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News Archive: October 2006
Six BIFA nominations for LKoS
Posted at 2:32 PM (PDT) on Wednesday, October 25, 2006

By Katja Hofmann
Variety International

LONDON — "The Queen," "The Last King of Scotland" and "This is England" lead Blighty's indie noms.

Stephen Frear's royal drama "The Queen" was nominated for seven British Independent Film Awards today including best indie pic, helmer and femme thesp for Helen Mirren. In addition, Mirren also is to receive the Variety Personality of the Year Award.

"The Queen," which examines the impact of Princess Diana's death on Blighty's royal family, was closely followed by Kevin Macdonald's "The Last King of Scotland" and Shane Meadow's "This is England," which both received six noms each. Andrea Arnold's "Red Road" was nominated five times including best pic. Roger Michell's "Venus" also nabbed five noms including Peter O'Toole for best thesp.

Nicholas Hytner's "The History Boys" scored four noms. Like "The Last King of Scotland," the pic was produced through DNA Films, the U.K. shingle backed by Fox Searchlight. This marks a departure for the BIFAs following a recent rule change, which allows pic financed by U.S. studios to qualify for the awards as long as their budget doesn't exceed $15 million.

The noms were announced by this year's jury topper, veteran producer Sandy Lieberson at a function at London's Soho House. Amongst the Brit bizzers squeezing into the bar were "History Boys" and "Venus" producer Kevin Loader, Pathe UK topper Francois Invernel and BIFA founder Elliot Grove.

The BIFAs will take place on Nov. 29 at the Hammersmith Palais in west London.

For a complete list of nominations, click here.

Glitzy opening for film festival
Posted at 1:23 PM (PDT) on Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Glitzy opening for film festival
The Press Association
October 18, 08:43 PM

The stars turned out to give the 50th London Film Festival a glittering opening as The Last King Of Scotland had its UK premiere.

James McAvoy and Forest Whitaker, who stars in the film, were joined by co-stars Kerry Washington, who shimmied down the red carpet in a stunning white dress, and a very pregnant Gillian Anderson.

The cream of British cinema also turned out for the crowds in London's Leicester Square - Joseph Fiennes was joined by his girlfriend Maria, while Bafta winner Thandie Newton also put in an appearance.

McAvoy, who was joined by fiancee Anne-Marie Duff, wearing a black and gold dress, revealed that the film made its mark on him.

"The film has had a profound effect on me personally," he said, adding that he hopes to return to Uganda as soon as he has time.

"I want to do awareness work, probably with the Red Cross, and fundraising for displaced people," he said.

The Last King Of Scotland, which deals with some of the worst excesses of Idi Amin's dictatorship, gave the actor the chance to play a rare role, he added.

"The opportunity to play someone who was self-serving and arrogant doesn't come along very often," he explained.

"I feel it was a truthful representation of Britain in Africa."

LKoS Reviews
Posted at 12:24 PM (PDT) on Monday, October 16, 2006

Over one hundred reviews are available at Rotten Tomatoes.

McAvoy effectively creates a portrait of a confused young man, susceptible to Amin's charms. Nicholas likes his pleasures. Upon arriving in Uganda, he puts the moves on his colleague's wife (an arresting Gillian Anderson, who has made fascinating career choices since "The X-Files''). -- Ruthe Stein (San Francisco Chronicle)

At a rural clinic Garrigan has taken up with the medical director's wife, played movingly by Gillian Anderson, who is particularly good whenever playing a Brit of one sort or another. -- Michael Phillips (Chicago Tribune)

Gillian Anderson and Kerry Washington both contribute soulful, indelible turns as women caught in unsafe places: Anderson as a lonely, knowing relief worker; Washington as one of Amin's multiple wives. (Anderson, strangely, seems to disappear from the film fairly early, but her performance is remarkable in its ability to create a character and history in just a few scenes. Her Sarah never looks at anyone straight-on; she's always peering sideways, not quite sure what to believe.) -- Moira Macdonald (Seattle Times)

Gillian Anderson co-stars with a new kind of sexy vulnerability as one of the mission workers during the film's first section. -- Jeffrey M. Anderson (Combustible Celluloid)

