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News Archive: November 2005
Box Art for Bleak House DVD
Posted at 5:57 AM (PST) on Saturday, November 26, 2005

Bleak House - Gillian Anderson Looms Large on Box Art for BBC Adaption of Dickens Book

A couple of weeks ago TV Shows on DVD reported that the new BBC adaption of Charles Dickens' Bleak House would arrive on DVD this coming February 28th. BBC and Warner Home Video have now provided box art for this release, and Gillian dominates the cover. Also shown are, top to bottom, Charles Dance (Alien 3, Gosford Park), Denis Lawson (the original Star Wars trilogy), and Anna Maxwell Martin (BBC's North and South, guest star in the new Doctor Who.

To see the cover, click here.

Gillian to attend the 51st Evening Standard Theatre Awards
Posted at 6:43 AM (PST) on Thursday, November 24, 2005

By Tom Teodorczuk
Evening Standard
24 November 2005

Sir Elton John and Gillian Anderson are among the stars who will attend the 51st Evening Standard Theatre Awards at the Savoy on Monday.

Anderson, who is starring as Lady Dedlock in BBC1's adaptation of Charles Dickens's Bleak House, will present the best designer award at the capital's most prestigious theatre event.

Since she quit the hit sci-fi series The X-Files, Anderson has twice appeared on stage in London - in The Sweetest Swing In Baseball and What The Night Is For.

The contenders for the award are Paul Brown for As You Desire Me, Bob Crowley for Mary Poppins and Christopher Oram and Paule Constable, jointly, for Don Carlos.

Read more.

Lady Dedlock's Flimsy Dress
Posted at 6:19 AM (PST) on Thursday, November 24, 2005

The Express
November 22, 2005
By Hickey

Does Prunella Scales know her husband Timothy West has been ripping off Gillian Anderson's dress? Although Dickens's version of Bleak House never contained any nudity, Timothy - who appears in the BBC's adaptation alongside the X Files star - has managed to disrobe her twice.

"Gillian had to faint and I had to pick her up," he recalls. "She was wearing a long, flimsy dress and as I knelt down to pick her up, the dress tore from top to bottom." After being stitched back into the dress, she resumed filming. "And the same thing happened," says Timothy. "Gillian was very nice about it. She was still talking to me and that's a star in my book."

Straightheads Web Site
Posted at 1:48 PM (PST) on Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Lumina Films has a section on Straightheads.

From an interview with writer/director Dan Reed (September 2005):

How did Straightheads come about?

I spent fifteen years of my life being very frightened and coming into contact with people who use violence as the main force in their lives. I think it�s made me what we call slightly post-traumatic. I stopped dreaming and my nights were completely blank for many, many years and in fact Straightheads grew out of the first dream I had when I started dreaming again. Through writing the script it helped me to deal with things that I didn�t understand were happening to me. And it�s much cheaper than psychotherapy �

Straightheads is about two people who have everything that life can offer us here in the civilised world, its about a successful woman whose got money and power and success, and she meets this beautiful young man and they begin what seems like a beautiful one night adventure together. And then suddenly something happens and they�re attacked and they�re subjected to a terrible, terrible time, this forces them into a completely different world to the world they started out and the film takes you in a very different direction.

Straightheads is a journey from a place of safety to a place of danger. Straightheads is about how difficult it actually is to take revenge even when you�ve decided that violence is your best option. It�s about how, in the real world, when you use violence there is a price to be paid at every step, a consequence of every step. You might think it�s a simple matter of killing person A, but you don�t realise that person A might have a daughter or a son. I think it will mess with people�s heads a bit. It will satisfy people�s expectations of a thriller and that�s very important as basically Straightheads is a revenge thriller. It should be very vivid and I want to play with the audience, I want to use all the panoply of techniques that we all know from thriller and horror films, to lead them the right way, to lead them the wrong way, just to take the audience on a very exciting ride.

Who do you imagine as the audience for this film?

