Pros and cons of dumping the UK Film Council
It’s none of our business really, but the British government’s decision to abolish the UK Film Council is kicking up a few delicious confrontations. Following the announcement, a bevy of luminaries rose up to predict the end of British film as we know it.
So there is consensus among the cinematic community? Not quite. Appearing on BBC Radio 5 Live, Chris Atkins, director of the documentary Starsuckers, berated veteran producer Steve Woolley for mourning the loss of the council. Challenged to back up his claim that council members oversaw awards of significant sums to their own films, Atkins produced the council’s annual report and named the names.
Elsewhere, director Alex Cox, always a thorn in the side of the complacent, argued that the council’s main job had been to funnel money towards Hollywood. Such criticisms probably triggered the odd wince from distinguished opponents of the ban.
The establishment will have laughed off similar pooh-poohing from professional malcontent Michael Winner, however.
Commenting on the celebrity protest, the director of Won Ton Ton: The Dog Who Saved Hollywood, opined: “You know, they all say this, don’t they? They want to save the day and look like wonderful human beings, but they’re talking a load of rubbish.”
It hardly needs to be said that he was talking to the Daily Mail. haggard look to him. Stellan Skarsgard and Max Von Sydow were also rumoured to be on board. Debate then raged concerning the title role. Might Kristen Stewart make something of the pierced internet detective? What about Emma Watson?
As it transpired, Fincher plumped for a virtual unknown named Rooney Mara. Reports in Variety magazine suggest that Sony Pictures, which is investing a fortune in the adaptation, went ballistic at the news. Eventually Fincher “prevailed in a debate that was waged through [last] weekend”.
One can understand the studio’s nervousness. The Swedish-language film of Dragon Tattoo and its two sequels have, to date, taken more than $200 million in foreign territories. This is uncharted territory.
Dog’s dinner: Winner talks “a load of rubbish”