THE MIGHTY BEAN

‘Red Riding’ is bloody good stuff

I don’t know about you, but when I think of British police officers, I generally conjure up visions of friendly, unarmed bobbies and sly, cunning detectives, a la Sherlock Holmes.

Or, at least that’s the way I used to think before being bombarded with five hours of Brit cops so ruthlessly crooked they make the guys on “The Shield” look like McGruff.

 

That’s the power of the “Red Riding Trilogy,” a group of films that like the aforementioned “Shield,” take real-life incidents of police corruption and enhance them to the nth degree with enough pulp to open a paper mill.

 

Drawn from a series of four novels by best-selling author David Peace and turned into a miniseries last year by the BBC, the “Red Riding Trilogy” now makes its way to the States, where it’s being shown both on pay-per-view and at select theaters.

 

Understandably, folks might be reluctant to pay more than 20 bucks to see what our friends across the pond essentially saw for free, but I’m here to tell you it’s worth it.

 

Patience is required, however, especially early on when tedium threatens to set in as pieces of the puzzle are introduced and established. Some pay off quickly; others linger almost to the very end.

It’s the quality of the acting, though, that snatches you by the throat and won’t let go. Whether it’s familiar faces like Mark Addy and Sean Bean or virtual unknowns like Andrew Garfield and Warren Clarke, all forgo pretense in favor of the realism necessary to allow you to become thoroughly absorbed in a gritty story in which the sun and humanity refuse to shine.

 

To a fault, Tony Grisoni’s three screenplays adhere closely to the noir tropes of femme fatales, double-crosses and all sorts of sordid behavior in and out of the bedroom. And true to the genre, there are few survivors after all the bullets and verbal assaults subside.

For the few that do live to tell their tales, you’re there right alongside them, exhausted and happy to be alive.

 

In fact, it’s so satisfying that you’re willing to forgive the occasional slips into melodrama, as romance and martyrdom begin to emit an odor of contrivance. Of course, that’s bound to happen when faced with the monumental task of paring Peace’s novels down without severing the various threads required to tie the three films together.

 

Chief among those filaments is an obsessive hunt for the truth, be it a hungry young reporter (Garfield) with visions of Woodward and Bernstein dancing in his head in the first chapter, “1974”; a straight-arrow cop (Paddy Considine) running into the mouth of the beast in the second installment, “1980”; or a corrupt detective (David Morrissey) who suddenly gains a conscience in the last, “1983.”

 

It’s fascinating to compare and contrast how each of the three actors (each working with a different director) chooses to portray their character’s moral and existential crisis. It’s even more fascinating to understand how our perceptions of each evolve along with them.

The trilogy’s grandest trick, however, lies in its ability to leave you feeling uplifted after witnessing so much pain, sorrow and greed.

Initially, I would have thought that impossible, seeing how “1974,” directed by Julian Jarrold (“Becoming Jane”), revolves around an investigation into the kidnapping, rape and murder of three preteen girls in the Northern town of West Yorkshire.

 

As you’d expect, it’s incredibly sad to watch; more so once we discover that one of the town’s most prominent businessmen (Bean) and the half-dozen cops he has on his payroll might be complicit. It fills you full of dread; especially after we’re introduced to the grief stricken mother of one of the young girls. She’s played by Rebecca Hall (“Vicky Cristina Barcelona”), who further solidifies her place as Britain’s next great actress with a turn that will break your ticker the same way she breaks the heart of Garfield’s cub reporter, Eddie Dunford, who all-too predictably falls for her during his ill-advised quest to solve the murders.

Their romance feels forced, but their feelings of anger and guilt do not.

 

Similar feelings course through the veins of Considine’s Peter Hunter, a saintly detective from Manchester sent up to Yorkshire in “1980” to help root out the corruption and nab “The Ripper,” a serial killer who has declared open season on prostitutes.

 

The role fits the sad-eyed Considine to a T, too, proving he can brood with the best of them, as his personal and professional life quickly begin to unravel under the iron thumb of the West Yorkshire cops. But as solid as Considine is, he’s still not enough to prevent the overly talky “1980” (directed by “Man on Wire’s” James Marsh) from being the least satisfying of the three films.

 

Any letdown, however, quickly dissipates once “1983,” directed by Anand Tucker (“Hilary and Jackie”), kicks in. While it’s not quite as good as “1974,” it more than dazzles, as it begins to tie up loose ends and reveal truths about who is behind the decade-long murder spree plaguing the not-so-fair haven of Yorkshire.

 

It also features superb performances by Addy as a lawyer seeking to free a wrongly accused client and Morrissey as a dirty cop suddenly getting the itch to make amends.

 

They also represent the one ray of hope amid the blood and squalor that are so much a part of a depressingly little blue-collar burgh where the most identifiable trait is the ominous looking nuclear power plant.

 

In most towns, such a facility would be considered a significant health hazard. But in Yorkshire, where death is an almost constant companion, it’s the least of their worries.

RED RIDING: 1974 (Not rated.) Cast includes Andrew Garfield, Sean Bean and Rebecca Hall. Directed by Julian Jarrold. 3.5 stars out of 4

RED RIDING: 1980 (Not rated.) Cast includes Paddy Considine and Sean Harris. Directed by James Marsh. 2.5 stars out of 4

RED RIDING: 1983 (Not rated.) Cast includes Mark Addy and David Morrissey. Directed by Anand Tucker.  3 stars out of 4

 

http://www.wellsvilledaily.com/entertainment/x531837527/Movie-review-Red-Riding-is-bloody-good-stuff

 

Review: Grisly 'Red Riding' trilogy is riveting modern noir



By Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times

 

THE POWERFULLY disturbing "Red Riding" trilogy will haunt you waking and sleeping, night and day. If you survive the watching of it, that is, which is no easy thing.

It's not the five hours-plus length of this trio of devastatingly bleak modern British noir films that's daunting. Far from it. Strongly made by three directors with three crews but using scripts from the same writer and the same cast for its recurring characters, these films are put together with so much ability and skill that the time simply melts away.

 

Rather, the hard paradox of this project is that what makes these merciless films at times almost unbearable to watch also makes them frankly impossible to get out of your

mind. Not only do they create a gritty, compelling world thick with the fetid air of venality, corruption and desperation, but they also periodically traffic in ghastly and horrific torture, sometimes shown, sometimes merely described, but always circling back to a series of sadistic, soul-destroying murders of women and little girls.

 

All this and more comes from a quartet of intense, chaotic novels by David Peace that in turn were inspired by events surrounding northern England's real-life Yorkshire Ripper murders. Each book initially was supposed to get its own film, but budget cuts at British TV giant Channel 4 meant that only three could be made. Each novel is named after a year, but when the film title comes up on-screen, the phrase "In the Year of Our Lord" is added, as if to ironically remind us that we are entering a world where godly behavior is difficult to find.

 

Although the search for murderers is the engine of Tony Grisoni's driving scripts, that's not what the "Red Riding" films are about. These are unsettling, multilayered investigations of character and society, described by the screenwriter as akin to "Dickens on bad acid."

 

In this thoroughly corrupt society, no one is pure enough to cast the first stone, but the drive to end unspeakable evil is still powerful, even if it runs through fatally compromised individuals.

These intensely atmospheric pieces are set in Leeds and embedded root and branch in what the films present as the brutal culture of the North of England, where accents are hard to decipher, the cold — spiritual as well as physical — gets in your bones, and where the motto of the police is "This is the North, where we do what we want." The "Red Riding" title comes from the Ridings, a trio of administrative areas in Yorkshire, with the addition of red likely calling attention to the violence of the murders and the allusion to the fairy tale reminding us that young girls were involved.

 

The first part, "1974," directed by Julian Jarrold, follows cocky and ambitious young Yorkshire Post crime reporter Eddie Dunford (Andrew Garfield) as he starts to suspect that the torture deaths of little girls over several years could be linked. His investigations lead him to surly chief detective Billy "The Badger" Molloy (Warren Clarke), powerful developer John Dawson (Sean Bean), local vicar Martin Laws (Peter Mullan), mysterious rent boy BJ (Robert Sheehan) and beautiful, haunted young widow Paula Garland (Rebecca Hall).

 

Directed by James Marsh, the second part, "1980," involves a second series of murders, the ghastly Ripper attacks on women. The Home Office, worried about the pace of the Yorkshire Police investigation, sends in a key operative from Manchester, Peter Hunter (Paddy Considine), to try to figure out what's going on. He comes up against a resentful, resistant police culture.

The third part, Anand Tucker's "1983," follows two characters, solicitor John Piggott (Mark Addy) and top cop Maurice Jobson (David Morrissey), as they both are compelled against their better judgment to stanch the flood of corruption, to attempt to get to the source of evil that always seems just out of reach.

 

Although there are differences in visual and directorial style among the three parts, on a first viewing they seem all of a piece, more united by themes, scripts and actors than divided by individual flourishes. The acting is exceptionally convincing and adds an air of verisimilitude.

Although the sadism and torture laced throughout the "Red Riding" trilogy is only fitfully present, when it does arrive it is graphic and upsetting enough to make watching this exceptionally well-made series very much of a devil's bargain. You take the risk, and hope the price you pay is worth it. Which, given the agonizing subject matter, is perhaps just as it should be.


http://www.contracostatimes.com/movies-dvd/ci_14456790?nclick_check=1

The Red Riding trilogy, and multi-part movies

Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Red Riding trilogy, and multi-part movies

 

The multi-part movie is not exactly a new idea; the second and third Back to The Future movies were filmed together in the late 1980s. It's become a much more popular mode of operation since the Lord of the Rings was such a massive success, though. The second and third Pirates movies were shot together or back-to-back, while in Japan, the adaptations of the sprawling Death Note and 20th Century Boys mangas were planned as big, multi-film projects from the start. Not only are the Harry Potter andTwilight series being produced with an unusually quick turnaround for modern Hollywood event films, but the final volumes (of series whose source novels' page counts increased with their volume numbers) are being split in two. There were rumors that Spider-Man 4 & 5 were going to be shot back to back, to somehow morph into a panned new trilogy. And the interconnectedness of Marvel's movie universe is pretty amazing.

What's behind this, in a time when the movie industry seems to be becoming, if anything, more risk-averse? Part of it is that risk-aversion, I imagine; if you can get two blockbusters for the price of one and three quarters, it's not a bad deal, although committing to something open-ended isn't always a great move (see: The Golden Compass; Chronicles of Riddick is potentially another example). But I think another factor can be found in the medium for which Red Riding was partially created: Television.

Though still the home to a lot of crap, the upper end of television has gotten much more impressive, in large part by recognizing what its particular strengths were. For the longest time, TV tried to create mini-movies, using the familiarity to excise a bunch of exposition after the first week, but essentially making each episode fairly self-contained. Not all shows were like this; soaps were designed as never-ending serials, almost entirely based on familiar personalities. Sometime in the late 1980s or early 1990s, a shift began. Sci-fi fans like to point to Babylon 5, although Murder One did something similar a few years earlier: Leverage viewer loyalty to create stories larger in scope than movies, or even the mini-series of years past, but which unlike soaps, offered the promise of a satisfying climax, either at the end of the series (B5), or at regular intervals (Buffy).

