The Diary: Anne Hathaway; Edinburgh Fringe Festival; Jonathan Miller; Jane Austen; Cineroleum

Arifa Akbar@arifa_akbar
Sunday 23 October 2011 03:41

The devil wears Speedos

Any early birds who turned out to Parliament Hill Lido in north London for their daily constitutional would have found themselves prevented from taking a dip as the actress Anne Hathaway was busy doing laps in the 1930s-designed outdoor pool. She was at the lido between 5am and mid-morning, filming swimming scenes from the adaptation of David Nicholls's romantic comedy, One Day, for which she has been cast in the lead role of Emma Morley. Hathaway ploughed up and down the pool while Nicholls stood by the pool signing copies of his book for the film crew and extras, and generally overseeing the scene. A source from the City of London Corporation, which hired out the pool, tells me the crew did not bring any set dressing but they did come with a crane to shoot two scenes, which see Hathaway alternately playing a younger, and older version of her character, who in Nicholls's book keeps a strict daily regimen of swimming on Hampstead Heath. Hathaway has already been spotted in that other great British institution – the pub – relaxing with the locals at the Prince Arthur in Hackney, East London.

Arts and crass

Two young comics are to assume what I can only describe as "close to the bone" comedic alter-egos as bumbling and inept arts correspondents for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, I'm told. Nish Kumar and Tom Neenan, who are avid fans of Newsnight Review and The Culture Show on television, are not exactly satirising the presenters and the acts that appear on such shows, but only gently "ribbing" them, Kumar says. The act, Gentlemen of Leisure, will feature such imaginary performance troupes as the Reduced Dickens Company (could this possibly have been inspired by the Reduced Shakespeare Company?) who rap the entire plot of A Tale of Two Cities. Another sketch involves a politically motivated dance troupe called Dystopia, who are "completely obsessed with the onset of robot attacks". Kumar says that, while it is not straightforward satire, it is what might happen "when the wrong people present these shows". Arts correspondents be warned. Their show is at GRV in Edinburgh from today.

Miller's crossing

Jonathan Miller might have admitted to giving theatre a miss for the past decade or so, but he appears to be an avid follower of film. He tells me his favourite film of recent times has been Michael Haneke's magnificent, Palme d'Or winning drama The White Ribbon. "The best film in years is The White Ribbon," he says, with its "tiny, formally unobserved details of living north of the Rhine." Another cinematic gem, he thinks, is A Serious Man, by the Coen Brothers, which is an "accurate [portrayal] of living in [American-] Jewish suburbia".

Austen's meddling heroine meets Slumdog

Some might have wondered what Jane Austen would have made of Gwyneth Paltrow's Emma. They might now reflect on whether the novelist will be spinning in her grave after the news that the actor/producer Anil Kapoor (above right, of Slumdog Millionaire fame) is giving the book a Bollywood makeover with Aisha, a modern Indian adaptation of Emma, which has now been turned into a chick-flick. His daughter, Sonam Kapoor, stars.

Converted cinema is a real gas

A pioneering bunch of twenty-something architects are transforming a derelict petrol station in London EC1 into a "Cineroleum" – a cinema reminiscent of the golden age of film, with decadent interiors, paper tickets and flip-down seats. Lewis Jones, one of the 14-strong team, says they hope to turn the place into "a public realm where people go to meet and have coffee, not just for screenings". What's more, director Mike Leigh approves. As the Cineroleum's patron, he says, "in a world where new technology is capable of bringing us movies anytime, anywhere, it's fantastic to see young people who believe in cinema not just as an art form but as a physical space that can do something positive for the local community".

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