IT’S GOOD NIGHT FROM SIR JOHN

FROM POEM TO STAGE TO SCREEN:

Cannes Market News - - NEWS -

BRI­TISH ac­tor Sir John Hurt is in Cannes with his up­com­ing movie That Good Night. Di­rected by Eric Styles (Rel­a­tive Val­ues), it tells the story of Ralph, a well-known screen­writer in his sev­en­ties, who is charm­ing but self­ish, rude, a bully, in his past a wom­an­iser and now ter­mi­nally ill. His two fi­nal mis­sions in life are to be rec­on­ciled to his long-lost son Michael, and to en­sure he does not be­come a bur­den to his wife Anna. The rec­on­cil­i­a­tion fails af­ter Ralph picks a fight with Michael’s girl­friend Cassie. Later, he re­ceives a visit from the per­son he has hired to help to end his life, but it does not all go to plan. The film’s ti­tle is taken from the poem Do Not Go Gen­tle Into That Good Night by 20th cen­tury Welsh poet Dy­lan Thomas, with a screen­play adapted from the 1996 play of the same name by the late Bri­tish screen­writer and play­wright N.J. Crisp. “It’s a won­der­ful play, beau­ti­fully writ­ten,” said the film’s writer Charles Sav­age. “But it had to be adapted; it’s a play of its time and there were no­tions and lan­guage in there that wouldn’t be ac­cept­able to­day.” At 76 years old and still very much in de­mand as an ac­tor, John Hurt said he has al­ways been very selec­tive about the work he does and was drawn to this par­tic­u­lar film by the writ­ing. “What struck me about the script was the use of lan­guage. It’s beau­ti­fully writ­ten. I am to­tally com­mit­ted to this piece of work and I be­lieve it will be a suc­cess. It’s not of­ten that you get that feel­ing about a film just from read­ing the script, but that is what I feel about this one. There is qual­ity here and it has been a real plea­sure to have played that part.” Hurt said he has al­ways made de­ci­sions on the qual­ity of the ma­te­rial that is pre­sented to him – his next role is as Billy Rice, fa­ther of Ken­neth Branagh’s Archie Rice, on stage in Lon­don in John Os­bourne’s 1957 clas­sic play The En­ter­tainer. “Mid­night Ex­press (Alan Parker, 1978) was an ex­tra­or­di­nary film and I loved the ex­pe­ri­ence. But be­fore that there was The Naked Civil Ser­vant (Jack Gold, 1975), and af­ter that I did Ele­phant Man (David Lynch, 1980). There was noth­ing con­nect­ing them ex­cept that they were won­der­ful pieces of work. And it’s the same with this film.” Shoot­ing com­pleted re­cently on lo­ca­tion in the Al­garve, al­though Crisp’s orig­i­nal play was set in Tus­cany. “We changed the set­ting be­cause the villa we found was just per­fect,” said Alan Latham, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of pro­duc­tion com­pany GSP stu­dios, pro­ducer of the film and of the orig­i­nal play back in 1996. “And the ex­pe­ri­ence was won­der­ful. We felt very wel­come there and the peo­ple we hired locally were so pro­fes­sional. It was a very happy shoot.” Cur­rently in post-pro­duc­tion, That Good Night stars Hurt with Sofia Helin, Max Brown, Erin Richards and Charles Dance. GSP Stu­dios is han­dling world­wide sales; fi­nanc­ing is from GSP Stu­dios, Red Rock En­ter­tain­ment and Goldfinch En­ter­tain­ment. Ex­ec­u­tive pro­duc­ers in­clude Paul Ward, Ju­lian Hicks and Gary Collins. Ju­lian Newby

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