It worked, in part because technology allowed people to follow these stories without having to giving up every Thursday night (thank you, VCR, DVR, streaming video). But it left film, which had historically been considered "bigger" than television, having to play a bit of catch-up. Folks already avoiding theaters because... well, that's a whole different rant... anyway, not only could they claim that the technological experience was better at home, but that television had more sophisticated storytelling.

Thus, the multipart movie. I don't think they'll become the norm in Hollywood - it's still a big commitment right off the bat. I think it will happen more for can't-miss franchises, though, especially as television is considered more and more the equal of film. I don't know how many more Red Riding-type project we'll see, although I think the number and profile will increase. Despite the frequent complaints about the dumbing-down of America (and the world), the trend is still toward more complexity, not less.

Red Riding: 1974

* * * ¾ (out of four)
Seen 21 February 2010 at Landmark Kendall Square #9 (first-run)

The Red Riding trilogy is a daunting prospect, especially if one is inclined to see it during its brief American theatrical release as opposed to as a video on demand offering or on DVD. I'd recommend it, as it's a fine piece of work and everything is better in the theater, but finding the five hours can be tough. So start with just committing to the first; it's the tightest and most self-contained, and thus will either be a satisfactory experience on its own or will serve as motivation to find time for the rest.

As the subtitle tells us, it is "The Year of Our Lord 1974". The place is Yorkshire. A nine-year-old girl has disappeared, and Eddie Dunford's father has died. Eddie (Andrew Garfield) is coming home not just for his funeral, but taking a job with the local newspaper after a brief time in London. Naturally, one of his first assignments is the Kemplay girl's disappearance, and while the senior crime reporter, Jack Whitehead (Eddie Marsan) has a close relationship with the local constabulary, Eddie finds himself more sympathetic with colleague Barry Gannon (Anthony Flanagan), who sees conspiracies around every corner, particularly in developer John Dawson (Sean Bean) and his plan to build a shopping plaza on land currently occupied by gypsies. Eddie finds that this may be the third girl in the area to go missing in five years, and his attempt to interview the mother of one of the missing girls, Paula Garland (Rebecca Hall), gets him a visit from coppers Bob Craven (Sean Harris) and Tommy Douglas (Tony Mooney). Only she says she never complained to the police...

Red Riding: 1974 is a murder mystery, for certain, although it's not one that's too terribly difficult to puzzle out. As horrifying as the crime in question is, though, it's not really what the film is about. Plotwise, the girl's disappearance soon becomes a terrible part of something more pervasive, too large to be contained by just one film, although the story will not feel incomplete after two hours. But even more than the conspiracy, the film is about Eddie and Paula - who they are as people, who they can become, and what they could mean to each other.

Andrew Garfield is just what the movie needs as Eddie; he comes into the movie with a young man's cynicism, resenting how respected his father is, acting like he knows it all despite the fact that he washed out of the big time and makes a fairly serious blunder or two along the way. He's more than a bit of a jerk, and yet, somewhere underneath that, we see the other traits of youth come through - idealism, belief that he can change the world for the better, compassion. It is, in some ways, the reverse of the path one might expect for a movie packed with vice, corruption, and betrayal, and that is part of what makes Garfield's Eddie the most memorable of the series's protagonists; we believe him even as he makes growing up a positive.

It's a bit of time before Rebecca Hall shows up, but she is also oddly captivating. We know who she is, of course; the young mother who has seen everything in her life destroyed is a familiar type. What sets Paula apart is how Hall plays an aspect of the character that screenwriter Tony Grisoni never quite has anybody say out loud, that she is still young and capable of starting over. She never says anything like that, and we never get the sense that she wants to leave any part of her old life behind, but there is a sense that, along with grief, she's oppressed by the town's pity, their inability to see her as anything but the poor woman whose daughter disappeared, and that part of her attraction to Eddie is that, even though he's investigating that disappearance, he's also seeing her as an attractive woman rather than seeing her as incomplete.

The rest of the cast is very good; many won't have their characters fully fleshed-out until later films, but several make an impression: Flanagan's paranoid reporter, John Henshaw's editor, Peter Mullan's friendly and unorthodox preacher. Then there's Cathryn Bradshaw and Sean Bean as the Dawsons. Bradshaw makes wife Marjorie a disturbed wreck, while Bean has bulked up since his leading-man days, and there's a palpable sense of his character's power whenever he walks into a scene.

Interesting, 1974 is the only film in the series to be presented in the standard HD television ratio, at least in the theater where it played in Cambridge, MA. It is a visually arresting film, though, with every inch of the frame putting us into mid-seventies Yorkshire. There's a sense of the poverty and decay, with the coal plants looming over the mining town. A scene where Eddie walks through a gypsy camp that has been burnt down feels like a trip through a war zone. Director Julian Jarrold also does an excellent job of planting things for the other filmmakers to use, without being too obvious about it, even though at least one moment will have the audience kicking themselves for not picking up on it during 1983.

It's a grim story he creates, even if it does have the seeds of redemption inside. If 1974 is all you can see of Red Riding, you'll get a satisfying experience, but, fortunately, there's another three-plus hours of connected crime to look forward too.

Also at eFilmCritic

Red Riding: 1980

* * * ½ (out of four)
Seen 21 February 2010 at Landmark Kendall Square #9 (first-run)

David Peace's Red Riding novels are described as a quartet, and if you look at the titles to the filmed Red Riding Trilogy, there's clearly a hole where 1977 should be. For whatever reason, screenwriter Tony Grisoni and the producers decided to skip that one, and though its events are referred to in 1980, it is by no means critical to understanding that year's story.

(NOTE: Although I will attempt not to give away too much of 1974 in reviewing 1980, just the presence or absence of certain characters may be considered a spoiler; continue reading at your own risk.)


The finale of a series never stands up well on its own, no matter how well-intentioned the production may be. One can argue that it shouldn't, that by the time we get to the third act, the only people left watching are the ones invested in what has come before. It's a delicate balance, rewarding loyalty on the one side and telling a story that maintains the same satisfying feel of earlier installments. I suspect that Red Riding: 1983 doesn't quite manage the latter, but has a fine enough ending to make it worthwhile.

(NOTE: Although I will attempt not to give away too much of 1974 and 1980 in reviewing 1983, just the presence or absence of certain characters may be considered a spoiler; continue reading at your own risk.)

 


http://www.jaysmovieblog.com/2010/02/red-riding-trilogy-and-multi-part.html

Red Riding

Drama. Starring Andrew Garfield, Paddy Considine, Mark Addy, Sean Bean and Rebecca Hall. Directed by Julian Jarrold ("1974"), James Marsh ("1980"), and Anand Tucker ("1983"). (Not rated. 303 minutes. At Bay Area theaters.)

 

"The Red Riding Trilogy" is made up of three BBC movies that premiered last year on British television. Adapted from novels by David Peace - "1974," "1980" and "1983" - they are loosely based on real-life crimes that took place in Yorkshire a generation ago. Combined into one five-hour epic, in three parts, the film arrives in American theaters.

 

"Red Riding" has some distinct virtues and is idiosyncratic enough to appeal strongly to certain tastes. But with a five-hour running time, the hope is for an epic return on an epic investment, and that hope goes unanswered. Instead, to watch one part of "Red Riding" is to have the experience - Yorkshire was bleak, corrupt, miserable, ugly and hopeless - and to get the point: Yes, life can be like that sometimes.

 

Though the parts, each by a different director, share some of the same characters, there's no epic build from one episode to the next. Rather, after each part concludes, the next more or less begins from a standing start. A great weakness of "Red Riding" as a five-hour experience is that the last part, director Anand Tucker's "1983," is the worst of the three.

 

To American ears, perhaps even to English ears, the Yorkshire accent is difficult to penetrate, and so fully 20 to 25 percent of the dialogue is lost. (Subtitles would have helped.) To make understanding the epic yet more difficult, the scripts - all three were adapted by Tony Grisoni - don't go out of their way to make things clear. The storytelling is jagged and hard to follow.

If that is not enough to discourage you, most of the characters are singularly repellent, yet not distinct enough to be compelling. The films deal with grotesque crimes, like child killing and molestation. And the epic looks like what it is - three long TV movies. I knew I was watching something made for television within 10 minutes of the first part.

 

Thus, one must be very, very, very, very, very interested in Yorkshire, circa 1980, to embrace and enjoy "The Red Riding Trilogy."

 

And yet ... there is something to be said for an enterprise this specific and uncompromising. The trilogy is an effort to fix onto celluloid its vision of a mind-set and a condition of life - the state of a community's soul - at a specific juncture of history. You might not enjoy sitting through "Red Riding"; I didn't enjoy sitting through it. But on its own terms, "Red Riding" succeeds.

Not surprising for a BBC production, the acting is uniformly excellent. Worth particular mention are Sean Bean, as a perverse building magnate, and Rebecca Hall, as the mother of a crime victim, in "1974"; Paddy Considine as an internal affairs investigator in "1980"; and Mark Addy, as a low-level attorney who discovers an altruistic streak in "1983," not a healthy trait in his neck of the woods.

 

-- Advisory: This film contains dispiriting violence, gore, strong language and simulated sex.

 

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/02/25/MV0E1C5SUJ.DTL


Red Riding: Better Than the Godfather?

Red Riding: Better Than the Godfather?

 

Some films are so dense that it's impossible to truly appreciate them while you're watching them for the first time. The Red Riding trilogy is one of those films.  Although, calling it a "trilogy" isn't really appropriate because although it is three separate films by three separate directors using three very techniques, they are all part of a whole. Some folks have described Red Riding as a six-hour epic British version of David Fincher's Zodiac. I think that's an unfair comparison, which caused me to spend a lot of time comparing the two while I was watching it. When compared to Zodiac, almost no crime film comes out looking favorable. 

              
Red Riding is a film about a serial killer, to be sure, but it's also a film about a town.  And more than that, it's a film about a culture and a class of people.  Based on a series of four novels by David Peace, the three films take place at three different years, during two different sets of serial murders and through the eyes of three protagonists. But the real main character and the main subject is the North of England in the late 70s and early 80s, specifically Yorkshire. I've never been to the UK and I've especially never been there in this time period, but the three different filmmakers all made me taste the tar of the cigarettes, smell the fumes of the local plants and hear the sounds of this place. This is dreary subject matter that takes place in a gloomy part of the world at a depressed time.  In other words, this is the type of film that is right up my alley.

