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ill titleby Kenneth Branagh

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pub1Pat Marmont rang up with a rescue plan: Pat O’Connor was directing a film A Month in the Country, based on a beautiful novel by J. L.Carr.

I’d met Pat O’Connor earlier in the spring, when he’d indicated that he would like me to play the part of Moon in the piece. Since then the money had fallen through and I’d given up on the project, but now it was back on, only it was filming right across the Romeo and Juliet playing dates.

They’d worked out a way of compressing my scenes into two weeks of shooting, and it would begin the morning after Romeo and Juliet opened. They would provide a car to get me back to the theatre in the evening, but would I be prepared to take on that kind of work-load?

pub1I asked Pat what the money was like. She told me, and I thought of the budget for Romeo and Juliet. Tell them I’ll ride to the set on a bike, just send the cheque. ...

The 6 a.m. drive to location for filming was tough. Pat O’Connor and Colin Firth, who played the leading role in A Month in the Country, made the filming itself most fulfilling. Colin is a supremely generous actor and he was very kind when it came to allowing my shots to be taken first in order to let me get to the theatre at the end of the day.

There were some very hairy journeys, and I’m not sure who it took most out of: Romeo, arriving pale and wan, or the anxious cast of clockwatchers who thought that Juliet was going to have to scream, “Wherefore art thou, Romeo?”

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Kentears

Copyright © 1990 Kenneth Branagh; W.W. Norton