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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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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home