              
First we are presented with novice journalist Eddie Dunford (Andrew Garfield) in 1974, the installment directed by Julian Jarrold (Kinky Boots, Brideshead Revisited).  Dunford is idealistic and passionate, desperate to break the latest story and willing to bend the rules in order to find out clues.  Dunford fancies himself as a tough-guy private eye, but everyone around him sees him as a weakling that can be bossed around and frightened.  But he's recently moved back home after spending some time in the South and there is a twinge of condescension in his voice, like he thinks he's better than most of the blue collar toughs he lives and works with.  So, Dunford hasn't exactly ingratiated himself with the local populace, but when investigates the disappearances and murders of several young girls, Dunford winds up suspecting some pretty powerful people.  He also starts an affair with the mother of one of the missing children (Rebecca Hall).


1974 is a film that has gotten a lot of rave reviews and it's got a lot of great material presented in an economical way that isn't confusing at all.  But it's also a lot of set-up for what will follow in the next two films and although it has an ending that is intense and shocking, it feels a bit contrived as well.  Garfield is excellent in the lead role as someone who believes he's a big shot and is brought back down to earth in a very tragic way.  He's aided by terrific supporting performances from Sean Bean as the real estate developer, who is the most powerful man in town and Rebecca Hall as the mother who clearly misses her child, but seems to be withholding information that might be helpful.  Then there are actors like David Morrissey as Maurice Jobson, Peter Mullan as Reverend Martin Laws and Robert Sheehan as the rent-boy BJ, who have arcs that only just begin with this story and continue through all three films.

              
1974 was the film that, for me, suffered most from the Zodiac comparisons.  While it does have a similarly tight grasp of the atmosphere of the time, it just doesn't have the same quality of construction or control of pacing as the Fincher film.  The pacing is a big issue because Jarrold's film seems to have starts and stops along the way while Fincher's is able to follow a straight line and slowly build the tension.  In this film, the tension is there for some scenes and lost for others.  Perhaps this is due to having a smaller budget - it was made for British television after all - but I think mostly it's just not an apt comparison.  Despite them both being about famous serial murderers and taking places in the 70s, the films have nothing in common in terms of what they are trying to do.  

Fincher's film is a character study about obsession and a finely-tuned reconstruction of what it meant to be around in this time and place. The Red Riding films are also about a particular time and place, but while it dwells in the depressing, it doesn't live there like Fincher's film does.  More than that, the message is much different; Fincher's film seems to say, "there are no answers in life, only more questions," while the Red Riding films say, "there are answers if you make it through the obstacles put in your way and you remain dogged in your pursuit."  And those themes definitely color the respective films.

              
1980, the film by James Marsh (Man on Wire) is when the story really begins to pick up steam.  The Yorkshire Ripper is in the news, but so is corruption within the Yorkshire police department.  An independent investigator from the South is brought in to find out why the earlier murders were never solved and to clean up the corruption.  The man who is brought in, Peter Hunter (Paddy Considine), is a straight arrow, someone who is trustworthy and has had a previous run-in with the West Yorkshire police department before.  But the interference is heavy and there are threats on Hunter's life, even as he inches closes towards a conclusion.


1980 is certainly more concise in its aims and more efficient than the previous installment.  Considine is perfect, as usual, in the lead role, someone who picks up where Dunford left off, but with more masculinity and less bravado.  More information, that would be awful to spoil, starts to come to the fore.  We begin to see how the pieces are starting to come together, but then it becomes muddy again at the end of the film, setting up 1983 with the heavy burden of tying up loose ends.


Our hero in 1983 is cut from a different cloth.  The other two were a journalist and a policeman who have passion for what they do and are desperate to find answers.  In 1983, we have an overweight and uninspired lawyer fittingly named John Piggott (Mark Addy).  But concurrently, we also have a remorseful police officer that has been with us since the first film, Maurice Jobson (David Morrissey), who has a lot of doubts about what he has done.  This film, directed by Anand Tucker (Shopgirl, Hilary and Jackie), has been called the weakest of the lot.  I disagree, I think it's the strongest and it helps to make the previous two films even better in retrospect.


By the time 1983 has started, everything seems terrible and it seems like nothing good will ever happen.  But this is a film about redemption for three characters and retribution for one.  In reality, though, this is a film about how a culture moves forward; by putting its past demons to rest.  To say anything more would be to spoil it, so all I will say is that it's important to stick through all three films.  To make a musical reference, it's a bit like sitting through The Streets album, A Grand Don't Come For Free; it takes a while to sit through, but if you listen intently, you will be rewarded.


I must say, however, that I wasn't that appreciative of the films as a whole right after watching them.  It was something that I slogged through because I was told I needed to and because David Thomson said that Red Riding was better than The Godfather.  These comparisons hurt the film because it could not possibly live up to that billing.  But the more time I've had to think about it, to let the films marinate in my brain, the more I realize how masterful they are.  And a large chunk of credit must be given to the screenwriter, Tony Grisoni, for putting the pieces of the puzzle together in such an original way.  There is an awful lot of information, a ton of characters and difficult language, but Grisoni knows where to put that information for maximum impact.  It's truly one of the best adaptations you'll ever see.

              
I'm not quite ready to put this film in the pantheon of the greats and I don't think I ever will be.  But what Red Riding is, is better than most films.  It's the one must-see movie event of the first two months of this year.  Sure, that's not saying it's the greatest film of all-time, but it's pretty high praise indeed.  It's the best thing I've seen so far in 2010.



Noah Forrest
February 8, 2010


http://www.moviecitynews.com/columnists/forrest/2010/100208.html

 

Mail Online

Yorkshire Gripper! British TV's first credit crunch drama

 

The setting was a draughty, old village hall in West Yorkshire, and if locals had glanced through the dusty windows they would have been in for a surprise.

 

Or - in some cases at least - a bit of a treat. Inside were some of Britain's finest actors, including Sean Bean, Warren Clarke, Mark Addy and David Morrissey... all in various states of undress.

 

So, were the chaps preparing for a remake of The Full Monty, perhaps running through a few of the more risque scenes?

 

After all, this was Full Monty country, a shortish drive from Sheffield, where the film was set, and one of the movie's original cast members, Mark Addy, was even there disrobing.

In fact, they were preparing to shoot a scene from Red Riding, Channel 4's brutal new three-part drama about corruption and violence within a north of England police force during the Seventies and Eighties.

 

The stories are based on the dark novels of the same name by David Peace and focus on the hunt for the killer of young girls and the error-ridden hunt for Peter Sutcliffe, the Yorkshire Ripper.

 

And a draughty village hall - rather than a cosy location caravan, in which actors would normally expect to change - was as luxurious as it got on Red Riding.

 

Not that you would have heard a complaint from the actors in question. That was the deal when they signed up to British TV's first credit crunch drama, which began last night.

With money at a premium when it comes to making television shows - ITV announced this week that it is shaving £135 million off its programmes budget over the next two years - Revolution Films cut costs to the bone, in order to bring in each of the three Red Riding films at a touch under £2million.

 

That is not much more than the catering budget on one of Hollywood's films.

The actors - even those such as Sean Bean and Mark Addy, who have worked for large cheques in the U.S. - were on 'basic' wages, reckoned to be only a few hundred pounds a week.

And the usual showbusiness frills - such as location caravans boasting state-of-the-art sound systems and beds for naps between scenes - were nowhere to be seen.

 

So how did Revolution Films attract the cream of British acting talent?

 

'It was the quality of the scripts which drew me,' says Sean Bean. 'There are a lot of mediocre scripts around, and this was a breath of fresh air. People like me wanted to be part of it because it's an exceptional piece of work.'

 

Mark Addy - best known as the chubby stripper, Dave, in The Full Monty - agrees. 'It wasn't a project any of us did for the money - we did it for the scripts.

 

'If you wanted a rest while you were waiting to film you lay down on any patch of floor you could find and tried to nod off.

'The wages were really basic. But I think that helped the filming because it cut out a lot of the bullsh**. There was none of the stuff you sometimes get on a big-budget drama about who has the biggest trailer or who was being paid the most. Across the board, we all got the same.

'There can be a lot of falseness and pretentiousness in this business. I know, because I spent several years working in Hollywood on the TV sitcom Still Standing. This was the absolute opposite of that - and all the better for it.'

 

Didn't any of the actors mind having to slum it? The industry has some notorious
prima donnas - presumably none was offered a part?

 

'We had a meeting with all the agents of the actors we wanted and said to them: "We're sorry, but the amount of money we have to make this means we are not going to be able to pay the people you represent particularly well," ' says Red Riding co-producer Andrew Eaton.

'One or two were upset, but there was no dissention among the actors once filming started. People such as Sean Bean couldn't have been more supportive and understanding throughout the shoot.

 

'The way the actors' deals are structured means that they will share in any money that the films make. We are in the process of selling the series overseas, and any income accrued from international sales will be shared out among the actors.

 

'We weren't just keeping down actors' wages - there were savings across the board to ensure that as much money as possible that was spent on this project becomes visible on the TV screen.

 

'A lot of excess has grown up around the television and movie businesses and, in many cases, it's a lot more about habit than necessity.

 

You cut costs, and save time, by only having the equipment that you know you are going to need for the scenes that you are going to shoot. That concentrates the mind, makes you work out exactly what you are going to need for any particular day's work.

 

'And not only do I think cutting out the frills works, I actually think the actors rather enjoy it. Warren Clarke said to me: "I've been acting for more than 40 years and I haven't felt like this since I started out. Being part of a team, mucking in like this, is actually rather inspiring." '

Limited funds meant that only three of David Peace's quartet of Red Riding books could be dramatised.

 

The stories set in 1974, 1980 and 1983 made the cut. Red Riding: 1977 didn't, although producer Andrew Eaton hopes it may be shot as a one- off film at some point in the future.

Several of the actors talk about the no-frills approach being a perfect backdrop to a drama which is almost unremittingly bleak.

 

Next week's film, set in 1980, focuses on widespread corruption-among police officers, the torturing of suspects by the police and the attempts to destroy the Assistant Chief Constable of the Manchester police, who is brought in to investigate mistakes made during the hunt for the Yorkshire Ripper.

 

The last film in the trilogy - set in 1983 - at least ends on a high note. But not before we've seen scenes of brutal torture in a police station and the appalling sight of a little girl, the victim of a sadistic serial killer who - it seems - has never been caught.

 

The project is Mark Addy's first major one in his native Yorkshire since filming The Full Monty there 12 years ago. He returned to Britain from the U.S. in 2006, having spent four years in Hollywood.

 

'No prizes for guessing where I prefer to work!' says father-of-three Addy, 45, who lives in York. 'I missed the honesty and common sense that comes with working in Britain.

'And I'm proud of what we do here. Red Riding is not an easy watch - it's six hours of dark, brutal drama. But it's work of which I'm immensely proud, a drama that I'm sure will make an impact.'

 

Sheffield Star

What programme will Sean Bean be glued to tonight?

 

LIKE a good slice of the nation Sean Bean will be sitting down in front of his TV tonight to watch the first-part of Channel Four's highly-anticipated Red Riding trilogy.

