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  1. #1
    Senior Member Country: UK DB7's Avatar
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    A Brazilian let loose in the British world of Le Carré

    John Hiscock goes on the set of the surprising new venture from the 'City of God' director

    Immaculately dressed in a pin-stripe suit, blue shirt and tie, Bill Nighy strides authoritatively across the smoking room at the National Liberal Club, talking in clipped, upper-class tones to an attentive Ralph Fiennes at his side.

    The take goes faultlessly and, while crew members scurry to set up the next scene, Nighy takes the opportunity to pull up a chair in the club's River Room and assess his surroundings. Floor-to-ceiling windows open out on to a long balcony with magnificent views of the Thames, and oil paintings line the walls of the 125-year-old club's high-ceilinged rooms.

    The actors and crew have moved in for a week to film scenes for The Constant Gardener, the £15 million film based on John Le Carré's novel of murder and intrigue in Africa. They will then move on to Kenya for eight weeks.

    Fiennes plays Justin Quayle, a mild-mannered British diplomat who surprises his colleagues by embarking on a personal odyssey to find the truth surrounding the murder of his socially conscious but adulterous wife, played by Rachel Weisz. Nighy is Sir Bernard Pellegrin, a Foreign Office mandarin with special responsibility for Africa.

    After being cast as mentally fragile and battered individuals in films such as Still Crazy, I Capture the Castle and Love Actually, Nighy takes great satisfaction in portraying what he calls "a nobby toff".

    "I don't come from that background at all, so it's very nice to be playing an upper-middle-class Englishman," laughs the 55-year-old actor who, after 30 years of stage, small-film and television work, is suddenly near the top of filmmakers' want-lists.

    His years of hard-won experience allow him to shun the weeks of rehearsal and instead step straight into a role. He only arrived on The Constant Gardener set the day before, having come straight from The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy in which he plays Slartiblartfast, the man, he explains with a grin, who designed the world, winning an award for the fjords of Norway. "I came in yesterday, shook hands with the director and started acting," he recalls. "I'm still here today, so I must have the job."

    It is not Bill Nighy's first role in a Le Carré thriller. In 1983, he had a bit part in The Little Drummer Girl when the theatre company of which he was a member was hired to play themselves.

    Nighy talks drolly, with a self-deprecation that probably comes from years in the acting trenches, but The Constant Gardener's director, Brazilian Fernando Meirelles, is more enthusiastic about his talents.

    "Bill arrived yesterday, we met for 20 minutes and he did his scenes perfectly," he says. "I am very fortunate, I have a wonderful cast."

    Ralph Fiennes plays Justin Quayle

    It is Meirelles' first film in English and he took over from Mike Newell, who left when he was offered Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire. Meirelles comes to The Constant Gardener from City Of God, the Portuguese language film about drug dealers in a Brazilian slum that won more than 25 awards globally and received four Academy Award nominations, including one for Best Director. Following its success, Meirelles received 64 offers from Hollywood, but instead opted to cut his English language teeth on the lower-budgeted British film.

    An engaging, bespectacled 48-year-old with a slightly rumpled look, Meirelles is wrestling with the intricacies of the English language while struggling to understand the ways of British diplomats. "The difficult thing for me is the English," he says frankly. "I speak bad English and some things in the script sometimes I just don't get. The actors are helping me and they are very patient with me. I feel very bad because I think I am more intelligent than I can express in English." In fact, his English is much better than he says and he has imposed his own vision on screenwriter Jeffrey Caine's adaptation of Le Carré's novel. Meirelles has jettisoned many of the references to the structure of English society that, he confesses, he didn't understand, and has focused more on Kenya and the ruthlessness of the corporate world in Africa.

    "Fernando has brought a vision of Africa to the project," says the producer, Simon Channing Williams, whose credits include Secrets and Lies and De-lovely, and who obtained the rights to The Constant Gardener three and a half years ago.

    "Until Fernando came on board, it was mainly about an enclave of English middle-class diplomats living in a colony in Africa," he says. "It was very much done from the British point of view, but Fernando has refocused it and has cast 17 Kenyan actors."

    The villain of the piece is a multinational drug company that fatally uses Africans as guinea pigs to test a tuberculosis remedy. Tessa Quayle is killed when she is discovered compiling data against the company.

    Meirelles and Caine have reshaped the structure, beginning not with the death of Tessa, as Le Carré does, but when she is pregnant and living in Africa with her husband. Her murder does not occur until a third of the way into the film and she continues to appear in flashbacks.

    To balance the darkness of the story, Meirelles has included an explicit love scene between Fiennes and Weisz, which he has already filmed and in which Fiennes, he says, performed admirably.

    The only problem has been filming in London. "It's been an absolute nightmare," Channing Williams says bluntly. "London is not film friendly. Ken Livingstone has said he would like to make it easier to film here and I hope he does, but, at the moment, it is harder than any other city in the world. Dear old Britain is still in the colonial age."

