Stephen Frears

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Posted by bender 04/03/2009 @ 19:07

Tags : stephen frears, directors, cinema, entertainment

News headlines
Can Miramax survive? - Los Angeles Times
Michele Pfeiffer stars as an aging courtesan in Stephen Frears' film “Cheri,” which Miramax putting up against Paramount Pictures' sequel “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” in June. Filmmakers wonder how long Disney will stay committed to its...
And God created Stephen Frears -- for women - CNN
By Mairi Mackay LONDON, England (CNN) -- In the 40 years since Stephen Frears fell into filmmaking -- "it wasn't my masterplan" -- the twice Oscar-nominated veteran director has defied genre to direct a clutch of movies that inspire a special kind of...
Film Weekly meets Stephen Frears and reviews Star Trek - guardian.co.uk
On this week's edition, Stephen Frears, director of The Queen, The Grifters and Dangerous Liaisons, talks to Jason Solomons about subversion, money and power in the context of his new film, Chéri, starring Michelle Pfeiffer as an ageing courtesan....
Exclusive: 'Chéri' Poster Premiere - Cinematical
The film also features a Dangerous Liaisons reunion, with not only Pfeiffer in the lead, but Stephen Frears directed and Christopher Hampton wrote the screenplay. The film, which is based on the novels by Colette and is set in 1920s Paris,...
My Life In Travel: Stephen Frears - Independent
Frears says: 'I have to travel for my work, so the idea of getting on planes depresses me. They give me frequent-flyer points and I think, I don't want them because I'm sick of flying!' When I was young, my family used to go and stay in hotels on the...
Coraline, Henry Selick, 100 mins, (PG) Chéri, Stephen Frears, 92 ... - Independent
Stephen Frears' new film, Chéri, is adapted from a story by Colette and scripted by Christopher Hampton. It's set in belle époque Paris, where Michelle Pfeiffer is withdrawing from a career as a celebrated courtesan. She embarks on an affair with...
Stephen Frears talks Pfeiffer's 'Chéri' - Digital Spy
By Simon Reynolds, Movies Editor After their first collaboration Dangerous Liaisons snagged three Oscars, it's no surprise that director Stephen Frears and Michelle Pfeiffer have teamed up again for another film set in the world of French aristocracy....
Munich retrospective dedicated to British director Stephen Frears - Screendaily.com
The British director Stephen Frears will be honoured with a retrospective at this year's Munich Filmfest, which will be held from 26 June - 4 July. The films to be shown will include My Beautiful Laundrette, Dangerous Liaisons, Sammy And Rosy Get Laid,...
Don't confuse love with style, mon Chéri - guardian.co.uk
A clue as to what's happened can perhaps be found in the narration, incidentally provided by director Stephen Frears himself. This is concerned not with the immutability of love, but with the transience of the belle époque. The drama, Frears seems to...
Dylan Jones: At one of the nightclubs you can still reserve a VIP ... - Independent
I was in town for the AngloMockba Festival, another of Pablo Ganguli's extraordinary cultural festivals, this one attended by the likes of Michael Nyman, Gavin Turk, Martha Fiennes, Michael Craig-Martin and Stephen Frears. After my talk we all decamped...

Stephen Frears

Stephen Frears 2006.jpg

Stephen Arthur Frears (born 20 June 1941) is a two-time Academy Award-nominated English film director.

Frears was born and raised in Leicester, England, the son of Ruth M., a social worker, and Dr. Russell E. Frears, a general practitioner and accountant. He did not find out that his mother was Jewish until he was in his late 20s. Educated at Gresham's School, Norfolk, from 1954 to 1959, he went on to study law at Trinity College, Cambridge, between 1960 and 1963. However, after Cambridge his initial career was in television where he contributed to several high-profile series such as the BBC's Play for Today.

In the mid-1980s, Frears came to international attention as an important director of British and American films. His first film was the 1972 Gumshoe. But it was his production of the Hanif Kureishi screenplay My Beautiful Laundrette for Channel 4 in 1985 that led to his notice as a capable film director. The production was released theatrically to great acclaim, and received a nomination for an Academy Award and two nominations for BAFTA Awards.

He next directed another successful British film, the Joe Orton biopic Prick Up Your Ears (1987), which was followed by a second film from a Hanif Kureishi screenplay, Sammy and Rosie Get Laid. The following year he made his Hollywood debut with Dangerous Liaisons. The film was quite successful at the box office. It received numerous nominations for Academy Awards and BAFTA Awards, and Frear himself was nominated for the BAFTA Award for Best Direction.

He had another critical success with The Grifters (1990), for which he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Director. His film Hero (1992), starring Dustin Hoffman, was a major box office disappointment. He was also nominated for a Razzie Award for his direction of Mary Reilly (1996).

He has since directed a number of successful films in both Britain and America, including The Hi-Lo Country (1998), High Fidelity (2000), Dirty Pretty Things (2003) and Mrs Henderson Presents starring Judi Dench and Bob Hoskins. In recent years he has also occasionally returned to directing for television, perhaps most notably helming The Deal, a dramatised account of the alleged deal between Tony Blair and Gordon Brown to decide which of them should become leader of the Labour Party in 1994, for Channel 4 in 2003. His latest film, The Queen, was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture. It achieved immense critical acclaim, box office success and awards. He himself received his second Academy Award nomination for his direction of the film and Dame Helen Mirren won the Oscar for Best Actress in a Leading Role. In 1987, he teamed up with comedian Adrian Edmondson for Mr Jolly Lives Next Door, also starring Peter Cook for a 45 minute programme from the cult series The Comic Strip Presents. In 1985 he had also directed a Comic Strip parody of Rebecca with the usual Comic Strip ensemble.