 

In the adaptation of author David Peace's best-selling novels set in Yorkshire during the 1970s and '80s in the shadow of the Ripper murders, the Sheffield actor plays a corrupt property developer called John Dawson.

 


"It's not often I watch myself but I am very proud of this," he says. "It's grim and it's bleak but it's a quality piece of work. It's good to see something like that on television, it gives a view of what happened in the past."

Even alongside some of the bad guys Bean has played over the years, including a Bond villain, John Dawson stands out as a particularly nasty piece of work.

"Yes, he's a villain but he's also a glamorous figure amidst this depressing, washed-up deadened world," he says.

"In this bleak landscape you know where he is coming from."

Is this a Yorkshire that the lad from Handsworth could recognise?

"In 1974 I was 15 and I remember good things and bad. There were labour disputes, unrest and industrial collapse. And there was a lot of violence which this film deals with.

"But desperate times often produce great music and that was certainly true."

A great deal of attention was paid to period detail on Red Riding, especially the fashion.

"Flares, long coat and a polo neck, that took you back," says Bean. "They were perfect for that kind of menacing character. The clothes were carefully chosen because it's a case of what you wear is what you are."

And what of John Dawson's luxuriant hairstyle, is that Bean's own or a wig?

"No, it's mine, I grew it a bit," he laughs. "I suppose it's a bit bouffanty and they did add some sideboards and things."

Apart from a few Sharpe specials, Bean mostly works for the cinema and says he was attracted to a rare TV role because "it is a wonderful piece of writing".

It was filmed last autumn on various locations around Yorkshire – from Doncaster to Harrogate.

"It's always a particular joy to work in my home county," he says. "It's easy, for one thing I don't have to learn an accent. But I think it was important that it was shot 100 per cent in Yorkshire.

"It was a very quick shoot and there wasn't a huge budget, all the money is up there on screen. We had to work at a pace and I think I did 10 days' work spread over two weeks.

"We had a wonderful ensemble, people like Mark Addy, Warren Clarke, David Morrissey and Andrew Garfield, who plays the young journalist that I did most of my scenes with. When you work with people like that it raises your game."

Next for Bean is a film in Germany, The Black Death, about the plague of 1348.

"It's another dark piece," he says. "Maybe I should look for a nice romantic comedy next!"

Strictly speaking what's next is a trip to QPR this Saturday to see Sheffield United, although the 100 per cent Blade admits he doesn't get to see them that often.

"I'm so often working on Saturday afternoons and the best I'll get is sitting round a TV somewhere trying to find out what the score is."

BBC1

Red Riding trilogy to air on TV

 

David Morrissey joins an all star cast for Channel 4's new big budget drama, Red Riding, a series of three feature-length films set in the 1970s and 80s in Yorkshire. The actor, who played the Duke of Norfolk in The Other Boleyn Girl and appeared in The Doctor Who Christmas special last year, plays a copper racked by guilt over corruption, brutality and perversion of justice.

 

Your character is quite complex because you start off on the bad side and then realise the error of your ways. What was it like to play Maurice Jobson?

 

What happens with my character is I think he becomes a copper for all the right reasons. He really believes in his job and once he gets into the force he gets this mentor, played by Warren Clarke, and my character really loves Warren's character. He really thinks he's a great copper and he's slightly led astray by Warren. He's not able to live with that guilt and he's not able to do his job the way he wanted because he's sold his soul really.

 

As he strips away at the layers of what he thought was a little bit of corruption he realises that, like being a little bit pregnant, that doesn't exist. He sees the corruption for what it is and it gets worse and worse the more he looks at it and I think he makes a choice where he sort of just goes under a little bit. He certainly goes into denial about it and he convinces himself that he hasn't done what he's done, in some way.

 

In our last episode in 1983 he has to confront the reality that he's done a terrible thing. One of the terrible things he's done is he hasn't spoken up when he should have spoken up. And each episode has a little title and our title is Bad Things Happen When Good Men Do Nothing and he is that good man, he just didn't do anything and he should have done.

 

And that's what attracted me to him, the fact that he is complex. He is a very flawed person. He's not brave. He's frightened. He could be this maverick sort of hero and he just doesn't have it in him. I found that very interesting to play.

 

How did it feel to be part of such an all star cast for Red Riding?

 

There's a great, great cast that they've got together, some I've worked with before like Peter Mullan and Paddy Considine, who I really love. I think they're both really fantastic actors. But also actors I really wanted to work with like Sean Bean and Warren Clarke. And actually all the cast are brilliant.

 

But none of us would be here if it wasn't for Tony Grisoni's scripts. And that's the reason we're here, they're great stories, complex characters, flawed people, directed by three fantastic directors. But we're all here because it's a great piece of writing from Tony and that's why we all decided to do it.

 

Red Riding is a very British production with a very realistic British storyline. How did that feel?

 

I don't think all the things happened. But I think there's some fact in there. But it is a work of fiction. You wouldn't want to lose sight of the fact that it's three dramas. It's not factual in any way.

Of course there are times in it when factual things happen but it is a drama as far as the West Yorkshire Police Force is concerned. All of us are made up characters. But what's great about it for me is, from my memories of the mid 70s and early 80s, for me it was a very exciting time because there was some great music happening at that time.

 

My memory of it is of having a ball. But looking back on it I realise that it was quite bleak. We were always looking for places to hang out and go and have a drink.

 

Now you've got a Starbucks on every corner. It's very difficult to find places you can't hang out. Whereas for us it was very weird. But I really loved growing up in the 70s and early 80s, although it was a tough time. But it's full of recognition for me.

 

Did you enjoy going back in time, driving the cars and getting dressed up?

 

I loved my car. I drove an old Rover. I though it was great. I so wanted it but the guy was so proud of it. That was great. But it adds to it. Also, the other thing that's great for any dramatist setting something like this in the 70s and 80s, is that people are uncontactable. There wasn't emails, we weren't all Blackberried up. So information can hang and people can get lost and they get into dangerous situations without calling for help. I think that's why dramatists have really latched on to those times because it's an easier time to have suspense.

 

The first part of Red Riding is on Channel 4 at 9pm on Thursday 5 March.

 

David Morrissey was talking to Newsbeat entertainment reporter Chi Chi Izundu.

 

http://news.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/hi/entertainment/newsid_7923000/7923556.stm

Metro.co.uk

Tony Grisoni faces some home truths

 

'You poor man,' laughs Red Riding screenwriter Tony Grisoni when I tell him I've just watched all three films in one go. Based on the Red Riding series of books by David Peace, they involve horrific tales of police corruption set against a backdrop of murders and abductions.

 

With a starry cast including Sean Bean, Warren Clarke, David Morrissey and Maxine Peake, it might be easy to dismiss this Channel 4 trilogy, which begins tonight, as a semi-ironic Life On Mars-style waddle through the 1970s and 1980s. But you'd do so at your peril; it's tough, uncompromising stuff. It's also quite brilliant television.

 

It's shaping up to be Peace's year as an author, in fact. His claustrophobic, fictionalised history of Brian Clough's tenure at Leeds United is Michael Sheen's next star vehicle in the film of The Damned United, out at the end of this month.

 

Tokyo Occupied City, his follow-up to the acclaimed Tokyo Year Zero, is published in August. Meanwhile, Grisoni, who has worked extensively with Terry Gilliam, and with Michael Winterbottom on people-trafficking tale In This World, is perfectly placed to speak of Red Riding's genius.

 

Not only does the cast revolve, each of the three films has a different director. And the first thing that snared Grisoni was a tale that, like In This World (and The Damned United) has fictions drawn from dark facts.

 

'Working with something that is powerfully informed by fact is a blessing, because you do have this anchor that you are attached to,' he says; the 1980 instalment is a Yorkshire Ripper-based tale that never mentions Peter Sutcliffe.

 

'Someone once said the difference between documentary and fiction film-makers is that with fiction you have to tell the truth.'

 

The truth, in tonight's opening film 1974, is buried in increasing violence as young journalist Eddie Dunford (Andrew Garfield, pictured) uncovers what he believes to be a corruptive link between child murders, the police and a property magnate. The ending is unexpected and convincing but also has the air of a Jacobean revenge tragedy to it. Does Grisoni believe Peace's world has any kind of moral code?

 

'These films are set in Britain in the 1970s and 1980s and, to probably misquote David, West Yorkshire was a very hostile place, particularly towards women. The crimes didn't happen by accident. But it is an intensely moral piece. Eddie is an egotistical, libidinous, 25-year-old man but what saves him is his need to know the truth. In the 1983 film, you have a policeman who finally does what he should have done nine years previously. It's redemptive but, if you want to refer back to Jacobean tragedy, the revenger never survives.'

 

The other morals are in the subtexts: the films don't shy away from the ugliness of corruption, the brutality of the times and of the world. Peace's real success with the books was to ensure the violence is never gratuitous or entertaining. Indeed, the shoot-out in tonight's film is so shocking, it's tempting to read it as some kind of revengeful dream. 'That's what's so interesting about Red Riding,' enthuses Grisoni.

 

'Right from the beginning there is a sense that there are different realities at play here; it's not a naturalistic drama. When you read the novels or watch the films, you're often unsure whether this is actually happening, or feverish wish-fulfilment.'

 

It's these layers that make Red Riding so impressive but it's the exceptional writing that comes through in the end, both from Peace and Grisoni.

 

Red Riding begins tonight on C4 at 9pm.

 

http://www.metro.co.uk/metrolife/article.html?Tony_Grisoni_faces_some_home_truths&in_article_id=567770&in_page_id=9

The Huddersfield Daily Examiner

Huddersfield Town fan David Peace is behind TV’s darkest tale

 

HE IS the playwright of the moment and Huddersfield is the place that seems to lie heavily on his mind.

 

Tonight sees the TV debut of Dewsbury-born David Peace’s Red Riding Quartet, based on the gritty novels he wrote set in West Yorkshire during the 1970s and early 1980s.

The series was filmed in and around Huddersfield and Halifax and features a stellar cast including Sean Bean and David Morrissey.

 

What has already showered the Channel 4 series with controversy is not the setting of the piece, which has the horrendous crimes of the Yorkshire Ripper as their backdrop.

It is more Peace’s unremitting stare of accusation levelled firmly at West Yorkshire Police, a force he has no hesitation in naming and perhaps – shaming.

 

“The crimes of the Yorkshire Ripper and the police hunt for the person – or persons – responsible lasted from 1975 until 1981 and, for me, cast a shadow over that entire place and time.

 

“I believe you should write about things that matter, about things you care for, things you know.

 

“What matters to me, what I care for and what I know, is the West Yorkshire of my childhood which, unfortunately, was also the Yorkshire of the Ripper.”

 

Peace’s treatment of the police handling of the Ripper investigation is controversial portraying a force dogged by accusations of corruption and incompetence.

 

Asked by the BBC if the West Yorkshire force were really as he portrayed them in the Quartet, he said: “Yes, or I wouldn’t have written the books in the way that I have.

