‘Appaloosa” ReelzChannel Interview

Interview with Appaloosa Star Jeremy Irons

from http://www.reelzchannel.com

ReelzChannel sat down recently with Jeremy Irons to talk about his role as the corrupt rancher in Appaloosa.

ReelzChannel: This character, Randall Bragg, it’s all in the name — conceited, he lives by no rules.

Jeremey Irons in Appaloosa

Irons: No, his own rules. We all have rules. He was born on the cusp — the earlier Western travelers, there was no rules. There was no law. The gun was the law. But that changed once they had pushed out there, the law and followers some 50, or 40, years later. We see Bragg at the beginning of the film protecting his men against people who want to take him away — in a way, that’s how you behaved then. But then he discovered that actually things were changing and when he managed to get out, he comes back a different man using the new methods.

RC: Would you describe him as a Western version of a mobster?

Irons: No, I think he’s a Western version of a lot of businessmen today. They set their sights on how they’re going to earn their money and then go and get it. They play by the rules. And they play as close to the edge — and over the edge — and they get in trouble. I think the American economy is full of men like Randall Bragg.

RC: Ed Harris directed the film along with starring in it. Did this mean you had to act as a bigger support system than normal?

Irons: No. Obviously you see that your leading actor is very busy, he’s got a lot, and you support him as much as you can to help him get the vision he has in his head. He’s an actor — allows you the latitude to find your character and to do what you think your character would do.

RC: A lot of British actors are attracted to Western roles. Do you think it’s because of the genre or because of the characters?

Irons: I think it must be partly the genre. We were all brought up on Westerns. I’ve always wanted to do a Western. But I have to say, if this was about industrial espionage in 1980…I probably would have come and done it. So it was just nice it was a Western.

‘Appaloosa’ 411

Here’s an excerpt from a review of Appaloosa on http://www.411mania.com” with rave comments about Jeremy:

“…The best thing about this film is Jeremy Irons’ scene chewing performance as Randall Bragg, our story’s lead antagonist. Irons seems to relish his role as a viciously cold pack leader, consistently throwing a wrench into Virgil and Everett’s plans. Randall is both cool and collective, and it seems to come quite naturally to Irons. He gives the film life (he’s the only one who appears to be having any fun) and when he wasn’t on screen, my interest waned. Sadly, he isn’t given enough to do …”

Read the entire review here:


Joan Allen on Impressionism

Here’s an excerpt from an interview with Joan Allen in which she mentions Impressionism and her upcoming co-star Jeremy Irons.

from www.movies.ie
Q. But from one extreme to another, you’re set to go back to the Broadway stage with the play Impressionism...

I am going back to the stage for the first time in ages. It will be 19 years next year.

Q. You’ve already won a rack of theatre awards. Why go back now?

I read a play that I could not say no to. It was as simple as that; I really was not intending to go back to Broadway. Years ago I worked with this wonderful director called Jack O’Brien and he called me out of the blue a couple of months ago saying, ‘Darling, I have this new play. It’s gorgeous. It’s the most beautiful play I’ve read in years. You have to do it with Jeremy Irons and me. You have to!’ He was standing there with the script and I said, ‘A play, Jack? It’s been a long time.’ I wasn’t looking to do one. He told me to read it, which I did, and I was shaking and crying. It is a beautiful play.

Q. In which case why did you take such a long break from the stage?

[…]I read this play, it’s a limited run, it’s Jeremy Irons, it’s a beautiful story. I’m exhilarated by this and feel I can maintain that exhilaration pretty much for four months.

Official Appaloosa Website


Jeremy goes to jail…but he’s not in Irons

from the Daily Mail UK

As if they haven’t suffered enough, the inmates of Wormwood Scrubs are about to receive a visit from arch luvvie Jeremy Irons.

Unlike its last high-profile guest – rock star Pete Doherty, who served 29 days of a 14-week drug-related sentence – the Lolita star will be there entirely voluntarily.

Irons is among 200 guests who have paid £35 each to see a performance of poetry and music by a dozen of the inmates, after which he will be the master of ceremonies at an auction to raise money for the Phoenix Trust, which provides yoga classes throughout prisons in Britain.

