottle Shock," a peppy and quite deliberate crowd-pleaser about how a little Napa winery's 1973 Chardonnay won a major French tasting contest and sent the wine world into a tizzy. Certain to tap into many of the same sentiments that brought "Sideways" to prominence, but lacking some of Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor's refined screenwriting chops, pic will please palates across the fest world and should score sincere distrib tasters.

Working some similar easy-to-swallow storytelling angles as in his debut feature, "Marilyn Hotchkiss Ballroom Dancing & Charm School," director and co-writer Randall Miller constructs a fairly sprawling narrative that takes in the father-son pair of Jim and Bo Barrett (actual operator-owners of Chateau Montelena), an upstart Latino winemaker, a frisky love interest and a priggish yet open-minded British caviste in Paris who gets turned on to the California wines of the 1970s. Like a wine spread with more samples than any tongue can handle, "Bottle Shock" contains too much to manage it all well, including some painfully corny sections, but has a charming aftertaste.

Jim (Bill Pullman) owns and runs his Napa winery, Chateau Montelena, both like a common American-style farmer and a perfectionist searching for the perfect vintage of Chardonnay. His struggle for further loans to obtain the best wine presses is just one sign that business is poor in 1976, and it's no help that carefree son and would-be heir Bo (Chris Pine) lives life like he's on permanent holiday.

On the other side of the Pond, Steven Spurrier (Alan Rickman) is also struggling in his Parisian wine shop, with his only customer apparently being Yank ex-pat Maurice (an amusing Dennis Farina). Maurice notes that he's read that California wines are starting to turn heads, and Steven gets the notion to launch a French-American taste contest for the best wines in both lands, setting off to Napa-Sonoma to scout prospects.

Miller's script (co-written with wife Jody Savin and the story's original author, Ross Schwartz, who came up with the idea with Lannette Pabon) dresses up this saga of viti- and viniculture with a side plot involving Bo, cute intern Sam (Rachael Taylor) and Jim's reliable but increasingly independent-minded Gustavo (Freddy Rodriguez) in a jokey sort of love triangle. Gustavo also has his own winemaking ambitions tied with venerable Mr. Garcia (Miguel Sandoval), who has made a fabulous red.

Wine lovers won't just sip but guzzle a lot of this down, and the same effect that sun-dappled days and sex in California had on "Sideways" operates here. The eventual chain of events that actually gets the Montelena Chardonnay into Steven's competition is an underdog tale in extremis, and Miller's tendency is to milk it, and milk some more.

A peculiar demand placed on the cast, from Farina in Paris to Pine, Rodriguez, Taylor and Pullman in Napa (and Rickman in both locales), is credibly reacting when tasting vintages, sending the visual clue that a great wine is at hand. Rickman plays the snob to human scale and never to exaggeration, while Miller lets Pine and Pullman go overboard with unevenly calibrated perfs. Taylor and Rodriguez, despite one ridiculous love scene, pull off big-screen charm.

Production is slick on a budget (though using Napa spots as a location substitute for France is an obvious flub), and plenty of visuals serve as little more than commercials for California wine country.

SUBJECT: MOVIE REVIEWS (90%); WINE (89%); WINERIES (89%); DRAMA LITERATURE (89%); FESTIVALS (78%); ARTS FESTIVALS & EXHIBITIONS (77%); VISUAL ARTS (77%); FILM (77%); WRITERS & WRITING (75%); CONTENT RATINGS (73%); ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE INDUSTRY (70%); FASHION DESIGNERS (70%); DANCE (64%)

GEOGRAPHIC: PARIS, FRANCE (75%) FRANCE (75%)

LOAD-DATE: February 6, 2008

LANGUAGE: ENGLISH

PUBLICATION-TYPE: Newspaper

Georgiana
Seattle - Monday, March 03, 2008


From San Jose Mercury News, Thu, 21 Feb 2008 1:19 AM PST Horoscope by Jeraldine Saunders:

BIRTHDAY GUY: Actor Alan Rickman was born in London on this day in 1946. This birthday guy won 1996 Emmy and Golden Globe awards as the title character in the TV movie "Rasputin," although he may be better known to moviegoers as Severus Snape from the "Harry Potter" films and terrorist Hans Gruber in the first "Die Hard" picture. Recent films for the actor include "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy," "Nobel Son" and a starring role opposite Johnny Depp in the film version of "Sweeney Todd."

