SCREEN WATCH

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The Independent Culture
A disappointment for rubberneckers in Leicester Square tomorrow night. Gwyneth Paltrow has made her excuses and will not be attending the British premiere of Emma. But the evening will have at least two unexpected attractions for celebrity seekers. Imran Khan and his wife Jemima will be hosting the charity premiere, its preceding champagne reception and party afterwards with money from tickets going to Imran's hospital in Pakistan.

Meanwhile, the diary of Doug McGrath, Emma's director, published in Premiere magazine, tells how he received a letter from his friend Woody Allen during the shooting of the film, with advice that fell neatly into a style midway between Austen and Allen. It said: "Know that in the end, common sense will be your greatest guide. If you just trust your own judgement and taste, more often than not, things will turn out right. If not, you may want to meet with a career counsellor as quickly as possible."

So where is the next Gwyneth Paltrow, British producers are asking. Answer: Italy. Rivalling Miss Paltrow in coming from near nowhere to starring in a major movie at a tender age is the memorably named Asia Argento who comes to Britain next week when shooting starts on B. Monkey, the film based on the best selling novel by Andrew Davies. The story is of a London schoolgirl, but none of the aspiring 1,000 actresses auditioned by Scala Productions, the British co-producers, matched up to the Italian starlet. Also starring Rupert Everett and Jared Harris, the film marks the return to Britain of director Michael Radford, who made the much-acclaimed Il Postino, after several years of living in Los Angeles. Argento, 20, has already appeared in 18 films and has just been voted Italy's most popular and desirable actress. Not on the voting panel was the director of her biggest Italian box-office hit - her father.

Here's film director logic at its most illogical. British producers and directors have been lobbying for ages to give foreign film makers tax breaks to encourage them to come to Britain to make movies. Now those same film directors, who want these hoards of film makers flying into London, have told Empire magazine that if a fifth terminal is built at Heathrow airport the additional aircraft noise might force them to stop making films in the capital altogether.

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