Apocalypse Now

When Sean McAllister nominated his friend Phil Rhodes to play Kurtz in Apocalypse Now I thought that’s a bold choice. Phil nailed it!
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Apocalypse Now is a 1979 American epic war film directed, produced and co-written by Francis Ford Coppola and co-written by John Milius with narration by Michael Herr. It stars Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall, Martin Sheen, Frederic Forrest, Albert Hall, Sam Bottoms, Larry Fishburne and Dennis Hopper. The screenplay written by Milius updates the setting of Joseph Conrad’s novella Heart of Darkness to that of the Vietnam War and draws from Herr’s Dispatches and Werner Herzog’s Aguirre, the Wrath of God (1972). The film revolves around Captain Benjamin L. Willard (Sheen) on a secret mission to assassinate Colonel Walter E. Kurtz, a renegade who is presumed insane.

The film has been noted for the problems encountered while making it, chronicled in the documentary Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse (1991). These problems included Brando arriving on the set overweight and completely unprepared, expensive sets being destroyed by severe weather, and its lead actor (Sheen) having a breakdown and suffering a near-fatal heart attack while on location. Problems continued after production as the release was postponed several times while Coppola edited thousands of feet of footage.

Apocalypse Now was released to universal acclaim. It was honored with the Palme d’Or at Cannes and nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture and the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Drama. It is considered to be one of the greatest films ever made. The film was also ranked No. 14 in the British Film Institute’s Sight and Sound greatest films poll in 2012. The film ranks #7 on Empire magazine’s 2008 list of the 500 greatest movies of all time. In 2000, the film was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant”.

King Kong

Hull Daily Mail Journalist Ian Midgley jokingly said he’d play King Kong for Hullywood Icons at the beginning of the project – he put a call out in the Hull Daily Mail to borrow a Gorilla suit – to no avail. Then my good friend Helen Baldwin said she had one – all we needed was a  ‘wriggler’ to bring King Kong to Hullywood so here we have Ian Midgley as Kong and Lucy Joy as Ann Darrow (Fay Wray). Many thanks to Lucy Joy for being available to do the shoot at incredibly short notice. Hair by Sarah Clayton at Hair Majesty.

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King Kong is a 1933 American pre-Code monster film directed and produced by Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack. The screenplay by James Ashmore Creelman and Ruth Rose was from an idea conceived by Cooper and Edgar Wallace. It stars Fay Wray, Bruce Cabot and Robert Armstrong, and opened in New York City on March 2, 1933, to rave reviews. It has been ranked by Rotten Tomatoes as the greatest horror film of all time and the twentieth greatest film of all time.

The film tells of a gigantic, prehistoric, island-dwelling ape called Kong who dies in an attempt to possess a beautiful young woman. King Kong is especially noted for its stop-motion animation by Willis O’Brien and a groundbreaking musical score by Max Steiner.

Hairspray

When Sarah Clayton proprietress of the remarkable Hair Majesty, an amazing vintage themed hair dressing salon, on Ings Road was nominated to play the character Tracy Turnblad, an optimistic, overweight teenage girl who loves dancing in the film Hairspray she took up the challenge with a little help from her friends  Peter Roach, Jessica Ockelton, Kirsten Goodleid and Ken Woodall to join in the fun.

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Hairspray is a 2007 musical romantic comedy film based on the 2002 Broadway musical of the same name, which in turn was based on John Waters’ 1988 comedy film of the same name. Adapted from both Waters’ 1988 script and Thomas Meehan and Mark O’Donnell’s book for the stage musical by screenwriter Leslie Dixon, the 2007 film version of Hairspray was directed and choreographed by Adam Shankman and has an ensemble cast including John Travolta, Michelle Pfeiffer, Christopher Walken, Amanda Bynes, James Marsden, Queen Latifah, Brittany Snow, Zac Efron, Elijah Kelley, Allison Janney and Nikki Blonsky. Set in 1962 Baltimore, Maryland, the film follows the “pleasantly plump” teenager Tracy Turnblad as she pursues stardom as a dancer on a local TV show and rallies against racial segregation.

Sarah styled Freddie Garland’s Hair in the Breakfast at Tiffany’s shoot you can read about it here.

Kes

At the same time as shooting Misery with Sean and Camilla I managed to grab a quick shot of Luke McAllister as Billy Casper from Kes a 1969 drama film directed by Ken Loach and produced by Tony Garnett. The film is based on the 1968 novel A Kestrel for a Knave, written by the Barnsley-born author Barry Hines. The film is ranked seventh in the British Film Institute’s Top Ten (British) Films and among the top ten in its list of the 50 films you should see by the age of 14.
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Scrooge

When Mike Covell got in touch with me about play Alastair Sim in Scrooge  a 1951 film adaptation of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol I decided an Old town location in Hull would be great. Mike showed me places around the old town that I didn’t know existed.
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Brokeback Mountain

When Graham Jenkinson and Colin Wilson got in touch about recreating a scene from Brokeback Mountain with a Hull backdrop I couldn’t say no. Brokeback Mountain is a 2005 American romantic drama film directed by Ang Lee and produced by Diana Ossana and James Schamus. Adapted from the 1997 short story of the same name by Annie Proulx, the screenplay was written by Ossana and Larry McMurtry. The film stars Heath Ledger, Jake Gyllenhaal, Anne Hathaway, and Michelle Williams, and depicts the complex emotional and sexual relationship between Ennis Del Mar and Jack Twist in the American West from 1963 to 1983.

 

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Safety Last

Julie Gould got in touch with me about recreating a shot from Harold Lloyd’s 1923 romantic comedy Safety Last

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It includes one of the most famous images from the silent film era: Lloyd clutching the hands of a large clock as he dangles from the outside of a skyscraper above moving traffic. The film was highly successful and critically hailed, and it cemented Lloyd’s status as a major figure in early motion pictures. It is still popular at revivals, and it is viewed today as one of the great film comedies.

The film’s title is a play on the common expression, “safety first”, which places safety as the priority to avoid accidents, especially at workplaces. Lloyd performed some of the climbing stunts himself, despite having lost a thumb and forefinger four years earlier in a film accident.

 

Misery

Camilla McAllister got in touch with me about recreating a scene from Misery with her brother Sean who is creative director of the opening event of Hull’s City of Culture Year ‘Made in Hull’.

Misery is a 1990 American psychological thriller film based on Stephen King’s 1987 novel of the same name and starring James Caan, Kathy Bates, Lauren Bacall, Richard Farnsworth, and Frances Sternhagen about a psychotic fan who holds an author captive and forces him to write her stories.

Directed by Rob Reiner, the film received critical acclaim for Bates’s performance as the psychopathic Annie Wilkes, and Bates won the 1990 Academy Award for Best Actress for her role, making Misery, as of 2016, the only Stephen King adaptation to be an Oscar-winning film.
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