Georgiana
Seattle - Thursday, February 21, 2008

Sydney Morning Herald (Australia)
February 16, 2008 Saturday
First Edition
Depp sings their heads off; MUSICAL
BYLINE: John Shand
SECTION: SPECTRUM; Arts & Entertainment; Pg. 12
LENGTH: 462 words

VARIOUS ARTISTS

Sweeney Todd (Warner)

. . . . . . . . . .

The ever-wonderful Alan Rickman barely manages to bluff his way through his share of the wistful Pretty Women. Although his shortcomings are more obvious on disc, it's still impossible to quarrel with his casting.

. . . . . . . . . .

Georgiana
Seattle - Friday, February 15, 2008


The Philadelphia Inquirer describes Mr. Rickman as "sepulchral and sensational" as the corrupt Judge Turpin in yesterday's 3-line review of "Sweeney Todd" ("Capsule reviews of feature films).

Georgiana
Seattle - Friday, February 15, 2008


The Express
February 6, 2008 Wednesday
U.K. 1st Edition
Out there . . .; DAY & NIGHT
BYLINE: EDITED BY KATHRYN SPENCER WITH LIZZIE CATT, PENNY STRETTON AND CATHERINE BOYLE
SECTION: COLUMNS; 14
LENGTH: 32 words

IN LONDON. . . Holby City actress Tina Hobley, looking very pregnant, having lunch at Brinkley's restaurant in Chelsea . . . Tanned and dapper-looking actor Alan Rickman strolling through Soho.

Georgiana
Seattle - Wednesday, February 13, 2008


February 7, 2008, Thursday
Staffordshire Edition
Letter: Your Say - Cut the music; In association with POST OFFICE
BYLINE: Barbara Dunn
SECTION: LETTERS; Pg. 20
LENGTH: 73 words

WHOSE idea was it to have the actors singing their lines in Sweeney Todd as opposed to saying them? We just couldn't take the story seriously. If film critics think this is what the average cinema goer wants then they are really out of touch with the general public. People were laughing in all the wrong places - when they weren't yawning. Johnny Depp and Alan Rickman are good actors. They were wasted in this farce. Barbara Dunn, Moseley.

Georgiana
Seattle - Wednesday, February 13, 2008


The Washington Post
February 9, 2008 Saturday
Suburban Edition
'Shintoku-Maru': At a Loss for Words
BYLINE: Peter Marks; Washington Post Staff Writer
SECTION: STYLE; Pg. C07
LENGTH: 746 words

Among the adventurous conjurers of stage pictures, Japanese director Yukio Ninagawa surely ranks as world-class. The eerie sight of the conflicted young hero of "Shintoku-Maru" wandering an underworld of wagon-size boats, crowded with candles and what look like jellyfish dangling from long poles, speaks hauntingly in the universally incongruous language of tortured sleep.

Ninagawa's estimable gift for spectacle is on display through tonight at the Kennedy Center in the U.S. premiere of the slightly uneven "Shintoku-Maru," an adaptation by Rio Kishida of Shuji Terayama's play based on a centuries-old Japanese story. It's fortunate that the venue for this opening act of the center's Japan festival is the Opera House, because the scale and emotional intensity of the piece -- bordering on the histrionic -- puts you in mind of the mighty winds of grand opera.

I'd love to say that the visual dimension of "Shintoku-Maru" was enough, but a half-hour into the production, I found myself craving more information than I had access to. Because of the language barrier, the compact, 90-minute work at times lulls you into a state of woozy indifference. A rather esoteric decision was made by the director not to provide a running English translation of "Shintoku-Maru's" dialogue scenes. The intention for non-Japanese speakers seems to be an unadulterated immersion in Ninagawa's refined design elements.

In some productions, words might indeed be secondary. (As a leftover from a presentation of the piece in London a decade ago, British actor Alan Rickman recorded a plot synopsis that is played before the show over the public-address system.) The fabric of "Shintoku-Maru," however, is of some psychological complexity, and the protracted scenes in which the teenage Shintoku-Maru (Tatsuya Fujiwara) vents his feelings or engages in battles of will with his stepmother-to-be, Nadeshiko (Kayoko Shiraishi), cry out for the explication that much of an American audience is denied.1.

. . . . . . . . . .

Georgiana
Seattle - Wednesday, February 13, 2008


PA Regional Newswire for English Regions
February 7, 2008 Thursday 2:36 PM BST
FILMING STARTS FOR SIXTH POTTER MOVIE
SECTION: PA Regional Newswire for English Regions
LENGTH: 263 words

Harry Potter fans were cast under the boy wizard's spell once again as cameras rolled for the sixth movie in the series at Gloucester Cathedral.

