John Duigan

The Parole Officer

Interviewed by Jane Crowther

Screenwriters are usually kept well away from the set. How was it working with Steve Coogan as writer and star of "The Parole Officer"?

I'm sure potentially it can cause problems but I had the opportunity to work with Steve and Henry Normal (co-screenwriter) for about four months on the evolution of the script. That gave us an opportunity to get to know each other. Before we began shooting, Steve suggested that once we'd started he wanted to just be a member of the cast, so we worked together officially as director and actor.

How is Steve as an actor?

He is very well trained, and one of the things I was happily surprised about was how technically adroit he is as a performer. He's someone you can give very detailed and very subtle direction to and he can execute it. He's a good actor to work with and I've directed quite a few!

There's a great scene where he vomits all over Brownies on a rollercoaster. How did you do that?

It was a very unpleasant experience for the Brownies sat behind Steve! It was very important to have totally candid reactions from them so I told them it was possible one of the actors sat in front of them might be ill, but it wasn't guaranteed. By the time it happened I think they'd forgotten so their reactions are totally spontaneous!

"The Parole Officer" is released in UK cinemas on Friday 10th August 2001.