The audience for this film is going to be mainly young people in their twenties; it�s a thriller but not just a thriller for young men. I think women will find the Gillian Anderson character fascinating. She�s a powerful woman; there are not that many thrillers with really strong female lead. They will be fascinated by how she manages to overcome this terrible attack on her which is part of our worst nightmares. What happens when you�re removed from the zone of safety and you�re placed in a zone of danger. How it would be if violence came to your door and maybe one of the ways you dealt with it is if you actually resorted to violence yourself. The minute you resort to violence you become entangled in a series of moral conflicts that lead you to a place you have never been before and that�s what Straightheads is about.

What films or directors are your influences?

Visually I'm a great admirer of David Fincher (Panic Room, Fight Club). I'm a huge fan of Danny Boyle because he is a very dynamic director in that he picks you up at the beginning and you are not let go until the very end. 28 Days Later was a great example of that, really tense, really dynamic. Christopher Nolan: Memento was a brilliantly told story. I love that very sharp, very considered style and that's what I would like to emulate. Coming from documentary, people will tend to expect it to be loose, gritty and very realistic. It will have a feeling of reality to it, a heightened reality, very carefully judged, and deliberately created.

Why have you cast Gillian Anderson?

Gillian Anderson is sexy. She�s also very intelligent and has always portrayed very intelligent women. There is something slightly dangerous about her look, something slightly damaged maybe and yet she has tremendous confidence and she�s fantastic to watch. Gillian Anderson is Alice, for me the two are inseparable.

Why is it called Straightheads?

Straightheads came out of the time I spent with gangsters in Liverpool and it�s a term gang members used to use for anyone who wasn�t involved in crime. A straighthead is a person who is clean and this film is about Straightheads. Two people who have never been involved in violence, who have never suffered, who have never had to defend themselves. It�s also about how any one of us, however little we have been exposed to violence, however unprepared we think we are, actually inside all of us there is a capacity for dealing with violence. It�s a very moral film but when you�ve seen as much real violence as I have you are not going to be happy with a cheaply exploitative and gratuitously violent story. My experience as a witness to violence in war, in criminal situations made me more sophisticated about the way violence should be portrayed on film, both to make it more authentic and exciting and to make it more morally satisfying. Violence is not really well understood by a lot of writers and directors of film.

To read the entire interview, click here (Word Document).

Thanks, Oberon!

Bleak House DVD to be available in the USA on February 28
Posted at 6:15 AM (PST) on Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Bleak House - Gillian Anderson's New Show Planned For Quick DVD Release

By David Lambert
TV Shows on DVD

Gillian Anderson will forever be remembered as "Agent Dana Scully" in 1993's long-running series The X-Files, but these days she stars in a very different type of series. She's been living in the U.K. since 2002 (she also spent about nine years of her childhood there, starting at age 2), and so it's no surprise that her current show airs on BBC-1.

She plays "Lady Honoria Dedlock" in the new program Bleak House, based on the classic Charles Dickens novel of the same name. Other stars include Denis Lawson ("Wedge Antilles" of Star Wars fame), Anna Maxwell Martin, Patrick Kennedy, Carey Mulligan, Charles Dance and Inspector Lynley Mysteries star Nathaniel Parker.

So far, six episodes of the new Bleak House have aired on BBC-1, out of a planned 15-part adaption of Dickens' story about injustice in the British legal system. That may sound a bit like a downer, but there is a lot to this story and it will certainly draw you in.

Many people (critics, viewers) are calling this adaption "magnificent" and other superlatives; at this point the series is clearly a winner and well worth a look. Because of that, BBC Video in North America plans to bring this to DVD quickly: they are scheduling a 3-DVD set ($39.98 Suggested Retail Price) for release on February 28th. That date is timed to coincide with the end of a 6-week run of the show as broadcast on PBS affiliate WGBH.

Here is how BBC and distributor Warner Home Video describe this:

BBC reinvigorates the costume drama in this new production of one of Dickens' greatest masterpieces. Starring Gillian Anderson ("The X-Files") and re-imagined by Andrew Davies (Pride & Prejudice), it is sure to become an instant classic.