Cast and crew have descended on the cathedral to shoot the eagerly-anticipated Harry Potter And The Half Blood Prince.

Star-spotters in the city hope to catch glimpses of a host of A-list celebrities including Daniel Radcliffe, who plays the eponymous hero, Alan Rickman, who plays Professor Snape, and Dame Maggie Smith, who plays Professor McGonagall.

Warner Brothers' crews pitched up tents around the grounds of the cathedral and neighbouring King's School last month and have been preparing since.

Film-makers chose the 11th century cathedral as the perfect setting for scenes in Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

This will be the third time the school and cathedral grounds have been used for the Potter movie series - with The Philosopher's Stone and Chamber of Secrets both filmed there.

Gloucester city council leader Paul James said: ``When it comes to film you don't get any bigger than Harry Potter. It's great for the city.

``We get a lot of tourists coming to Gloucester as a result of the previous films being shot here. It certainly puts Gloucester on the map. But the filming also gives the local economy a boost. Local people are hired as extras, cast and crew shop in our shops and they eat in our restaurants.''

A total of 174 pupils from King's School, aged 11 to 18, are starring as extras in the multi million-pound production based on the JK Rowling-penned book.

The film is set for UK release on November 21.

Georgiana
Seattle - Wednesday, February 13, 2008


Clarissa, from NBC's realtalk.com, sent me an e-mail (thank you!) to let us know that they have another video interview of AR from the Sundance Film Festival last week. Here's the link:
AR at Sundance

Suzanne <webmistress@alan-rickman.comfoo>
TX USA - Wednesday, February 06, 2008


Thanks to tomoyocaptor on Alan Rickman's IMDB board for the heads-up. There is a release date for "Nobel Son", according to the news section at Paul Oakenfold's site it will be released in the USA on 4th April, hopefully, for those of us outside of the USA it will be released around the same time everywhere :-).


Sheena <dragon@amberdragon.freeserve.co.ukfoo>
Berkshire, UK - Wednesday, February 06, 2008


The Australian (Australia)
February 1, 2008 Friday
1 - All-round Country Edition
Lessing amazed by Nobel, even if she couldn't care less
SECTION: WORLD; Pg. 8
LENGTH: 487 words

LONDON: Nobel literature laureate Doris Lessing, who greeted news of her victory with the words, ``I couldn't care less'', received her prize with typical candour yesterday at a champagne reception in London.

The 88-year-old writer noted, ``There isn't anywhere to go from here, is there?'' before thinking of one more accolade: ``I could get a pat on the head from the Pope.''

But she said winning the 10million kronor ($2 million) prize was ``astonishing and amazing''.

``Thank you does not seem enough when you've won the biggest one of them all.''

Lessing, whose back problems prevented her from travelling to Stockholm for the official Nobel prize-giving ceremony on December 10, was given the gold Nobel medal by Swedish ambassador Staffan Carlsson amid the paintings of the Wallace Collection art gallery in London.

Guests included playwright Tom Stoppard, actor Alan Rickman and writer Germaine Greer.

Mr Carlsson called Lessing ``forever young and wise, old and rebellious ... the least ingratiating of writers''.

Born in Persia (now Iran) and raised in what is now Zimbabwe, Lessing drew on her experiences in colonial Africa for her debut novel, The Grass is Singing, published in 1950. Her most influential book is probably 1962's The Golden Notebook, considered a feminist classic.

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Georgiana
Seattle - Tuesday, February 05, 2008


Western Daily Press
February 2, 2008 Saturday
Millions pledged to save Bristol old Vic
BYLINE: Daniel Evansd.evans@bepp.co.uk
SECTION: Pg. 18
LENGTH: 628 words

The show will go on at Bristol Old Vic after millions of pounds were pledged by Arts Council England yesterday.

The theatre's prospective executive chair, Dick Penny, said he was "delighted" to announce the news at the famous King Street venue.

Following months of uncertainty over whether the 241-year-old theatre would ever reopen, the arts council has reserved £2 million of capital funds for refurbishment plans.

It has also pledged £578,000 for the first half of next year, with more to follow if it is satisfied that the business plans progress.

Leading actors joined campaign

Some of Britain's leading stage actors including Dame Judi Dench, Dame Maggie Smith, Daniel Day-Lewis, Alan Rickman and Pete Postlethwaite joined a campaign to save the Old Vic, which has become outdated and in need of a revamp.

