The Brit at the Back (1999)

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The Brit at the Back (1999)

Post  DebraRatt on Thu May 17, 2012 9:12 am

The Brit at the Back
Jeremy Northam
Film Review Magazine
May 1999

The question really is. Why isn't Jeremy Northam a Front Page Brit. undisputedly one of the UK's most successful young guns, Northam has co-starred with Hollywood's leading ladies; Sandra Bullock in The Net, Gwyneth Palthrow in Emma, Mira Sorvino in Mimic, and currently with Minnie Driver in An Ideal Husband. It seems a remarkable oversight amongst the Ewan's, Rufus's and Jonny Lee Miller's of this world that Jeremy has a low to no profile.
Jeremy however seems to like it that way. "I had a real morbid fear of being one of those actors hanging around London in a leather jacket and fake suntan," he says. Northam has also opted to play the Hollywood game without the glitz. Though his first venture Stateside - as a result of his success in Sundance hit Voices from a Locked Room - was the bad guy lead in The Net, he still wasn't shouting about it.

Maybe that's because the film is not one of Hollywood's finest and Jeremy admits he's "not so fond" of the movie with hindsight, but it was a big break for him nevertheless. As far as he's concerned, also the route to his more successful lead in Emma. He confirms, "You wouldn't be interviewing me now if it hadn't been for The Net. I would never been seen for Emma. No way."

Where MacGregor floundered with a bad hair-piece and worse conceptualization of how to behave in Regency England, Northam smoldered sexily as Emma's love interest Mr Knightley. When complimented, he downplays the films significance.

"I wouldn't say Emma was a radically ground-breaking film, but it's funny without looking for laughs all the time, and it doesn't have the whiff of classic literature."

His continuing self-effacement is evident again when he cites an incident at Emma's premiere in Cannes: "Elton John came up afterwards - this sounds very naff, I'm sort of starry-eyed - he came up just like an ordinary person and said, 'Oh, I really enjoyed. What a fun film.' He was the only person who sait it all night without an agenda."

Emma was the next step in Jeremy's Stateside trajectory and he's back in breeches again for this month's winner, An Ideal Husband. By far the best Oscar Wilde movie in adaptation yet. Northam plays a very proper gent, ecstatically married until super bitch Julianne Moore comes onto the London scene and sharps her talons on his blackboard. It takes his best friend (Rupert Everett on marvelous form) to save his social standing. Northam as ever is excellent.

Far from leaving it at this, he's currently treading West End boards (earning a measly 250 a week) and awaiting the release of Gloria, Scott Kalvert's remake of John Cassavete's cult 1980 film with Sharon Stone in the Gena Rowlands role of mom mistress on the run. Following that is The Misadventures of Margaret where he provides light relief to Parker Posey's overacting madness and David Mamet's adaptation of The Winslow Boy.
With projects like these on the boil, surely his cover shot can't be too far away.


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