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The Weekend Australian - Review - - Feature - Tim Dou­glas

In a cin­e­matic world where everything old is new again, it is easy to become disil­lu­sioned with Hol­ly­wood. Cash­ing in on the nos­tal­gia of gen X, es­pe­cially, seems to be the modus operandi of big-time pro­duc­ers. Re­makes of clas­sics (and re­makes of clas­sic re­makes of clas­sics) rake in box-of­fice prof­its, aided by a cyn­i­cal mer­chan­dis­ing push that en­sures the in­cul­ca­tion of a new gen­er­a­tion of fans. But there is one se­ries re­make that rises above the others: Planet of the Apes. And its point of dif­fer­ence is Andy Serkis. The Bri­ton, best known for play­ing Gol­lum in Peter Jack­son’s Lord of the Rings, is a true pi­o­neer of mo­tion­cap­ture tech­nol­ogy. Philippa Hawker sits down with the ape-play­ing ac­tor (Pages 12-13) to see what makes the mas­ter of the­ri­anthropy tick. The cream of Aus­tralia’s per­form­ing arts com­mu­nity will be on the edge of their red vel­vety seats on Mon­day night when the Help­mann Awards are an­nounced at Syd­ney’s Capi­tol The­atre. Opera Aus­tralia and Syd­ney’s Belvoir are the big favourites, with 26 and 11 nom­i­na­tions re­spec­tively. The na­tional opera com­pany’s Julie An­drews-di­rected My Fair Lady scored nine nom­i­na­tions (one for the Mary Pop­pins star her­self). Foxtel will again broad­cast the event. It’s al­ways a slick — if over­long — op­er­a­tion, made es­pe­cially ex­cit­ing in re­cent years by the ad­vent of the Os­cars-in­spired seat fillers. It was only by ac­ci­dent last year I be­came aware of this glitzy de­vel­op­ment: re­turn­ing from a trip to the foyer, I was sur­prised to find an in­fin­itely better look­ing ver­sion of my­self in my seat. The tux-don­ning ado­nis smil­ingly ex­cused him­self, and joined the small army of well-dressed mod­els at the back of the the­atre wait­ing to oc­cupy any va­cant real es­tate around the au­di­to­rium. On Mon­day night, how­ever, there will be one nom­i­nee whose seat will re­main empty for the en­tire evening: Ce­cil Beaton. The Os­car-win­ning English de­signer, whose cos­tumes from the 1956 pro­duc­tion of My Fair Lady were re­vived for the OA stag­ing, is nom­i­nated in the best-cos­tume cat­e­gory, de­spite his death, aged 76, in 1980. Lindy Hume’s Opera Queens­land didn’t man­age a nod at this year’s Help­manns, but the out­go­ing artis­tic di­rec­tor will leave the post this year on her terms. Hume has a long­stand­ing af­fil­i­a­tion with re­gional arts, and to­day OperaQ hosts its an­nual push into the bush with Opera at Jim­bour in the West­ern Downs re­gion of Queens­land. Franz Le­har’s The Merry Widow, star­ring David Hob­son and Emily Burke, will play at her­itage-listed home­stead Jim­bour House. If you find your­self 300km west of Bris­bane, on the road to Chin­chilla, do drop in.

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