London Film Festival Rushes

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The Independent Culture
ACCORDING TO Terry Gilliam - holding a masterclass on the experience of making Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas - Benicio Del Toro disappeared so far into his role as Depp's lawyer sidekick, Dr Gonzo, that directing him proved "nightmarish". At points, Depp was also none too impressed with his co-star. For proof, says the director, check out the bathroom scene: Benicio is crashed out in the bath while Depp, as Hunter S Thompson, grows ever more fretful, hurling insults at his troublesome co-star which, claimed Gilliam, were entirely unscripted.

And if you were in any doubt that Thompson's book is a genuine, narcotically fuelled period piece, the trouble Gilliam had with the film's sound-track shows just how "sensible" everyone's become in the intervening 25 years.

Gilliam wasn't able to use the Rolling Stones' "Sympathy for the Devil", the book's anthem, because its publishers ("great, greedy, fat bastards", as the masterclass learnt) demanded such a huge wedge for its use. There's no Jimi Hendrix to hum along to, either, because (only in America) the musician's estate didn't want Hendrix's music associated with a film about drug abuse.

A SCREENING of the much-delayed B Monkey revealed the film's troubled genesis. After the departure of Michael Caton Jones, it was shelved for a couple of years before Michael Radford, the director, finally shepherded it on to the big screen. By all accounts, Radford diplomatically absorbed an after-show grilling on the film's delays, until someone asked him what the title meant: he had absolutely no idea. Yet the discussion was able to throw light on the mid-Nineties career trough of one of its stars, Rupert Everett. He may be hot now, but back then he was forced to pay for his own screen test.

DEREK MALCOLM must have felt as if he was surplus to requirements during his interview with Julie Walters on Saturday.

Ostensibly playing straight man to the venerable actress's comic turn, the veteran film critic could only watch as Walters castigated early leavers from the audience, recalled having sex with Alan Bennett (on film) and plugged her new film, Titanic Town. In it Walters plays a housewife standing up to the Troubles in the early Seventies, but the actress admitted that there had been none of that method nonsense in preparing for her role. "I don't bother with all that - it's very exhausting, and you've got enough to do with all the line-learning."

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