Says organiser Sandy Chubb: “Yoga and meditation have been proven conclusively to reduce criminal behaviour.

“We are also launching a new yoga book for prisoners during the evening – it contains only pictures because it’s for prisoners who can’t read.”

Jeremy Interviewed on The Zaz Report!

from http://www.nationallampoon.com


Exclusive Interview: Jeremy Irons for “Appaloosa”

Exclusive Interview: Jeremy Irons for “Appaloosa”
By Paul Fischer
Friday, September 19th 2008 12:09am
image Oscar winning Brit Jeremy Irons is very picky when it comes to leaving one of his many British homes [and Irish castle] to take on a Hollywood role, but the idea of playing the antagonistic cattle baron in the Ed Harris-directed western, “Appaloosa”, was clearly too good to pass up.In a Toronto hotel room, in between puffs of a cigarette, Irons chatted exclusively to PAUL FISCHER.

Question: Was it irresistible to do something that kind of reminded you of why you might have become an actor in the first place?

Irons: Yeah. I’ve always ridden horses and like most people, I was sort of brought up on Westerns, and Westerns were movies., but I never thought I’d ever be in one. They don’t make many now and although Clint Eastwood had asked me to do Unforgiven–

Question: Which, the Richard Harris part?

Irons: Yeah. And I said, “No.” I think – I’d read the script, and I thought, “I think I’m too young for this. I don’t think I’m right for this. You should ask Richard Harris,” which he did. Of course, Richard made a great success of it and I think was a lot better than I would have been. So, I had another opportunity to do one. But, you know, when Ed asked me to do this, I’d just finished doing a play in London, and was feeling like doing a movie. I thought it would be a lot of fun. I could see that he had this dream to make this picture and Viggo was on board, and Renee was on board. And I thought, “Oh, we’ll have fun. It’s a nice bunch of actors, nice script.” And it was a real pleasure to be able to say yes to it.

Question: How do you humanize a character like this?

Irons: I mean, you give him his back story. We know that he worked with Chester Arthur in the New York Customs House, which you know was pretty rife with venality. You know, import-exports, and people creaming off everywhere you could look. I see him as a man who didn’t like the city that much, although he had been a city boy. And he thought, “I’m going out West. I’ve heard about this copper mind.” So he comes out to this little hick town. And discovers that they have given away the rights to a company out of Chicago to do it. So he thinks, “I’m just going to have to bully them.” So he lets his men run riot on the place, waiting for the time when he can go to the mayor, and say – and the council, and say, “Listen. If you want me to pull them off, let me have the mine.” And this is upset by the lawmakers coming to town.

You know, this was at a time when the law was just coming out to the Far West. The railroads had come. As soon as the railroad came, then the law followed. But for the original guys who went out there, they ruled by the gun. And if someone walked onto your land, which you’d staked, and said they want to take some of your men, you say, “No.” And then if they insist on doing so, you’d shoot them. I mean, you know, that was the way of it. But he’s caught on the cusp. Things are changing. So he gets – he gets out of it using influence, using people he’s used before. Gets back to New York. Says to Chester Arthur, “Jesus, it’s bloody terrible out there. I mean, there’s these guys going around making the law, and there are no witnesses to this, and they say I did this.”

So Chester Arthur, who was an old mate, said, “Well, I’ll give you a pardon.” He then gets backers, goes back out there and buys it. He says, “I’ll do it with cash.” And starts behaving in exactly the same way that I reckon 75 of the CEOs in America behave now. You know, you buy out the competition. But of course, in our story, he oversteps the mark. He starts courting a lady who is not his, and gets killed for personal reasons. But had he not done that, had he not put his hand on the back of that girl’s neck, and had Hitch not seen that, and Hitch not realized that Cole, now injured, so not able to be a lawman, really, wants to settle down, and that his life will be ruined because the girl will go with the stud stallion. Who is going to be Bragg. So Hitch, out of friendship, gets rid of him.

Question: Could you identify with Bragg at all?

Irons: Yes. I try and identify with everyone – I mean, there is an element of the rogue in me.

Question: Really?