Its refurbishment appeal has now raised £6.1m of the £9m needed, meaning £2.9m is still to be found.

Mr Penny said: "I am delighted that Arts Council England (ACE) has confirmed its continued support for, and investment in, the Bristol Old Vic.

"The immense support from the public, the theatre profession and Bristol City Council has been instrumental in securing the future relationship with ACE.

"This excellent news completes the jigsaw of support which will enable us to move forward in refurbishing the Theatre Royal complex and getting Bristol Old Vic back into production.

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Georgiana
Seattle - Tuesday, February 05, 2008


The Daily Telegraph (LONDON)
February 2, 2008 Saturday
MUST SEE FILM
BYLINE: Chosen by Sukhdev Sandhu and Tim Robey
SECTION: ART; Pg. 15
LENGTH: 148 words

. . . . . . . . . . .

Sweeney Todd (18)

It's a match made in (dark) heaven: Stephen Sondheim's musical about the demon barber of Fleet Street put through Tim Burton's neo-goth treatment. Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter and Alan Rickman enjoy themselves immensely.

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Georgiana
Seattle - Tuesday, February 05, 2008


The Washington Post
February 3, 2008 Sunday
Every Edition
SECTION: SUNDAY SOURCE; Pg. N05
LENGTH: 506 words

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2.SHINTOKU-MARU

[ON STAGE] The Kennedy Center's two-week celebration of Japanese arts, "Japan! Culture + Hyperculture," has many noteworthy events, but if you're going to experience just one, consider the American debut of award-winning director Yukio Ninagawa's tragic love and revenge fable. This play, based on an ancient tale, features Tatsuya Fujiwara as a young man haunted by the memory of his dead mother yet drawn to his new stepmother. The performance is presented in Japanese without subtitles, but a detailed synopsis is in the program. A taped audio synopsis read by Alan Rickman will be played after everyone is seated.

Thursday-Friday at 7:30 p.m., Saturday at 1:30 and 7:30 p.m. Kennedy Center Opera House, 2700 F St. NW. $15-$35. 202-467-4600 or 800-444-1324.

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Georgiana
Seattle - Tuesday, February 05, 2008


The Evening Standard (London)
February 4, 2008 Monday
The 1000; LONDON'S MOST INFLUENTIAL PEOPLE 2008
SECTION: A; Pg. 16
LENGTH: 452 words

The energy of London is nowhere more reflected than in the shifting balance of power among its thoughtmakers, trendsetters and leaders. Every week, Simon Davis looks at whos in and whos out.

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LITERARY LIFE

DORIS LESSING, 88

AUTHOR The agreeably prickly writer from West Hampstead has won the Nobel Prize for Literature. She was presented with the award in London as she was too ill to travel to Sweden. However, what the writer of The Golden Notebook and The Grass Is Singing lacks in physical vigour, she makes up for in intellectual rigour. Her literary influence is enormous and she is astonishingly well connected with friends including Sir Tom Stoppard, Michael Frayn, Alan Rickman, Ben Okri and Juliet Stevenson. Her next book, Alfred And Emily, is published in May.

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Georgiana
Seattle - Tuesday, February 05, 2008


Rickman sighting alert!!! Apparently, he's more of a fan of Monty Python than just appearing in a skit with Eddie Izzard: He went to see Spamalot!
Julia
Canada - Saturday, February 02, 2008


It's time to celebrate; Alan Rickman's birthday is coming up on February 21st! And once again, Catherine and Sara (from RADA) have set up the JustGiving donation page (thank you!) in his honor. I received an e-mail from them yesterday saying it was up and running, so I have updated the link to the Birthday Page at the top of the GB. Last year we raised £830 plus £81.79 in Gift Aid (about $1,795 total) and the Just Giving page has the names of the students that were helped by our donations. AR and RADA are depending on us to help more students this year, without which could not complete their studies and training. It is a worthy cause that is very dear to Alan. So let's give him a fantastic birthday present by trying our best to beat last years total. We've done it before, we can do it again! I've started things off with a donation and have just received a thank you e-mail from AR. :-)

Please, everyone, spread the word to other Alan Rickman web-sites, groups, forums, live journals, etc. The more AR fans that get involved the better!

Suzanne <webmistress@alan-rickman.comfoo>
TX USA - Saturday, February 02, 2008


Wanted to share this link from a Sundance press conference that has a great number of AR pics.

