The real Churchill
IntoTheStorm lays bare Winston Churchill’s victory and agony.
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.