He has also directed two films based on stories by Roddy Doyle, The Snapper and The Van. He holds the "David Lean Chair in Fiction Direction" from the National Film and Television School in Beaconsfield, England where he teaches frequently.

He lives in London with his wife, the painter Anne Rothenstein, and his two younger children Frankie and Lola. He also has two children, Sam and Will, from his previous marriage to Mary-Kay Wilmers. Early in his career he made a programme featuring the band The Scaffold and is name checked in their hit song, Lily the Pink.

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The Deal (2003 film)

Stephen Frears directed The Deal

The Deal is a 2003 British television film directed by Stephen Frears from a script by Peter Morgan, based in part upon The Rivals by James Naughtie. It stars David Morrissey as Gordon Brown and Michael Sheen as Tony Blair, and depicts the Blair-Brown deal—a well-documented pact that Blair and Brown allegedly made whereby Brown would not stand in the 1994 Labour leadership election so that Blair could have a clear run at becoming leader of the party, and eventually Prime Minister. The film begins in 1983, as the two men are first elected to Parliament, and concludes in 1994 at the Granita restaurant—the location of the supposed agreement—with a brief epilogue following the leadership contest. It also stars Frank Kelly, Paul Rhys, Matt Blair, Dexter Fletcher and Elizabeth Berrington.

The drama was first proposed by Morgan in late 2002 and was taken on by Granada Television for ITV. After Frears agreed to direct, and the cast were signed on, ITV pulled out of it over fears that the political sensitivity could affect its corporate merger. Channel 4 picked up the production and filming was carried out for five weeks in May 2003. It was broadcast on 28 September 2003, the weekend prior to the Labour Party's annual party conference.

The film was critically lauded. Morrissey received considerable praise, winning a Royal Television Society award. Frears was nominated for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Television Movie/Serial by the Directors Guild of Great Britain. It was also nominated for an International Emmy for Best TV Movie/Miniseries. Sheen reunited with Morgan, Frears and the producer Christine Langan to play Blair again in the 2006 film The Queen. As of 2008, Morgan is writing what will become the third film of his Blair trilogy, a feature film focusing on the "special relationship" between Blair and U.S. presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.

In the prologue, Gordon Brown takes a telephone call from Tony Blair to arrange a meeting at the Granita restaurant in Islington. The narrative shifts to 1983. In the wake of the Falklands War, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and her Conservative government enjoys huge public popularity as the general election approaches, while Labour's radical election manifesto loses them key voters. Gordon Brown is elected as the new Member of Parliament for Dumfermline East. In London, Brown is shown to his office in the Houses of Parliament. John Smith, a senior Labour MP, introduces Brown to his new office-mate, the new member for Sedgefield, Tony Blair. Blair makes pleasantries with Brown and, though Brown is not initially impressed, the two become friends. Smith soon introduces the pair to Peter Mandelson, Neil Kinnock's director of communications. Shortly afterwards, Kinnock appoints Blair to be an assistant Treasury spokesman. Brown turns down a promotion to the Scottish office, hoping a better position will come along. He and Blair discuss their political futures and both agree that, of the two, Brown would make a better leader of the party.

Labour is unable to make significant dents in the Conservative majority at the 1987 general election. Kinnock promotes Smith to Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, with Brown as his "number two". Three years later, Thatcher resigns as Prime Minister after losing a Conservative leadership ballot. Despite contrary predictions, the Conservatives win the 1992 election. Blair tells Brown that a new approach is needed, and that Brown should stand for the party leadership. Brown refuses to stand against Smith, his friend and mentor. Mandelson privately suggests to Brown that Blair should stand as leader but Brown ridicules the idea. Smith is elected and, over the next two years, Labour gains support as scandals rock the government. Blair, as Shadow Home Secretary, pledges to be "tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime" in the wake of the murder of James Bulger. Smith tells Brown that he sees Blair as his natural successor as leader of the party.

A year later, Smith suffers a fatal heart attack. Blair, encouraged by his wife Cherie, decides to stand in the leadership contest. He later meets with Mandelson to tell him that he has received support from key Labour frontbenchers. Previously a supporter of Brown, Mandelson switches his allegiance to Blair. Brown is furious that Blair has gone back on their unwritten agreement. Smith's funeral passes, and Blair's camp is sure that Brown will run. Charlie Whelan and Ed Balls advise Brown that he will receive support from significant trade unions. Blair decides to arrange a meeting with Brown. At Granita, Blair tells Brown that he will run for the leadership, and in return offers Brown unprecedented power as his Chancellor, should they win the next election. Brown asks what Blair's plan is for Labour's second term, and Blair tells him that he will step down and offer his support to Brown as Prime Minister. Brown agrees and Mandelson prepares a statement from him, but discards Brown's alterations. The leadership contest is won by Blair.