  2. #2
    Senior Member Country: UK DB7's Avatar
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    Constant Gardener wins UK awards The Constant Gardener is a political thriller set in AfricaThe Constant Gardener has taken the top prizes at the British Independent Film Awards (BIFA), being named best film.

    Ralph Fiennes and Rachel Weisz, who star in the John Le Carre thriller, were named best actor and actress.

    Neil Marshall's smaller budget film The Descent took awards for best director and technical achievement.

    The BIFAs honour films produced and co-produced by UK companies. Downfall, following Adolf Hitler's final days, was best foreign independent film.

    Full BIFA results

    Winners were chosen by a 13-strong jury which included actors Alan Cumming and Ashley Walters.

    The most promising newcomer award went to Emily Barclay for her role in the UK and New Zealand film In My Father's Den, with Matthew MacFadyen.

    Best documentary was Sean McAllister's The Liberace of Baghdad, which followed Iraqi pianist Samir Peter as he waited for his US visa while sheltering in a Baghdad hotel.

    The eighth annual BIFAs were hosted in west London by actor James Nesbitt, with presenters including Hugh Dancy, Vanessa Redgrave and director Ken Loach.

    Downfall follows Adolf Hitler's final days in his Berlin bunkerRosamund Pike took the supporting actress award for her role as Elizabeth Malet in The Libertine.

    Pride and Prejudice actress Keira Knightley received the Variety UK personality award, while Narnia star Tilda Swinton took the Richard Harris award, given annually to recognise outstanding achievement.

    Best screenplay award was given to Frank Cottrell Boyce for Millions and the special jury prize was awarded to veteran producer Sandy Lieberson.

    The Constant Gardener's success was a further triumph for UK producer Simon Channing Williams, who also worked on Vera Drake which dominated last year's BIFAs with six awards.

    British Independent Film Awards 2005:

    Best British independent film:

    The Constant Gardener

    Best actor:

    Ralph Fiennes - The Constant Gardener

    Best actress:

    Rachel Weisz - The Constant Gardener

    Best supporting actor/actress:

    Rosamund Pike - The Libertine

    Most promising newcomer:

    Emily Barclay - In My Father's Den

    Best director:

    Neil Marshall - The Descent

    Best screenplay:

    Frank Cottrell Boyce - Millions

    Douglas Hickox Award (for debut director):

    Annie Griffin - Festival

    Best technical achievement:

    Jon Harris - The Descent

    Best achievement in production:


    Best foreign film:


    Best documentary:

    The Liberace of Baghdad

    The Raindance Award:

    Evil Aliens

    Variety UK Personality of the Year:

    Keira Knightley

    Special Jury Prize:

    Sandy Lieberson

    Richard Harris Award for Outstanding Achievement:

    Tilda Swinton

    Best British short film:

    Six Shooter

  3. #3
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    My business partner Jake West won the BIFA Raindance Award for EVIL ALIENS.

    More partying tonight me thinks!

  4. #4
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    British political thriller The Constant Gardener leads the field at the Bafta film awards with 10 nominations.

    The John le Carre adaptation picked up nominations for best film, best actor for Ralph Fiennes and best actress for Golden Globe winner Rachel Weisz.

    Ang Lee's poignant love story Brokeback Mountain and racial drama Crash both received nine nominations.

    The awards ceremony takes place in London on 19 February, hosted by Stephen Fry

    The Constant Gardener, Brokeback Mountain and Crash were nominated in the best film category, alongside Capote and Good Night, and Good Luck.

    Good Night, and Good Luck received six nominations, including best original screenplay and best director for George Clooney.

    Clooney is shortlisted for a total of four Baftas, including best supporting actor nominations for Good Night, and Good Luck and oil thriller Syriana.

    Joe Wright's critically acclaimed adaptation of Pride & Prejudice also received six nominations, as did Rob Marshall's adaptation of best-selling novel Memoirs of a Geisha.

    The Constant Gardener follows diplomat Justin Quayle (Fiennes) as he attempts to get to the bottom of his wife's death in northern Kenya.

    Fiennes faces competition in the leading actor category from Oscar favourite Heath Ledger for Brokeback Mountain and Philip Seymour Hoffman for Capote.

    Joaquin Phoenix - who stars as the late Johnny Cash in Walk the Line - and David Strathairn as broadcaster Ed Murrow in Good Night, and Good Luck are also nominated in that category.

    Dench is considered Bafta royalty with 10 film nominations to date

    Weisz, who won best supporting actress at the Golden Globes on Sunday, vies with Dame Judi Dench, for British comedy Mrs Henderson Presents.

    They compete in the leading actress category against Charlize Theron for North Country, Ziyi Zhang for Memoirs of a Geisha and Reece Witherspoon for Walk the Line.

    In the best director category, Golden Globe winner Ang Lee goes head to head with Clooney, Brazilian director Fernando Meirelles for The Constant Gardener, Bennet Miller for Capote and Paul Haggis for Crash.

    Special achievement

    Crash also received three nominations in the supporting acting categories - Matt Dillon and Don Cheadle for supporting actor, and Thandie Newton for supporting actress.