An all-star cast comes together to bring to life some of Dickens' most famous creations. There is the icily beautiful Lady Dedlock (Gillian Anderson), who faces the revelation of her dark past once Mr. Tulkinghorn (Charles Dance), her husband's sinister lawyer, catches wind of it. Then there's Esther, whose own background, shrouded in mystery, begins to come to light after the murder of a strange man. Adopted by the kindly John Jarndyce, Esther acts as chaperone to wards Ada and Richard. But will the passionate young love of Ada and Richard survive Richard's obsession with Jarndyce v. Jarndyce, a legal case which seems to have no resolution in sight and threatens to destroy all who become entangled in it?

Stay tuned and we will bring you cover art, plus any further word about this release that BBC or Warner may supply, just as soon as we can.

From Lady Dedlock to Lady Deadshot
Posted at 7:48 AM (PST) on Friday, November 11, 2005

Daily Mail (London)
November 11, 2005


Three times a week, viewers have been following the every move of Gillian Anderson's sultry and aloof Lady Dedlock in the BBC's mustwatch TV adaptation of Bleak House.

For her next role, she has chosen something completely different -- and quite right, too. Gillian started shooting the movie Straightheads yesterday. It's a thriller and it explores the moral issues surrounding violent revenge.

In the film, Ms Anderson plays a businesswoman who is sexually assaulted while visiting her family in Shropshire.

No one messes with this lady, so she grabs her father's old sniper rifle and, not to put too fine a point on it, lets the rapist feel the full impact of her rage.

Director Dan Reed has cast clever Danny Dyer as Ms Anderson's beau and Anthony Calf as the guy who ends up walking in a most peculiar way, by the time Ms Anderson has finished with him.

Bleak House continues for several more weeks. I've seen a few episodes in advance and there are some terrific moments coming involving Lady Dedlock in scenes with Esther and Tulkinghorn, played superbly by Anna Maxwell Martin and Charles Dance.

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Posted at 8:16 PM (PST) on Wednesday, November 9, 2005

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IFTA People's Choice Award
Posted at 5:00 AM (PST) on Monday, November 7, 2005

Congratulations to Gillian for winning the People's Choice Award at the Irish Film and Television Awards.

Gillian's thank you speech:
"Hello! And, I just wanted to say thank you very very much for this award. Thank you especially to the Irish public who, apparently, have voted for me after they heard me speak with an Irish accent - so, that's a very good thing. And thank you to everybody at the Irish Film and Television Awards. And, thank you very much for this beautiful statue 'cos it's actually really classy looking and (laughs) I can't wait to put it on the mantlepiece. I need a bit of gold around! I'm just really thrilled by this and I really appreciate it. It's nice to be included in something international. So have a good evening and thank you."

The director of The Mighty Celt, Pearse Elliott, said: "I'm absolutely delighted to hear Gillian Anderson has won the People's Choice Award for Pantene Best International Actress at this year's IFTAs. It was a pleasure working with Gillian and the award is thoroughly deserved.� (Regional Film & Video, 08.11.05)

Pictures and a video clip are available to view in our gallery, courtesy of Adry, Chew, and Lara Joy.

Bleak House Blurbs
Posted at 4:27 PM (PST) on Tuesday, November 1, 2005

BBC News: Small Screen Hits and Misses

I've watched every episode of Bleak House and it is as good as it could be. I hadn't read the book, but from the moment the opening credits rolled, I was hooked on the drama. Gillian Anderson gives a brilliant performance as the damaged and desperate Lady Dedlock.

The Mirror

There's only one more week to go before Andrew Davies' adaptation comes to an end. To say it has been perfect scarcely does it justice.

The Scotsman

And as for Gillian Anderson, anyone who assumed she'd retired on the basis that she'd be forever typecast as Agent Scully will have to think again. As Lady Dedlock she's the brooding star of the show, all Gothic pallor and eyes that hint at a tragedy waiting to happen.

The Evening Standard

The most enigmatic character continues to be Lady Dedlock - not only hauntingly beautiful but also made beautifully haunted in Gillian Anderson's excellent portrayal.

Mail on Sunday

The goodness of Esther (Anna Maxwell Martin) shines in a tender, underlit way, and Gillian Anderson's breathtaking Lady Dedlock encapsulates loss, isolation, loneliness and sadness: a life glimpsed, lost and now half lived.

Sunday Mirror

Emma Williams, who plays Rosa (Lady Dedlock's maid), worked very closely with Gillian Anderson.

