Monday, 18 August 2008

Morpheus Turns My Frown Upside-Down

It gives me no pleasure to tell you a tale of waking to a grey day, of almost no sleep (goddamn Joker nightmares) and a miserable commute on a damp train to find my job is going flooey at a faster rate than I had previously thought. Obviously this is a typical morning for many. Perhaps mine seemed worse knowing that today was the day Happy-Go-Lucky came out on DVD, which meant more people becoming exposed to Poppy Fever, which is just like overdosing on heroin except with no beneficial side-effects. It also meant, yay, more of Mike Leigh's sunny, benevolent interviews.

I don't want to become one-note at all, especially after really going off on one last week, but I thought this was worth quoting, as it made me verbalise on the train loudly enough to wake up the Monday morning slumberers:

Q. Why do some people say Poppy is irritating?
A. I don’t know. I think she’s delightful. Right at the beginning, you could be forgiven for thinking she might be irritating but, once you get to know her, she isn’t like that. I don’t know why people say that. Maybe it’s lazy journalism.

Perhaps Leigh said it while laughing, and then pointed out, "Oh, I don't mean you, dear boy, you're very clever," but I doubt it. Beyond the fact that he seems to assume that disliking Poppy can only be caused by some kind of inability to engage with his incredible vision, he really is rude to his interviewers. While trying to find that online I stumbled across this old interview, conducted when he was directing the stage version of Abigail's Party.

Q. You studied at Rada. What made you move from acting to directing?
A. I was never an actor in any proper sense, so the premise of the question is ridiculous.

Later on:

Q. Because nothing's written down beforehand, when I bought the screenplay for Naked, was I buying someone's transcription?
A. Oh, don't misunderstand, as you obviously do, the whole thing.

Dear God, where does he get off? He has to be just chuckling all the way through, right? I mean, there's this question and answer as well. This tends to suggest he's not just being an incredibly rude, pompous, conceited jerkoff, right?

Q. If you were an actor, would you relish the chance to work with yourself?
A. Oh, I'd love it. It would be fabulous, great. But it's a very academic and slightly looking-glass question [laughs].

See? Laughter. He's like Santa, if Santa thought the lower classes were composed entirely of stylised stereotypes. The quote that interested me most, however, is this [italics mine]:

Q. Which directors influenced you when you were studying?
A. I came from up north, where I never saw anything except Hollywood and British movies until I was 17, when I came to London. It was the early 1960s, the time of the French Nouvelle Vague, so I discovered French cinema - Renoir; Italian cinema - Fellini and De Sica - who are influences in different ways; the Japanese cinema of Ozu and Kurosawa; and Satyajit Ray, the Bengali film-maker, who made fantastic family films, domestic studies of real life.

This is relevant as Canyon, who read my previous rant after I had finished it, commented on Leigh's dismissive attitude to having a bike stolen (where he said, "If they’ve nicked something, there you go basically. What are you going to do about it?"). In furious anger, she asked aloud if Leigh, the great film buff, had seen The Bicycle Thief, a movie about how an entire life can be ruined by the theft of a bike. And here he is praising Vittorio De Sica. I'm beginning to think he would say anything to defend his movie, including being pissy with interviewers and maintaining that he is a lot like Poppy in order to pretend such a sunny outlook is possible and not just a thought experiment gone horribly wrong. Still, I could be miles off base, and interviews with Mike Leigh could be a joyride, but even if I fluff that one, I was weirdly on the ball with this one. Again, italics mine:

Q. Do you rate any directors working at the moment?
A. Oh yeah, sure. I love Quentin Tarantino. I like Steven Soderbergh and I think Lynne Ramsay's great; I like her new film [Morvern Callar]. Todd Solondz's Happiness is a film I absolutely resonate with.

I''ll let you, the reader, make up your own jokes about his love of Happiness, but perhaps Morvern Callar was an influence after all. Shame he can't use his considerable clout to get Ramsay working again, seeing as how her IMDb page is depressingly static.

So yeah, that put me in a bad mood this morning, a mood that was surface-level and would have evaporated if I hadn't arrived at work to find out, the literal instant that I walked through the door, that my job had become a galactic-level clusterfuck the types of which are written in the holy books of aliens. This would have carried on for a while, but thankfully the cosmos heard my cries of misery and delivered this news to me; Laurence Fishburne will be the new lead in CSI after William L. Petersen leaves! Here he is investigating a freeway shoot-out, looking for shell-casings using a metal detector that looks suspiciously like a samurai sword.

If I were a religious man, I would sing hosannahs! Apparently:

Fishburne will play a former pathologist who is now working as an itinerant college lecturer, teaching a course in criminalistics. His focus is on understanding criminal behavior, how and why people commit acts of violence -- tendencies he disturbingly sees within himself. In the course of a murder investigation, he comes into contact with the CSI team and ultimately joins the Las Vegas Crime Lab as a Level-1 CSI.

Though today's woes were real and worrying, this news about something as inconsequential as a TV show still brightened my day, simply because I am crazy about Fishburne. He IS gravitas. Though many haters and fools think the cod-philosophy of The Matrix was risible and simplistic, it worked because when Fishburne says something, you damn well better take it seriously. Along with Hugo Weaving, the dialogue that annoyed so many worked just fine as far as I was concerned. Endless chatter about what purpose is, wordy threats of violence, discussions about the difference between knowing the path and walking the path; this stuff makes my heart soar when said with that booming voice. Seriously. So the thought of Fishburne talking about evidence, CODIS, and chemical residues is almost too much for me. I CANNOT WAIT! ::hyperventilates:: Here he is saying, "Meet my wife. Yeah, my hott wife. That's right. I walked the goddamn correct path, alright."

The fact that he has never seen the show doesn't faze me in the slightest. It's going to be The Balls, and will totally make up for him having to appear in one of the worst movies of the year (even though he was the best thing about it by some distance). Believe it.

1 comment:

Chrissy said...

I read this at rehearsal and squealed like a little girl. I cannot WAIT for the season to start. Honestly, it's like the producers of the CSI franchise have been picking through my brain looking for my favorite male actors to lead the shows.