Years melt away as Ben­ing and Bell play un­likely lovers

The Borneo Post - - FRONT PAGE -

I’ve played op­po­site men that were older than me my whole life. Very rarely have they been the same age.

LOS AN­GE­LES: She was an Os­car-win­ning femme fa­tale and co- star of James Ste­wart, Robert Mitchum and Frank Si­na­tra. He was a stage ac­tor 29 years her ju­nior from a Bri­tish hous­ing pro­ject.

Four- times mar­ried Glo­ria Gra­hame’s un­likely love af­fair with Peter Turner ought to have been the stuff of Hol­ly­wood leg­end and yet it is a story that has largely been ig­nored — un­til now.

‘ Film Stars Don’t Die in Liver­pool’, a ma­jor new movie star­ring An­nette Ben­ing and Jamie Bell, chron­i­cles their pro­found but heart­break­ing re­la­tion­ship in the years be­fore Gra­hame’s death at the age of just 57.

Re­vers­ing the trend for grey­ing Lothar­ios play­ing op­po­site ac­tresses decades younger, 59year- old Ben­ing and for­mer child star Bell, 31, share pas­sion­ate love scenes in the biopic, which has earned both ac­tors wide­spread ac­claim.

Ben­ing told AFP she hadn’t wor­ried about the age dif­fer­ence be­tween her and her young costar, who shot to fame at the age of 14 as a pint-sized bal­let dancer in ‘Billy El­liot’ (2000).

“I’ve played op­po­site men that were older than me my whole life,” she said on the red car­pet for a gala screen­ing of the movie as part of the Amer­i­can Film In­sti­tute’s AFI Fest in Hol­ly­wood on Sun­day.

“Very rarely have they been the same age,” she said, de­scrib­ing Bell as “a pro who has grav­i­tas as a hu­man be­ing, a re­ally good man.”

Ben­ing, mar­ried to oc­to­ge­nar­ian Warren Beatty for

An­nette Ben­ning

25 years and, like Gra­hame, a mother of four, went out of her way to praise di­rec­tor Paul McGuigan, screen­writer Matt Green­halgh and the many other men in the cast and crew.

“We did have a great group of men work­ing on this movie and I just wanted to bring that up be­cause men are get­ting a lot of flak these days,” she said.

Bell, too, said the age gap be­tween him and his four- time Os­car- nom­i­nated co- star had been of lit­tle con­cern, al­though he ad­mit­ted be­ing in­tim­i­dated by her act­ing pedi­gree.

“It makes you raise your game when you are work­ing with some­one you know is in a dif­fer­ent league,” he said. “You know that you have to go an ex­tra mile just to be on level terms with them, so I was very grate­ful for her trust and sup­port.”

‘ Film Stars Don’t Die in Liver­pool’, based on Turner’s mem­oir of the same name, shows an ini­tial f lir­ta­tion f lower into some­thing much more pro­found as the as­pir­ing ac­tor stays with the fad­ing star in Cal­i­for­nia.

The nar­ra­tive swings back and forth be­tween their bur­geon­ing re­la­tion­ship in Lon­don and the US and her fi­nal days rest­ing at his home in Liver­pool be­fore her death from cancer in 1981, the day she re­turned to New York.

“It was a great ro­mance, and I haven’t re­ally done many of those. There are not re­ally that many around. What I like about this ro­mance is it’s very pure,” Bell said.

‘ Film Stars Don’t Die in Liver­pool’ is re­leased on Fri­day in Bri­tain and on Dec 29 in the US. — AFP

An­nette Ben­ing (left) and Jamie Bell at­tend the screen­ing of ‘Film Stars Don’t Die In Liver­pool’ at AFI FEST 2017 Pre­sented By Audi at TCL Chi­nese The­atre on Nov 12 in Hol­ly­wood, Cal­i­for­nia. — AFP photo

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