Finally, thank you for such a great site to chat about AR and his projects! Maybe now, I will be able to communicate more frequently on my favorite actor!
Claire <david.arthur@cox.netfoo>
Fairfax Station, VA USA - Friday, February 01, 2008


As I understand it, "Bottle Shock" was screened at Sundance Film Festival, with 5 showings between January 18 and January 26. Per Daily Variety on January 25, it had not secured a distributor as of that date.
Georgiana
Seattle - Wednesday, January 30, 2008


Sunday Express
January 20, 2008 Sunday
U.K. 1st Edition
The odd couple go for a song;
Review Films - They may not have a conventional relationship but Tim Burton and Helena Bonham Carter are a match made in movie heaven, says John Millar, who talks to them about their new project, Sweeney Todd
BYLINE: John Millar
SECTION: FEATURES; 71
LENGTH: 1251 words

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Rickman, who had appeared in Guys And Dolls when he was a young actor in repertory theatre, reveals that he had to dig into his own pocket to prepare for this movie.

"I paid a singing teacher a lot of money, actually. It's GBP 80 an hour, but it was worth every second, " says Rickman.

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Georgiana
Seattle - Wednesday, January 30, 2008


The Herald (Glasgow)
January 24, 2008 Thursday
Final Edition
A prime cut of blood, song and fantasy; Cinema review
BYLINE: Alison Rowat
SECTION: GOING OUT; Pg. 2
LENGTH: 1782 words
FILM OF THE WEEK

SWEENEY TODD: THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET (18) 3/5

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Despite his character's heinous deeds, Depp almost succeeds in turning Sweeney into the kind of creature that only exists in movies - a serial killer to care about. His demon barber remains a tortured soul, the drive for revenge bringing him no peace.

Helena Bonham Carter is spectacularly, comically hammy as his accomplice, but when it comes to a tender moment in John Logan's excellent screenplay she shows her acting chops. Alan Rickman is less of a revelation as the judge - he seems to do nothing but play a hissing rotter these days - while Timothy Spall, as his henchman, rather overcooks his part. Certainly something for the weekend if musicals set your red stuff boiling. Just mind how you go with that post-cinema dinner.

Georgiana
Seattle - Wednesday, January 30, 2008


Daily Post (Liverpool)
January 25, 2008, Friday
Mersey Edition
Todd's the best a man can get; Sweeney Todd (18) Starring: Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Alan Rickman, Timothy Spall, Sacha Baron Cohen, Jayne Wisener and Jamie Campbell Bower; director Tim Burton. 117 mins. Rating: THE BIG PICTURE
BYLINE: Philip Key
SECTION: FEATURES; Pg. 8
LENGTH: 668 words

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The judge in question (Alan Rickman back to his best full panto villain mode) . . .

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Georgiana
Seattle - Wednesday, January 30, 2008


Sunday Tasmanian (Australia)
January 27, 2008 Sunday
1 - Edition
Clear-cut winner
BYLINE: STUART DIWELL
SECTION: SUNDAY MOVIES; Pg. 25
LENGTH: 680 words
SWEENEY TODD: THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET

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On the whole Burton's film realisation of Sondheim's work is a glorious success. It creates a perfect milieu for the material and for the most part is wonderfully cast.

Depp proves again what an amazing screen presence he is, making you forgive his excesses in the second and third Pirates of the Caribbean movies. He not only does a great job in the acting department but is commanding with Sondheim's songs.

Baron Cohen has a wonderful time as the smarmy Pirelli whose terrible treatment of his assistant Toby (Ed Sanders) is reason enough for his appointment with the razor.

Rickman and Spall are simply delicious as the main villains.

Jayne Wisener is sadly the most malnourished of the players vocally, a situation not helped by the fact that Burton has his music levels so high that only really strong voices get a chance to stand up to them.

This also presents something of a problem for Bonham Carter, though her performance as Mrs Lovett is sublime.

Musicals are generally considered family entertainment but Sweeney Todd is definitely not. It does deserve its MA rating.

Georgiana
Seattle - Wednesday, January 30, 2008


The Daily Telegraph (LONDON)
January 25, 2008 Friday
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street 18 CERT, 116 MIN Our Daily Bread 12A CERT, 86 MIN This demon barber just doesn't cut it
Johnny Depp is miscast in Tim Burton's blood-soaked version of the Sondheim musical, though Helena Bonham Carter is a delight as monstrous Mrs Lovett
BYLINE: Sukhdev Sandhu
SECTION: FEATURES; Film on Friday; Pg. 33
LENGTH: 1087 words

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There is a small but exuberant turn from Sacha Baron Cohen as a foppish and pseudo-Italian rival barber, Signor Adolfo Pirelli. Rickman, reprising the whispering, coiled menace of Severus Snape from the Harry Potter films, is a pleasure to behold. But it's Timothy Spall, as Turpin's fey and porcine henchman (a dead ringer for Rick Wakeman, too), who most catches the eye.

