Clive Owen was talking with great confidence about how, when he’s not working, he is a hands-on dad to his two daughters.
I’m listening to him, then I pounce. OK, I say, do you know which aisle is which at Waitrose or Sainsbury’s? He roars with laughter – then sets me an aisle challenge at Waitrose on the Holloway Road in North London.
I was chatting to Clive about his Oscar-worthy performance in Scott Hicks’s great movie The Boys Are Back. Clive plays a father left to raise a young son when his wife dies of cancer. Later, they’re joined by a lad from an earlier marriage.
The picture is based on British newspaper columnist Simon Carr’s moving memoir.
The film shifts a lot of the action to Hicks’s home state of Adelaide and Clive plays Joe Warr, a sports columnist. He told me he read the screenplay years before filming began. He told his agents there was something special about the story – and he’s so right.
It’s about living life to the full. It’s full of everyday observations that are about real life, not just reel life. Clive told me that he carved out time to get to know Nicholas McAnulty, who plays the younger lad (he seems a natural to me).
A couple of scenes seemed so raw and alive that I wondered how the moments were captured. Clive explained that often the camera would continue running after a scene was shot: ‘If Nicholas started to do impromptu things, we were there to capture anything that came up.
‘There are things that fathers do with their kids that they’re not allowed to do when Mum is around. There’s a different discipline. A day with Dad is very different.’
Indeed, part of his character’s ethos is the power of ‘Yes’. It’s OK to have pillow fights, play on swings when you want, sit on the bumper of Dad’s car and so on.
‘You can’t fail to be moved,’ Clive said. ‘These guys are grieving, so you can forgive them some of the things they do.’
The Boys Are Back shows Clive in a role I’ve never seen him play before: a parent. ‘I’m a dad with two daughters and this was a film exploring parenthood,’ he told me.
‘I had to say yes.’
The film has its world premiere at the Toronto Film Festival and will be shown at the
London Film Festival on October 21.
Source: Daily Mail