“The cases of Stefan Kiszko, Judith Ward and Anthony Steel – all of which involved detectives from the Ripper squad – offer nothing to contradict my fictions and even a cursory examination of the Ripper investigation itself reveals a monumental degree of failure on the part of senior detectives.

 

“The survivors and families of the victims, and the communities that were terrorised, still do not know the whole truth and that, in itself, is corrupt.”

 

All of his work until 2007’s Tokyo Year Zero has been based firmly in and around West Yorkshire.

 

“I now live in Tokyo but, in terms of the places and the times I write about, it doesn't matter where I live. You can take the man out of Yorkshire but not the Yorkshire out of the man!”

That can also be said of the themes of many of his books.

 

From the days of the Yorkshire Ripper to Brian Clough’s troubled times at Leeds United, not to mention the miners’ strike, which features in his novel GB84, all his novels have a true sense of place.

 

Anyone who lived through the days he vividly describes will instantly recognise the atmosphere and many of the locations about which he writes.

 

But why, are all his works set in 1970s and 80s Yorkshire?

 

He says: “I was born in Dewsbury in 1967 and didn’t leave West Yorkshire until 1987 – and then only to Manchester.

 

“Unfortunately, I grew up in what I think was a dark period in the history of West Yorkshire.

“I’m not only thinking here of the Ripper, but also of the economic, political and social climate of the period, as I feel West Yorkshire suffered a great deal under the Thatcher government. So that has obviously ‘coloured’ my writing.

 

“I think, historically, West Yorkshire is very much a place of defeat and hidden histories – from William and the Harrowing of the North to the Wars of the Roses etc.

 

“I think, more than anywhere else in England, people in West Yorkshire know that official history is only ever written by the winners and that it’s always/usually a lie.”

 

Peace is probably best known for his book The Damned Untied, a fictionalised account of Brian Clough’s turbulent 44 day reign as Leeds United manager.

 

He had watched Clough’s inaugural game with Leeds when, as a seven-year-old, his father took him to his first football match, a pre-season friendly with Huddersfield Town.

“There are days I wish I’d never written the bleeding book,” he later admitted.

 

Clough’s family complained and the mid-fielder Johnny Giles received an apology in court.

“After the book, I couldn’t watch football for a year,” Peace said.

 

That said, the film comes out later this month starring Michael Sheen as old Big ’Ed.

Peace has come a long way since growing up in Ossett but he still holds on tightly to his West Yorkshire roots.

 

His move to Japan in 1994 hasn’t stopped him following his favourite football team. He follows Town via the Web.

 

He says that his Japanese wife has not read any of his books, and that his 11 year old son George, one of the couple’s two children, is a Manchester United fan who mocks the Terriers.

West Yorkshire continues to inspire Peace though and word has it that his next project returns to a Huddersfield setting – a chronicle of the decline of Huddersfield political giant Harold Wilson and the rise of Margaret Thatcher.

 

More fireworks?

 

David Peace's Red Riding Quartet starts on Channel Four tonight at 9pm. The Damned United is released on March 27.

 

 

http://www.examiner.co.uk/news/local-west-yorkshire-news/2009/03/05/town-fan-david-peace-is-behind-tv-s-darkest-tale-86081-23067225/

The Northern Echo

Red Riding (C4, 9pm)

 

‘THIS is the North, we do what we want,” snarls an officer in the West Yorkshire police, as he throws a journalist from a moving vehicle.

 

Having previously stripped, beaten and tortured him (handcuffs can be used as an offensive weapon, I must warn you), being chucked into the road is the least of his problems.

It’s fair to say that the police won’t be using Red Riding as a recruitment film.

 

The villains, including Sean Bean’s crooked property developer, are nasty, but the police, on the evidence offered here, are just as bad.

 

The three films, all with different directors and set in different periods of the Seventies and Eighties, are based on David Peace’s novels.

 

The first, set in 1974, isn’t an easy watch, as journalist Eddie Dunford returns from an unsuccessful time in London to work on the Yorkshire Post as a crime reporter.

 

He thinks he spots a link between the disappearance of several young girls in West Yorkshire. But his pursuit of a scoop leads him into a murky world of police brutality, dodgy business deals and a criminal underworld that works hand-inhand with corrupt coppers.

 

His involvement with the mother (Rebecca Hall) of a missing girl gets him even deeper into trouble with both sides of the law. “The devil triumphs when good men do nowt,” someone reminds him. But it isn’t easy for good to triumph in this sordid, violent world.

 

Director Julian Jarrold and a good cast – some, like Warren Clarke and David Morrissey, barely glimpsed but who’ll surface in later films – ensure this is brilliantly filmed and acted. But the slow pace, all-pervasive gloom, and the unattractiveness of virtually every character makes it difficult to connect. Some viewers will, I suspect, give up long before the bloody finale.

 

The role of journalist Eddie sees Andrew Garfield following his Bafta-winning performance in the TV drama Boy A and a role in the Robert Redford-directed movie Lions For Lambs.

Oddly enough, he did want to be a journalist at one point. “Part of me now is still very interested in investigative journalism,”  he says.

 

“As research for the role, I worked at the Yorkshire Post for a bit, which was really interesting. It was fascinating to spend time in their office and to see a big bunch of people with their fingers on the pulse of what’s happening in our world, country and city right this second.

“It helped me to understand what draws people to a job like that. I’m a very curious person and I do find aspects of journalism really exciting. I’d still really like to do travel journalism at some point in my life.”

 

Eddie finds a sense of purpose as he investigates the missing girls, seeing a lot of injustice and ugliness that he wants to reverse.

 

“He’s got a very vivid imagination and underneath the hard exterior, he’s a very sensitive person. He’s a lost child within himself really. He has a real empathy for the darker shades of life because there’s a lot of darkness in his own life that he’s inflicted upon himself,”  he says.

 

The film meant going back to the Seventies. He wasn’t born until 1983, so it was all new to him. He was fascinated by the cars, clothes, adverts playing on TV, and all the things that were so different.

 

“I also got to drive a Seventies Vauxhall which was great,” he adds.

 

Garfield’s involved in some pretty disturbing scenes, as well as stunts including falling out of a car, a shoot-out and being beaten. “I found it very intense. The scenes weren’t easy to film and they weren’t fun, but they felt real, which is the most important thing,” he says.

 

“It was a struggle to throw myself into something so dangerous, particularly in the scenes where I’m being tortured, but it was scary and exciting at the same time.

 

“You have to try and make a joke in between takes, otherwise there’s a danger of taking it all too seriously. There was a real sense of community on set which helped everyone. We had a good balance between enjoying what we did and being very serious about it.”

 

http://www.thenorthernecho.co.uk/features/4176545.Hard_news/

The Independent

Red Riding: Yorkshire noir on TV

 

Channel 4's trilogy of films based on David Peace's 'Yorkshire noir' novels, will shock even seasoned viewers of crime drama, says Gerard Gilbert

 

British TV audiences are no strangers to the bad behaviour of fictional police officers, whether it's the off-duty copper slapping his wife in Z Cars (sensational in its day) or the Scotland Yard "bad apple" taking backhanders in G F Newman's drama Law and Order (equally sensational back in 1978). But nothing will have quite prepared us for Red Riding, a trilogy of fictional dramas set in Yorkshire in the Seventies and Eighties that suggests that West Yorkshire Police tortured and murdered people. As John Stalker, who was Assistant Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police in 1980 and headed the inquiry into the RUC's "shoot-to-kill" policy in Northern Ireland, told Radio Times: "It's the most shocking portrayal of a named force I've ever seen."

 

Indeed it is. Based on the acclaimed quartet of "Yorkshire noir" novels by David Peace, Red Riding is a febrile, almost hallucinatory account of police corruption and brutality set against a backdrop of the hunt for the Yorkshire Ripper. Peace, whose The Damned United, a fictionalised account of the football manager Brian Clough's 44-day reign at Leeds United, has also been turned into a forthcoming film, suggests further reading to those who feel he has been exaggerating. "I recommend The History and Practice of the Political Police in Britain by Tony Bunyan, Error of Judgement: the Truth about the Birmingham Bombings by Chris Mullin or Bloody Valentine: a Killing in Cardiff by John Williams. Or anything by the late Paul Foot."

 

The three films that emerged out of Peace's four novels, have been adapted by Tony Grisoni, who has the screenplay of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas among his credits. Each film is named after a different year, starting with 1974 and continuing in successive weeks with 1980 and 1983. Some of the characters (played by a lip-smacking cast that includes Sean Bean, Andrew Garfield, Maxine Peake, David Morrissey, Paddy Considine and Rebecca Hall) turn up in more than one of the films.

 

"I started reading 1974, and from the first unsettling parody of a fallen angel to the final Jacobean shoot-out, I did not stop to take breath,"says Grisoni. "I plunged into the other three novels... They read like an English James Ellroy cut with Stan Barstow and drenched in the occult sensibilities of an Iain Sinclair. We're talking eternal perdition and the possibility of redemption. Dickens on bad acid."

 

A heady brew, and Grisoni had a four-hour meeting with David Peace, who now lives in Tokyo, in a "seedy London hotel – his choice". Thereafter, their dialogue continued in cyberspace. "Looking back over our communication, I notice: 'For me, the books were about nature vs nurture: did the time, the place and the society of West Yorkshire give birth to Peter Sutcliffe or was West Yorkshire just unlucky..."

 

Sutcliffe, the Yorkshire Ripper, appears (played by Joseph Mawle) in the middle film, 1980. And while Sutcliffe's malevolent shadow hangs over the trilogy, other real-life cases also inspired Peace's fiction. In Red Riding, a simple man, Michael Myshkin, is fitted up by the police for the abduction and killing of a child. In November 2007, a story broke that exonerated Stefan Kiszko, who had spent 16 years in prison for the murder of a young girl in 1976 and died months after his release.

"David Peace said the Kiszko case was a tragic source of inspiration," says Tony Grisoni. "Throughout the development of these scripts, we were haunted by reality that seemed to mirror the fiction: Stephen Lawrence, Madeleine McCann, Natascha Kampusch, Shannon Matthews, Josef Fritzl, the Yorkshire Ripper hoaxer... Sometimes, it was difficult to tell the real world from the dark fictions we were weaving."

 

Which will no doubt be a criticism levelled at Red Riding. What should not be questioned is the artistic integrity of the work, which has been produced by Michael Winterbottom's Revolution Films. Each part of the trilogy is a startlingly original piece of work. And each is helmed by a different director: Julian Jarrold (Brideshead Revisited), James Marsh (director of the wonderful, Oscar-winning documentary Man on Wire) and Anand Tucker (Hilary and Jackie). "I think we had one meeting where we sat down and tried to make sense of the whole thing," says Jarrold. "And then we said, 'Sod that – let's do our own thing.'"

 

And never before has it been quite so ravishingly grim up north. Anton Corbijn came pretty close in Control, his beautifully framed 2007 biopic of Joy Division's Ian Curtis.