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Georgiana
Seattle - Wednesday, January 30, 2008


The Sun Herald (Sydney, Australia)
January 27, 2008 Sunday
First Edition
Gothic drama slashes musical conventions;
REVIEWS
BYLINE: Rob Lowing
SECTION: S INSERT; Movies; Pg. 16
LENGTH: 523 words

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It's a pity that Rickman, he of the purring voice, doesn't get more time and more songs.

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Georgiana
Seattle - Wednesday, January 30, 2008


Sunday Mail (South Australia)
January 27, 2008 Sunday
1 - State Edition
Depp and Burton a cut above
BYLINE: ZACH GIBSON
SECTION: FEATURES; Pg. 102
LENGTH: 639 words
MUSICAL/HORROR

Sweeney Todd
(116 minutes, MA15+)
****

The players: Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Alan Rickman, Sacha Baron Cohen.

Behind the scenes: Directed by Tim Burton.

The plot: Having been falsely imprisoned and had his wife and daughter taken from him, a Fleet St barber returns with vengeance on his mind.

In short: Depp sticks his neck out in cut-throat musical.

WHAT took them so long? Oddball chums Tim Burton and Johnny Depp worked together on five films - Edward Scissorhands, Ed Wood, Sleepy Hollow, Charlie And The Chocolate Factory and Corpse Bride - before getting to this dangerous gothic weirdo which the daffy duo seem perfect for.

Based on the unique 1979 musical by Stephen Sondheim - who has won an Oscar, Emmy, Grammy, Tony and Pulitzer Prize - Sweeney Todd is a purpose-built platform to provide everything that Burton/Depp fans want.

Far from The Phantom Of The Opera, or even The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Sweeney Todd is the dark heart of musical theatre. Oscar-winner Chicago has nothing on demented Todd slicing through urchin London as his thirst for vengeance finds no satisfaction. Be warned - Sweeney Todd gets really bloody. And vicious. In an artsy, thick-red-soupy way, you understand.

If anyone can change your tune on throat hacking, Depp can. An actor people will follow almost anywhere, his first foray into musicals might test his mainstream fan base. Not just because of Todd's homicidal rampage, or that victims end up in pies served to unsuspecting customers. No, there's also the chimney sweep accents and unusual phrasing of Sondheim's show, which is about 90 per cent singing.

Given he hasn't sung professionally before, Depp delivers another reason for envy by showing a suitable set of lungs.

Predictably, Burton and his synchronised production team plonk us into a Burtonian fantasy world of gothic storybook reality. Dickensian London was made for Burton, and he constructs and choreographs the wrath of Benjamin Barker, aka Sweeney Todd, with career-defining relish.

Having been intentionally imprisoned by nefarious Judge Turpin (delicious Alan Rickman) so that he could steal his wife, barber Barker returns to the cobbled-street city as Sweeney Todd (who looks a lot like Barker). Setting up shop in Barker's old parlour, single-minded Todd involves the downstairs tenant, doting dodgy Mrs Lovett (Helena Bonham Carter), in his plans to kill Turpin. To do this, Todd carves up London, which inspires a gruesome showstopper about the new source of meat for Lovett's pies.

Driving the macabre musical is obsessive, destructive vengeance, something Depp easily demonstrates. But Todd the character does get lost in the whole gob-smacking production, the one-track demon descending into a consumed caricature. Even with this drop off, though, the foreseeable finale packs a wallop to make you gag and sob.

Before the nastiness truly sets in, several songs stake their claim for movie musical immortality. Depp's challenging of schemer Adolfo (the fabulous Sacha Baron Cohen) to a shave-off is a rocket, but it's Depp and Rickman who are the match made in heaven. The always-watchable Bonham Carter continues to try harder than she needs to, causing her duets with Depp to pale beside Todd and Turpin's precarious first encounter. For two musical novices, this scene is extraordinary.

From woe to go to woe, there are plenty of Edward Scissorhands echoes, but Sweeney Todd is a different, blacker beast. This points to one annoying response that is hard to ignore.

Because you expect so much of Burton and Depp, Sweeney Todd may be slightly underwhelming. Geez, some people will never be happy. Right, Mr Todd?

