Nicholas Hytner Nicholas Hytner isn't a new face to the theatre, but he is to film. And his maiden trip behind the camera is winning plaudits all over: it was praised by Variety, in a typical reaction, as "a stunning screen directorial debut". This is the more surprising since the film in question is adapted from Hytner's own National Theatre production of The Madness of George III, retaining Nigel Hawthorne in the leading role. (Directors who have essayed the same leap before, for instance Howard Davies last year with The Secret Rapture, serve as a warning of how difficult the transition from stage to screen can be.) Talk of Oscars is in the air.
Kate Winslet At 17, Kate Winslet has already made her mark in the theatre (Adrian Mole, Peter Pan) and on television (Shrinks, Casualty, Get Back). In her first film, Peter Jackson's Heavenly Creatures, she plays one of two schoolgirls caught up in an obsessive and eventually deadly relationship (it is based on a sensational and bizarre true story). Heavenly Creatures premiered at the Venice Festival last September to keen critical interest: the New York Daily News singled out Winslet's "crazy exuberance", whil e Roger Ebert in the Chicago Sun-Times praised the way her character "always exists just this side of hysteria". Heavenly Creatures opens in Britain on 10 February.
Peter Salmi & Carl Prechezer The producing-directing team of Peter Salmi and Carl Prechezer met at the Royal College of Art where their short Spotters (about a family of train-mad anoraks) was one of the most enjoyable graduation films there that year. The Cutter, in which an eager youth dreams of becoming a hitman, played as a curtain-raiser to Damage (and was felt by many to be the better movie). Then came Dirtysomething for BBC2. Finally they've made a feature: Blue Juice, a comedy set in Cornwall's surfing community, and it could be the Four Weddings (or at least the Leon the Pig Farmer) of 1995.