"I wanted lots of modern, concrete buildings... lots of geometric shapes," says James Marsh, who directed 1980. "I wanted to offset the formality and coldness of these backdrops with lots of warm greens, browns and yellows."

 

Each director shot with different film stock, Marsh using 35mm ("more forgiving in low light") while Anand Tucker shot 1983 in anamorphic widescreen ("I wanted to make it as cinematic as possible"). Julian Jarrold opted for Super 16 film for 1974, which gave him "a grainy quality, which could dominate and imprison the characters", he says. "We went for a colour we all associate with the Seventies, which is slightly brownish and muted. What I didn't want to do was to go down the Life on Mars route and plaster it with pop songs of the periods."

 

Jarrold's film, 1974, opens the trilogy, telling of an ambitious young fictional Yorkshire Post journalist, Eddie Dunford, investigating the disappearance of a local schoolgirl. Dunford is played by Andrew Garfield, the Bafta-winning star of Channel 4's Boy A, who gives another magnetic performance here as a cocky reporter getting out of his depth amid civic and police corruption. "I wasn't born until 1983," he says. "It was great exploring the period – the cars, the clothes... It was fascinating – the clothes of the time make you move differently, they give you a real swagger."

 

Dunford's nemesis is a big-shot property developer, John Dawson, played by Sean Bean, who tells me he went all Method, deliberately gaining weight for the role. It's an unexpected and wonderfully menacing performance, more The Sopranos than Sharpe and very different from Bean's dashing heroes or stock Hollywood villains. "As soon as I read the scripts, I knew this was something different that I could really get my teeth into," he says.

 

The big-name cast were thrown together in a thoroughly democratic manner while on location in Leeds and Bradford. "We decided not to offer trailers or private dressing rooms to the cast," says Red Riding's producer, Wendy Brazington. "We know that if you can get it right, it can lead to a very convivial atmosphere."

 

"I thoroughly enjoyed it; we all did," says Sean Bean. "There was a lot of laughter, which permeated the set, because it was a case of if we didn't laugh, we'd cry."

'Red Riding' begins on Channel 4 tomorrow night at 9pm

Murder he wrote: The cast

John Dawson (Sean Bean)

The sadistic head of a construction and property firm, Dawson has a lot of important people in his pocket and may or may not be involved in the case of the missing schoolgirls.

 

Eddie Dunford (Andrew Garfield)

A cocky but determined young 'Yorkshire Post' reporter returned to his home turf after an unsuccessful stint on Fleet Street. Dunford's crusade to crack the story about three abducted schoolgirls leads to his undoing.

 

Paula Garland (Rebecca Hall)

The mother of one of the missing schoolgirls, Garland is a fragile divorcee who is instantly attracted to Eddie Dunford, the journalist who's asking too many questions. Unfortunately she's also a plaything of violent property magnate John Dawson.

 

Helen Marshall (Maxine Peake)

Marshall is chosen by Peter Hunter to work beside him on the secret inquiry into the West Yorkshire police's handling of the Ripper case. The two admire each other and share some history, but will they cross the line professionally?

 

Peter Hunter (Paddy Considine)

Reportedly based on the real-life John Stalker, Hunter is Assistant Chief Constable of the Manchester Police, who has been asked to head a secret Home Office inquiry into the Ripper investigation. Cooperation isn't forthcoming.

 

Detective Inspector Maurice Jobson (David Morrissey)

Aka "the owl" – the bespectacled Jobson hero-worships his boss, Bill Molloy, aka "the badger" – a deeply corrupt superintendent played by Warren Clarke. Only too late does Jobson realise that his hero has feet of clay.

 

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/tv/features/red-riding-yorkshire-noir-on-tv-1636631.html

Times Online/Sunday Times

Red Riding shows brutality in Yorkshire 'hood'

 

David Peace's novels, noir fictions set at time of Ripper murders, are Tony Grisoni-adapted TV series with Andrew Garfield




David Peace’s Red Riding Quartet of crime novels is not the sort of thing you would put forward for your book club. At least, not if your book club is a sprightly, glass-of-pinot-grigio affair. That’s not to say the novels, published between 1999 and 2002, are anything other than superlative literature, but those who have read them will confirm that the experience is something like a full-frontal sandblasting.

 

Set in Yorkshire around the time of the Ripper murders, they are singularly brutal noir fictions, whose stark titles — 1974, 1977, 1980 and 1983 — sit in ironic contrast to the dense horrors within. Through stories of missing schoolgirls, mutilated prostitutes, cancerously corrupt police and epidemic brutality, they conjure up a cumulative stench that is not easily forgotten. Peace’s Yorkshire, in the late 1970s and early 1980s, is hell.

 

Starting next month, it will be the turn of television viewers to make the descent. Channel 4 has spent four years adapting Peace’s quartet for the screen, and the result is three two-hour films (the quartet has become a trilogy, of which more later), made by a cast and crew straight from Bafta’s A-list Rolodex. Tony Grisoni (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas) has adapted the screenplays, and three directors also better known for their recent work in cinema have made a film each: Julian Jarrold (Brideshead Revisited), James Marsh (Man on Wire) and Anand Tucker (And When Did You Last See Your Father?).

 

The acting talent is equally of the moment. In the first film, 1974, Andrew Garfield, who won a Bafta last year for his role in Boy A, stars as a cocksure young crime journalist on the case of a group of missing schoolgirls. In the second, 1980, Paddy Considine plays a Manchester detective conducting an internal investigation into the squad working the Ripper case. And in the last, 1983, Mark Addy is a local solicitor representing a young man with extreme learning difficulties (Danny Mays) who was imprisoned for the child murders in the first film. The supporting cast, meanwhile, is as strong an ensemble as television can muster: Sean Bean, Lesley Sharp, David Morrissey, Warren Clarke, Rebecca Hall, Maxine Peake, Ron Cook, Jim Carter and Peter Mullan, for starters.

 

Actors follow scripts, however, and it was Grisoni’s adaptations that provided the lure. Grisoni was originally set to adapt just one of the novels. He read Peace’s quartet and asked to do them all. “I had to do it. But at the same time I was hesitant, because I knew what it meant. They were going to be full-length films. The big ask was to try to make each one stand-alone, but also to link them in with one another.”

 

Peace’s novels employ a fractured narrative. Characters and storylines appear, only to disappear in among the murk and then resurface later, or not at all. In the books, this is a conscious effect to create anxiety, but for a scriptwriter, it was a perpetual snag — audiences (and, just as important, broadcasting executives) like to know who did what to whom, and when. Grisoni’s assistants cross-referenced, deconstructed and anatomised the novels. Meanwhile, he contacted Peace, who lives in Tokyo; they exchanged e-mails and eventually met in London in 2006. “We had a meeting, which went on for six hours. I just sat there with my notebook asking him question after question after question.”

 

As a result, the films’ narrative arcs are more distinct than those in the novel. But although this approach reduces the novels’ sinewy complexity, Grisoni’s achievement in his adaptation is to retain their power.

 

 

The other adjustment to Peace’s opus is, in fact, a wholesale omission. Grisoni wrote a complete screenplay for the second novel, 1977, but blunt economics did for that — there wasn’t the money to make all four.

 

“When we knew that we wouldn’t be able to afford to make four full-length films, we thought about making four, but making them shorter,” he says. “But by doing that, we would have lost so much of the atmosphere, and it would have turned into more of a cop shop. In the end, I decided to drop 1977 out cleanly. Not least because I still want to do it. It’s fantastic stuff. It’s there waiting.”

 

Should it ever get made, a fourth film will be something to relish: the Red Riding trilogy is as grimly powerful a piece of television as has ever been made. The writing is magnificent, the vision sustained, the performances indelible.

 

The standout among them is Garfield as Eddie Dunford, in 1974. Garfield has become something of a go-to guy for playing young men fast-tracked through the various circles of hell: Boy A saw him as a child murderer attempting rehabilitation in his twenties after serving a sentence. In Chatroom at the National in 2006, one of several stage performances that marked him out as an outstanding prospect, he played a suicidal teenager.

 

In person, Garfield, 25, is winningly wide-eyed. He wants to pay for his own coffee, in stark contrast to the hallowed showbiz commandment, and he calls things he likes “rad”. But make no mistake, he is interested in the sinister side of the soul. “We spend time trying to avoid sadness, trying to avoid dark thoughts and dark intentions,” he says. “We try and suppress that. I think I probably use this job to enjoy exploring the parts of myself that I’m scared of.”

 

 http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/tv_and_radio/article5766044.ece

Metro London paper

Sean Bean on playing the bad guy
Monday, February 23, 2009

Sean Bean is back on screen playing another bad guy - because he says he's drawn to villainous parts.
The Sharpe actor plays a corrupt businessman in new Channel 4 film trilogy Red Riding - a character who Sean says is bad but three-dimensional.

"I find playing the bad guys very interesting. But it depends how it's written - I've played bad guys in the past who are one-dimensional but in this case he's a very complex, troubled soul and that's what I find exciting," he said.

Sean added that he didn't identify with the character but he did sympathise with him.

"He has humour and charm but is a very troubled man underneath with a lot of guilt and anxiety," he said.

"It's difficult to sympathise with him, but you've got to like him in order to play him otherwise he'd just be a monster. He is a monster but I've got to like that monster."

http://www.metro.co.uk/fame/article.html?Sean_Bean_on_playing_the_bad_guy&in_article_id=551574&in_page_id=7&in_a_source=

Yorkshire Post

Stars shine in a return journey to the heart of darkness

 

A dimly-lit, anonymous doorway in the middle of a dingy street in East London is a seemingly incongruous setting for the launch party of a long-awaited TV drama. Yet sitting in the swanky bar upstairs are some of Britain's most talented actors, including Warren Clarke, Mark Addy, Maxine Peake, David Morrissey and Sean Bean

 

It's not often you find such a celebrated cast appearing together, but they, along with a host of other instantly recognisable names and faces, were drawn to Tony Grisoni's powerful Red Riding scripts.

  

The three-part Channel 4 crime drama is based on David Peace's disturbing cult novels, The Red Riding Quartet, set in Yorkshire during the 1970s and '80s in a paranoid world haunted by the Ripper case and mired in police corruption.

Although the screen adaptation is a lavish affair – as well as the ensemble cast a high-profile director was brought in for each film – budget constraints meant there was only enough money in the pot to adapt three of the four books.

Despite this apparent shortcoming, Red Riding makes for compelling viewing. The language, along with some of the violence, is pretty near-the-knuckle and the trilogy won't be everyone's cup of tea. But it attempts to tell the truth in a way that TV drama rarely has the courage to do, lifting the lid on a murky world of police corruption, child abuse and immorality in a series of interlinking stories.

The first film, 1974, follows rookie journalist Eddie Dunford as he attempts to unravel the complex maze of lies and deceit surrounding a police investigation into a string of child abductions. The subsequent two films, 1980 and 1983, pick up these strands, stretching them to their dramatic denouement.

