July 25, 2014 0

Some Time With… Christian McKay: “As for method, it’s simply what my three-year old does so naturally, just pretending. Unfortunately I don’t do it as well or as naturally as my son, so I have to work at it.”

By in GEFilms, Some Time With..., The Engagement
BAFTA awarded actor Christian McKay has some exciting new projects nearly out of the oven. Well known for his roles in Me and Orson Welles,  You Will Meet a Tall Dark StrangerTinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, Rush and The Engagement, among other titles. One of his new movies, The Creditors, which will be released probably in 2015,  tells the story of a love triangle that is unraveled when a young painter is approached by an admirer who eases him into making sense of his relationship with his wife.Me-and-Orson-Welles-premiere
Fresh and funny, as always, Christian answered to all our questions:
Q Let’s talk about your new film, The Creditors. I understand it is a UK/Spain co-production. Was it mostly filmed in Spain or in the UK? Do you generally enjoy filming more in the UK or abroad?
I completed Creditors in mid-April in Madrid. I’ve just wrapped my ‘newest’ film, working title ChickLit, in beautiful Norfolk. It has the most marvellous cast, including my heroes (and new best friends) Dame Eileen Atkins and John Hurt. Lovely thing to meet your heroes and for them to turn out be everything and more than you could wish for. I have had the opposite reaction too, but should probably keep the megalomaniac’s name a secret. This film is a comedy in the great Ealing tradition and I had a wonderful time making it. Creditors, a modern adaptation of the August Strindberg classic, is a UK/Spain co-production. Filmed mostly in Spain, but with some scenes shot in London, I play a cuckolded husband out for vengeance. My ex-wife is played by my dear pal Andrea Deck, who played my daughter last year in Bernard Rose’s The Devil’s Violinist. I tell her, quite seriously, she’s due to play my grandmother next. And to complete this incredibly involved long answer to your question, I don’t have a preference where I’m filming. I love filming.
Q Have you spent some time in Spain before, besides for holiday? If so, what brought you there and where is your favourite place?
A I started going to Spain as a small child and fell in love with the country, its history and culture. Before becoming an actor, my priority was studying the piano and my pin-up girl as a teenager was a seventy-year old, four-foot nine inch, god of the piano called Alicia de Larrocha. She was simply Spain’s greatest ever pianist, bar none, and the heir to a tradition of Spanish music that has bewitched and beguiled me from my youngest years. I had the honour to play for Madame Larrocha, who was very kind and encouraging about my prospects. My father once took me by train and boat from Manchester to Barcelona, simply so I could hear her play. So, I love Barcelona particularly. I once got a job playing piano in a brothel there, during my wanderings, simply because I wanted to practice. And the south, of course, picture-post card Spain, like Falstaff’s Merrie England. Granada, Sanlucar de Barrameda, Jerez etc. Did you know Orson’s buried in a well in Ronda?
Q Could you share with us your favourite moment during the filming and why was it so important for you?
A Well, the secret’s in the editing, so what I think might have worked can very often be different by the time I see it. In Creditors, spoiler alert I suppose, I felt my guilt was rather too well established and I attempted to turn the film on its head. This makes my leading lady quite a femme fatale. In the latest, I managed to get Dame Eileen Atkins and John Hurt to talk about their pals Sir Alec Guinness (my favourite actor) and Richard Burton. A favourite moment particularly was hearing from them that I would have got on very well with Guinness and Burton. I knew it!
When is the movie expected to be released? Spain or UK first?
A I imagine they will look for the right distributor for the movie and perhaps get it played at festivals. Richard Linklater always says “have film, will travel”.
Q People love your performance of Nigel in The Engagement. Your speech is one of the funniest moments in the film. Why do you think people like it so much? How do you prepare to play a new character? What is your method?
That’s very kind of people. I greatly enjoyed doing it. In the case of Nigel’s oratory, that was simply a wonderful collaboration between director (and writer) and actor. We were singing from the same hymn-sheet. I remember when I asked about possibly using the crib cards, imagining that Nigel would be too nervous to give a speech, Greg had already had the same idea and produced them for me to use. I remembered Peter Sellers advice that it is often funnier the more seriously you take yourself and Nigel, bless him, is a serious, awkward man, who just happens to be a great flamenco dancer! As for method, it’s simply what my three-year old does  so naturally, just pretending. Unfortunately I don’t do it as well or as naturally as my son, so I have to work at it.
Do you have any upcoming projects after The Creditors?
A I have a few films waiting to be seen. I played a bank robber in Romania a few years ago with Vera Farmiga, Closer to the Moon, which should be on its way at some point. And some lovely and diverse English independent films: Northern Soul, Spite and Malice and The Last Sparks of Sundown. I have some of my own projects on the boil too.

Q I hear that you are writing a script about Winston Churchill… Would you like to give us a little heads up?

This is one of my passion projects on the boil. I wanted to play Winston before the other fat man who smokes cigars; it’s my niche market. It’s about what made him Churchill, which can always be found in a greatest failure. Peter Morgan advised me to write for who I know, which is great fun. And now, tat-a and farewell.

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