BFI London Film Festival Guests: Joel Edgerton

This year’s BFI LONDON FILM FESTIVAL has just concluded. Here is one of the guests whom I met at the event:

Autographed drawing of actor Joel Edgerton

Joel Edgerton demonstrates that he is a gifted and versatile an actor as he is a writer playing the soulful, tragic-heroic John Falstaff in THE KING and co-writing the screenplay with director David Michôd, adapted from Shakespeare’s HENRY IV, PARTS 1 + 2 and HENRY V texts. Familiar with the material from his involvement with the Sydney-based Bell Shakespeare Company’s stage productions in the late 1990’s, playing Prince Hal in HENRY IV and the title role in HENRY V.

Film followers will know him as Owen Lars in STAR WARS: EPISODE II-ATTACK OF THE CLONES (2002) and EPISODE III-REVENGE OF THE SITH (2005) with other appearances in such notable films such as THE GREAT GADSBY (2013), BLACK MASS (2015) and LOVING (2016) for which he received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor. In 2018 he wrote, directed and starred in BOY ERASED, about gay conversion therapy.

Joel signed my sketch at the Embankment Garden Cinema before THE KING’s Gala Screening on Thursday 3 October.

BFI London Film Festival Guests: Timothée Chalamet

This year’s BFI LONDON FILM FESTIVAL has just concluded. Here is one of the guests whom I met at the event:

Autographed drawing of actor Timothée Chalamet

Timothée Chalamet’s lead role in David Michôd’s THE KING follows his startling transformation from Hal, the fun-loving prince to an all-powerful monarch who unwittingly ascends the English throne. Described as a “stunnng, visceral portrait of Henry V” based on several plays from Shakespeare’s ‘Henriad’, it is one of literatures’s most acute character studies.

Timothée demonstrates his full acting range, perfectly capturing both the charm and recklessness of the youthful royal and the steely authoritarianism of a king in the making. It’s a range that was clearly evident in his two most acclaimed film portrayals-his role as 17 year-old Elio Perlman in 2017 coming-of-age romantic drama, which earned him an Oscar, BAFTA, Golden Globe, SAG and Critics’ Choice Award Best Actor nominations and teenage drug addict Nic Seff in BEAUTIFUL BOY, with further recognition in the form of Globe, SAG and Critics’ Choice Award NOMINATIONS.

At the age of 23 he has appeared in 14 feature films, with three more in post-production, since his debut five years ago. Timothée signed my sketch at the Gala Screening of THE KING on Thursday 3 October at the Embankment Garden Cinema.

BFI London Film Festival Guests: Atom Egoyan

This year’s BFI LONDON FILM FESTIVAL has just concluded. Here is one of the guests whom I met at the event:

Autographed drawing of director Atom Egoyan

Atom Egoyan. The Canadian stage and film director Atom Egoyan is one of the most celebrated contemporary filmmakers. His latest feature GUEST OF HONOUR, a story of family secrets with David Thewlis screened in the Festival’s Thrill category also on Tuesday 8 October.

His work is known for exploring the themes of alienation and isolation. One of my favourite Atom Egoyan films is THE SWEET HEREAFTER (1997) with Ian Holm. It won the Grand Prix and Jury Prizes at the 50th Cannes Film Festival and Atom was nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Director Oscars. He also took part in the LFF Connects series at the BFI on 8 October, where he signed my sketch.

BFI London Film Festival Guests: Rian Johnson

This year’s BFI LONDON FILM FESTIVAL has just concluded. Here is one of the guests whom I met at the event:

Autographed drawing of director Rian Johnson

Rian Johnson. Described as a ‘genre-hopping’ director, Rian’s fifth feature film, KNIVES OUT, a ‘wickedly witty and stylish murder mystery’, featuring Christopher Plummer, Jamie Lee Curtis, Toni Collette and Michael Shannon to name a few, had Gala screenings at both the Odeon Luxe and the Embankment Garden’s pop-up cinema on Tuesday 8 October. Rian, who wrote and directed one of the most successful movies of all time, STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI also did a Screen Talk on the same day at the BFI on London’s Southbank where he signed my sketch afterwards.