David Morrissey's character, Detective Inspector Maurice Jobson, is among the police officers who find themselves embroiled in this Machiavellian world.

Morrissey says his character is an old-school cop who finds himself caught between a rock and a hard place. "There's a quote at the beginning of one of the episodes that says 'bad things happen when good men do nothing' and I think he is a good man who does nothing.

"You want him to do something, but what I like about him is he's not that vigilante cop that we see on the telly, he's a man with all these flaws and fears. He has a family to support and he's surrounded by all these brutal, cruel men and the burden he carries is he's not the person he would like to be."

Morrissey jumped at the chance when he was offered the role. "I knew the directors involved and then I read the screenplays and thought they were brilliant, although very dark and bleak. Then I found out about this brilliant cast which included either actors I'd worked with before and admired, or people I really wanted to work with."

He calls Red Riding a "demanding piece of work" which he admits was upsetting at times, even for such an experienced actor as himself. "The work was very intense, this is crime writing at its most guttural. Sometimes great books don't make great TV, but the screenplay has the right pace and some fantastic dialogue," he says.

"There's a sense that you're either corrupt, or you aren't, you can't just be a little bit corrupt. In the same way you can't be a little bit pregnant."

But is such a dark drama still relevant today? "The characters don't have mobile phones or computers but you can see references to how we live all the time," he says. "I came to London in the early '80s and I've not seen the West End like this for years with shops closing down everywhere. There's a sense of people battening down the hatches and the last time it was like that was during this period."

Screen Yorkshire helped produce the trilogy and eagle-eyed viewers will recognise many familiar landmarks in Leeds, Bradford and Wakefield.

For Sean Bean, who plays conniving businessman John Dawson, filming Red Riding took him back to his youth growing up in Yorkshire.

Not that he sees it through rose-tinted glasses. "I remember the Ripper story being on the news and people being scared to go out at night. It went on for years and it always seemed to be winter. People often have great memories of the '70s, the great clothes and great music, but it was set against a backdrop of troubled and unsettled times."

He calls the trilogy "twisted and disturbing" but says it captures an essence of what life was like during this period. "There's an almost ethereal quality to it. I like the fact that it's set very firmly in Yorkshire. It's not apologetic about that, it's not politically correct, it doesn't pander to what we think the public should see on television. I hope it provokes some emotion, whether that's pathos or anger, because that's what good television should be about."

Andrew Garfield, who plays fictional Yorkshire Post reporter Eddie Dunford, is too young to remember the Ripper case or the "winter of discontent", but he, too, was drawn to the script. "It's very rare that you read something and think 'I really want to be part of this'," he says. "There's a social and political background which elevates it beyond your average crime thriller."

Garfield says playing Eddie pushed his acting skills to the limit. "I tried to find the bits I didn't know I had in me, like his utter self-centredness at the beginning. I like to think I have bravery, but if I was put in a situation as extreme as Eddie is put in I don't know what I'd do, so finding the truth of myself within that was really tough and interesting."

The role wasn't just emotionally challenging, it took its toll physically, too. "I suffered a few injuries. I got thrown through a glass window which wasn't planned, I had a couple of black eyes and a bruised neck." This was despite the fact that he took some boxing lessons to help toughen up for therole. "I needed to get into the fighting spirit because I'd never thrown a punch in my life and I had to know that I could, and that I could take one."

He also spent a couple of weeks shadowing newspaper reporters in order to get into character. "It seemed like being a journalist was nine-tenths waiting around and one-tenth utter chaos and excitement. But I have huge respect for what you do. Journalists have their finger on the pulse, they're defining what people read every morning and what they talk about, and that's admirable."

Red Riding starts on Channel 4 on Thursday, March 5.

The Press Association

Bean: Show doesn't glamorise violence

 

6 hours ago

 

Sean Bean has said his new drama Red Riding doesn't glamorise violence.

The Sharpe actor plays a corrupt businessman in the Channel 4 film trilogy.

He said: "I think if [violence] is treated as it is, if it's portrayed as violence is and how you define violence - violence comes in many shapes and forms.

 

"I think we've portrayed it as it is and it's all the more shocking for that, that fact that it's not been glamorised."

Sean revealed he isn't keen on movies that make violence seem cool.

 

He said: "I don't think it should be glamorised but it is a fact of life and I think we dealt with that as such and I think in a strange way, ironically it makes it more shocking when you do deal with it seriously and truthfully."

 

Sean also told how the three-part format was part of what drew him to the script.

"I am not really aware of any pieces of work that have been made into trilogies apart from Lord Of The Rings," he said.

"These are three films that are very different artistically and dramatically. That's something I have not really seen for a long time, if ever."

Red Riding starts on Channel 4 on March 5.

Times Online Interview

Sunday Times

\

Red Riding shows brutality in Yorkshire 'hood'

 

David Peace's novels, noir fictions set at time of Ripper murders, are Tony Grisoni-adapted TV series with Andrew Garfield

 

Benji Wilson

 

David Peace's Red Riding Quartet of crime novels is not the sort of thing you would put forward for your book club. At least, not if your book club is a sprightly, glass-of-pinot-grigio affair. That's not to say the novels, published between 1999 and 2002, are anything other than superlative literature, but those who have read them will confirm that the experience is something like a full-frontal sandblasting.

 

Set in Yorkshire around the time of the Ripper murders, they are singularly brutal noir fictions, whose stark titles 1974, 1977, 1980 and 1983  sit in ironic contrast to the dense horrors within. Through stories of missing schoolgirls, mutilated prostitutes, cancerously corrupt police and epidemic brutality, they conjure up a cumulative stench that is not easily forgotten. Peace's Yorkshire, in the late 1970s and early 1980s, is hell.

 

Starting next month, it will be the turn of television viewers to make the descent. Channel 4 has spent four years adapting Peace's quartet for the screen, and the result is three two-hour films (the quartet has become a trilogy, of which more later), made by a cast and crew straight from Bafta's A-list Rolodex. Tony Grisoni (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas) has adapted the screenplays, and three directors also better known for their recent work in cinema have made a film each: Julian Jarrold (Brideshead Revisited), James Marsh (Man on Wire) and Anand Tucker (And When Did You Last See Your Father?).

 

The acting talent is equally of the moment. In the first film, 1974, Andrew Garfield, who won a Bafta last year for his role in Boy A, stars as a cocksure young crime journalist on the case of a group of missing schoolgirls. In the second, 1980, Paddy Considine plays a Manchester detective conducting an internal investigation into the squad working the Ripper case. And in the last, 1983, Mark Addy is a local solicitor representing a young man with extreme learning difficulties (Danny Mays) who was imprisoned for the child murders in the first film. The supporting cast, meanwhile, is as strong an ensemble as television can muster: Sean Bean, Lesley Sharp, David Morrissey, Warren Clarke, Rebecca Hall, Maxine Peake, Ron Cook, Jim Carter and Peter Mullan, for starters.

 

Actors follow scripts, however, and it was Grisoni's adaptations that provided the lure. Grisoni was originally set to adapt just one of the novels. He read Peace's quartet and asked to do them all. I had to do it. But at the same time I was hesitant, because I knew what it meant. They were going to be full-length films. The big ask was to try to make each one stand-alone, but also to link them in with one another.

 

Peace's novels employ a fractured narrative. Characters and storylines appear, only to disappear in among the murk and then resurface later, or not at all. In the books, this is a conscious effect to create anxiety, but for a scriptwriter, it was a perpetual snag audiences (and, just as important, broadcasting executives) like to know who did what to whom, and when. Grisoni's assistants cross-referenced, deconstructed and anatomised the novels. Meanwhile, he contacted Peace, who lives in Tokyo; they exchanged e-mails and eventually met in London in 2006. We had a meeting, which went on for six hours. I just sat there with my notebook asking him question after question after question.

 

As a result, the films' narrative arcs are more distinct than those in the novel. But although this approach reduces the novels' sinewy complexity, Grisoni's achievement in his adaptation is to retain their power.

 

The other adjustment to Peace's opus is, in fact, a wholesale omission. Grisoni wrote a complete screenplay for the second novel, 1977, but blunt economics did for that there wasn't the money to make all four.

 

When we knew that we wouldn't be able to afford to make four full-length films, we thought about making four, but making them shorter, he says. But by doing that, we would have lost so much of the atmosphere, and it would have turned into more of a cop shop. In the end, I decided to drop 1977 out cleanly. Not least because I still want to do it. It's fantastic stuff. It's there waiting.

 

Should it ever get made, a fourth film will be something to relish: the Red Riding trilogy is as grimly powerful a piece of television as has ever been made. The writing is magnificent, the vision sustained, the performances indelible.

 

The standout among them is Garfield as Eddie Dunford, in 1974. Garfield has become something of a go-to guy for playing young men fast-tracked through the various circles of hell: Boy A saw him as a child murderer attempting rehabilitation in his twenties after serving a sentence. In Chatroom at the National in 2006, one of several stage performances that marked him out as an outstanding prospect, he played a suicidal teenager.

 

In person, Garfield, 25, is winningly wide-eyed. He wants to pay for his own coffee, in stark contrast to the hallowed showbiz commandment, and he calls things he likes rad. But make no mistake, he is interested in the sinister side of the soul. We spend time trying to avoid sadness, trying to avoid dark thoughts and dark intentions, he says. We try and suppress that. I think I probably use this job to enjoy exploring the parts of myself that I'm scared of.


Actors often hold forth about what they have had to endure for their art, when what they really mean is they had to leave London for a day or two, grow some stubble and fire a pretend gun. But stories of Garfield's time on set in Yorkshire filming 1974 have already begun to percolate. His most bruising scenes as Dunford are at the hands of the police, who, when they realise he may be a threat, put him through a series of ferocious ordeals. The lead police interrogator is played by an actor called Sean Harris, who is method by training. So is Garfield. He took such a battering at Harris's hands in several improvised encounters that, in one instance, the two of them had to be kept apart.

 

I want everything I do to be real and genuine and from the heart, the gut, and all that. But those scenes were some of the worst moments of my life. It felt utterly real, genuinely frightening. I said some horrible things to him. He said some horrible things to me. The line was blurred. It was kind of invigorating in a horrible way, but also depressing. We didn't hug each other afterwards. We probably should have.

 

Depending on your world-view, and what you think television exists to do, all of this might be a bit too much. Liza Marshall, Channel 4's head of drama, says: For Channel 4 it was a very risky commission;  these books are incredibly dark.

 

Some things, she argues, viewers simply don't want to see she cites the number of women that are killed or mutilated in Peace's quartet. The films have a lower body count of female corpses, and fewer depictions of their demise. There is an audience for dark crime, but I think we needed to pull back a little bit from some of the extreme darkness. I just couldn't countenance watching that many hours of television and then, in the end, it's all really bleak.


