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70s DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER (1971) Actor: CHARLES GRAY Character: Blofeld THE DAY OF THE JACKAL (1973) Actor: EDWARD FOX (top) Character: The Jackal THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN (1974) Actor: CHRISTOPHER LEE (right) Character: Francisco Scaramanga THE OMEN (1976) Actor: BILLIE WHITELAW Character: Mrs Baylock MARATHON MAN (1976) Actor: LAURENCE OLIVIER (below) Character: Dr. Christian Szell SALEM’S LOT (1979) Actor name: JAMES MASON Character name: Richard Straker Bonus fact: Also starred Starsky & Hutch’s David Soul 80s THE LONG GOOD FRIDAY (1980) Actor: BOB HOSKINS Character: Harold Shand Bonus fact: Voted number 21 out of the Top 100 British films of the 20th century by The British Film Institute and gave Bob Hoskins his big break THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK (1980) Actor: DAVID PROWSE (near right) Character: Darth Vader Bonus fact: Although Prowse played the physical Vader, Darth’s voice was American James Earl Jones’ SUPERMAN II (1980) Actor: TERENCE STAMP Character: General Zod TRON (1982) Actor: DAVID WARNER Character: Ed Dillinger/Sark/ Master Control Program BEVERLY HILLS COP (1984) Actor: STEVEN BERKOFF Character: Victor Maitland LABYRINTH (1986) Actor: DAVID BOWIE (far right) Character: Jareth, King of the Goblins Bonus fact: Aside from Bowie, most of the significant characters in the film were played by puppets produced by Muppet Show creator Jim Henson’s Creature Shop DIE HARD (1988) Actor: ALAN RICKMAN Character: Hans Gruber PHOTOGRAPHY: MONDADORI PORTFOLIO, SILVER SCREEN COLLECTION/HULTON ARCHIVE, SILVER SCREEN COLLECTION/GETTY IMAGES 38 j THE PERFORMANCE ISSUE

CULTURE THE JOURNEY FROM THE BRITISH STAGE, OR FROM THE SET OF SERIOUS, SMALLER FILMS, TO PLAYING THE BAD GUY IN A MEGA-BUDGET MOVIE IS ONE THAT TOOK OFF WITH A VENGEANCE AFTER STAR WARS PHOTOGRAPHY: 20TH CENTURY-FOX, BOB THOMAS/GETTY IMAGES The journey from the British stage, or from the set of serious, smaller films, to playing the bad guy in a mega-budget movie is one that took off with a vengeance after Star Wars. Former 1960s dandy Terence Stamp came out of self-imposed exile living the hippy life in India to play General Zod in Superman in 1978. Alan Rickman was a celebrated Royal Academy of Dramatic Art-trained theatre actor who had been recently feted for his lead role in both the West End and Broadway in Christopher Hampton’s Les Liasions Dangereuses when he took on his first major film role as Hans Gruber opposite Bruce Willis in Die Hard in 1988. The trend continues to this day. Benedict Cumberbatch was the villain in the second film of the rebooted Star Trek series in 2013. Ian McKellen has been playing Magneto in the X-Men films for over a decade and Alfred Molina was Doc Ock in 2004’s Spider-Man 2. The aforementioned Tom Hiddleston who has excelled himself as Loki in the Marvel movies, Thor and The Avengers, has a theory about why Brits do the job so well. “I think the best bad guys are very charming and witty,” he muses. “Their villainy comes at the twist of a wrist or the flick of a finger, we never break a sweat, and we don’t get our hands dirty. The devil plays all the best tunes, particularly in a British accent.” For filmmakers, a well-spoken British presence equals ready-made sinister intelligence. For the actors, it’s surely a handy payday after years treading the boards or working with art-house film directors. Yet sometimes the casting of Brits as villains defies all logic to the point of being comical. You only have to look back to the various films of the Robin Hood legend (a very English tale). In the 1938 Errol Flynn version, the 1991 Kevin Costner movie and the 2010 Russell Crowe film, all the heroes are American (or, in Crowe‘s case, from New Zealand), and the Sheriff of Nottingham is always a Brit (Melville Cooper, then Alan Rickman, then Mark Strong). Nobody bats an eyelid: we’re so used to the British villain that the strange casting barely registers. THE PERFORMANCE ISSUE j 39




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In this issue, we explore the art of creativity from the Brazilian masters who devised the graceful art of Capoeira, to the Irish artists mixing new culture with old. You will also discover the creative line that links Victorian wallpaper to the iPhone. While the multi-talented actor and performer, Riz Ahmed, explains why it is the right time to reveal his true self to the world.


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