The Diary: Martin Amis's Night Train; Cannes press conferences; Paul Monaghan; Ken Loach; Sally Hawkins

Arifa Akbar
Thursday 15 August 2013 23:23

A family movie

Father and son team Nicholas and Luc Roeg are directing and producing an adaptation of Martin Amis's novel 'Night Train', which is set in America and could arguably be the writer's most "feminist" piece of work. It stars Sigourney Weaver as the hard-bitten female detective, with the confusingly masculine name, Mike, charged with the task of finding the reason for the suicide of a beautiful astrophysicist's who had a seemingly perfect life. Speaking from Cannes, Luc Roeg, who runs the production company, Independent Film, said his team was due to start shooting the film in Louisiana in September. Roeg Junior added: "I took the book to Nic ( his father) because I'm a bit of a Martin Amis fan and he loved it. He wanted to make this film for a long time. It will have all the complexities of Amis' work but within the genre of a noir detective thriller."

It's in the Cannes

Press conferences at Cannes are traditionally chaotic scrums in the dog-eat-dog world of pre-production bidding. But an industry source said so rigorous is the "vetting" procedure by Cannes officials that 200 journalists' applications were turned down, so as not to let standards slip. And this in spite of a much lower attendance at the world's premiere promotion venue due to slashed recession budgets for media outlets around the world.

Awareness vogue

A deal was brokered at the festival to bring socially conscious films to mainstream audiences that will kick off with a movie on the oppressed people of Burma, and a film reveals the plight of the declinging honeybees. Paul Monaghan, from The Co-operative, which launched the initiative with film distributor, Dogwoof, said: "We have campaigned for democracy in Burma for years and we are leading the fight to save the honeybee." Hats off to him.

Ken Loach is hot to Trot

Ken Loach, the British director who has spent the best part of his career making films with a political conscience, may have been taking his unusually frothy footie film, 'Looking for Eric', to Cannes, but he couldn't resist declaring his support for Olivier Besancenot, the Trotskyist leader of the Nouveau Parti Anti-Capitaliste (NPA) and ardent opponent of President Nicholas Sarkozy, as he traversed the red carpet. When asked if he considered himself a revolutionary, Loach replied: "Directors at the most glamorous film festival in the world are venturing into dangerous territory by declaring themselves revolutionary. Nevertheless, I think we need a change." He then proceeded to sing the praises of the NPA.

Hawkins inspired by her granny

The Golden Globe-winning actress Sally Hawkins, who turned up in Cannes to discuss her latest film project, 'We Want Sex', which centres on a group of women machinists who downed tools at Ford's factory in Dagenham to demand equal pay in 1968 and came to represent women's struggle for equality, said she had just begun her "research" for the film which included a YouTube video featuring some of the original strikers. She cited her grandmother, who was a seamstress, as a source of inspiration. "My mum and feisty granny have inspired me," she said.

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