Irons: In all of us, I think. And – playing a hard game, I can identify with anyone who does that, plays by the apparent rules. I don’t say he’s a great guy, but I can identify with him.

Question: What do you look for in a project? I remember a couple years ago, there was a time when you would do something like – and I dare not mention it – the last time I mentioned the movie’s name, you kind of scoffed at me. But, you said you did Dungeons and Dragons because it represented yet another brick in your Irish castle. Do you have such pragmatic attitudes now, or do you really have to be passionate about something?

Irons: No, I need to earn my wages. I try not to – I mean, Dungeons and Dragons was a sort of anomaly for me, in that I was spending a lot of money on the castle, and they offered me a lot of money to do the picture. And I thought, “Yeah, come on.” What I hadn’t realized was that the director of that picture was very inexperienced, and therefore it wasn’t going to really work. But I’m afraid I had my palm crossed with silver. And so there’s an element of pragmatism. But I’ve always tried to – I’ve never wanted to work to support my lifestyle. But I do find that your lifestyle just tends to grow without you realizing. I have a lot of properties. None of which I rent, which surround the place in Ireland.

Question: Throughout Great Britain? Throughout the UK?

Irons: Well, I have two in England. And five in Ireland. So it’s sort of crazy, you know?

Question: What do you do with them all? You can’t live in them all.

Irons: Well, sometimes.

Question: Really?

Irons: We have a place in Dublin, because my wife has a Dublin son, grandson, she likes to get over and see, and wants to have a home there. I have the castle down in West Cork, which I did up over six years, which I adore. I have a little cottage where we used toil before, which at the moment I have a brother-in-law living in while we do up a farmhouse that he’s going to live in, that’s also half mine. You know, I love property. I love doing up property. And that’s tended to be where I put my money. But, of course, property –

Question: You don’t sell it. You just hold it.

Irons: Yeah. Because it’s – I find these wonderful places, and can’t bear to get rid of them.

Question: How do you have time to act?

Irons: Well, you mean get there and act.

Question: Right. And do all of that.

Irons: Well, the great thing about filming is that – you know, you have these gaps. You go off and you work for four months, and then you can afford to – you know, do nothing the next four months.

Question: But it’s important to you to still do theatre.

Irons: I’ve gone back to do theatre. But actually, that’s – really, that’s over the last two years. And I’ve been looking for a new play. In the last three years, rather, I’ve done two new plays. But really, that’s because I haven’t found the compelling work in film.

Question: Why is that?

Irons: I think – I don’t know. I think it’s something to do with getting older. You know, there are a lot of us chasing the roles. If you think of people like Bill Hurt, Kevin Kline, Dustin Hoffman. They don’t work that often, because there aren’t that many roles around, which they really, really want. You know, in your 30s and your 40s, that’s when you’re really powering it. That’s when the roles come. Now, I think also it’s because I live in England. And I’m not a – when I’m not working, I’m not part of the community. Film community. I think that is a slight disadvantage, because out of sight, out of mind, a little bit. But I don’t know. I’m going off to do another play in New York, on Broadway, in January.

Question: Oh, really? Which one?

Irons: It’s a new play. It’s called Impressionism.

Question: And who else is in it with you?

Irons: Joan Allen is the leading lady.

Question: Ah. Well, that’s a pretty formidable –

Irons: It’ll be nice, yeah. I’m looking forward to it. And Jack O’Brien is directing it, who’s a good director. I mean, we’ll see. I like doing new plays, because you want to see how – if you can make them work.

Question: And nobody has any preconceptions of character, either.

Irons: That’s right. Yeah.

Question: Did they offer you cameo to do the Brideshead movie?

Irons: They asked me originally to play Lord Marchmain and I couldn’t get Larry out of my head. I thought, “No, it’s not a good idea.” And I said to them I’d play Charles’ father, because I think that’s quite wishy. Now, that script, the one they asked me – it was about two years ago. And I don’t think it’s the script they actually filmed. I think it metamorphosized, and maybe they got another writer in. I think it was Andrew – the guy who does all the British adaptations, who I’m not very keen on. Anyway. I think his script was the one that eventually was made. But they said, “No, we feel you’re too upper-class for Charles’ father. We think he should be – we’re making a bigger class difference between Sebastian and Charles, and we want to see that in their parents as well.” And I thought, “Well, that’s a bit odd. But, anyway.”