The film was commissioned in 2002 by ITV's head of drama Nick Elliott, who encouraged Morgan to put aside any other projects and start work on a script as soon as possible. Granada was initially sceptical of producing it; the company's executive chairman and chief executive—Charles Allen and Simon Shaps respectively—believed that Blair would be forced to resign as Prime Minister over the impending war in Iraq, consequently leaving the story outdated. The project was believed to be "too cerebral" and attempts were made to persuade Morgan to develop a television series to replace Cold Feet, another Granada production. John Whiston and Andy Harries convinced Allen and Shaps otherwise, citing Granada's history of producing ground-breaking drama and film as reasons for why The Deal should be made. ITV's director of channels, David Liddiment, who supported the production, resigned in December 2002 and was replaced by Nigel Pickard, who shared the concerns of Allen and Shaps. In March 2003, shortly before filming began, ITV abandoned its plan to screen the film, citing fears that such a politically sensitive film could affect the Granada-Carlton corporate merger, which was due to go before the government's Competition Commission. Within 24 hours, Channel 4 backed the production. A £2 million budget was assigned to the film.

Peter Morgan wrote his first script draft in the three weeks preceding Christmas 2002. Recent events such as the 2001 foot and mouth outbreak and the contention surrounding the September Dossier made him believe that the perceived adversity between Brown and Blair was no longer in the public consciousness. His opinion was changed when he watched the 2002 Labour Party Conference and saw a "thunderous expression" on Brown's face as Bill Clinton praised Blair in his speech; Morgan realised that the rivalry was not over. This draft was extremely sympathetic to Brown, focusing on what Morgan called "Gordon's heartbreak". Subsequent rewrites toned down this approach, though Brown still remained the "main character".

The relationship between Brown and Blair as depicted in the script was based on that between Aaron Altman and Tom Grunick, the characters portrayed by Albert Brooks and William Hurt in Broadcast News. Morgan wanted to set the entire film in the 12 days following the death of John Smith, but the time frame was widened because the Labour Party's disastrous result at the 1992 general election was "absolutely crucial" to the relationship and motives of the main characters; Morgan had to show the moment Blair decided to aim to become leader of the party. Morgan and the producers engaged in a lengthy research process during script writing and editing, interviewing 40 to 50 of Brown and Blair's closest friends and advisors, as well as aides involved in the 1992 and 1997 elections. Significantly, many of the facts in the film are based on the first three chapters of James Naughtie's book The Rivals: The Intimate Portrait of a Political Marriage. The film briefly adopted The Rivals as a working title, but soon reverted to The Deal. Another title considered by Frears was Bambi and Stalin, based on a line in a speech given by Blair in 1995. Scenes set in the House of Commons chamber and committee rooms use the actual words as recorded in Hansard. In other scenes Morgan utilised dramatic licence, conceding that there was no evidence to suggest that any of the lines spoken elsewhere in the film were ever said in real life.

Filming was postponed until May 2003 in order to accommodate Sheen's rehearsal schedule for the play Caligula. Frears ended shooting at 6 p.m. each day so Sheen could leave the set in time to appear in the play at the Donmar Warehouse. The shoot was scheduled for five weeks. Set design was carried out by Michael Pickwood, a longtime production designer for Granada. The Blairs' house was "played" by a house formerly owned by Lord Hailsham. Certain personal effects of the characters that were familiar to the public were added to the sets; in one scene Blair strums his guitar. The prologue and climactic scene in the Granita restaurant was shot on location in the restaurant itself. Editing and post-production went on until September. Some historical events—such as the Sheffield Rally and footage of the 1997 general election—were too costly to refilm so archive footage was used instead. Adam Curtis assisted in the editing of the archive footage.

After John Yorke recommissioned the film for Channel 4, it was scheduled as part of a "Tony Blair season". The Deal aired on 28 September 2003, the day before the Labour Party Conference began in Bournemouth. Despite heavy media attention, the broadcast was seen by only 1.5 million viewers.

The film received a screening at the San Francisco Film Festival on 5 May 2007, following an interview with Peter Morgan. International rights for North America and Australasia were purchased from Channel 4 International by The Weinstein Company in 2007, who sold it to American cable network HBO. HBO screened The Deal on 8 November 2007. Channel 4 released it on region 2 DVD on 19 May 2008 under its 4dvd brand. Genius Products, an imprint of The Weinstein Company, released The Deal on region 1 DVD on 29 July 2008. The region 1 edition features an audio commentary by Morgan and Langan, and an interview with Frears.

Reviews of the film following a press screening were generally positive. The Guardian published a number of reviews by politicians and political aides; Charlie Whelan called it "enjoyable, if not entirely accurate", complaining that he was portrayed unsympathetically in comparison to Peter Mandelson—"the Prince of Darkness". Whelan was highly complimentary of Morrissey's performance, but criticised Morgan's script for portraying Brown as he was publicly perceived. Michael Portillo, the Secretary of State for Defence during the time that Blair was Leader of the Opposition, wrote a positive account of the film, using his review as a platform to recall the events surrounding the 1992 general election. Tim Allan, Blair's deputy press secretary for four years, called it "cracking stuff", highlighting the leads' performances and the fact-based nature of the script.

