The real Churchill

In­toTheS­torm lays bare Win­ston Churchill’s vic­tory and agony.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - TV -

HIS intrepid lead­er­ship and rhetoric in­spired mil­lions of Bri­tons to fight Hitler’s Ger­many to the bit­ter end dur­ing World War II. It’s no won­der Win­ston Spencer Churchill was noted as one of the most spec­tac­u­lar show­men in the his­tory of Bri­tish pol­i­tics, and among great masters of pa­tri­otic and hon­orific rhetoric.

Of­ten con­tro­ver­sial, fre­quently an­tag­o­nis­tic and no­tably elo­quent, Churchill en­joyed a re­mark­ably long ca­reer span­ning more than 50 years. He be­came Bri­tish Prime Min­is­ter at the on­set of World War II and is still re­garded as one of the most suc­cess­ful and bril­liant prime min­is­ters Bri­tain ever had.

Pay­ing trib­ute to his con­tri­bu­tions to Bri­tain comes Emmy-win­ning HBO orig­i­nal movie Into The Storm, which takes an in­ti­mate look at the nation’s hero whose prow­ess as a great wartime leader ul­ti­mately un­der­mined his po­lit­i­cal ca­reer and threat­ened his mar­riage to his life­long sup­porter, Clemen­tine Hozier.

Set against the back­drop of World War II, the movie starts off with Churchill await­ing his fate and look­ing back at the war years as he hero­ically guided his be­lea­guered nation through the dif­fi­cult and chal­leng­ing pe­riod.

Renowned film­mak­ing broth­ers Ri­d­ley and Tony Scott are among the ex­ec­u­tive pro­duc­ers and Frank Doel­ger is one of the pro­duc­ers of the movie.

Doel­ger was in­trigued by the fact that Churchill won World War II but was voted out of of­fice eight weeks later.

“Here was a po­lit­i­cal fig­ure who seemed to be the per­fect man for the job at the per­fect time, but some­how the English pub­lic sensed that once the job had been done, per­haps there wasn’t a role for him and he was ousted.

Award-win­ning Bren­dan Glee­son (cen­tre) plays Bri­tish Prime Min­is­ter Win­ston Churchill in HBO’s

“Fol­low­ing the enor­mous suc­cess of The Gath­er­ing Storm (a 2002 BBC-HBO co­pro­duced TV bi­o­graph­i­cal film about Churchill in the years prior to World War II), it be­came very clear that Churchill is as fas­ci­nat­ing to­day as he was to his con­tem­po­raries.

“Hav­ing mined one sec­tion of Churchill’s life to great suc­cess, we be­lieved it was pos­si­ble to take a look at the war years and find a way to ex­am­ine his life. That has never been done be­fore,” said Doel­ger in a press re­lease.

Emmy win­ner Bren­dan Glee­son, who stars as Churchill, ad­mit­ted be­ing ap­pre­hen­sive about play­ing the iconic char­ac­ter.

“I did a film a few years ago called The Gen­eral, about a crim­i­nal, Martin Cahill, and there was a sim­i­lar is­sue: Do I want to take on this man? Be­cause when you take on a role, you fall in love with the per­son. There’s no way out of that be­cause you’re fight­ing in his corner, you’re look­ing at the world through his eyes and hop­ing to rep­re­sent him to the world.

“I also had to con­front my own bag­gage in terms of where I came from (South­ern Ire­land, where Churchill’s rep­u­ta­tion is not quite the same as in Bri­tain) and whether I could ac­tu­ally achieve this or not.

“With some­body like Churchill, who wrote speeches that are so iconic and so well known that peo­ple do im­pres­sions of him in their baths all over the world, I was less wor­ried about the nat­u­ral­is­tic thing than hav­ing to nail it first. Voice coach Joan Washington helped brush up my ac­cent and pitch,” said Glee­son.

The chal­lenge of min­ing all this in­for­ma­tion on the pre-war and post-war Churchill fell to Emmy-win­ning screen­writer Hugh White­more, who wrote The Gath­er­ing Storm.

“Churchill in­ter­ests me. And the more I read and write about him, the more fas­ci­nat­ing, com­pli­cated and at­trac­tive he seems as a char­ac­ter.

“De­spite his stub­born­ness and self­ish­ness, he was also com­pas­sion­ate and gen­er­ous. I re­ally wanted to show him as a hu­man be­ing, to show him flawed, to give him a sort of depth and sym­pa­thy,” ex­plained White­more.

While the war and world events were key el­e­ments in Churchill’s po­lit­i­cal life, his wife, Clem­mie (Janet McTeer), was the cen­tre of his emo­tional life.

Into The Storm also looks at the in­ter­est­ing dy­nam­ics be­tween the cou­ple who spent less and less time to­gether as the war pro­ceeded, show­ing how the war years af­fected their mar­riage and his per­sonal life. – Com­piledby Shee­laChan­dran n In­toTheS­torm pre­mieres to­day (9pm) on HBO (Astro Chan­nel 411) with re­peats to­mor­row (1pm) and Satur­day (3.10pm). For de­tails, browse hboa­sia.com.

Intrepid leader:

In­toTheS­torm.

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