Question: Have you seen the film?

Irons: I haven’t.

Question: Have you finished any other films since you’ve done this?

Irons: No, I haven’t. I went back from this to do a play at the National Theatre. Never So Good, playing Harold McMillan, which we had a great success with. And I finished that in August so I hope to film this autumn, although the two or three projects – I don’t know which one is going to go, and which one isn’t?

Question: British or American?

Irons: They’re all American. I think people are very nervous about whether the strike’s going to happen, and all of that.

Question: Wouldn’t it have happened by now, if it was going to happen? You would think.

Irons: They say it will be – they’ll know by the end of September. I think it’s the worst time for actors to strike. I think it’s a terrible time. You know, the whole business is changing so much.

Happy 60th Birthday Jeremy!

September 19, 2008

Birthdays: Jeremy Irons

Jeremy Irons’s latest film, Appaloosa, goes on release today. In it he plays a traditional Western landgrabbing villain. In 1990, he won an Oscar for best actor in the film Reversal of Fortune, playing Claus von Bülow. He is best remembered for his 1981 role as Charles Ryder in the adaptation of Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited. He has been married to the actress Sinéad Cusack for 30 years and they have two grown-up sons. Jeremy Irons is 60 today.

Jeremy Irons is guest of honor at Eurasia film festival

Jeremy Irons was the guest of honor at the Eurasia Film Festival in Kazakhstan in September 2008. Jeremy flew to Kazakhstan right after appearing at the Toronto Film Festival where “Appaloosa” premiered.


from guardian.co.uk

Monday 15 September 2008

After Borat: what the Kazak film industry did next

The Eurasia film festival is designed to showcase Kazakhstan’s modernity, prosperity and thriving cinema scene. Paul MacInnes made the trip to the Palace of Peace and Consent – and found himself watching an unsubtitled film about sick sheep.

It was perhaps the longest red carpet in the world. Trailing all the way from the street to the portico of a giant glass pyramid, the roll must have stretched for more than 400m. To amble down it proved a challenge that was half catwalk, half workout. For the uninitiated the carpet might even have seemed a touch grandiose, but not here. For this was the Eurasia film festival, a celebration of cinema held annually in Kazakhstan and, to be fair, they do things differently there.

During my stay in Astana, the country’s new capital and venue for the festival, I did not see one mankini. There were no best prostitute competitions, no horses and carts, no faded images of Pamela Anderson but, yes, there was a large sparkling synagogue right in the centre of town. In other words, there was not much Borat about the Kazakhstan I saw. That’s not to say, however, that it wasn’t thoroughly weird in its own way.

Take the opening gala. It was staged in a pyramid designed by Norman Foster, its official title the Palace of Peace and Consent. It is home to an opera hall, a non-denominational religious space and any number of photos of President Nursultan Nazarbayev, the beloved leader of 19 years and a man only faintly acquainted with the rigours of the democratic process. Inside, a crowd of VIPs in shiny suits and gowns sipped Johnny Walker and Georgian wines. Outside, lines of locals cheered on Uzbek movie producers, Kyrgyz directors and the odd British journalist (it’s fair to say I worked the crowd like a pro), all the while being almost entirely unaware of who anybody was.

It was at President Nazarbayev’s personal request (or at least that’s how it’s described) that the film festival was moved from its traditional home, the southern city of Almaty, to Astana, an oligarchic equivalent of Las Vegas built slap-bang in the middle of the steppe where nothing is more than 10 years old. That applies to grandiose buildings such as the Palace or the 97m tall Tree of Life, Kazakhstan’s answer to the Eiffel tower. But it also applies to everything else about the city, including its cultural and artistic scene.

So while the crowds gathered to welcome Timur Bekmambetov, director of Night Watch and Wanted and perhaps the most famous Kazakh after Borat, they didn’t follow up by attending the festival itself. And this despite (or perhaps because of) a late change in the festival’s raison d’etre which saw it dump an international competition in favour of concentrating solely on central Asian cinema.

