"Repo Man" to "Sid & Nancy"
and "Straight to Hell", Alex Cox has made
some of the most original movies of recent years.
latest, "Revengers Tragedy", is an updated
version of Thomas Middleton's 17th century revenge drama that's
set in post-apocalypse Liverpool and stars Christopher Eccleston,
Derek Jacobi, Diana Quick, Sophie Dahl and Eddie Izzard.
described Middleton's play as a black comedy...
It is darkly funny. The characters have ironic, Latin-sounding names
like 'Spurio' and 'Sordido' but the story is clearly set in, and
is about, that English class of titled gangsters, the 'Aristocracy':
with its intrigues, indiscretions, betrayals, lost fortunes... and
you think it might be subversive?
I definitely hope so. Everybody gets a little dose of Shakespeare.
He's the greatest playwright in the English language, but his politics
are fairly square. The greatest crime in a Shakespeare play is to
murder the king. For Middleton it's like, "Kill the king?
Why not?" It's inspirational - nobody is above being brought
down. It's a revolutionary message.
You can't change the system through violence. There's a very
moral aspect to these plays, unlike films such as "Collateral
Damage" or "Death Wish" where
we go "Here's Bruce Willis, he's justified in killing everyone
because they murdered his grandmother".
as a film it must have posed certain problems....
The main one was the hero's ability to disguise himself so that
no one, not even his mother or sister can recognise him. Then there's
the mother's blindness, the fact that the sister was so young...I'd
met Chris (Eccleston) in 1989 and I've been watching him over ten
years as his face changed...and all the while filing other things
away for 'Revengers': locations, actors, a great production by the
RSC in Stratford...
Cox on set
it a fun shoot?
really was fun. Basically I think it all came from the brothers
- Ambitioso (Justin Salinger), Lussurisoso (Eddie Izzard), and Supervacuo
(Marc Warren). You know, it's saying something when Eddie Izzard
is the normal one! They really tried to outdo each other. Justin
Salinger showed up one day with a pink cowboy hat on and everyone
else got really annoyed because somehow he'd managed to get the
pink cowboy hat. So that was very amusing. It's always nice when
the eccentrics show up!
by Jamie Russell & Will Cantopher)
Tragedy: the film
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