Category Entertainment News

Glenn Close on playing The Wife and being a mother

Glenn Close on playing The Wife and being a mother

Hollywood veteran Glenn Close talks about her new drama The Wife, the title character which she shares with her own actress daughter.

With a title like The Wife, it’s hardly surprising Glenn Close’s latest film – out in the UK on 28 September – is a family affair.

Yet this story of a woman whose writer husband is chosen to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature puts family relations to the fore both on and off the screen.

For one thing, the younger version of Close’s Joan Castleman character is played in flashbacks by Annie Starke, the actress’s 30-year-old daughter.

In addition, Joan’s son David is played by Max Irons, whose father Jeremy starred opposite Close in Reversal of Fortune and The House of the Spirits.

Close says she deliberately stayed away from set on the days her daughter was shooting her scenes.

“I didn’t want Annie to feel her mother was hovering around,” the actress says. “It was important she worked independently of me.”

It was Close who suggested to her Swedish director, Bjorn Runge, that Starke take on the role, which became available after a previously cast actress withdrew from the project.

She did so with the firm conviction Starke would more than hold her own against such actors as Downton Abbey’s US star Elizabeth McGovern and Britain’s Harry Lloyd, known for Game of Thrones and Wolf Hall.

“Being my daughter is something Annie has had to contend with her whole life,” she reveals. “I’ve always been aware of how difficult it has been for her sometimes.

“The thing that gives me great joy is that I think she’ll have a phenomenal career. I’ve thought from when she was very little that she had a natural talent.”

Phenomenal is an apt word to describe Close’s own career, which spans four decades and straddles television, film and the stage.

The recipient of six Oscar nominations, she is the winner of three Primetime Emmys, three Tonys, two Golden Globes and a SAG award.

Her many successes include Fatal Attraction, Dangerous Liaisons, TV drama Damages and the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Sunset Boulevard.

Now 71, she has reached the age where lifetime achievement awards are coming her way. (Her visit to last year’s Zurich Film Festival saw her presented with its Golden Icon Award.)

“It’s nice to have a body of work that’s worthy of a lifetime achievement award,” she smiles. “I’m at a point in my career where there’s a lot to look back on.

“What is important is you do work that is authentic to you and feel fulfilled and challenged by… and that you spend your creative life with people who are worth leaving home for.”

One of those people is Britain’s Jonathan Pryce, who plays Joan’s far-from-perfect husband Joe.

A much-feted author with a formidable literary reputation, he is also a self-absorbed philanderer who adores being the centre of attention.

“I was thrilled to work with Jonathan and I was very grateful he supported me in a movie called The Wife,” his co-star gushes. “We couldn’t find an American actor who would do that.

“Jonathan had the courage not to ask for the audience’s pity or even their understanding. What he does in the film breaks my heart.”

Set in the days preceding Joe’s Nobel presentation, The Wife sees Joan begin to question the 40 years she has spent supporting her husband at the cost of her own dreams and ambitions.

“Joan is a complex woman,” says Close. “It was a real challenge for me to try to understand her and where she is at this very crucial point in her life.

“I didn’t know when I said yes to the movie if I could find a reason why she stayed with him for so long. That was my first question, and I knew all women would ask the same thing.”

Compared to some of the other demands that come with her job, though, playing Joan was a breeze. “For me the most painful part of what I have to do is finding something to wear on the red carpet,” she sighs.

The Wife is out in the UK on 28 September.

New children's novel brings refugee crisis to the classroom

New children's novel brings refugee crisis to the classroom

Onjali Q Rauf has spent the past three years helping families in the refugee camps of northern France.

Now she wants to help nine-year-olds understand the refugee crisis in the classroom. Her first book, The Boy At The Back Of The Class, follows a refugee boy as he tries to fit in to British school life.

Chas and Dave: Dave Peacock pays tribute to bandmate

Chas and Dave: Dave Peacock pays tribute to bandmate

Chas and Dave musician Dave Peacock has paid tribute to his “fabulous mate” Chas Hodges, who died on Saturday aged 74.

“I’m going to miss him terribly,” he told BBC News.

Chas recently received treatment for oesophageal cancer but died peacefully in his sleep.

Known for their rock and cockney style, Chas and Dave enjoyed the height of their fame in the 1970s and 1980s with hits such as Rabbit and Snooker Loopy.

The pair have been friends for more than 50 years, forming the band in the 1970s.

Dave told BBC News he would remember the pianist, guitarist and vocalist as a “fabulous musician and a fabulous mate”.

“All he wanted to do was play music. He just couldn’t stop, even when he was eating his dinner he’d be humming a tune,” he said.

“When he was having chemotherapy they couldn’t believe it – he even wrote a song while he was having chemotherapy in the hospital.”

The guitarist said he was still in a “bit of a daze” after hearing of Chas’s death.

“I always say to people Chas and Dave ain’t just a band, it’s a way of life and I’m going to miss him terribly,” he said.

“He was there for me when my wife died. He’s always been fantastic. He’s always been there.”

Chas and Dave’s debut album One Fing ‘n’ Anuvver, featuring Chas on lead vocals, was released in 1975 and they went on to have eight UK top 40 hits.

They also appeared in adverts for Courage beer and Heinz Baked Beans.

In their website biography, the duo said they recorded “witty songs about life in London, performed with a strong affection for all things English reminiscent of many of the great music hall artists many years previously”.

Dave said he felt the duo proved the “doubters” who thought they were just a “pub band” wrong, going on to play worldwide and feature on the 2005 Glastonbury line-up.

“[Chas] used to say to me years ago, ‘They’ll only recognise us when we’re dead, that’s when they’ll cotton on to us,” he said.

“A lot of people don’t really get us, what we are. They just think it’s down the old pub, ‘Knees Up Mother Brown’. It’s not. There’s a lot more to Chas and Dave’s music than that.”

He continued: “We decided to sing in our own accents as opposed to false American ones, which no one was doing at the time, and some record companies said that would never sell north of Watford. But America, Australia, Scotland – they love us.”

Chas and Dave’s greatest hits

Gertcha – No 20 in the UK chart in May 1979

Rabbit – No 8 in Nov 1980

Ossie’s Dream – No 5 in May 1981 (with Spurs squad)

Stars Over 45 – No 21 in Dec 1981

Ain’t No Pleasing You – No 2 in March 1982

Tottenham Tottenham – No 19 in May 1982 (with Spurs squad)

Greg James marries partner Bella Mackie

Greg James marries partner Bella Mackie

Greg James has married his partner Bella Mackie, seven months after she proposed.

The Radio 1 Breakfast Show host posted on Instagram that it was “the most incredible day of my life”.

Announcing the engagement in June, Greg described Bella as “the smartest, funniest and most beautiful person I’ve ever met”.

He joked that his new early starts means he can’t stay up drinking as late with his new wife as much as he’d like.

On his Instastory he posted that Patrick Nazemi, the head resident DJ at Ibiza Rocks this summer, was the DJ at the wedding reception.

On Radio 1 Matt Edmondson dedicated Tom Greenan’s Found What I’ve Been Looking For to Greg and Bella, with Mollie King congratulating the couple.

Scott Mills will cover Monday’s Breakfast show.

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The Bodyguard: Meet the real-life close protection officer

The Bodyguard: Meet the real-life close protection officer

Detective Chief Inspector Steve Ray has protected heads of state and government in his work as a close protection officer.

He lists communication and negotiation as key skills for the job, as well as the ability to work in a team.

So how close is the role to its TV portrayal?