    Haggis, the screenwriter behind last year's Oscar-winning film Million Dollar Baby, also received a nomination in the original screenplay category with co-writer Bobby Moresco.

    Fellow nominees include Mrs Henderson Presents, Good Night, and Good Luck, Cinderella Man and last year's Oscar contender Hotel Rwanda.

    Newton and Dillon both received acting nominations for Crash

    Brokeback Mountain, adapted from a short story by E Annie Proulx, leads the contenders for adapted screenplay. Rivals include Capote, The Constant Gardener, A History of Violence and Pride and Prejudice.

    Pride & Prejudice is also a contender for best British film, and picked up a nomination for director Joe Wright for the Carl Foreman award, which recognises a special achievement by a British director, writer or producer. Britain's Brenda Blethyn received a nomination in the supporting actress category, but Keira Knightley missed out on a widely anticipated leading actress nomination.

    Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit received just one nomination for the Alexander Korda award for best British film.

    Kung Fu Hustle, Joyeux Noel, Le Grand Voyage, Tsotsi and The Beat That My Heart Skipped compete in the foreign film category.

    Best film

    Brokeback Mountain


    The Constant Gardener


    Good Night, and Good Luck

    Best British film

    A Cock and Bull Story

    The Constant Gardener


    Pride and Prejudice

    Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were Rabbit

    Best actor in a leading role

    David Strathairn - Good Night, and Good Luck

    Heath Ledger - Brokeback Mountain

    Joaquin Phoenix - Walk the Line

    Philip Seymour Hoffman - Capote

    Ralph Fiennes - The Constant Gardener

    Best actress in a leading role

    Charlize Theron - North Country

    Judi Dench - Mrs Henderson Presents

    Rachel Weisz - The Constant Gardener

    Reese Witherspoon - Walk The Line

    Ziyi Zhang - Memoirs of a Geisha

    Best actor in a supporting role

    Don Cheadle - Crash

    George Clooney - Good Night, and Good Luck

    George Clooney - Syriana

    Jake Gyllenhaal - Brokeback Mountain

    Matt Dillon - Crash

    Best actress in a supporting role

    Brenda Blethyn - Pride and Prejudice

    Catherine Keener - Capote

    Frances McDormand - North Country

    Michelle Williams - Brokeback Mountain

    Thandie Newton - Crash

    Original screenplay

    Cinderella Man - Cliff Hollingsworth/Akiva Goldsman

    Crash - Paul Haggis/Bobby Moresco

    Good Night, and Good Luck - George Clooney/Grant Heslov

    Hotel Rwanda - Keir Pearson/Terry George

    Mrs Henderson Presents - Martin Sherman

    Adapted screenplay

    Brokeback Mountain - Larry McMurtry/Diana Ossana

    Capote - Dan Futterman

    The Constant Gardener - Jeffrey Caine

    A History of Violence - Josh Olson

    Pride and Prejudice - Deborah Moggach

    The David Lean Award for achievement in direction

    Ang Lee - Brokeback Mountain

    Bennett Miller - Capote

    Fernando Meirelles - The Constant Gardener

    Paul Haggis - Crash

    George Clooney - Good Night, and Good Luck

    The Carl Foreman Award for special achievement by a British Director/Producer or Writer in their first feature film

    David Belton (Producer) - Shooting Dogs

    Peter Fudakowski (Producer) - Tsotsi

    Annie Griffin (Director/Writer) - Festival

    Richard Hawkins (Director) - Everything

    Joe Wright (Director) - Pride & Prejudice

    Best film not in the English language

    De Battre Mon Coeur S'est Arrete

    Le Grand Voyage

    Kung Fu Hustle

    Joyeux Noel


    The Anthony Asquith Award for achievement in film music

    Brokeback Mountain - Gustavo Santaolalla

    The Constant Gardener - Alberto Iglesias

    Memoirs of a Geisha - John Williams

    Mrs Henderson Presents - George Fenton

    Walk The Line - T Bone Burnett


    Brokeback Mountain

    The Constant Gardener


    March of the Penguins

    Memoirs of a Geisha


    Brokeback Mountain

    The Constant Gardener


    Good Night, and Good Luck

    March of the Penguins

    Production design

    Batman Begins

    Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

    Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

    King Kong

    Memoirs of a Geisha

    Costume design

    Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

    The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

    Memoirs of a Geisha

    Mrs Henderson Presents

    Pride and Prejudice


    Batman Begins

    The Constant Gardener


    King Kong

    Walk the Line

    Achievement in special visual effects

    Batman Begins

    Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

    The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

    Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

    King Kong

    Make Up and Hair

    Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

    The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

    Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

    Memoirs of a Geisha

    Pride and Prejudice

    Short animation film

    Fallen Art

    Film Noir

    Kamiya's Correspondence

    The Mysterious Geographic Explorations of Jasper Morello


    Short Film

    Antonio's Breakfast

    Call Register

    Heavy Metal Drummer

    Heydar, An Afghan in Tehran


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