The drama won the British Academy Television Award for Best Single Drama and Morrissey won the RTS Programme Award for Male Actor. It was nominated in the RTS category for Best Single Drama and the International Emmy Award category for Best TV Movie or Miniseries. Frears was nominated in the Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Television Movie/Serial category at the inaugural Directors Guild of Great Britain awards.

Frears had a clause in his contract that allowed him to direct any sequels. The success of The Deal prompted the production team to consider a new film—possibly surrounding Britain's commitment to the war in Iraq. In 2004, it was announced that a follow-up would be produced for theatrical release in 2006; The Queen stars Helen Mirren as Queen Elizabeth II, with Sheen reprising his role as Blair. The film, written by Morgan, dramatised the week following the death of Diana, Princess of Wales. Christine Langan described the film as not being a direct sequel, only that it reunited the same creative team.

A second follow-up has been written by Morgan; once again starring Sheen as Blair, The Special Relationship will explore the relationship between Blair and Bill Clinton between 1997 and 2000. The film was first proposed by Morgan as the third chapter in a "Blair trilogy" soon after The Queen was released, and would have covered Blair's relationship with George W. Bush as well as Clinton. There was early speculation that Left Bank Pictures and BBC Films would be involved in production, as Morgan had "promised" the script to Christine Langan and Andy Harries. By December 2008, it had been announced that Kathleen Kennedy will be producing and Morgan will be directing. DreamWorks has been named as a potential backer. In March 2009, it was announced that Dennis Quaid will be playing the role of Bill Clinton and Julianne Moore will be portraying his wife, Hilary Clinton.

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Helen Mirren

Helen Mirren at the Orange British Academy Film Awards.jpg

Dame Helen Mirren, DBE (born 26 July 1945) is a multi-award-winning English actor. She has won an Academy Award, four SAG Awards, four BAFTAs, three Golden Globes and four Emmy Awards during her career.

Mirren was born Ilyena Vasilievna Mironov in a corridor of the maternity wing of Queen Charlotte's Hospital, Chiswick in West London. Her father, Vasiliy Petrovich Mironov (1913-1980), was of Russian origin, and her mother, Kathleen Alexandrina Eva Matilda (née Rogers; 1909-1980), was English. Mirren's paternal grandfather, Pyotr Vassilievich Mironov, a Russian nobleman, tsarist colonel and diplomat, was negotiating an arms deal in Britain and was stranded there, along with his family, during the Russian Revolution. Mirren's great-great-great-great-grandfather was the Russian field-marshal Mikhail Kamensky, one of the heroes of the Napoleonic wars.

Her father called himself Basil and changed the family name to Mirren in the 1950s. He played the viola with the London Philharmonic before World War II and later drove a cab and was a driving-test examiner, before becoming a civil servant with the Ministry of Transport. Mirren's mother was from West Ham, London and was the thirteenth of fourteen children born to a butcher whose father had been the butcher to Queen Victoria. Mirren considers her upbringing to have been "very anti-monarchist".

The first house she remembers living in was in Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex, when she was two or three years old, after the birth of her younger brother, who was named Peter Basil after his grandfather and great-great-grandfather. Mirren was the second of three children, born two years after her older sister Katherine ("Kate").

Mirren attended a Catholic girls' school, St Bernard's High School for Girls, in Southend-on-Sea, and subsequently a teaching college, the New College of Speech and Drama in London "housed within Anna Pavlova's old home, Ivy House" on the North End Road, which leads from Golders Green to Hampstead, N. London. At age eighteen, she auditioned for the National Youth Theatre and was accepted. By age 20 she was starring as Cleopatra in the NYT production of Antony and Cleopatra at the Old Vic, which led to her signing with the agent Al Parker.

Following appearances on stage during her school years at St Bernard's High School for Girls in Westcliff-on-Sea, Mirren's first starring role was in 1965 as Cleopatra for the National Youth Theatre. This led to her joining the Royal Shakespeare Company, playing Castiza in Trevor Nunn's 1966 staging of The Revenger's Tragedy, Diana in All's Well That Ends Well in 1967, Cressida in Troilus and Cressida and Phebe in As You Like It in 1968, Julia in The Two Gentlemen of Verona in 1970 and the title role in Miss Julie at The Other Place in 1971.

In 1972-73 Mirren worked with Peter Brook's International Centre for Theatre Research, and joined the group's tour in North Africa and the US which created The Conference of the Birds. Returning to the RSC she played Lady Macbeth at Stratford in 1974 and at the Aldwych Theatre in 1975.

As reported by Sally Beauman in her 1982 history of the RSC, Mirren, while appearing in Nunn's Macbeth (1974) and in a highly publicised letter to The Guardian newspaper, attacked both the National Theatre and the RSC for their lavish production expenditure, declaring it "unnecessary and destructive to the art of the Theatre," and adding, "The realms of truth, emotion and imagination reached for in acting a great play have become more and more remote, often totally unreachable across an abyss of costume and technicalities..." But Mirren was only stating publicly what many RSC actors had been saying in private for some years. There were no discernible repercussions for this rebuke of the RSC.

At the Royal Court in September 1975 she notably played rock star Maggie in Teeth 'n' Smiles, a musical play by David Hare, which was revived at Wyndham's Theatre in May 1976 winning her the Plays & Players Best Actress award, voted by the London critics.