There is a rich tradition of movie-making in this region. Its golden age came at the height of the Soviet era when directors such as the Kyrgyz Tolomush Okeev or Uzbekistan’s Ali Khamraev were first trained at the VGIK school in Moscow, funded by groups like Soviet TV, and allowed to flourish. Like so much else though, when the USSR collapsed so did the entire system by which films were made. Industries across the former Soviet republics shrank and cinema was no exception. It is only in recent years that it has even begun to recover.

So it was with great excitement that the Eurasia film festival was able to open with a gala screening of Tulpan, a Kazakh movie that claimed the Un Certain Regard prize at Cannes this year. It was an excitement only marginally dimmed when, in front of an international audience in the Palace, the film played with absolutely no subtitles whatsoever. Most guests chose to persist with the movie all the same and, uncomprehending though they were, left touched by cinematography that brought out the bleak beauty of the Kazakh landscape not to mention the dramatic birthing of a little black lamb. Conversations about what the hell the thing was about, however, were entertaining to hear.

Controversy over Subtitle-gate continued into the next day as westerners berated officials for their failure, ascribed by organisers to a wonky cable. But while subtitles might matter to guest critics it didn’t explain the absence of Kazakhs themselves at the festival.

Some of it might be to do with money. While Forbes lists Kazakhstan as being home to six billionaires (two of whom are Nazarbaev’s daughter and her husband), GDP per capita remains at about $11,000 (compared with $35,000 in the UK). For all the luxurious mega malls, there are very few people who are well off enough to shop in them.

It might not just be for reasons fiscal that punters stayed away from the film festival though. Central Asian cinema has a compelling back catalogue and a crop of talented directors. But these directors struggle to get their films seen. Try, if you can, to spot a copy of Chouga, the latest film by Kazakhstan’s most celebrated director Darezhan Omirbaev – you’ll struggle.

What you will find on the screen at the Eurasia film festival, however, as well as in competition, are films such as Uzbekistan’s The Others, a huge hit domestically, but 90 minutes of sub-soap that make you wish for broken subtitles so you could at least invent your own plot. (Actually, the subtitles were probably the most interesting thing about this tale of rich girl meets poor boy, seemingly crafted by an Uzbek recently relocated to Brooklyn: “You’re two douche bags!” “Give it here! Now jet!” “You wear your heart on your sleep!”).

If you’re not trapped in the class struggle of Tashkent it’s difficult to see how a film like The Others could possibly appeal and a less than half-full auditorium seemed to support such an assertion.

“The biggest problem for central Asian cinema is that there is no development,” says Jean Philippe Tessé of Cahiers du Cinema, a man familiar with the world’s more obscure film festivals. “Someone will make a film like The Others, but will have no idea of what is wrong with it. There is no system to help them improve and no one willing to tell them that what they are doing is bad! My belief is that the organisers of the Eurasia film festival would be better off spending their money on that, rather than trying to attract stars to the festival. I mean, Steven Seagal in Almaty… it just seemed a little out of place.”

That said, there was no shortage of good cinema at the festival; a retrospective of the Kazakh new wave (which took place 25 years after the French one, Jean Paul Belmondo replaced with rock star Viktor Tsoi) was enlightening and the out of competition screenings were lively and varied.

Neither was there a shortage of cineastes. One of the festival’s Guest Service volunteers, Regina Shepetya flew up from Almaty and spent the next two nights getting what sleep she could on airport benches as she waited to greet visitors. She did so because she is a film student who wants to get into the business. But also, she loves cinema and loves to talk about it too.
Jeremy Irons at Eurasia 2008 Jeremy Irons was guest of honour

“Paul, do you like the films of Peter Greenaway?” she would ask and wait patiently as I tried to summon up a half-way intelligent opinion on The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover. Most of the time she carried with her a thick tome The 1001 Greatest Films. Her plan was to discuss the Lion King with guest Jeremy Irons. If it happened, it might well have been the most considered conversation on the subject he had ever had.

* guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2009

Jeremy recommends book “A Place in My Country”

From Ian Walthew’s blog:  THINK!
“This is what he wrote about A Place in My Country.
“I read A Place in My Country with absolute unalloyed delight. A glorious book.”