Home Play by Mail BAZ BAMIGBOYE: It’s a family affair as Cyrano sets up his camp on a volcano

BAZ BAMIGBOYE: It’s a family affair as Cyrano sets up his camp on a volcano

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Turning on the slopes of Etna gave an extra spark to one of the famous heroines of literature. Hollywood star Haley Bennett put a modern twist on Roxanne, the noblewoman at the center of one of the most enduring tragic love stories of all time.

“She’s no longer in a man’s shadow,” the actress said.

Bennett, 33, shares the screen in the stunning film Cyrano, based on Edmond Rostand’s 1897 play Cyrano de Bergerac, with Peter Dinklage as the main character who is secretly in love with Roxanne, but expresses that love through letters and the poems he writes. .

However, these sweet notes are read to him by Christian, the handsome rival in love with Cyrano, played by Kelvin Harrison Jr.

“The play was written over 120 years ago, by a man,” Bennett noted, adding that with the exception of Daryl Hannah, who played her in the movie Roxanne, the character “stood out. always felt a little precious “. “I wanted to return that,” she said. “I wanted her to be a little messy. “

Hollywood star Haley Bennett gave Roxanne a modern twist – the noble woman at the center of one of the most enduring tragic love stories of all time

Dinklage, who starred in Game Of Thrones, agreed. ‘Roxanne still seemed to be behind glass, seen through a men’s point of view.

Several years ago his wife, playwright Erica Schmidt, revisited the Rostand drama in a production starring both Dinklage and Bennett.

Bennett’s partner, director Joe Wright, saw the show at a small Connecticut theater. Soon he and Schmidt collaborate on a screenplay: the one that “puts Roxanne in the foreground”.

Bennett added another layer to the story during filming, which took place in Sicily at the height of the Covid pandemic in the summer of 2020. She wondered, “What if Roxanne knew the truth and didn’t wasn’t she fooled? “

In any case, her Roxanne insists that she is “nobody’s pet, nobody’s wife and nobody’s wife”.

Remember, this is a story set in a time when women were not “in control of their own lives,” as Bennett put it. “They weren’t encouraged to read or to be intellectual.

Bennett, 33, shares the screen in the breathtaking film Cyrano, based on the 1897 play Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand, with Peter Dinklage as the main character

Bennett, 33, shares the screen in the breathtaking film Cyrano, based on the 1897 play Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand, with Peter Dinklage as the main character

Wright said making the film in the dark days of the first wave of the pandemic sounded like “an act of defiance.”

The director had been warned that he had only a five percent chance of funding Cyrano – a musical featuring songs from The National. Eric Fellner, of Working Title, had to partner with MGM to make the film. It was one of the first productions to shoot after Covid turned the world upside down. And it was explosive, literally and metaphorically. “Yes, we were filming on an erupting volcano,” Dinklage said dryly, of the filming near Mount Etna.

“Since most people are riding in the opposite direction of an active volcano, we are heading towards it every morning. As soon as we got carried away, she really broke. We were gone.

Director Wright commissioned his closest associates, cinematographer Seamus McGarvey and production designer Sarah Greenwood to create “a fantasy of a period”, not the authenticity of the era.

Due to health protocols – this was long before the vaccines – hundreds of the cast and crew moved to the island and couldn’t leave until filming was finished two months later. . That’s why, said Wright, you might spot the same extras and background performers playing aristocrats, traders, and soldiers. “We could use the same people over and over again because they were part of our Covid bubble.

“It was really kind of back to our roots, a family affair,” he added. All of the cast brought their families, including Virginia, the director’s three-year-old daughter with Bennett; and the two children of Dinklage and Schmidt. “They have all been tested for Covid, as part of the bubble. So I said: put them in the movie too. Wright’s parents, puppeteers Lyndie and John Wright ran the Little Angel Theater in Islington (once upon a time I lived around the corner). Her mother, 84, was also in Sicily; and created the sheep puppets used in a scene sequence.

Bennett added another layer to the story during filming, which took place in Sicily at the height of the Covid pandemic in the summer of 2020. She wondered:

Bennett added another layer to the story during filming, which took place in Sicily at the height of the Covid pandemic in the summer of 2020. She wondered, “What if Roxanne knew the truth and didn’t wasn’t she fooled? “

And although Wright’s father died 30 years ago, the filmmaker used puppets his father created in 1948.

His father was born in 1906. “My father was 65 when I was born,” he told me. “He was a distant figure – a wonderful father, but not very present emotionally, shall we say. So I was really raised by my mother and my sister [the eminent puppeteer Sarah Wright]. ‘

He said he always tries to bring an element of his mother and brother to his films. For example, Keira Knightley’s Elizabeth Bennet in Pride & Prejudice in 2005 “was definitely my sister”.

I tell him that Cyrano is imbued with the same passion rooted in many of his best films – Atonement, Pride and Prejudice, The Darkest Hour – a quality that I clearly missed in The Woman In The Window, a thriller he directed with Amy Adams, Gary Oldman and Julianne Moore, which was cast on Netflix last year.

He agreed that The Woman In The Window didn’t work “because I think it came from a place of anger, instead of love.”

When I asked him what made him angry, he replied that he had been forced by the producers to do a lot of shots and recutting. “I was no longer the author of the film,” he said. – But Cyrano was made with love. And on that, we hit each other’s elbows.

Cyrano hits theaters here on February 25.

Benedict packs a sweet treat

Director Wes Anderson is captivated by Roald Dahl’s fantastic tales.

The filmmaker won Oscar and Bafta nominations 13 years ago for his animated version of Dahl’s Fantastic Mr Fox, which featured the vocal talents of George Clooney, Meryl Streep and members of his regular cast. – Bill Murray, Willem Defoe, Owen Wilson and Adrien Brody.

Now, another Dahl story about the unexpected has caught Anderson’s attention. He will direct The Wonderful Story Of Henry Sugar, a series of stories about an idle playboy player who steals a book that describes how the power of seeing without seeing can be achieved, using special yoga training that focuses the conscious mind. The central character, Henry Sugar, will be played by Benedict Cumberbatch, currently showing in three films: the blockbuster blockbuster Spider-Man: No Way Home, The Electric Life of Louis Wain starring Claire Foy; and The Power Of The Dog by Jane Campion, one of the top contenders of the awards season which is expected to earn Cumberbatch a second Academy Award nomination for Best Actor.

Sugar uses his newfound power to win cards at the best casinos around the world. Related storylines explore the origin of the astonishing anomaly and what he does with the fortune he acquires with his winning hands.

Anderson will be filming the Netflix production in and around London.

The central character, Henry Sugar, will be played by Benedict Cumberbatch, currently showing in three films: the blockbuster blockbuster Spider-Man: No Way Home, The Electric Life of Louis Wain starring Claire Foy;  and The Power of the Dog by Jane Campion

Wes anderson

The central character, Henry Sugar, will be played by Benedict Cumberbatch (left), currently on screen in three films: the hit Spider-Man: No Way Home, The Electric Life of Louis Wain starring Claire Foy; and The Power of the Dog by Jane Campion. Pictured right: Wes Anderson

The hugely popular hit film Spider-Man: No Way Home launched an Oscar campaign for Best Picture.

The film grossed over £ 1 billion worldwide. I say bring it. There are some big movies in the mix this year, but they have yet to take off at the theaters box office. Others have played a lot on Netflix, Amazon, and AppleTV +. The webbed would liven up the awards season speech, even if he has little to no chance of winning. Oddly, however, as I was writing this line my spider senses began to tingle.