Georgiana
Seattle - Wednesday, January 30, 2008


Sunday Herald Sun (Australia)
January 27, 2008 Sunday
8 - IE Edition
Bloody awful and off key
BYLINE: CLARK FORBES
SECTION: IE; Pg. 8
LENGTH: 429 words
MUSICAL

Sweeney Todd
(116 minutes, MA)
2 1/2

The players: Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Alan Rickman, Timothy Spall, Sacha Baron Cohen.

Behind the scenes: Directed by Tim Burton.

The plot: Based on the Broadway musical by Stephen Sondheim about the barbarous barber of Fleet St.

In short: Short back and sides.

TWO things the trailer and the advertisements for Sweeney Todd are at pains to omit: it's a musical and there is more arterial spray in 30 seconds than in the entire opus of television's CSI.

There is a reason. Much of Stephen Sondheim's music (the film is adapted from his black-hearted 1979 Broadway musical) is as catchy as a funeral dirge and Johnny Depp's Sweeney Todd makes his eccentric Captain Jack Sparrow seem like a pantomime dame.

Sweeney, the demon barber of Fleet St, is a man hell-bent on revenge and, after a couple of hours in his company, it almost seems preferable to have your throat cut than listen to another song about the need not just to get mad but even.

Sweeney is justifiably annoyed at a judge named Turpin (everyone's favourite villain, Alan Rickman), a sinister creature who 15 years earlier stole his wife and daughter and transported the barber on a trumped-up charge to Australia.

Once back in gloomy, foggy and -- as seen by director Tim Burton -- Gothic London, Sweeney is only interested in reopening his shop and slicing and dicing the devilish jurist.

But he has not counted on his conniving, sulky neighbour, the wild-haired Mrs Lovett (Helena Bonham Carter, the director's wife), who sees an opening for cheap and tasty pie fillings.

Depp, with his wild eyes and consumptive complexion, looks the part of a raddled nutter consumed by his black-hearted obsession. He sounds as if he took singing lessons in a karaoke bar.

And that is a bit of a problem because Sweeney does like a tune, bursting into a bar or two for just about anyone who stops long enough to listen.

Burton's graphically grim film (the sixth with Depp) deviates little from Sondheim's vision, but what works on stage does not necessarily translate to the screen -- no matter how many marquee stars are on the bill.

The killings, which ought to be ``look away'' gruesome, are almost parodies as throats gush fountains of blood. The bodies land on the bakery floor with such force it is a wonder the foundations do not give way.

Worse, the humour and the cunning partnership between the barber and Mrs Lovett seems curiously inert on screen. Bonham Carter's voice is no better than that of Depp.

At least Rickman was born to play roles such as the dastardly Judge Turpin.

Georgiana
Seattle - Wednesday, January 30, 2008


The Independent (London)
January 26, 2008 Saturday
First Edition
Performance Notes; The Film Sweeney Todd: the Demon Barber of Fleet Street Certificate 18 On General Release
SECTION: COMMENT; Pg. 46
LENGTH: 236 words

OVERVIEW

Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter star in Tim Burton's suitably gory adaptation of Stephen Sondheim's musical set in early 19th-century London. Depp's barber, Ben Barker, has been transported to a penal colony by Alan Rickman's fiendish judge. Fifteen years later, Ben returns under his new guise, Sweeney Todd, and is out for bloody revenge.

OUR VIEW

"This rendering of Sondheim has so much potential that you could weep for the way Burton squanders it ... It looks awful. Burton wants to style it as a black-hearted fairy tale, but his camera movements feel sluggish and one keeps sensing a gulf between his idea and his execution ... Neither Depp nor Rickman provides real menace." Anthony Quinn

CRITICAL VIEW

"Depp and Carter bring a pale, insomniac vigour to their ghastly characters ... This is a rich, demented experience." empire"It's hard not to connect with the killer and his accomplice. Thanks to increasingly intense performances from Depp and Bonham Carter, it becomes impossible." evening standard"Burton's glorious penny dreadful is a wonderful adaptation of Sondheim's musical ... The atmosphere is vintage Hammer Horror ... The chemistry between Depp and Carter is terrific ... Alan Rickman is a sinister pleasure." the times"Here's the main trouble: I just couldn't buy into any of it emotionally." the spectator"Alan Rickman and Tim Spall are terrific in the supporting roles." financial times

Georgiana
Seattle - Wednesday, January 30, 2008


Some book news!