The four highly diverse leads are uniformly excellent, with the talented Anderson again transcending her longtime TV persona as “X-Files” agent Dana Scully, and Kerry Washington, as one of Amin's wives, likewise impeccably tackling accent and era. -- Frank Lovece (Film Journal)

Audiences no doubt will be filled with mixed emotions as Whitaker brings one of this century’s most complex public figures to the screen. Supported by a talented and superb cast which also includes a completely transformed and elegant Gillian Anderson, and Simon McBurney as the rather ambiguous British cloak- and-dagger figure, Nigel Stone. -- Jed Dreben ( York Post)

''The Last King of Scotland'' opens shortly after Amin has seized power, and his madness had yet to take at least visible bloom. After a brief spell working at a clinic run by a white British doctor (Adam Kotz) and his wife (a very fine, almost unrecognizable Gillian Anderson), Garrigan signs on with Amin. -- Manohla Dargis (New York Times)

Even at the beginning of his bumptious adventure, Nicholas' principles are never in doubt: He takes a post at a medical mission run by a harried but ferociously dedicated Dr. Merritt (Adam Kotz) and his wife, Sarah (Gillian Anderson, who, in a very small role, conveys a woman whose altruistic gravity is grazed with just a touch of loopiness). -- Stephanie Zacharek (

Ironically, Dr. Garrigan has no purpose at first he decides on Uganda by putting his finger on a spinning globe, and he arrives only with vague hopes of doing some good and having some adventures. He has those soon enough, too, romancing an African woman and then flirting with the lonely wife of one of his colleagues. She's played by Gillian Anderson who's reverted to her natural blond hair (and English accent) and picked up a raw, sunburnt look; she's quite good and gives this part of the movie an adult, melancholy charge. -- Stephen Whitty (The Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J.)

Even those with less screen time than Whitaker and McAvoy are given their rightful space and fill it fully. Kelly Washington, as one of Amin's beautiful wives who turns to the doctor for the comfort of love; Gillian Anderson, as a fellow medic's wife with a firm grasp of the limited potential for charity and hope in Amin's Uganda; and Simon McBurney, as a seedy British official with an expedient view of the folly of any and everyman's imperialism, are all strikingly on cue. Their performances, just like the two lead roles, the script and the direction, are invested with understanding of the ongoing mistakes of history, the issues manifested in this weird duet between the African tyrant and Dr. Garrigan. -- Bridget Byrne (Box Office Magazine)

And when he lands at his first destination, a rural clinic, you know he will put the moves on the top doc's decent and deceptively sensual wife, Sarah Merrit. (The never-disappointing Gillian Anderson contributes her haunting presence to the role and makes even her disapproval sexy.) -- Michael Sragow (Baltimore Sun)

The charismatic McAvoy finds an ever-shifting blend of opportunism and decency; Simon McBurney is a reptilian marvel as Idi’s English minder; and Gillian Anderson is amazingly vivid as a beaten-down do-gooder. -- David Edelstein (New York Magazine)

James McAvoy Interview
MoviesOnline, Canada

Q: What was your experience of working with Gillian Anderson like?

JM: Good. She was really cool. She was very focused and very professional. I think she has got a lot of contact with Africa. She works in Africa quite a lot, not as an actress, but her ex-husband used to work in Africa quite a lot and I think she does a lot of aid in Africa. So it was very important for her to do something, I think, working there and increasing her experience there. So no, she was good fun.

Five Minutes with: James McAvoy
By Amy Longsdorf for Impulse

Impulse: What was it like doing a love scene with Gillian Anderson?

McAvoy: Well, I'm a big fan of the "X-Files," so I got to pretend to be Mulder for a day. I didn't actually tell her that. But I did come up with a lot of "X-Files" theories, only to have her go, "That's ridiculous.' She was really great.

Gillian at Sadlers Wells Benefit Event
Posted at 10:39 PM (PDT) on Wednesday, October 4, 2006

Click here to view a new picture, courtesy of

Caption: Gillian Anderson attends the Sadlers Wells benefit evening to raise funds for the theatre, at Lindley Hall in the Royal Horticultural Hall on September 25, 2006 in London, England.

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