Dance to the tune of pounds 20 a day

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The Independent Online
Dance to the tune of pounds 20 a day

It is no blockbuster and the salary is hardly Hollywood, but Charles Dance is proud of his new film role.

For just pounds 20 a day, the actor, famous for his starring role in ITV's Jewel in the Crown and the recent re-make of Rebecca, will share the screen with students and be directed by one of their colleagues, Declan O'Dwyer.

Dance will head the cast in a 20-minute amateur film being made in "satirical homage" to the 1925 Russian screen classic, Battleship Potemkin.

O'Dwyer, a second-year student at Bournemouth Arts College whose only previous film, A Frozen Chicken, was shown at the Munich film festival, was shocked when Dance agreed to the role in Potemkin: The Runner's Cut, for such a paltry fee.

"We just asked Mr Dance and he agreed. He read the script and said he loved it," he said.

"He's only getting paid pounds 20 a day for the six days he'll be filming because that's all we can afford. We are putting him up in a little hotel and paying for his food and his papers in the morning.

"He is the most undemanding, nice person on the planet for someone who has got where he is. We went to his home in Somerset for a read-through and he cooked me a pasty."

Dance, who is to play the classic film's director, Sergei Eisenstein, will not even get a glamorous location in which to shoot the film. Instead of jetting off to Russia to recreate the original film's famous massacre sequence on the Odessa steps, the clip is being shot on the steps of the Portsmouth Guildhall.

Other filming will take place at the Kings Theatre in Southsea and on board the old battleship HMS Warrior in Portsmouth dockyard.

A spokesman for Equity, the actors' union, said yesterday: "It's difficult to say how much Mr Dance earns because people like that can command their own salaries. But he must be worth at least a few thousand a day."

An arrangement with Equity allows any professional actors appearing in the film to be paid a flat rate of pounds 20 a day, regardless of experience or star quality.

Matthew Brace