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On the windswept south side of Jonathan Palmer’s Bedford Autodrome, Clive Owen is pounding around in a track-tough Jaguar XKR. This particular circuit has some complex corners and a high-speed fourth-gear number, during which the driver’s cojones – not to mention the Jag’s tyres – are severely tested. But it seems that Clive is not in the mood to back off.
“On a group day,” one of the instructors tells me, “a 1min 9sec lap would win the event. He’s doing 1min 10s right now. Clive clearly doesn’t have issues with speed. Or commitment.” Or, for that matter, changing gear. It’s a metaphor he himself has used to describe the twists and turns his career has taken on the road to his current, undeniable status as a leading man.
Five minutes in his company is all it takes to establish that this is an unusually grounded Hollywood player. The tan is not easy to come by in the British Isles, but the attitude is definitely closer to Coventry than California.
And no wonder. His success has been hard-won. Like Michael Caine before him, his is a tough, working-class background. His father abandoned his mother, him and his brothers, when he was just three. He was educated at a Coventry comprehensive and spent two years on the dole before being accepted at RADA. The breakthrough, in Mike Hodges’ The Croupier, only came after American critics picked up on a film roundly ignored on its initial release.
Fair to say that he hasn’t looked back since. The Bourne Identity, Closer, Sin City, Inside Man and Children of Men have all followed. This month, he is starring in the new action adventure film Shoot ‘Em Up. In it, he plays the mysterious Mr Smith, entrusted with protecting a new-born baby from an army of assassins. Read the rest of this entry »
Giamatti will join Julia Roberts, Clive Owen and Tom Wilkinson in Duplicity.
Giamatti will play an industrialist engaged in a fierce game of corporate one-upmanship against a rival titan, played by Wilkinson (who plays Benjamin Franklin in John Adams). Roberts and Owen play two spies-turned-corporate operatives who work on opposite sides but are having a clandestine love affair. Billy Bob Thornton had been in talks for the businessman role.
Tony Gilroy will direct Duplicity off a script he wrote.
For more new-to-you scripted entertainment, check out these British imports from Silver Spring-based Acorn Media (which specializes in bringing Brit television DVDs to the U.S. market).
Chancer– Before Clive Owen was Clive Owen, he was Derek Love, the arrogant, rogue con-man star of this short-lived British hit crime series. (1990-91; out now)
Suburban Shootout — Rival gangs of gun-packing housewives battle over a Stepford-like village in what sounds like really “Desperate Housewives,” but what the San Francisco Chronicle called “a little David Lynch lite.” (2006; coming March 25) Read the rest of this entry »
As an impressionable Rada student, Clive Owen read up on Constantin Stanislavski, the great Russian theatre director who invented the acting “system” adopted by James Dean, Steve McQueen and Paul Newman. One Stanislavski quote stood out for the nascent movie star. “Beware the actor who looks in the mirror too much.” In other words, reckoning yourself to be something of a Bobby Dazzler is not a good thing. “If it gets too self-conscious, if people are too knowing about what they are doing, it can look like a kind of reflected acting,” Owen explains. “They are doing it knowing the effect it has, and that’s never the best way.” Read the rest of this entry »
Hust like the Scots monarch she is about to play Scarlett Johansson just can’t seem to find right man
IN what could be a case of art imitating life, finding the right man for Mary Queen of Scots is proving more difficult than expected.
A movie about Mary’s life, starring Scarlett Johansson, has been delayed because producers can’t find a suitable actor to play her third husband, the Earl of Bothwell.
In real life, Mary had problems with men, one in particular, her second husband, Lord Darnely, who burst into her room in the Palace of Holyrood House, threatened her and murdered her secretary, David Riccio.
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