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Anthony Minghella

Interviews

Mario Falsetto

Publication Year: 2013

Anthony Minghella: Interviews is an illuminating anthology of in-depth conversations with this important contemporary film director and producer. The collection explores Minghella's ideas on every aspect of the cinematic creative process including screenwriting, acting, editing, the use of music in film, and other topics concerning the role of the film director.

Minghella (1954-2008) was a highly regarded British playwright (Made in Bangkok), and television writer (Inspector Morse) before turning to film directing with his quirky, highly regarded first film, Truly, Madly, Deeply, in 1990. He went on to direct an extraordinary trilogy of large-scale films, all adapted from significant works of contemporary literature. Minghella's 1996 adaptation of Michael Ondaatje's poetic novel The English Patient was the director's most critically and commercially successful film and went on to win dozens of awards around the world, including nine academy awards. Minghella followed this film with his entertaining, elegant adaptation of Patricia Highsmith's The Talented Mr. Ripley, a film that enjoyed great critical and commercial success and featured some of the best acting of the 1990s by its talented cast of young, rising stars, Jude Law, Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Philip Seymour Hoffman. Minghella's ambitious adaptation of Charles Frazier's American Civil War romance, Cold Mountain, was released in 2003, and firmly marked Minghella as a director of intimate, yet large-scale epic cinema worthy of David Lean.

Although Minghella was a successful film director and producer, he was also an important part of the cultural life of the U.K. He was awarded a CBE (Commander of the British Empire) in 2001 for his contributions to culture, and he was Chairman of the Board of Governors of the British Film institute from 2004 to 2007.

Published by: University Press of Mississippi

Cover

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pp. 1-5

Contents

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pp. v-vi

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Introduction

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pp. vii-xxix

About a decade ago, I was preparing a book of original conversations with film directors, and I was very keen to interview Anthony Minghella. I pursued the filmmaker for about a year, but because of Minghella’s complicated work schedule, and the fact that he was in the midst of shooting Cold Mountain (2003) in Romania when I first corresponded with him, it took some time before we finally met. ...

Chronology

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pp. xxx-xxxii

Filmography

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pp. xxxiii-xxxvi

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Anthony Minghella: In Conversation (Part 1): 2003–4

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pp. 3-32

... Anthony Minghella: My father migrated to England when he was nineteen in 1939. And like many young, slightly dispossessed Italian boys, he was imported by more successful local families who had already immigrated and set up various forms of business. The business of choice in England was ice cream so my father worked for a fairly wealthy family ...

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The Patient Englishman: Getting Personal with Anthony Minghella: 1997

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pp. 33-47

After ten years of writing plays for Britain’s stage and radio, and then television scripts for such English programs as Inspector Morse and The Storyteller, Anthony Minghella was given the opportunity to direct his first film, Truly, Madly, Deeply, from his own screenplay in 1991. Thanks to the acclaim of that small BBC-financed feature (“the thinking ...

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I Don’t Have a Speech. I Look Terrible in a Tuxedo. What Could Possibly Go Right?: 1997

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pp. 48-56

This isn’t really a proper diary, of course. I’ve never kept one. Rather, this is penance for missing my advertised Observer interview at the Barbican on a day when I found myself scheduled to be in three different countries at the same time. It’s a problem I have, saying no. And there’s rampant expurgation here, too—not simply because I am currently so starved of ...

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The Talented Mr. Minghella: 2000

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pp. 57-62

Revered mystery writer Patricia Highsmith has challenged numerous filmmakers throughout the decades, from Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train to Wim Wenders’s The American Friend. Her most challenging creation is not a story so much as a character: the deadly chameleon Tom Ripley. In his first film since earning a Best Director Academy Award for ...

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The Talented Mister: An Interview with Anthony Minghella: 2000

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pp. 63-72

... Anthony Minghella: The character of Ripley is one that once you’ve encountered him, he never really goes away. I think it leaps away from the actual text of the novel and from any questions about the quality of the novel. It’s such a creation, it’s such a pungent example of the alienation of people in postwar society. Ripley is an index of how far from ...

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My Bloody Valentine: 2000

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pp. 73-80

On a hot day in July 1999 at the Jim Henson studios in London’s Camden Town, Anthony Minghella is, he tells me, about to do something “tentative and experimental.” Here he is, the shorts-wearing, Oscarwinning director of The English Patient (1996) inviting Sight and Sound into the cutting room of his latest film The Talented Mr. Ripley to see a ...