From November 1975 Mirren played in West End repertory with the Lyric Theatre Company as Nina in The Seagull and Ella in Ben Travers' new farce The Bed Before Yesterday ("Mirren is stirringly voluptuous as the Harlowesque good-time girl": Michael Billington, The Guardian, 10 December 1975). At the RSC in Stratford in 1977, and at the Aldwych the following year, she played a steely Queen Margaret in Terry Hands' production of the three parts of Henry VI, while 1979 saw her 'bursting with grace' with an acclaimed performance as Isabella in Peter Gill's otherwise unexceptional production of Measure for Measure at Riverside Studios.

Her performance as Moll Cutpurse in The Roaring Girl at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in January 1983, and at the Barbican Theatre April 1983), "swaggered through the action with radiant singularity of purpose, filling in areas of light and shade that even Thomas Middleton and Thomas Dekker omitted." - Michael Coveney, Financial Times, April 1983.

After a relatively barren sojourn in the Hollywood Hills, she returned to England at the beginning of 1989 to co-star with Bob Peck at the Young Vic in the London premiere of the Arthur Miller double-bill, Two Way Mirror, performances which prompted Miller to remark: "What is so good about English actors is that they are not afraid of the open expression of large emotions" (interview by Sheridan Morley: The Times 11 January 1989). In Elegy for a Lady she played the svelte proprietress of a classy boutique, while as the blonde hooker in Some Kind of Love Story she was "clad in a Freudian slip and shifting easily from waif-like vulnerability to sexual aggression, giving the role a breathy Monroesque quality" (Michael Billington, The Guardian).

A stage career breakthrough came in 1994, in an Yvonne Arnaud Theatre production bound for the West End, when Bill Bryden cast her as Natalya Petrovna in Ivan Turgenev's A Month in the Country. Her co-stars were John Hurt as her aimless lover Rakitin and Joseph Fiennes in only his second professional stage appearance as the cocksure young tutor Belyaev. "Instead of a bored Natalya fretting the summer away in dull frocks, Mirren, dazzlingly gowned, is a woman almost wilfully allowing her heart's desire for her son's young tutor to rule her head and wreak domestic havoc....Creamy shoulders bared, she feels free to launch into a gloriously enchanted, dreamily comic self-confession of love." (John Thaxter, Richmond & Twickenham Times, 4 March 1994).

Mirren was twice nominated for Broadway's Tony Award as Best Actress (Play): in 1995 for A Month in the Country, now directed by Scott Ellis ("Miss Mirren's performance is bigger and more animated than the one she gave last year in an entirely different London production", Vincent Canby in the NY Times, 26 April 1995). Then again in 2002 for August Strindberg's Dance of Death, co-starring with Ian McKellen, their fraught rehearsal period coinciding with New York's '9/11' (2001, as recorded in her In the Frame autobiography, September 2007).

At the National Theatre in November 2003 she again won praise playing Christine Mannon ("defiantly cool, camp and skittish", Evening Standard; "glows with mature sexual allure", Daily Telegraph) in a revival of Eugene O'Neill's Mourning Becomes Electra directed by Howard Davies.

She is scheduled to play the tragic title role in Jean Racine's Phèdre at the National in 2009, in a production directed by Nicholas Hytner.

Mirren has made numerous appearances in an array of films. Some of her earlier film appearances include O Lucky Man!, Caligula, Excalibur, 2010, The Long Good Friday, White Nights, and The Mosquito Coast. After those appearances she received roles in Belfast-born director Terry George's film Some Mother's Son, which was about the 1981 Hunger Strikes in Northern Ireland, opposite Irish actress Fionnula Flanagan, Painted Lady, The Prince of Egypt and The Madness of King George. One of Mirren's other film roles was in Peter Greenaway's The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover, as the eponymous thief's wife, opposite Michael Gambon.

Mirren continued her successful film career when she starred more recently in Gosford Park with Maggie Smith and Calendar Girls where she starred with Julie Walters. Other more recent appearances include The Clearing, Pride, Raising Helen, and Shadowboxer. Mirren also provided the voice for the supercomputer "Deep Thought" in the film adaptation of Douglas Adams' The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. During her career, she has portrayed three British queens in different films and television series: Elizabeth I in the television series Elizabeth I (2005), Elizabeth II in the film The Queen (2006), and Queen Charlotte, the wife of George III, in The Madness of King George (1994). Her role in The Queen gained her numerous awards including a BAFTA, a Golden Globe, and an Oscar. During her acceptance speech at the Academy Award ceremony, Mirren praised and thanked Elizabeth II and stated that she had maintained her dignity and weathered many storms during her reign as Queen.

Mirren has frequently appeared nude on film as far back as her first film Age of Consent, and was over 50 when she appeared nude in the film Calendar Girls and on the cover of the Radio Times 5-11 October issue in 1996.