I got a nice surprise in the mail this week. I ordered this book thinking it was a novelization of the Sweeney Todd film. It is so much more than that! It is a reprint of the serialized Victorian era story, The String of Pearls, upon which all the Sweeney Todd stories and plays have been based ever since. There is a lot of historical information included in the introduction plus footnotes and a fair sized bibliography. If you want to know more about the backstory of Sweeney Todd, here is a good place to start.

Also, I see that Rachel Corrie's journals have been released under the title Let Me Stand Alone, available from many online booksellers. If you want to see what inspired Alan to edit and produce the play My Name is Rachel Corrie this will give you an inkling.

Finally, if your book/film searching activities include clawing through closeout bins and tables of remainders, keep an eye out for the Signet Classics edition of Romeo and Juliet which includes not only Shakespeare's play but a DVD of the 1979 BBC production featuring AR as Tybalt. You really must see him in this--extremely young, whippet thin, and with a very fetching pudding bowl haircut :o)
Ali-Pat
Dayton, OH USA - Thursday, January 24, 2008


Some pictures I hadn't found on this site yet (from Sundance Film Festival): WireImage.
He's looking awfully good, again.

LurkingLady
Belgium - Wednesday, January 23, 2008


Alan in one swag booth and picking up a razor in another--guess ST turned him off going to barbers!

And here is an interesting article ....not only b/c it talks about Alan but b/c the reporter quotes Alan referring to Rima as his wife. Presumably the reporter, clearly not a super-Rickman-fan, didn't take precise notes and simply reconstructed the quote later, accidentally replacing whatever term AR used w/ "wife." Or did Alan use the word himself, for whatever reason? (I know that using "partner" can sometimes lead to confusion especially around GLBT folks, and the interview had just introduced Alan to his own same-sex partner.... ) Or was the reporter just on drugs?
Jill
CA USA - Tuesday, January 22, 2008


Here are pics from last night's premiere of Bottle Shock at Sundance: gettyimages
Alan is in the pics in the second row and the middle pic of the bottom-most row.

They all look cold, and too bundled up for my taste. :-) But I read that temps outside at Sundance have been around 0 deg F, so I guess they are cold....
Jill <esoterica1693@yahoo.comfoo>
CA USA - Saturday, January 19, 2008


Looks like a new collaboration between AR and Yukio Ninagawa (Tango at the End of Winter) HERE. I hope someone can go and send back a report!
Ali-Pat
Dayton, OH USA - Saturday, January 19, 2008


I noticed that the site whatsonstage.com has 28 photos of the ST premiere in London. Alan is no 9, 10 and 11. What ironic fun that the party afterwards was held in the Royal Courts of Justice just down from Fleet Street.
Barbara
New Zealand - Sunday, January 13, 2008


First pic of Alan Rickman from the London Premiere Alan Rickman

Other pictures from the premiere are slowly appearing at the following places (I'll update as and when I can).

Wire Image

WENN

Getty

ABACAUSA

PolFoto thanks to Laura in my group who found them.

Rex Features

The Leaky Cauldron some nice unwatermarked pics.

Enjoy and don't forget to keep checking the links because photographers will probably be uploading for a day or so.

Sheena <dragon@amberdragon.freeserve.co.ukfoo>
Berkshire, UK - Saturday, January 12, 2008


Empire Magazine (Australia edition but maybe other ones, too)January 2008 is called their Crime Issue. They have their 20 Top Crims - the wiliest law-breakers on Planet Film. Pride of place at no 1 is Hans Gruber and a little spiel about him and photo of AR.
Barbara
NZ - Wednesday, January 09, 2008


I got this from my digiguide "The Film Programme" on BBC Radio Four, is doing a piece on Sweeney Todd, here are the details:

The Film Programme
Channel: BBC Radio Four
Date: Friday 25th January 2008
Time: 16:30 to 17:00
Duration: 30 minutes.

Francine Stock talks to Johnny Depp and Tim Burton about their bloodthirsty musical Sweeney Todd. Helena Bonham Carter and Alan Rickman reveal what it was like to sing on film for the first time. Paul Haggis, Oscar-winning director of Crash, talks about In The Valley Of Elah, his controversial new film about the traumatising effects of the Iraq conflict on American soldiers.
Copyright GipsyMedia Ltd.

For those of you outside of the UK who can't pick up BBC Radio you can listen to it online here Film Programme and after the show airs they will have it available to listen to for a week. You can download a podcast of the show after it airs from the site as well.
Sheena <dragon@amberdragon.freeserve.co.ukfoo>
Berkshire, UK - Wednesday, January 09, 2008


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