Film & TV Muse

Editor's Comment

The British film industry is in great shape. Aside from the highly visible detachment of British forces at the Oscars, the past year has confirmed the UK as a focal point of fresh ideas and new faces.

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The British film industry is in great shape. Aside from the highly visible detachment of British forces at the Oscars, the past year has confirmed the UK as a focal point of fresh ideas and new faces.

First-time feature directors Paul Greengrass and Stephen Frears have enjoyed phenomenal and well-deserved recognition for their work on United 93 and The Queen respectively, whilst the strength and depth of the Best Actress department have been well-covered in the domestic press. To add to these achievements, Sacha Baron Cohen has enjoyed unbelievable critical success for Borat; Clive Owen and Michael Caine were masterful in Children of Men, a breathtaking British-based production; James McAvoy's stock continues to rise and even cultural exports like Ricky Gervais are attracting attention across the Atlantic.

It is a man behind the scenes, however, who is worthy of particular recognition. Neil Gaiman, best known for his genre-breaking graphic novel series The Sandman, will this month see the cinematic release of his print novel Stardust, starring, amongst others, Robert De Niro, Clare Danes and our own Sir Ian McKellen and Ricky Gervais.

The plot summary is hokey as all hell: a young man, on a journey of discovery, must retrieve a fallen star for his beloved, along the way learning the true meaning of love. God. But as with all Gaiman's work - check out his collaborations with Terry Pratchett and his other movie to date, Mirrormask - the journey is by far the worthier part, and is certain to provide some singularly original twists. With the aforementioned cast in tow, it could be the sleeper hit of 2007.

Stardust will also be a day of reckoning for director and fellow Brit Matthew Vaughn, in his second feature here after the impressive but under-appreciated gangster flick Layer Cake, which suffered from association with Vaughn's Lock, Stock... collaborator Guy Richie.

While it may be a leap of faith to convert Gaiman's work into film, I believe that his talent as a writer is enough to bridge the genre gap, and is certainly worth seeking out. Stardust goes on general release on March 19.

Post Script: after the Oscars last week, I weighed in with one correct prediction out of four, the Best Actor gong for Forest Whitaker. Congrats to Martin Scorsese. It's about time.

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