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Italy: The Director’s Cut: 2000

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pp. 81-87

Last year I spent a great deal more time in Italy than anywhere else, but on reflection it’s clear to me that I wasn’t really in Italy, but in a country of my own imagination. Film directors are thieves; magpies. They resemble barbarians bringing home the spoils, ransacking each city for its treasures. They plunder landscapes, corrupt geography, redraw maps, ...

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Behind the Eyes of a Killer: 2000

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pp. 88-92

When the writer-director Anthony Minghella sets about adapting a novel for film—a task at which he is astonishingly skilled—this is how he goes about it. First, he borrows a country cottage; for his last two films, he has used one in Dorset owned by his friend, film producer Duncan Kenworthy. It was here that Minghella brilliantly molded Michael ...

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Happy Days: 2001

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pp. 93-96

Anthony Minghella: I think you’d get a different answer from every director but in my case it was entirely connected with a long-held admiration for Beckett. I studied Beckett, I tried to do a doctorate on Beckett’s work, Play was the first play I ever directed—it was a very particular reason to go into the world of short films and I’m not sure that anyone else ...

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Anthony Minghella: In Conversation (Part 2): 2003–4

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pp. 97-118

Mario Falsetto: What initially attracted you to Patricia Highsmith’s novel The Talented Mr. Ripley? What was at the core of it for you, because the character of Ripley is fairly different in the novel. In the novel he seems quite sociopathic, completely amoral and almost asexual. ...

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Down from Cold Mountain: 2003

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pp. 119-122

Strange as it may seem, Anthony Minghella regards himself as something of an outsider, cinematically speaking. “I live in London,” he says in his rich, sonorous voice, “but I’ve never made a film here since Truly, Madly, Deeply. I don’t know anybody. I’m so detached from what’s happening.” ...

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The Man with the Epic in His Eyes: 2003

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pp. 123-126

It’s a trim Anthony Minghella who greets me at his office, an exquisitely converted Victorian chapel near Hampstead Heath, all sliding doors, hardwood floors, and open-plan work spaces. He’s lost forty-eight pounds in the last year, a fact I didn’t register when we met in Transylvania last October on the set of Cold Mountain, the new film he has written ...

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Mastering the Mountain: 2004

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pp. 127-131

Anthony Minghella, the Isle of Wight’s most famous son, heir to his parents’ famous ice cream empire and, lest we forget, Academy Award–winning director, would like to set the record straight on what he describes as “one of the great myths of my life.” He never wrote for Grange Hill. He was a story editor on the program for four years, his first post-university ...

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He Shoots, He Scores: 2005

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pp. 132-134

The offices of Mirage, the production company Anthony Minghella owns with the producer Sydney Pollack, are in a former chapel in north London. The walls are decorated with huge prints of Kristin Scott Thomas and Juliet Stevenson, Jude Law and Nicole Kidman—images shot on the sets of Minghella’s films. ...

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Actors

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pp. 135-144

I don’t have any special pleading about my relationship with actors. I like actors. A lot of directors don’t like actors and think that they get in the way of the mechanics of filmmaking, of the pyrotechnics of filmmaking. But I’m not attracted to the kind of movies where the actor takes second place. ...

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Breaking and Entering: Screenplay by Anthony Minghella: 2006

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pp. 145-147

“I’d never intended to divert into the role of an adapter of novels,” begins writer/director Anthony Minghella. “It happened because I had a great adventure with The English Patient, and, while that film took its time to find financing, I took a job adapting The Talented Mr. Ripley not intending ever to direct it. After I made The English Patient, I didn’t want ...

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I Wanted to Make a Film about Home: 2006

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pp. 148-150

Over the course of his fifteen-year career as a film director, Anthony Minghella has travelled far and wide. The English Patient (1996) took him to Italy and to North Africa. The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999) criss-crossed Sicily, Naples, Rome, Tuscany, and Venice. And, though it was set in and around South Carolina, Cold Mountain (2003) was largely shot in the Carpathians, Romania. ...

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Final Thoughts: Theories, Poetry, and Morality: 2005

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pp. 151-162

I haven’t watched many movies, but I’ve watched some movies many, many, many times. There are some movies I go back to like food—The Tree of the Wooden Clogs, I Vitelloni, Three Colors: Blue and the Taviani brothers’ movies I watch repeatedly. Each time I go back to great films, I see something I feel I’ve never seen before. Obviously, all you can do ...

Additional Resources

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pp. 163-164

Index

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pp. 165-170


E-ISBN-13: 9781621039648
E-ISBN-10: 1621039641
Print-ISBN-13: 9781617038204

Page Count: 208
Publication Year: 2013

Series Title: Conversations with Filmmakers Series

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Subject Headings

  • Minghella, Anthony -- Interviews.
  • Motion picture producers and directors -- Great Britain -- Interviews.
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