BFI London Film Festival Guest: Marielle Heller

This year’s BFI LONDON FILM FESTIVAL has just concluded. Here is one of the guests that I met at the event:

Autographed drawing of director Marielle Heller

Marielle Heller. Marielle’s third feature, A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBOURHOOD, featuring Tom Hanks as the American Television icon Fred Rogers was the BFI Patron’s Gala screening at the Odeon Luxe Cinema in Leicester Square last Friday. Marielle’s directing debut was the award-winning 2015 comedy-drama THE DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL, which she also wrote, based on Phoebe Gloeckner’s hybrid novel of the same name. She followed that with last year’s sleeper hit and Oscar-nominated CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME? featuring Melissa McCarthy and Richard E Grant.

Marielle signed my drawing at the Odeon Luxe after her introduction on Friday night.

BFI London Film Festival Guest: Alejandro Landes

This year’s BFI LONDON FILM FESTIVAL has just concluded. Here is one of the guests that I met at the event:

Autographed drawing of director Alejandro Landes

Alejandro Landes. The Brazilian-born Colombian-Ecuadorian director’s third feature MONOS, the hallucinogenic and intoxicating thriller about child soldiers, set on a remote mountain top in Latin America is one of the most talked-about films of the year and won the top prize at the London Festival, adding to the numerous accolades already collected, including the Jury Prize at Sundance where it premiered in January and is Colombia’s Official entry for the Academy Awards.

Alejandro signed my sketch at the first screening of MONOS at the Vue Cinema in Leicester Square.

Drawing: Viola Davis

Autographed drawing of actor Viola Davis

Viola Davis is one the most celebrated actors on stage and screen. She is one of only twenty-four people who have achieved the American entertainment industry’s ‘triple crown’, winning a competitive Academy Award, Primetime Emmy and a Tony Award.

The first of her two Tonys was for her role as Tonya, a 35 year-old mother fighting for the right to abort a pregnancy in KING HEDLEY II at the Virginia Theatre in 2001.The second was for her portrayal of the dutiful yet strong minded Rose Maxson, opposite Denzel Washington in the first Broadway revival of August Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning FENCES at the Cort Theatre in 2010. Both reprised their roles in the 2016 film adaption, directed by Denzel, with Viola winning the Oscar, the BAFTA and a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress. Her Primetime Emmy was for her lead actress role as criminal defence attorney Annalise Keating in the television series HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER in 2015.

She has also won five Screen Actors Guild Awards. Overall, from 213 award nominations she has won 102. Away from acting she is a producer, a published children’s book author and is involved in a number of philanthropic activities and her advocacy and support of human rights.

Viola signed and dedicated my montage sketch at last year’s gala screening of Steve McQueen’s WIDOWS, which opened the 62nd BFI LONDON FILM FESTIVAL at Cineworld in Leicester Square.

Drawing: Hayley Atwell as Jenny in Dry Powder

Autographed drawing of Hayley Atwell as Jenny in Dry Powder at the Hampstead Theatre in London

While appearing in the most successful film of all time, Marvel’s AVENGERS:ENDGAME, reprising the role of Agent Peggy Carter, which she played in 2011 in the superhero film CAPTAIN AMERICA:THE FIRST AVENGER, Hayley Atwell appeared in three productions on the London stage.

The first, Sarah Burgess’s cut-throat comedy DRY POWDER at the Hampstead Theatre ran in the early Spring of 2018. Haley played the ‘acid-tongued, empathy-free Jenny alongside Tom Riley’s Seth as partners in a New York private equity firm reeling from a PR disaster caused by their boss. For the uninitiated ‘dry powder’ means the remaining capital in a private equity fund… if that helps. In his Financial Times review Ian Shuttleworth called Haley “the sharpest knife in the box.”