"She could afford to be a diva, but she's lovely. The first thing she said to me was, 'why are all my girls so tall?' I'm 5ft 7in and she's tiny. But she looks stunning, even without make-up."

As part of Rosa's duties, Emma had to style Gillian's hair on camera. "She had this amazing wig. I'm putting combs through it, thinking, 'Please don't let me ruin it', remembers Emma. "Gillian thought mine was a wig too, but it was my own. One time, she thought I had a hair loose, so she grabbed it and ended up pulling a big chunk out of my head."

Sunday Times

If you want to see the depth and range of acting talent in this country, Bleak House is essential viewing. Four episodes in, and there has not been one performance that is dud. They cover the full range of the spectrum, from the quiet subtlety of Esther and John (Anna Maxwell Martin and Denis Lawson) to the broad comedy of Krook and Guppy (Johnny Vegas and Burn Gorman).

There are actors doing the gloriously unexpected (Nathaniel Parker and Gillian Anderson) and stalwarts who are congenitally incapable of being dull � Timothy West, Charles Dance, Warren Clarke and Ian Richardson. Given this astonishing range of acting talent, it is a pity that so much television is clogged up with dismal reality shows, dire sitcoms and mediocre police dramas. Thank heavens for Bleak House.

Daily Telegraph

Episode four of Andrew Davies's superb adaptation, and Esther (Anna Maxwell Martin) meets Lady Dedlock. Gillian Anderson's flickers of unplaced recognition, first in church and then sheltering from the rain, are magic moments. It's all so tense, so elegantly measured and even better as the plot, with the appearence of Inspector Bucket, now comes together for literature's first detective chase.

Leicester Mercury

Gillian Anderson was impressive as the unhappy Lady Dedlock, who has a secret that could ruin her. If you ask me, she was wasted in The X Files.

Western Morning News

The performances are exquisite and in a huge ensemble piece it would be tempting not to single out individuals, but Anna Maxwell Martin and Gillian Anderson simply shine in demanding roles.

Newsquest Media Group Newspapers

Lady Dedlock stared out of the window at the rain. "I am bored to death with it. Bored to death with this place, bored to death with this life, bored to death with myself."

Goodness, what an unhappy bunny. More Lady Deadloss than Lady Dedlock. As played by Gillian Anderson, she was the best thing in the opening episode of the heavily-hyped adaptation of Charles Dickens' Bleak House.

The Observer

In a cast of such rare magnificence (everybody from Charles Dance to Denis Lawson to Nathaniel Parker to Anna Maxwell Martin is, basically, brilliant) it's tough to play favourites, but it's a pretty safe bet I won't have been the only viewer unable to take her eyes off Gillian Anderson's bewitchingly haunted Lady Dedlock, the sort of woman over whom, in another era, ships would be launched and medium-sized wars waged.

Not only providing some proper, old-fashioned, movie-star beauty (that awesome nose, those sensual lips ... I don't remember Scully ever being quite so feast-your-eyes lovely as this, though, admittedly, it is more of a Whartoneseque rather than a Dickensian sort of beauty), Anderson also out-Paltrows the reigning Transatlantic Brit with a faultless English accent, while also managing not to come over as remotely self-conscious or thespy when those eyes are busy hinting at a thousand desperate emotions throbbing just beneath a barely composed facade.

In short, if I were a male viewer, I think I would probably already have fallen hopelessly in love. As it is, I'm pretty obsessed and if I ever decided to go under the knife, I would like to emerge looking like Lady Dedlock, though being very, very good and nice and lovely and kind and generous for the rest of my life, while also subscribing to a belief in reincarnation, may be the less risky option.

Financial Times

Bleak House is as good as any period drama the BBC has done since Pride and Prejudice and certainly the best Dickens in recent memory. As is often the case with Dickens, it is rarely the naive and insipid central characters who carry the tale, fine though all these performers are. It is the meatier supporting roles that make the story sing, and here the viewer is well served, be it in the brooding menace of Charles Dance's heartless lawyer Tulkinghorn, or the wounded silence of Gillian Anderson's Lady Dedlock. Likewise, Nathaniel Parker's feckless Skimpole and Matthew Kelly's Turveydrop provide splendid Dickensian comic relief. Even Johnny Vegas, manages to extend himself beyond his normal comic persona, to deliver a grasping and ultimately combustible Krook.

