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How we met: David Morrissey & Paul McGann, 2001

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 01, 2006 10:55 pm    Post subject: How we met: David Morrissey & Paul McGann, 2001 Reply with quote

David Morrissey (right) was born in Liverpool in 1964. He attended Rada and has acted in film, theatre and television, most recently in `Captain Corelli's Mandolin'. His directing debut, the television drama `Sweet Revenge', begins tomorrow. He lives in London with his wife, the writer Esther Freud, and their two children.

Paul McGann was born in Liverpool in 1959, one of five children, four of whom became actors. His father was a factory worker, his mother a teacher. He went to Rada and came to prominence in the film `Withnail and I' in 1987, and can now be seen in `Sweet Revenge'. He lives with his wife, Anne, and their two children in Bristol

David Morrissey:
I must have been about 16, and I was at the Everyman Youth Theatre with Paul's two younger brothers, Mark and Steve. Mark kept talking about his brother at Rada and I was very excited about that - I knew someone, it didn't matter how much removed, who was at Rada. I used to go to their house a lot, and one time there was this rumour that Paul was coming home. I don't know what I was expecting - I guess somebody very "actory" - but this skinhead came in, dumped his washing and went upstairs. A long time afterwards I found out that he was actually doing the Trevor Griffiths play Oi for England, so he was being very method.

After that, I auditioned for a TV series about two boys in Liverpool called One Summer. I auditioned about 18 times and my nerves got worse every time. At one point, I auditioned with Paul, and he was brilliant. He could see I was nervous and he just went through it again and again. He gave me little tips and calmed me down, and that was really generous, particularly at an audition. We got the parts, but in the end he couldn't do it.

The next time we met, I was at Rada. I was miserable: the college was great, but I was intimidated by the names on the walls and how unfriendly London was. I went home for a weekend and bumped into Paul's mum and told her and she said, "Oh, Paul went through that, don't worry about it." And on my first day back, there was a note in my pigeonhole from Paul to say he'd love to meet up.

He came to meet me at Rada and all the women in the canteen knew him and were making a fuss of him. We went for a drink and he just told me that everything I was feeling was absolutely the way he'd felt, the way most people are feeling. He gave me tickets to the show he was in at the Royal Court, but I was so naive I didn't know that after a show you went to the stage door. I just went home.

After that, we went to South Africa to do The One That Got Away. We were stuck in this tin-hut town and we got to know each other really well. Esther and I had just had our son, Albie, and she came out with him, and I have lots of photographs of Paul in battle fatigues holding him up. He's great with kids. He's a very good dad and when the kids are around he's very full on with them.

Working together on Sweet Revenge was a dream. Directing is a tough job, and it was great to have a mate around. A lot of the time the two of us were able to use a sort of shorthand. We have a code which is to do with terms of reference built up over many years. And we trust each other.

The Liverpool sense of humour is taking the piss out of each other. It's the type of thing that drives my wife wild, but I've passed it on to my children now, and Paul and I are very good at it. I don't see Paul as much as I'd like to, but when he's in London we meet up. He's just good company, he's good to have around.

Paul McGann:
I remember around 1980 Liverpool had a bit of a scene going. Ken Campbell took over the artistic directorship at the Liverpool Everyman, which coincided with the opening of this bistro bar place downstairs. It became the place where all the kids hung out, and Dave ran the bar.

I was at drama school at the time in London, so I sort of lost touch with him until I heard there was a job, which I think I might have gone after, but he got the gig. It was his first job, called One Summer, and they loved him. Then he went to Rada.

I knew he'd got into Rada and my mum heard Dave was going to leave because he didn't like it. And I remembered my own time starting there - it did take a bit of getting used to. Dave and I share a background and we both had an aversion to all things fey. I went back to the school and we talked. I could tell that he just wanted to get on with it, he didn't want to pussyfoot about - all this stuff when you have to pretend to be a tree. And I said, "Dave, it's OK. This'll happen and that'll happen and it'll turn into a laugh." Which it did, and he stayed. It went for nothing at the time but, looking back, it was a bonding experience.

I've hardly lived in London, but he stayed there and he was soon doing leads at the National. I remember him playing Peer Gynt and thinking "bastard" but also, "yeah, good for him". What I loved was that he was savvy enough and confident enough not just to be "that Scouse actor".

I get the same kick seeing him do well as I would if it was one of my brothers. There's a resourcefulness about them, an intelligence. We were never any great shakes at advanced calculus, but Dave and my brothers are the same - well-read, smart, resourceful. If you can make a living in the arts in this country you're smart, and Dave's like that. He devours books, Dave. I love that about him. He sees everything, all the films; he's a consumer of life, he lives well, loves his wife, loves his kids, is easy company, and I admire that.

I've worked with him twice in the past few years. I fly by the seat of my pants, but you look at Dave's script and it's covered in minute notes: he's thought about everything. He's ready by the time you start, which means you can have a laugh because he's completely there. People love him for it. He's constantly working because they know what they're going to get; he's trustworthy.

Sweet Revenge is the first time he's directed and I can get petulant and moody, but he handled me fine. We've got a kind of shorthand that works, a sense of humour that's the same.

I see him when I'm in London. Sometimes we sit in the pub watching the footie on the telly and he always stands up and hollers, "Liverpool!" And he's going, "NO, NO, NO!" He's on his feet and he's so big, and I'm always going, "Oh Dave, stop it, sit down."

They're trying to find a new James Bond. They should choose Dave. He is James Bond as far as I'm concerned. Mind you, he'd be Jimmy Bond, or See you, Jimmy Bond.

`Sweet Revenge' begins on BBC1 tomorrow at 9pm and concludes on Tuesday

Copyright 2001 Independent Newspapers UK Limited
Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning Company. All rights Reserved.

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Joined: 22 Apr 2009
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Location: walking the quiet lanes of Pleasureville

PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2009 10:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

^^Great article!^^

Could this be the accompanying photo? Nice photo of them anyway Smile
"Listen carefully. This is the secret of how to live: fire your gun before somebody else does." ~ Scribble, Vurt
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 11, 2009 8:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, this is the pic that went with the article.

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