Later in the year she and Jack Lowden alternated lead roles in Josie Rourke‘s reimagined production of Shakespeare’s MEASURE FOR MEASURE, before her portrayal as the strident Rebecca West in Henrik Ibsen’s ROSERSHOLM at the Duke of York’s in the summer.

She kindly signed my DRY POWDER sketch at the Duke of York’s during the ROSERSHOLM run.

Drawing: Robert Duvall

Autographed drawing of actor Robert Duvall

Robert Duvall has enshrined himself as one of the cinema’s greats over the past six decades with a body of acting work that includes many of my favourite films: NETWORK, MASH, THE GODFATHER, THE GODFATHER II and APOCALYPSE NOW. The latter; Francis Ford Coppola’s epic 1979 masterpiece on the Vietnam War, based on Joseph Conrad’s HEART OF DARKNESS; celebrated its 40th Anniversary this year. A savage and darkly comic examination of the absurdity and double standards of war. It includes one of the most iconic lines in cinema history, “I love the smell of napalm in the morning.”

Bob played regiment commander and surfing fanatic Lt. Colonel William ‘Bill’ Kilgore, a role for which he received an Oscar nomination and won a BAFTA and a Golden Globe. In the midst of an early morning helicopter attack against an innocent village, Kilgore orders a napalm strike, then sees a Vietnamese woman toss a grenade into one of his choppers. “Savages” he spits. “You smell that? Do you smell that? Napalm son. Nothing else in the world smells like that. I love the smell of napalm in the morning.”

Bob has been nominated for an Academy Award seven times, winning the Best Actor Oscar for his portrayal of country and western singer Mac Sledge in TENDER MERCIES in 1983, adding to his BAFTA, two Emmys, four Golden Globes and a SAG award, among many more.

I drew and sent him this contemporary portrait combined with a Kilgore and quote sketch to Bob at his home in Virginia a couple of years ago and he kindly signed, dedicated and returned it to me.

Drawing: Richard Curtis

Autographed drawing of writer Richard Curtis

One of Britain’s most successful comedy screenwriters and film directors, New Zealand-born Richard Curtis is equally known for humanitarian work. While completing a first-class Arts degree at Oxford University, he teamed up with Rowan Atkinson in the Oxford Revue, a collaboration that would be responsible for creating some of the UK’s most memorable comedy. Initially with Rowan and then Ben Elton, Richard wrote every episode of the BAFTA-Award winning BLACKADDER series from 1983-1989, in which Rowan starred in the title role. They teamed up again for the MR BEAN series from 1990-1995. Richard also wrote THE VICAR OF DIBLEY for Dawn French in 1994, the same year his film FOUR WEDDINGS AND A FUNERAL won international acclaim. The resulting Oscar, BAFTA and Golden Globe nominations for his screenplay catapulted Richard to prominence.

He followed that with the very popular NOTTING HILL and BRIDGET JONES’ DIARY. He made his directorial debut with LOVE ACTUALLY in 2003, earning a Golden Globe nomination for his screenplay. It featured a Who’s Who of UK actors and has become a modern day Christmas staple. In 2007, Richard was awarded the BAFTA Fellowship.

In response to the famine in Ethiopia, Richard and comedian Sir Lenny Henry founded ‘Comic Relief’ with the highlight of the appeal being Red Nose Day, a biennial telethon alternating with its sister project ‘Sports Aid’. To date it has raised well over £1 billion.

Richard also established ‘Make Poverty History’ and organised the Live 8 concerts with Sir Bob Geldof to make people more aware of poverty, particularly in Africa and pressure G8 leaders to adopt proposals for ending it.

It’s always nice to meet Richard, who has always been very pleasant and chatty. He happily signed this quick portrait sketch I did of him as he arrived at Wogan House for a guest appearance on Zoe Ball’s BBC Radio 2 Breakfast Show in March to promote this years Comic Relief appeal activities, which included the telecast of his short film ONE RED NOSE DAY AND A WEDDING reuniting many of the original cast.