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Thursday, March 10, 2005 11:41
Anthony Minghella interview
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Anthony Minghella
Anthony Minghella at his parent's home on the Isle of Wight.
tinyOscar winning film director Anthony Minghella is one of the world's most famous film makers - BBC South's Amanda Hussain went over to his parent's home on the Isle of Wight to talk to him about his career and inspirations from the island...
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WATCH and LISTEN
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videoAnthony Minghella talks growing up on the Isle of Wight.
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videoAnthony goes back to his old haunt, Ryde Pier.
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FACTS
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Anthony Minghella is a keen musician and used to play keyboards in a couple of bands.

He gave his parents, Eddie and Gloria Minghella, small roles in his Oscar winning film The English Patient.

The film also contains wartime footage of the Isle of Wight.

The film scooped nine Oscars in 1997 including Best Film and Best Director.

In his Oscar speech Anthony Minghella said "This has been a triumph for the Isle of Wight . . ."

His other work includes Cold Mountain and The Talented Mr Ripley.

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One of five children, Anthony Minghella grew up above his parent's busy ice-cream shop on the Isle of Wight. With a very supportive, gregarious family, there was a strong working ethic:

"It felt different to everyone else's upbringing. The problem with growing up in a cafe was the cafe never closed, my parents worked every day of the year from morning to night. So it was a big menagerie of kids, business and cooking!"

Play Anthony talks about family life and growing up on the Isle of Wight...

"My image of childhood is very much connected with living life in public - our kitchen was also the cafe's kitchen, our bedroom was above the kitchen, and there was a tannoy, so when my sister and me used to go to bed they could hear us mucking around upstairs and we'd get this intercom message saying "Shut-up, go to bed!"

"I was one of five very clever kids, the other kids were cleverer than I was and still are and are very achieving. The girls were always first at everything and I was always 101st!"

Anthony Minghella
Anthony at Ryde Pier

"It's quite interesting to be around a lot of women, the very first play that I had done was a play with only women in it. My grandmother was a huge influence on me and the fact that there was this very strong, rather formidable presence of women in my life has been an enormous value.

"The imaginative leap for me of writing for women is no more difficult than the one of writing for men. I've always wanted to have women well represented in the work that I've done because I've always been around them and around the way they look at the world."

Ryde Pier holds some very special memories for Anthony, where he made his first film about his grandmother. For several years he went to school in Portsmouth, so every morning he would walk down to the pier catch the 7 o' clock ferry:

Play Anthony takes a trip back to Ryde Pier where he shot his first film...
"I love this place, this part of the island is full of Victoriana. Our cafe was just there, so the whole of the world was here for me. I used to plod down from our house and hope it would be too foggy for the ferry to run, which it was occasionally."

"The pier was a very significant place because it was a place to escape and it's also where my parents courted. My father was living in Portsmouth, my mother was here. They would meet and they would walk up and down the pier so it was always a rather romantic venue."

It's no surprise then that a young Anthony chose Ryde Pier as one of the locations for his first ever film, which was based on the life of his grandmother.

Anthony Minghella
Anthony Minghella with his Best Director Oscar in 1997.
"I scrounged some money when I was a postgraduate student and tried to write the script and direct and be in it. My brother played me in it and we came and shot all the way around here."

"I borrowed a lot of money from the bank to make the film, it took nine years to pay it back and of course I never finished the film - it's in a vault somewhere and I hope it never sees the light of day!"

"But it did the worst possible thing, it gave me the bug for making films and I realised that making movies was this opportunity to lasso everything that I love doing into one job. It's a fantastic all embracing gig, making films, even if you owe money to the bank, it's a pretty good way to live!"
 
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