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Culture Lane

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Culture Lane

I’m not horrible or unfriendly: Freeman

Martin Freeman is not affable. This is according to Freeman himself, who has brushed off the label in the past. He’s not Tim from The Office; neither is he Dr Watson from Sherlock. He’s his own man, and when we meet in a hotel in Tribeca, New York City, there’s an unexpected spikiness to him. He’s not rude, far from it, but there’s an underlying edge and one that he’s all too aware of. “I think I’m a pretty decent person,” he says. “I’m not horrible or unfriendly. But I’m my own person and I think sometimes people think ‘affable’ is going to mean ‘doormat’ or ‘just grateful all the time for any attention’ — and I’m not. I’m not grateful for the attention — quite the opposite, 80% of the time, dependent on the context. This is work and I want people to see my work, so it would be silly for me to be arsey in this situation. But when you’re out and about, people have an idea of whoever you are and I think they have a different idea of, say, Ray Winstone than they would of me. Maybe not now — word’s got around by now.” Maybe it has, but being approached on the street isn’t something that’s going to stop any time soon. The 46-year-old actor has graduated from “guy from The Office” to “guy from pretty much everything” with roles in the small-screen take on Fargo and the big-budget Hobbit franchise, and a supporting part in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, cropping up as Everett Ross in Captain America: Civil War and Black Panther.

Actors pay glowing tribute to Old Vic

A glittering lineup of actors including Judi Dench, Glenda Jackson and Simon Callow have paid tribute to the Old Vic as it prepared to celebrate its 200th birthday. Interviews with actors were broadcast online on Friday afternoon via Twitter in what was billed as the first global “marathon broadcast” from a theatre across a social media platform.

On Saturday at noon, a 10-piece marching band was due to lead a parade from outside the National Theatre on the short journey to the Old Vic where there will be a street party and open house featuring performers, a programme of free activities and food stalls. In the evening, the auditorium will become a one-night-only cabaret space for a fundraiser harking back to the theatre’s days as a music hall in the 1880s.

The Old Vic has one of the most splendid, dazzling histories of any theatre anywhere, but there have been significant downs as well as spectacular ups — not least the public disgrace of its former artistic director Kevin Spacey and the theatre’s apology last November for not creating an environment where people could raise concerns about his behaviour. It has since introduced a number of measures to try to rectify that.

Among the tributes was one from Dench, who recalled having just left drama school when she was cast as Ophelia at the Old Vic.

Women’s silent protest in Cannes

Eighty two women working in the film industry, including Cate Blanchett, Ava DuVernay and Jane Fonda have taken to the Cannes red carpet in silent protest at the lack of female directors at the festival. The group, which also featured Kristen Stewart, Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins and Salma Hayek, walked in silence along the red carpet before stopping halfway up the steps of the entrance to the Palais des Festivals, the conference centre which hosts the events. The gesture was intended to signify the difficulties for women “to climb the social and professional ladder”.

At the conclusion the protest, Blanchett and veteran documentary-maker Agnes Varda read a collective statement from the group that called for institutions to provide safer working conditions for women, and for governments to uphold equal pay laws. “Women are not a minority in the world, yet the current state of our industry says otherwise,” the statement said. “As women, we all face our own unique challenges, but we stand together on these stairs today as a symbol of our determination and commitment to progress.”

 
 
 
 
 

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