The Guardian - Journal - - Obituaries -

Over tea dur­ing the post-pro­duc­tion pe­riod of one of those “empty” big films men­tioned in Sheila Whi­taker’s obit­u­ary (11 May), Anne Coates said to me, a young as­sis­tant: “What are you go­ing to do with your­self ? If you’re not care­ful, you’ll be 30 and you won’t have done any­thing.” I was so an­noyed that, a few years later, after the first night of a play I had writ­ten, I rang her and told her that I was 26 and had a play on. But then, with her re­mark, she was only push­ing me back to the­atre, where she knew I had come from.

Speed was one of the rea­sons that Anne was so re­spected. Rushes she had seen first thing in the morn­ing were edited by lunchtime. “What’s the dif­fer­ence be­tween your rough cut and your fine cut?” I once asked her. “Noth­ing,” she said. “My first cut is my last cut but don’t tell any­one.”

Peter Rankin writes:

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