Mirren is well-known for her role as detective Jane Tennison in the well-known Prime Suspect, a television drama that ran for seven series. The role won her three consecutive BAFTA awards for Best Actress between 1992 to 1994. Other acclaimed television performances include Cousin Bette (1971), As You Like It (1979), Blue Remembered Hills (1979), Losing Chase (1996), The Passion of Ayn Rand (1999) where her performance won her both the Emmy and the Golden Globe, Door to Door (2002), and The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone (2003). In 1976 Mirren appeared opposite Laurence Olivier, Alan Bates and Malcolm McDowell in the episode The Collection of the Granada television series Laurence Olivier Presents. She also played Elizabeth I in 2005, in the television series Elizabeth I, for Channel 4 and HBO, where she received an Emmy for her performance. Mirren won another Emmy on 16 September 2007 for her role in Prime Suspect: The Final Act on PBS in the same category as in 2006.

In 1984, Mirren won Best Actress for her role in the film Cal at the Cannes Film Festival and the 1985 Evening Standard British Film Awards. In 1994 and 2001, she was nominated for the Best Supporting Actress Academy Award for her roles in The Madness of King George and Gosford Park, respectively. In 1995, she had also been awarded for Best Actress once again in Cannes for playing Queen Charlotte in The Madness of King George. In 2002, she received the SAG Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture for Gosford Park. Mirren is the first female actress to be nominated for three acting performances at the Golden Globe Awards in the same year. She won the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Leading Role in the movie drama category for Stephen Frears' The Queen in 2006 (along with two nominations in the Actress in a Mini-series or TV Movie category for Elizabeth I, and Prime Suspect: Final Act). She won both Golden Globes for The Queen and Elizabeth I and also won two SAG awards the same year for the same roles. Mirren is the third actor to win two Golden Globes in the same year, and the first ever to win for both leading roles in TV and film in the same year. She is one of only three actresses (the first was Liza Minnelli in 1973 and then decades later Helen Hunt) to win a Golden Globe, an Oscar and an Emmy for performances given in the same year.

Along with the Golden Globe, Mirren's acclaimed performance in The Queen won her the 2007 Academy Award for Best Actress. She also received Best Actress awards from the Venice Film Festival, Broadcast Film Critics, National Board of Review, Satellite Awards, Screen Actors Guild and a BAFTA, as well as critics awards from all over the world. Entertainment Weekly recently ranked her Number 2 for Entertainer of the Year for 2006 and also won the award for best actress in film at the new Greatest Britons Awards for her role in The Queen. In 2007 Mirren became an Honorary Patron of the University Philosophical Society at Trinity College Dublin.

Mirren won a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Leading Role in a Mini-series or TV Movie in 1997 for her role in Losing Chase. She received two nominations in the Actress in a Mini-series or TV Movie category for Elizabeth I, and Prime Suspect: The Final Act, where she only won the Golden Globe for her title role performance in Elizabeth I. In that same year she won an SAG award for that same role. Mirren also won an Emmy for her role in Elizabeth I in category Lead Actress in a Mini-Series or a Movie in 2006. She had previously won an Emmy twice before, in that same category, in 1996 for her role in Prime Suspect: Scent of Darkness and in 1999 for The Passion of Ayn Rand.

At the end of a triumphant year of awards for her acclaimed movie performance as Queen Elizabeth II in The Queen, Dame Helen also collected a 2007 Emmy Television award as Best Actress in a Mini-Series for her performance as Detective Superintendent Jane Tennison in Prime Suspect: The Final Act. She now has four Emmy awards. This seventh and apparently concluding instalment of the Prime Suspect saga portrayed Tennison as an alcoholic destined for retirement, and was screened in the US on the public service network PBS.

Awards won are indicated by bold lettering.

Each year since 1988 The Critics' Circle has presented an award for Distinguished Service to the Arts, voted for by all members of the Circle, embracing Dance, Drama, Film, Music, Visual Arts and Architecture. At a celebratory luncheon on 10 April 2007 in the National Theatre's Terrace Restaurant, the award for 2006 was presented to Dame Helen Mirren. As David Gritten, chairman of the Film section made clear, the decision to make the award was voted on in November 2006, well in advance of the awards hubbub that surrounded her performance in The Queen. Accepting the award, an engraved crystal rose bowl, Mirren described it as the most useful she has ever received, while reflecting poignantly that this now "might be the last award I will win in my life. It has been a most incredible year. You do the work and then....." Previous recipients include Peter Hall (1988), Judi Dench (1997) and Ian McKellen (2003).

On 5 December 2003, she was invested as a Dame Commander of the British Empire. When she received the honour, Mirren commented that Prince Charles was "very graceful" but forgot to give her half of the award; another person had to remind him to give Mirren the star. She also said that she felt wary about accepting the award and had to be persuaded by fellow comrades to accept the DBE. In 1996 she had declined a CBE.

Mirren married American director Taylor Hackford (her partner since 1986) whom she met on the set of White Nights, in the Scottish Highlands on 31 December 1997, his 53rd birthday, in Scotland at Ardersier Parish Church near Inverness, by the Rev. Alex Whiteford. It was her first marriage, and his third (he has two children from his previous marriage). Mirren has no children and says she has "no maternal instinct whatsoever." Previously, In 1990, Mirren stated in an interview that she is an atheist.

In a GQ interview in 2008, Mirren stated she had been date raped as a student and had often taken cocaine at parties during the 1980s. She was quoted by GQ saying, "I loved coke. I never did a lot, just a little bit at parties".

