London Film Festival 2009
Spank's LFF Diary, Thursday 15/10/2009

Spank's LFF Diary, Wednesday 14/10/2009

Reviewed today: Fantastic Mr Fox.

I'll have you know this cameraphone was state of the art when I bought it back in 2004. Anyway, this is Jonathan Ross and his wife Jane Goldman on the red carpet before Fantastic Mr Fox. Jane Goldman's hair is the red blob in the lower half of the picture. 7.00pm: Opening Gala: Fantastic Mr Fox (official site)

The following is an edited transcript of a round table discussion held at the Cork and Bottle wine bar, at around 9.40pm on October 14th 2009. The participants were The Belated Birthday Girl, Seapea, Grizelda and Kate (who’d all just come back from the Opening Gala screening of Fantastic Mr Fox), plus Spank The Monkey (who couldn’t get a ticket for it, and had to occupy himself with Le Donk & Scor-Zay-Zee while the girls were off hobnobbing with George Clooney). 

Spank: So how did it work, having the premiere in the Odeon and Empire cinemas simultaneously? It looked like they had a red carpet running all the way through Leicester Square… 

BBG: Yeah, you’d go through and you’d either go straight ahead to the Odeon, which is what we did, or you’d go left and cross a little bridge that took you over to the Empire. 

Spank: It looked like your route was the one where they were doing the interviews. 

Seapea: That’s exactly right, yeah. There was Jarvis Cocker, Ben Kingsley, John Hurt… What was also good was when we got into the cinema, you could actually hear the interviews on the screen. 

BBG: The guy who was in the Square doing the interviews was asking all of them “so, did you get to keep your puppet?” Several of them said “oh, I don’t know” but Jarvis said “well, I have been promised mine, so I certainly hope so.” 

Spank: Did they have the organ playing at the start like they usually do? 

Seapea: Yes, we had the organ. In fact, Grizelda’s got a photograph. 

Grizelda: It’s not very good, it’s not brilliant. 

BBG: So we had the organ, then we had… forget her name… 

Seapea: Sheila, or Sharon… 

BBG: …no, the BFI director… 

Spank: …whatserface… [looks in programme] Amanda Nevill! 

BBG: So she came on and did the various thanks and things, and how they’re getting a whole chunk of money from some arts funding thing… 

Spank: Yeah, that’s where they’re getting the money for these big adverts all over town. 

BBG: And then the editor of The Times came on, and he was saying that this was their seventh year as sponsor… 

Seapea: …and this is the last year they’ll be sponsoring it. Next year it’s probably going to be London Lite. [pause] No, I’m kidding. 

BBG: And then Sandra Hebron came on and brought on all the guests. Wes Anderson came on, and he actually spoke to her, and then called them up in order, George first. Unfortunately Meryl Streep’s got the flu… 

Kate: …but we got Bill Murray instead. He was very quick, wasn’t he? He just said “well, I’ll stand in for her”, went up on stage, gave a curtsey… 

BBG: Then Jason Schwartzman, and a newcomer who I think was playing the nephew. And Jarvis, of course. 

Kate: [looking at cast list] Michael Gambon and Willem Dafoe are in the cast too, but they weren’t there. 

BBG: Oh, and the composer. Some guy with a French name. When Wes was introducing it, he was saying how it’s a British film, made over here and everything, but having said all that nearly all the people on stage are going to be not British… 

Seapea: Wes was saying that they were filming in a part of London they call… “East London”. Could be anywhere, couldn’t it? 

Grizelda: What was it Bill Murray was shouting at the end? “Anybody here from East London?” 

Spank: Oh, I wish I’d been there now. I could have represented my peeps. Did they have any of the animators there? 

BBG: They had some of the producers, and the director of animation, and a couple of other technical people. But of course we were all just sitting there going “Where’s George? Where’s George?” 

Kate: Except, of course, some people knew exactly where George was… 

Spank: Seapea and Grizelda were on the aisle, weren’t you? 

Seapea: We were on the aisle… 

Grizelda: We were right next to where they were all queuing up to go on stage! 

BBG: Kate and I were completely on the other side… 

Seapea: Sorry about that, girls. You’ve either got it, or you haven’t.

Fantastic Mr FoxSpank: So, tell me about the film. But don’t tell me too much, I’m seeing it tomorrow. 

BBG: Well, it’s about this fox. He’s fantastic! 

Kate: It’s quite in keeping with Roald Dahl, the dark side of it. I think it’d be quite scary if you were a child. 

Seapea: I don’t know the story at all. 

BBG: I haven’t read it since I was at primary school, so that’s rather a long time ago. It’s obviously been changed, relocated, but there were beats every so often where I’d remember “oh, yeah, that’s what that bit was about, and that particular thing did happen”… the animation was lovely. 

Seapea: Yes, it was, it was really sweet. 

BBG: I particularly liked it every time they ate. 

Grizelda: They suddenly went back to being wild animals again! That was brilliant. 

Spank: There have been people complaining on the internet that it’s not photorealistic enough. 

Grizelda: Oh, for God’s sake… 

BBG: I mean, what can you say? That’s completely not what it’s trying to do. 

Spank: I’ve seen the trailers, and it’s obviously a particular look he’s going for. 

BBG: Well, yeah. It’s deliberately not meant to be realistic. The eating I love, the tunnelling also… absolutely not meant to look like the way real foxes tunnel. 

Grizelda: They don’t wear clothes, either. 

BBG: And they don’t have plots or conversations either. 

Kate: Or Visa cards to open doors with. But they’re quite ugly looking, aren’t they? Ugly faces, black teeth… 

Grizelda: But Mrs Fox was so sweet with her blue eyes… 

Kate: …and their fur was moving the whole time… 

Seapea: It sounds like you found it a bit scary. 

Kate: I did, actually! 

BBG: It has a lot of the standard American themes of parental disappointment and redemption and all those sorts of things. But it’s very well done and very funny. 

Seapea: And they had a lovely little village. I loved that village. They had a pub, and a little theatre, and a little shop, and a bakers… it just takes you back to your childhood. 

BBG: Visually, it was just really, really lovely. 

Kate: Very evocative. 

Spank: Does it still look like a Wes Anderson film? 

BBG: You’ve got things like the big writing introducing each of the chapters… in some of the other ways, it may be less obvious to me, it might be more obvious to you. 

Seapea: The film was very predictable, in a way: you knew where it would go, what was going to happen, who was going to win out. 

Grizelda: Well, it was a children’s story, so… 

Spank: But you all enjoyed it? 

Kate: Oh, yes. 

BBG: Best film of the Festival so far. And as she’s not seeing anything else, it’ll be Grizelda’s best film of the Festival! 

Grizelda: It probably sounds like a cliché, but it’s good family entertainment. 

Seapea: Well… I think 95. 

Spank: Out of? 

Seapea: …100. 

Spank: Just wanted to be sure.


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