Friday, March 11, 2011

Metal Mummy's Movie Meme - Directors

This week, Metal Mummy's Movie Meme is on the subject of Directors. Who is your favourite director and why? Having read through the entries so far, all of them good, there seems to be a bit of a Spielberg/Scorsese/Luhrmann/Burton thang going on so I thought I'd approach it in a slightly different way.

My favourite directors are picked from the ones the The Husband has worked with, who he considers to be 'good blokes' and who, more importantly, are particularly appreciative of the crews they work with. Some you may have heard of, others you may not, one you will definitely in the future, I'd put money on it.

1.  Stephen Frears - The Husband worked with him on the Bafta/Oscar winning 'The Queen'. He is a true gentleman and a talented director. The grandest of grandees of the British Film industry. He has been at the forefront of British movie making since the 1960s when he was taken on as an upaid First Assistant Director to Karel Reisz who, along with the likes of Lindsay Anderson, founded the Free Cinema movement. This was a pivotal point in British film making, when a group of young directors decided to buck the trend for telling 'naice Middle Class stories' and instead make films about ordinary people leading ordinary lives.

From those early days he went on to direct such British classics as 'My Beautiful Launderette' and 'Sammy and Rosie Get Laid' as well as 'Grifters', 'The Commitments', 'Dangerous Liaisons', 'Mrs Henderson Presents' and 'Tamara Drewe' to name but a few of his projects. In between times he has refined his craft in TV and has developed a reputation for getting on with actors, writers and crew alike.

When The Husband had to get together over 1000 bouquets of flowers to recreate the scene outside Kensington Palace after Diana's death he even joined in with all the students that had been taken on to help by tying a few himself.

Although he lost out to Martin Scorsese in the Oscar for Best Director for 'The Queen', one of only two Oscar nominations throughout his career, he was won many awards in Europe and is a Commandeur de l'Ordre des Artes et Lettres.  He frequently teaches at The National Film and Television School in Buckinghamshire where he holds the 'David Lean Chair in Fiction Direction'. Today's bit of useless trivia is that he is also name checked in the The Scaffold's song 'Lily the Pink'

Stephen Frears - 'all round good bloke'
Image courtesy of Wikipedia
2.  Next on my list is a director that most people will never had heard of, Brian Kirk. The Husband believes him to be one of the most talented British television directors and one he would work with for free (if I'd let him..... which I wont). He worked with him on the Bafta award winning TV film, 'My Boy Jack' which tells the story of the life and untimely death of Rudyard Kipling's son Jack at the Battle of Loos. The Husband was part of the design team nominated for a Bafta but they lost out to Cranford (Boo... hiss!!!). I was hugely disappointed that a bunch of people in breeches and big dresses beat a design team that had recreated the trenches on a beach in Waterford, Ireland.  I can still remember a very emotional phone call from 'The Husband' (bless!) when they had finally finished building the trenches. He was so proud of what they had achieved out of nothing and then, as if on cue, it started to rain to give that extra air of authenticity.

The battlefield - built
on the beach in Waterford, Ireland

Filming in the trenches

It will always be a memorable time for me because it was the night of the Baftas, while The Husband was luvvying it up in London and I was back home in France, enduring the third month of almost daily rain and floods, that I decided I wanted   to move back to England.
Filming the trenches from above
If you've ever wondered what a
Best Boy and a Dolly Grip
do, that's them on the bottom

Rain for filming has to be torrential
or it won't show up on screen. Pity the
poor Boom Operator!

That's Brian there, under the
green umbrella
3.  And finally, my last director is Damon Thomas, who unfortunately shares the same name as the ex-husband of  Grim... sorry, Kim Kardashian but I won't hold that against him.  He was the director on a pilot 'Dirk Gently', an adaptation of the Douglas Adams book 'Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency', which The Husband did last year and another all round good bloke.  He's a relatively new drama director, having cut his teeth on documentaries,  but The Husband believes he is 'going places'.  I met Damon while they were filming  when we took  Solomon, our not-so-famous-acting-cat for an audition for Henry the Cat, a pivotal role in the story. It wasn't Solomon's finest hour but Damon was so nice and kind when he could have been thrown a hissy fit. I've met so many young directors who are so far up their own backsides that they can see their own brains... if they have one but Damon Thomas is not one of them.

Damon Thomas - another good
bloke and up and coming director

So that's my slightly unconventional choice for Best Director(s). Why not join in with your own by following the link at the top of this post.


the fly in the web said...

This was fascinating...I'm in a completely different world, apart from knowing a crooked ex solicitor who now is an expert in acquiring EU grants for film making... favourite film of all time is
'The Duellists'
However I am completely in accord with your husband's diagnosis of good guys to work was the same in law.

Steve said...

Fave director? Hmm. A toughie. I don't take much notice of them - isn't that awful. I could list favourite films no problem, but name the director? Erm. I like Baz Luhrmann. And I'm always impressed by Pete Jackson - mainly because I remember his very early cheap budget films where he achieved amazing effects with literally no budget at all and practically did it all himself.

Metal Mummy said...

How lucky is your husband to work with so many talented people!

I love how you went from a different angle - really interesting stuff!

Thanks for linking, hopefully see you again next week! x

Vickie Ford said...

Great choice I have to agree the queen was a great film.

Perpetually In Transit said...

So interesting to read more about the people behind the camera. I shall definitely look out for their names in future. Team workers are big in my book also.

Wylye Girl said...

Fly, The film industry has more than it's fair share of charlatans. In the old days when it was all unionised and you couldn't get job unless you were a Bectu member they used to produce a monthly 'name and shame' list of people who hadn't paid their crews, people to avoid at all costs and people to refer to the Union if they got in contact with you. Like all the so-called 'glamourous' industries, there are people only too happy to exploit people trying to get a foot in the door. That's why 'the good guys' are so important.

Oh Steve, you've let me down! When you get your first script into production these are the people you'll have to deal with on a daily basis. Now, in future make sure you read those credits to the very end. I'll be testing you....!

Wylye Girl said...

Hi Vicky and welcome to my blog. I think The Queen was one of the hardest projects The Husband has worked on. They had to recreate all the television footage as the Palace would only allow them to use one original clip. It was so good that many people thought they had used the original footage. It was a fantastic script and Helen Mirren was outstanding

Hannah, I shall be back next week. I've really enjoyed doing them. Keep it up!

PiT, the people behind the camera are, in my opinion, the most important people on set, though of course I am biased. It's sad though that while the wages of the 'stars' are on the rise, crew wages are being driven relentlessly down, often so that they can pay the actors. I think I might blog about it...

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