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High Fidelity (film)

HighfidelityDVD.jpg

High Fidelity is a 2000 film directed by Stephen Frears and starring John Cusack. The film is based on the 1995 British novel of the same name by Nick Hornby. After seeing the film, Hornby expressed his happiness with John Cusack's performance as Rob Gordon (changed from Rob Fleming in the book), saying, "At times, it appears to be a film in which John Cusack reads my book".

The plot of High Fidelity centers on Rob Gordon (John Cusack), a self-confessed audiophile whose flair for understanding women is less than par for the course. After getting dumped by his current girlfriend, Laura (Iben Hjejle), he decides to look up some of his old flames in an attempt to figure out what he keeps doing wrong in his relationships.

He spends his days at his record store, Championship Vinyl, where he holds court over the customers that drift through. Helping Rob in his task of musical elitism are Dick (Todd Louiso) and Barry (Jack Black), the "musical moron twins," as he refers to them. Armed with an encyclopedic knowledge of all things musical, they compile "top five" lists for every conceivable occasion, openly mock the ignorance of their customers, and, every so often, actually sell a few records. Also there are some teenagers, Vince (Chris Rehmann) and Justin (Ben Carr), who skate near his store. In one busy day at the store, the teenagers try to steal some records and he chases them down, making his dislike for them bigger, until one day, he listens to a recording that they did and offers them a record deal, starting his own label called "Top 5 Records". During his off hours, he pines for the lost girlfriend Laura and does his best to win her back.

Nick Hornby's book was optioned by Disney's Touchstone Pictures in 1995 where it went into development for three years. Disney boss Joe Roth had a conversation with recording executive Kathy Nelson who recommended John Cusack and his writing and producing partners D.V. DeVincentis and Steve Pink adapt the book. She had worked previously with them on Grosse Pointe Blank and felt that they had the right sensibilities for the material. According to Cusack, DeVincentis is the closest to the record-obsessive characters in the film, owning 1,000 vinyl records and thousands of CDs and tapes. They wrote a treatment that was immediately greenlighted by Roth.

The writers decided to change the book's setting from London to Chicago because they were more familiar with the city and it also had a "great alternative music scene", according to Pink. Cusack said, "When I read the book I knew where everything was in Chicago. I knew where the American Rob went to school and dropped out, where he used to spin records, I knew two or three different record shops when I was growing up that had a Rob, a Dick and a Barry in them". Charlotte Tudor, of the film's distributor, Buena Vista, said: "Chicago has the same feel as north London, there is a vibrant music scene, a lot of the action is set in smoky bars and, of course, there is the climate. But everyone, including Nick, felt that geography was not the central issue. It has a universal appeal".

Cusack found that the greatest challenge adapting the novel was pulling off Rob Gordon's frequent breaking of the fourth wall and talking directly to the audience. The screenwriters did this in order to convey Rob's inner confessional thoughts and were influenced by a similar technique in the Michael Caine film, Alfie. Cusack rejected this approach because he thought that "there'd just be too much of me". Once director Stephen Frears signed on to direct, he suggested using this technique and everyone agreed to use it.

Cusack and the other writers thought of the idea to have Rob have a conversation with Bruce Springsteen in his head, inspired by a reference in Hornby's book where the narrator wishes he could handle his past girlfriends as well as the musician does in the song, "Bobby Jean" on Born in the U.S.A.. They never thought that they would actually get the musician to be in the film but that putting him in the script would get the studio excited about it. Cusack knew Springsteen socially and called the musician up and pitched the idea. Springsteen asked for a copy of the script and afterwards agreed to do it.

The filmmakers read with a lot of actresses for the role of Laura. Frears was at the Berlin Film Festival and saw Mifune starring Iben Hjejle and realized that he had found the actress for the role.

Frears read Hornby's book and enjoyed it but did not connect with the material because it was not about his generation. He accepted the job because he wanted to work with Cusack again (they had worked together previously on The Grifters) and liked the idea of changing the setting from London to Chicago. The director was also responsible for insisting on keeping Jack Black on as Barry. Frears has said that many people from the studio would come to watch his rushes.

One of the challenges the screenwriters faced was figuring out which songs would go where in the film because Rob, Dick and Barry "are such musical snobs," according to Cusack. He and his screenwriting partners listened to 2,000 songs and picked 70 song cues.

High Fidelity premiered at the El Capitan Theater in Hollywood. The post-party was held at the Sunset Room where Tenacious D performed. The film was given a wide release on March 31, 2000, grossing $6.4 million on its opening weekend. It went on to gross $27.3 domestically and $19.8 million in the rest of the world for a worldwide total of $47.1 million.

Film critic Roger Ebert gave the film four out of four stars and wrote, "Watching High Fidelity, I had the feeling I could walk out of the theater and meet the same people on the street--and want to, which is an even higher compliment". In his review for the Washington Post, Desson Howe praised Jack Black as "a bundle of verbally ferocious energy. Frankly, whenever he's in the scene, he shoplifts this movie from Cusack". In his review for the New York Times, Stephen Holden praised Cusack's performance, writing that he was "a master at projecting easygoing camaraderie, he navigates the transitions with such an astonishing naturalness and fluency that you're almost unaware of them". However, USA Today did not give the film a positive review: "Let's be kind and just say High Fidelity...doesn't quite belong beside Grosse Pointe Blank and The Sure Thing in Cusack's greatest hits collection. It's not that he isn't good. More like miscast".

