1991

The Last Romantics

I went straight into The Last Romantics after shooting Prague, without even meeting the director Jack Gold.  I felt that was so terrible, and disrespectful, especially because Jack is a legend and had directed some really seminal TV films in Britain, like The Naked Civil Servant.  I suppose I should have felt honoured and happy to be swanning from one movie to the next without needing to audition or go for a meeting, but this was the first time it had ever happened and it sat a little strangely with me. (I've got over it!!)

The film, made by BBC2, was based on the life of F.R. Leavis, a real-life critic and lecturer at Cambridge University, played by the utterly brilliant Ian Holm. I played Tulloch, a shy and toubled student whose behaviour turns destructive against his mentor, prompted by his room-mate, Costain, played by Rufus Sewell. Also in the cast were Sara Kestelman, who I had worked with in the London production of Cabaret, and Leo McKern (better known as Rumpole of the Bailey.)

I have two abiding memories of this film...

1:  That I am a little porky in it because I was still in the first flushes of excitement of being on movie sets and enjoying all the food that was available all the time, and...

2:  One hot afternon we were shooting a scene between Ian and I, and in my close-up he unintentionally made me laugh when he did a line of a T.S.Elliot poem in a slightly different way and I totally lost it and couldn't get myself together to finish the scene. It was a hot, stuffy room and it was a Friday and all the crew just wanted to go home and that just made me worse. Eventually I was sent out to have a walk around the quadrant to regain my composure, but even then i couldn't stop laughing when we went back into the scene. It is the most agonising and hysterical thing to be trying to not laugh knowing that so many people are longing for you to just get through it. I must have managed it eventually, but since then I have really been able to pull it together when it happens. I still am prone to a fit of the giggles, but never to that extent.