Even so, AlmodÃ³var has not yet accepted any Hollywood offers, despite being sent every possible American script about transvestites. There have been near misses, notably when he was offered Brokeback Mountain. "That was the first time I really hesitated about making an American movie, because I read the short story and I was in love with it. But I was afraid not to make the movie with the kind of freedom that I’m used to."
He was 19 when he agreed to do odd jobs for an elderly actress. "I turned up at her house, the door opened, and it was Peggy Ashcroft. I was very naive, but I did recognise her vaguely. And we got on incredibly well."
Dame Peggy encouraged Brock in his "ludicrous" nascent writing
ambitions and, when home became unbearable, offered him a room in her
basement. It was, in his words, a platonic love story which lasted a
year. Then – though they did not part on bad terms – it was over.
A. Rufus is fantastic. I actually didn’t really want Rufus. But he came in and read in London — and he just completely blew me away, with his restrained, manipulative performance. When he lost his temper, the force of his rage. He totally knocked me out.
And Jessica … I wasn’t particularly interested. But finally we did see her, and she came in, wearing a period costume and had her hair pulled back, and did a really restrained, refined reading — with an accent. She’d really worked on it. And [she] kind of knocked us out. She’s very beautiful, and she [also] had that fearless spirit I wanted Sophie to have … [Sophie is] a woman trapped in her social class, but she’s also a modern woman who takes these bold risks.
When he was growing up in Oklahoma in the 50s, America was supposed to be a place of "Ozzie and Harriet, white picket fences, and mom and apple pie; there were no drugs in America, there was no alcoholism." Yet Clark remembers kids coming to school with black eyes from beatings by their drunken parents, and a girl in junior high school who was regularly sexually assaulted by her five brothers. Not even Life magazine talked about this side of American society, he claims. "So I always thought, ‘Why can’t you show everything? Why do all these things have to be kept secret?’ So when I started working, my thing was, ‘I’m going to show everything without the bullshit.’ So I’m not afraid of what people think of what I do. Fuck ’em, I’m just going to try to keep it real."
The pitch? Gilliam wrote: "To start shooting, we need money. Overall, the film will cost $750,000. We can expect about $450,000 to be offset by DVD sales, selling foreign rights, and an advance from our retail store distributor, but we still need $300,000. A generous donor just stepped up and will contribute $100,000 if we can match it with $200,000 from someone else. That someone else is you! 4000 people giving $50 each. We’ll put everyone’s name in the credits."
Neil Labute and Robin Hardy speak (separately) to Stephen Applebaum in the Independent about "The Wicker Man." May we take a moment? Shocked that there will be no press screenings of the film â€” that’s not a "we don’t care what critics say/folks will see this anyway" plan, that’s "this one’s a dog and we know it.":
"I learnt nothing from Possession," LaBute told me, "because I’m willing to be taken to task again." Asked why, he said it was because he "loved" The Wicker Man. "Yet, I never felt the execution was so great that it couldn’t be touched. I thought, whether it’s bested or not, it could be done again. It’s been 30 years and I think I’ve got a legitimate idea about it. It’s an island of women and Nicolas Cage; that sounds an evenly matched game to me."
+ Pedro’s women (Independent)
+ A very British charmer (Telegraph)
+ Director not obsessed with commercial success (Chicago Tribune)
+ Sex education (Guardian)
+ His Fans Greenlight the Project (Washington Post)
+ The Wicker Man: Caught in the crossfire (Independent)