In his review for Entertainment Weekly, Owen Gleiberman gave the film a "B-" rating and wrote, "In High Fidelity, Rob's music fixation is a signpost of his arrested adolescence; he needs to get past records to find true love. If the movie had had a richer romantic spirit, he might have embraced both in one swooning gesture". Peter Travers, in his review for Rolling Stone, wrote, "It hits all the laugh bases, from grins to guffaws. Cusack and his Chicago friends -- D.V. DeVincentis and Steve Pink -- have rewritten Scott Rosenberg's script to catch Hornby's spirit without losing the sick comic twists they gave 1997's Grosse Pointe Blank". In his review for The Guardian, Philip French wrote, "High Fidelity is an extraordinarily funny film, full of verbal and visual wit. And it is assembled with immense skill". Stephanie Zacharek, in her review for Salon.com, praised Iben Hjejle's performance: "Hjejle's Laura is supremely likable: She's so matter-of-fact and grounded that it's perfectly clear why she'd become exasperated with a guy like Rob, who perpetually refuses to grow up, but you can also see how her patience and calm are exactly the things he needs". After seeing the film, Hornby expressed his happiness with John Cusack's performance as Rob Gordon (changed from Rob Fleming in the book), saying, "At times, it appears to be a film in which John Cusack reads my book".

Empire magazine voted High Fidelity the 446th greatest film in their "500 Greatest Movies of All Time" list. It is also ranked #14 on Rotten Tomatoes' 25 Best Romantic Comedies.

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Hero (1992 film)

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Hero (also known as Accidental Hero) is a comedy-drama film directed by Stephen Frears and starring Dustin Hoffman, Geena Davis, Andy Garcia, Chevy Chase, and Joan Cusack. It was released in the United States on October 2, 1992.

Hero is about Bernard "Bernie" LaPlante, a thief (played by Hoffman) who anonymously helps rescue survivors of a plane crash. Homeless Vietnam veteran John Bubber (Garcia) whom Bernie had briefly met earlier in the film, takes credit for the rescue when Bernie turns out to be too involved in his criminal activities and troubled life to realize that the media has worked up a frenzy trying to find the identity of the hero. Meanwhile, Gail (Davis), a TV reporter (and one of the crash survivors), has been hoping for an investigation that's not about exposing human weakness but one that discovers layer after layer of human goodness. She soon grooms Bubber's public image as a hero, and even fell in love with him, all the while under the impression that Bubber is the hero. The irony that constantly feeds the film is that Bernie, who is a real sleaze, has done an uncharacteristically noble thing and suffers greatly for it, while John Bubber, who is truly noble and virtuous, has been living a terrible life until he does an uncharacteristically sleazy thing (claimed that he had saved the people on the plane, and accepted the rewards, even though he knew it was a lie).

Hail the Conquering Hero (1944) is a movie on a similar theme by Preston Sturges. Many reviewers referred to the obvious similarities between Hero and Sturges' screwball comedy works.

Mariah Carey originally recorded her #1 hit single "Hero" for the film but her label did not want to give the power ballad away, and chose to drop out of the project. Instead, Luther Vandross sang the theme, "Heart of a Hero".

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The Snapper (film)

The Snapper is a 1993 television movie, which was directed by Stephen Frears and starred Tina Kellegher and Colm Meaney.

The film is based on the novel by Irish writer Roddy Doyle, about the Rabbitte family and their domestic adventures.

The surname of the Rabbitte family had to be changed to Curley as 20th Century Fox owns the rights to the Rabbitte name from The Commitments (1991), which featured the same characters.

Young Sharon Curley becomes pregnant, but refuses to tell anyone who the father is. She decides to keep the baby ("snapper") and her family, each in their own way, eventually decides to support her. Her father particularly studies up on childbirth and female anatomy (with gratifying results for his wife as a bonus).

It turns out that Sharon's friend's father, Georgie Burgess, got her pregnant by taking advantage of her while she was drunk. Sharon's story is that it was a Spanish sailor, but the whole town suspects the truth.

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Liam (film)

Liam (2000) is a British film directed by Stephen Frears and written by novelist/screenwriter Jimmy McGovern. McGovern (perhaps best known as the creator of Brit TV crime drama Cracker) adapted his own novel The Back Crack Boys into this emotionally raw meditation on innocence and pain. Frears in turn was influenced by James Joyce's accounts of his stern childhood in late 19th century Catholic Dublin.

Megan Burns won the Marcello Mastroianni award at the Venice film festival for her performance.

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The Hit

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The Hit is a 1984 feature film directed by Stephen Frears and starring John Hurt, Terence Stamp and Tim Roth. The Hit was Stamp's first leading role in over a decade and Roth won an Evening Standard award as the apprentice hit man.

Parker (Stamp) a former gangster is living in Spain under an assumed identity having given evidence ten years before against his underworld masters. Two hit men the world weary Braddock (Hurt) and Myron (Roth) a young thug on his first 'hit' arrive to drive Parker to Paris where he will be killed. Parker is philosophic about his fate and agrees to go with the pair though during the resulting road trip his fatalism begins to cause increasing tension between the three men, as does the girl they take with them.

This movie is scheduled to be released on DVD by The Criterion Collection in April 2009.

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Source : Wikipedia