The Independent

The casting was also just as you dreamed it. Johnny Vegas was put on earth to play a Dickensian low-life, and here he was, red-faced and menacing as Mr Krook, the gin-soaked proprietor of a rag and bottle shop. Gillian Anderson was handsomely imperious as Lady Dedlock, her erect posture vying with her frock for creaking stiffness. Like any soap in its early stages, much of it seemed strange, though you knew that within a few weeks, your life would be empty without it.

The Evening Standard

At the heart of the tale is a mystery, or rather a series of interlocking puzzles. Three young folk have come to town to see if they might gain from the long-contested Jarndyce will, oblivious of the fact that everyone within hovering distance has an interest in the outcome, not least Lady Dedlock, played by Gillian Anderson in the style known as cut-glass gorgeous.

Radio Times Online

Watching this extraordinary version of Dickens's novel feels less like watching a TV drama and more like sampling a strange other world, one that extends beyond the screen and has a life of its own. Afterwards you may be surprised to find yourself back in the 21st century and not murky 1850s London - that's how absorbing it is. Scriptwriter Andrew Davies must have gulped at the task of making Dickens's doorstop of a novel fit on the small screen. Even his dramatisation skills feel stretched by the effort of weaving into a watchable narrative with a truly astonishing cast that stretches from Charles Dance to Johnny Vegas, it's Gillian Anderson who, despite having only a handful of lines, is at the heart of the drama. It's a magnetic performance (one of many) in a tremendous piece of television.

The Herald

I will risk one bet: Gillian Anderson, formerly of The X-Files, is going to prove a revelation as Lady Dedlock. She had precious few lines, and spoke them magnificently.

The Telegraph

If Maxwell Martin seemed able to express entire pages in a glance, she was matched by a ravishing Gillian Anderson as the arrogant, tragic Lady Dedlock. (Viewers who know her only from The X Files must have had quite a surprise.)

The Mirror

Gillian Anderson continues to quietly dazzle in part two of this unmissable adaptation.

The Times

Dickens�s novel has been given the full 15-part BBC treatment, with scripts by Andrew Davies and a who�s who of talent in which every role has been cast to perfection and every actor plays it to the hilt. Although it has been filmed using the edgiest of camera-work, the story is so engrossing and the acting so ripe that it could just as well be performed on a bare stage in modern dress without losing any of its impact. It is wonderful, too, to see familiar faces acting against type. Gillian Anderson (of X-Files fame) as Lady Deadlock oozes world-weariness from every pore; Nathaniel Parker is so convincing as the feckless Horace Skimpole that you want to hit him; and even Johnny Vegas gets drunk with a purpose. Rather than dumbing down a classic, this glorious adaptation transforms soap opera into art.

The Mirror

But Gillian Anderson's mesmerising Lady Dedlock is in a league of her own.

Time Out

"Sandwiches! I'd like peanut butter, lettuce, Tabasco and mayonnaise," says Gillian Anderson. 'It's the least English combination I can think of.' Charles Dance, who is standing next to her, says 'Cucumber sandwiches for me, I think.' Both actors are trussed up in heavy Victorian costumes - all tight corsets and stiff, high collars - for their roles in the BBC's adaptation of 'Bleak House'; it's 1.30pm and it will be another hour and a half before anyone can stop for lunch.

Not only is the soap-sized structure more faithful to the period, it's also an attempt to bring in soap-sized audiences. The piece has been cast to appeal to younger viewers, with Johnny Vegas, Alistair McGowan and Liza Tarbuck making appearances. The star, though, is Anderson, whose sinister, secretive Lady Dedlock should chill viewers as much as any spooky mystery from 'The X Files'.

Daily Express

"Despite the fact there is absolutely no warmth in the relationship between Tulkinghom and Lady Dedlock, I really bonded with Gillian," Charles Dance says. "She has an extraordinary pre-Raphaelite look about her."

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Posted at 1:13 PM (PST) on Tuesday, November 1, 2005

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