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For years, she was typecast as a frosty English rose. But then something remarkable happened – and Kristin Scott Thomas blossomed into one of the most interesting actresses of our age

Miramax - No country for this old maverick

After no Oscar nominations in 2010 and a drastic reduction of its operations, Miramax appears to be dead in the water. James Mottram asks what the decline of the arthouse giant means for the future of US independent cinema

Best film & theatre books for Christmas

Kevin MacDonald recounts a transforming moment when, as a student at Oxford, he found himself sitting in front of a film made by his grandfather, Emeric Pressburger: The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp. The elderly Pressburger had just been admitted to an old people's home and although MacDonald shared a strong emotional bond with him, he had never much bothered with his films. Now he saw reflected for the first time the talents of an "extraordinary man" facing his last years alone.

Matt Damon: 'I have turned down scripts if the violence is gratuitous. I do believe it has an effect on people's behaviour'

Matt Damon is almost visibly shivering. He's turned his mind back to the beginning of the decade, to a time when his career was on the skids. Robert Redford's golfing saga The Legend of Bagger Vance and the Cormac McCarthy adaptation All The Pretty Horses, both of which cast Damon in the lead, had tanked. Holed up in Paris, he was on the fourth round of re-shoots for The Bourne Identity. "All the indicators were that that was going to be a turkey too," he says. Going through his mind was the simple rule of baseball: three strikes and you're out. "Nobody had offered me a job in about nine months."

Running wild: London prepares for 'free-running' championships

The world's best 'free-runners' are converging on London. Rob Sharp tries to learn some of their milder moves

Observations: Tide is awash with new talent

The third annual High Tide theatre festival at Halesworth in Suffolk, which kicks off on 27 April for 14 days, is premiering three new plays that have been hand-picked and developed from over 650 scripts. The chosen writers – Lucy Caldwell for her second play Guardians, Jesse Weaver and Lydia Adetunji for their debut plays Muhmah and Fixer respectively – were paired up with young directors, designers and actors and given mentors to help them from the first draft through to finished, final productions.

Screen test: Look what they've done to my book!

Book-writing is a very different art from writing screenplays. So what happens when an author's cherished creation finds itself in Hollywood's tender embrace? Charlotte Cripps asked nine novelists how they cope

Juliette Binoche: My step into the unknown

The actress Juliette Binoche reveals why she's turned to dance, what it's like to work with Akram Khan, and how much she misses Anthony Minghella

Last Night's TV: Bonekickers, BBC1; Imagine... BBC1

They need to dig a little deeper

Preview: Reading Room, Southbank Centre, London

Stars and dancers are perfect fit

Savage critics stifle opera, says ENO chief

Opera in London is too conservative compared to Berlin and Paris productions, and is stuck "in a bit of a box", the artistic director of the English National Opera says.

David Lister: Director's troubles are partly self-inflicted

For the artistic director of the English National Opera to lament the state of opera in London is a bit like the head of British Airways criticising the state of baggage handling at Terminal 5. If it isn't your fault, whose fault is it exactly?

Jonathan Romney: Noises Off

Anthony Minghella shot for the stars but still kept his feet on the ground

Anthony Minghella

I first encountered Anthony Minghella at the peak of his first career when he was writing Inspector Morse screenplays for the producers Chris Burt and Ted Childs, writes Dennis Firminger [further to the obituary by Geoffrey Macnab, 19 March]. I was location manager for the series.

Anthony Minghella: Oscar-winning director of 'The English Patient' who was unafraid to deal frankly with raw emotions

Anthony Minghella made relatively few features and his career as a movie director lasted under two decades. None the less, he is likely to be remembered as a significant figure. Not only was he prepared to take on major literary novels like The English Patient and Cold Mountain, he was unafraid to deal frankly and without embarrassment or irony with raw emotions. Detractors may have called his approach novelettish and accused him of at least occasional mawkishness, but he was able to engage with audiences on a level that many, more timid, British directors of his era were not.

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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
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Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor