Pros and cons of dump­ing the UK Film Coun­cil

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - News -

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”

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