Grisoni reached the same conclusion via a different process. Throughout, his screenplays pick out a few small acts of individual heroism from the pervading gloom, and his final film has a coda that Peace's novel does not a striking shard of light. It was an emotional reaction to the material, he says, with a sigh. An emotional reaction to two and a half years of being in this inferno that David Peace had constructed. David doesn't save anyone. Whereas I needed to.

 

Red Riding starts on C4 on March 5

 


 

 

Gathered in some weird bar in east London last night were members of the press and assorted cast and crew. Oh look, there's Paddy Considine with his collar up; there's Maxine Peake stopping by to say hello; and, hold on to your hats, Sean Bean has entered the building. That's how I felt last night - a bit star-struck and a bit excited.

Unfortunately, Channel 4 decided not to show a complete installment from the trilogy. What it did show - about 15 minutes of extended highlights from all three - were screened on small (small for the venue and the gravitas of the occasion) plasma TVs dotted around the room.

But this is what I saw. Lots of men shouting. Lots of men swearing. Sean Bean in a magnificent, tight polo neck jumper playing a nasty property developer. David Morrissey in period spectacles with a fine tash, playing copper Maurice 'The Owl' Jobson. Paddy Considine electrifying onscreen as he always does, playing supercop Peter Hunter (nicknamed within the force 'Saint C***'). Maxine Peake as detective Helen Marshall. Mark Addy as in-over-his-head lawyer Pigott. Andrew Garfield from Boy A further announcing himself as an actor to watch playing obsessive journalist Eddie Dunford.

These were the snippets we saw - a few scenes here and a few scenes there. I've since watched the first episode - 1974 - and it is excellent. It looks filmy, with lots of lingering shots of fingernails and car parks and bannisters and wedding rings (like snatched photographs from yesteryear), and it's brilliantly acted. Thankfully the bleak feel of the mid-1970s is retained thanks to a faded colour palette and also plenty of shots of council estates with burning matresses and kids banging cars with slabs (that's what happened in the 1970s, right?).

Just to recap, 1974 introduces us to Eddie Dunford, a young, ambitious crime journalist working for the Yorkshire Post. He's just come back from a failed stint 'down south' and he's back in the north, and a bit of a laughing stock. When a young girl is kidnapped and murdered brutally (swan's wings are sewn into her back), he sees this as his big chance to make a name for himself. His obsessive investigations start to have an effect, and he uncovers a trail of corruption within the police force. It doesn't end well for the poor lad, or for Yorkshire. Soon the Ripper will come calling.

It's always difficult when you read books and then watch the film or TV adaptation, but I think this lot might have pulled it off. There's lots of testosterone flying about (you're bound to with that amount of male actors), but there are sensitive moments between Garfield (who really is excellent) and the mother of a kidnapped and murdered girl (Frost/Nixon's Rebecca Hall a stand-out performance from her).

Later on David Morrissey called it a Yorkshire version of The Wire, while Warren Clarke has already likened it to Seven elsewhere. Whatever it is, it's really good, fat-arse, adult drama. It also has a catchphrase: "This is the north and we do what we bloody want."

Look out for an early March airing.

http://www.tvscoop.tv/2009/01/first_look_red.html


 

City gives a backdrop to new drama

By David Barnett - Telegraph and Argus

A star-studded series of chilling TV crime dramas featuring a wealth of British acting talent including Sean Bean and Lesley Sharp has begun shooting in Bradford.

The three films are being produced for Channel 4 and are based on Osset author David Peace’s acclaimed “Yorkshire Noir” novels set against the backdrop of the hunt for Peter Sutcliffe, the Yorkshire Ripper.

The West Riding of Peace’s youth becomes the Red Riding for the purposes of his books and now the TV adaptations – blood red.

Yesterday film crews were spotted at locations in Bradford – including the Connaught Rooms, a former Masonic hall on Manningham Lane, and nearby Lister Park – following on from filming in Calderdale last week.

The three books which are being adapted – Nineteen Seventy-Four, Nineteen Eighty and Nineteen Eight-Three – will have three different directors at the helm, including Anand Tucker, James Marsh and, for the first instalment, Julian Jarrold, most recently responsible for the remake of Brideshead Revisited and the TV version of the hit novel White Teeth.

And the cast is a veritable who’s who of British TV today – it includes Andrew Garfield (returning to C4 after his Bafta-winning performance in Boy A), who plays rookie local crime reporter Eddie Dunford; Rebecca Hall (Woody Allen’s forthcoming Vicky Cristina Barcelona), who plays young widow Paula Garland; Sean Bean (The Lord of the Rings), who plays property magnate John Dawson; Paddy Considine (Dead Man’s Shoes, The Bourne Ultimatum), who plays Assistant Chief Constable Peter Hunter, Lesley Sharp, who plays his wife Joan Hunter; David Morrissey (The Other Boleyn Girl, Blackpool), who plays Detective Chief Superintendent Maurice Jobson, and Mark Addy (The Full Monty), who plays John Piggott.

The trilogy will be made for Channel 4 in association with Revolution Films, Screen Yorkshire and Lip Sync. It is scheduled for transmission sometime in 2009.

David Peace, in an interview with the T&A following the publication of the Nineteen Eighty segment of the series, recalled how the Ripper murders had affected everyone he knew when he was growing up.

He also said that although he had used the murders committed by Peter Sutcliffe as the basis for the plot, and the police’s attempts to snare the killer, he had changed all names and fictionalised all characters.

He said: “I did it out of sensibilities for families of the victims. Even Peter Sutcliffe’s name is changed to Peter Williams, one of the aliases he used.

“This is a work of fiction, after all, and although I want to convey how harrowing this time was, I got into this through choice. The victims and their families didn’t.”

Next year will also see a movie version of Peace’s book The Damned United, which charts the ill-fated 44 days that Brian Clough was in charge of Leeds United.

http://www.thetelegraphandargus.co.uk/news/local/localbrad/3660397.City_gives_a_backdrop_to_new_drama/

 

Sean Bean filming in Calderdale for ITV drama

 

Published Date:
05 September 2008

By Megan Featherstone

 

Film heart-throb Sean Bean is filming in Calderdale, the Courier can reveal.


Bean is starring in Red Riding for Channel Four.

Yorkshire-born Bean has been seen filming at Arden Road Social Club, Halifax, along with 2008 Bafta-winning actor Andrew Garfield.

Red Riding has been adapted from three of the four books in David Peace's Red Riding Quartet, set in Yorkshire in the 1970s and early 80s at the time of the Ripper murders.

As well as Halifax, scenes are being shot in Bradford and Harrogate.

It is not the first time Bean has filmed in our area. A few years ago he appeared in Sharpe, some of which was shot at Hardcastle Crags.

Meanwhile the actors and crew of Unforgiven have been spotted off Ripponden Old Lane, Soyland.

The action appears to centre around Whitegate Head Farm, where an L-reg police car could be seen outside the farmhouse. It is believed some scenes have also been shot inside.

The film crew set up base with their Land-Rovers and trailers at nearby Stones Cricket Club.

Other readers have spotted activity around Gibbet Street, Halifax, and an ITV spokesman confirmed the majority of filming will be in and around Halifax and Huddersfield.

More news

Actress Samantha Morton is to make her directorial debut next year with a drama for Channel 4 about a young girl growing up in a children’s home.

Morton’s film, called The Unloved, forms part of a line-up of three major new projects unveiled by the broadcaster, including a new two-part series called Palestine from Britz writer and director Peter Kosminsky.

Morton, who has appeared in TV shows such as Longford for Channel 4 and has made a name for herself in films including Minority Report and Enduring Love, is joining forces with production company Revolution Films on The Unloved, which will begin filming later this year.

She has been working alongside writer Tony Grisoni, who penned the screenplay for the film Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, to create a fictional script that provides a child’s view of the UK’s care system.

In 2006 Morton, who was herself in care until the age of 16, criticised the state of children’s homes in the UK, claiming paedophiles in prison were treated better.

Speaking about her new project, Morton said: “I am thrilled to be making my first film with Channel 4, who have constantly pushed boundaries, and enabled people like myself to have a voice. I hope this film can help make a difference to the young people that see it.”

Casting is ongoing and the drama will be transmitted in 2009.

Meanwhile, Grisoni is also working on a new drama trilogy for Channel 4 based on three of the books in David Peace’s series of novels called the Red Riding Quartet, which are set in Yorkshire in the seventies and early eighties at the time of the Ripper murders.

White Teeth director Julian Jarrold will direct 1974, James Marsh will direct 1980 and Anand Tucker, who directed Hillary and Jackie, will take the helm of 1983.

The ensemble cast will include Andrew Garfield, last seen in Channel 4’s Boy A, who will play local crime reporter Eddie Dunford, and Sean Bean, who will take the role of local property magnate John Dawson.

David Morrissey will play Detective Chief Superintendent Maurice Jobson and Mark Addy will also feature in the production.

It will film in Yorkshire this autumn for broadcast in 2009.

Finally, Kosminsky’s Palestine has been described as a drama that will cut between two time frames and stories - that of a 19-year-old girl from London called Erin, who is holidaying with a wealthy school friend in Israel, and that of her grandfather Len who, during the forties, was part of the British peace-keeping force in what was then Palestine.

A surprise discovery pushes Erin to reconnect with the past and seek out the descendants of the Arab family her grandfather sought to help.

Palestine is a product of a first look deal the broadcaster has with Kosminsky. It will be made by Daybreak Pictures and executive produced by David Aukin.

Speaking about the new projects, head of Channel 4 drama Liza Marshall said: “These three distinctive and radically different projects are very much in the spirit of what Channel 4 drama is about - the best writers and directors having the freedom to make creatively ambitious and bold work.”

 

New project for Sean

Thanks to Toastie

• Andrew Garfield, Paddy Considine, David Morrissey, Sean Bean, Mark Addy and Daniel Mays, are in final discussions to star in the three-part C4/Film 4 movies based on David Peace's Red Riding series of fictional books inspired by the hunt for the Yorkshire Ripper and the killer who murdered little girls in West Yorkshire in the late Seventies and early Eighties.
 
Producers at C4 and Revolution Films are still negotiating with leading actors for other major roles.

Garfield would play Edward Dunford, a young crime reporter who, in the first film 1974 (directed by Julian Jarrold), stumbles on the truth behind a schoolgirl's murder.

That film - and the final one, 1983 - have echoes of the real-life murder of Lesley Molseed in 1975 and the later freeing of Stefan Kiszko, who spent years in jail before a judge ruled that a miscarriage of justice had taken place.


Addy will play a lawyer, John Piggott; Morrissey will play Det Supt Maurice Jobson; and Mays has the part of Michael Myshkin, a man jailed for child murders, in the film 1983 - which Anand Ticker directs.

The middle film, 1980, directed by James Marsh, will star Paddy Considine as a top policeman asked by the Home Office to spur on the hunt for the Ripper.

Bean will play a swan-obsessed architect. Tony Grisoni has written the screenplays and the films will be shown next year.

 
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