5 days in the life of ...

The producer of 'Four Weddings and a Funeral' on the week his new film was premiered
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Indy Lifestyle Online
MONDAY: I moved to Soho three weeks ago, to a glass-walled flat directly across Wardour Street from the distributors of my new movie Lawn Dogs. It's tempting to stay home all day, watching how much work they're doing opposite. Stop when it looks as though they're doing the same thing. Yesterday there were two full pages in the Sunday Times about Mischa Barton, the brilliant but unknown child actress who stars in Lawn Dogs and who's here from New York to help promote it. Our clever publicist seems to have generated coverage out of thin air by finding the right angle. "Child actress brilliant in wonderul new movie" - forget it. "Child actress flies to London to premiere of her first film, but censors say she is too young to see it" - hold the front page!

TUESDAY: 7am cab to the Wellington Hospital for a cardiac catheter test. I have a congenital arhythmic heartbeat - by pure coincidence, just like the child in Lawn Dogs. Trying to be brave in the theatre, I chat to one of the nurses about the film. "Isn't that the one with the girl who's too young to get in to see her own film?" Success!

WENESDAY: Interview for Radio 4's PM programme about whether a child should be in a film she's too young to see. Call the British Board of Film Censors to check why they made it a 15. People assume age restrictions are about sex and violence, but in Britain they're typically about bad language. A single spoken 'fuck' and your film's a 12. Two or more, and you're a 15. Lawn Dogs, according to the profanity-counters, has six. So it's our f-count, not the "restrained violence", or "brief nudity", that gets us a 15 certificate. Fortunately the interviewer doesn't know just how unsalacious our film is or we wouldn't be getting a two-minute plug on national radio.

Three screenings of Lawn Dogs at the London Film Festival in Leicester Square. The first is for a packed audience of 800 teenagers. They love it - screaming, cheering, sobbing, gasping. They all laugh when the girl fires the gun. What does this mean?!

The evening showing is a good approximation of a media event. I'm impressed by the crush barriers, until I realise that they're for Helena Bonham Carter, who'll be arriving later for her own premiere at the same cinema. Resolve not to tell Mischa. The film is a huge success, though our star has to sit in an ice-cream parlour with her sister and mum during the screening. GMTV captures this act of denial on camera.

THURSDAY: An evening members' screening at the British Academy of Film & TV Arts, with a Q&A session afterwards. Mischa is asked about her character's attitude to violence. Is the questioner a BBFC plant? She gives an extraordinarily thoughtful answer about Devon's innermost feelings and motivation. A producer in the audience books her instantly for the Des O'Connor Show.

FRIDAY: Drive from my Camden office to do a live interview with Mischa on Talk Radio on Oxford Street. The traffic is appalling, and I find myself testing the heart specialist's optimistic prognosis by parking at a meter four minutes before I'm supposed to be live on air, with no change in my pocket. Run to Boots, grab nearest purchase (chewing gum), pay with pounds 10 note, run back, feed meter, run to building, take lift, jiggle up and down, run in with 30 seconds to spare. Sit down at my mike - panting, ignored - and 11-year-old Mischa is there in full flow, holding the rapt interviewer in the palm of her hand. Suddenly the week makes sense. A media career is being born before my very eyes. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the new Jodie Foster, Hollywood's next big thing, our very own star-in-the making, the brilliant leading light of Lawn Dogs, so young she can't even see her own film - the one, the only, Miss Mischa Barton. Yaaaaay!

'Lawn Dogs' opens nationwide in selected cinemas on Friday.

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