Steve Coogan: ‘Greed is not a direct attack on Philip Green’

Steve Coogan has insisted his new movie Greed isn’t a “direct attack” on businessman Philip Green, despite using the controversial retail mogul as an inspiration.Coogan’s fictional character in the film, Sir Richard McCreadie, is loosely based on Green…

Steve Coogan has insisted his new movie Greed isn’t a “direct attack” on businessman Philip Green, despite using the controversial retail mogul as an inspiration.

Coogan’s fictional character in the film, Sir Richard McCreadie, is loosely based on Green, with the film’s storylines taking inspiration from many of the news stories surrounding the British entrepreneur, including alleged tax avoidance and lavish celebrity-filled parties.

However, the comedian has insisted to the BBC that the movie is not a “direct attack” on the Arcadia Group chairman, but that his lavish lifestyle and outspoken manner provided a good hook for a film about how the wealthy exploit people.

“There are many people who make their money by exploiting people,” he explained. “Most of them behave discreetly and they don’t want to draw attention to themselves, but (Green is) the reverse.

“For a long time, he was like, ‘Check me out, see how successful I am. Look at my money. Look at my parties. Look at my friends.’ Because he’s a charismatic figure, it was a good basis on which to develop this movie idea.

“Even though (my character is) horrible to people he’s got a funny turn of phrase, so you go along for the ride and that’s important. If it’s just obnoxious, reprehensible behaviour then you’re not going to stick around too long.”

Although he was a divisive figure due to his wealth and tax arrangements, Green was also often seen in the company of stars, including Kate Moss, who designed for his Topshop chain, until he was accused of bullying and sexual harassment in 2018. He has denied all allegations and a U.S. case against him was dismissed last month.

Friends of Green have said he will not watch the film, telling Britain’s Sunday People he’s avoiding it because he’s heard “it’s a load of s**t”.

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Julian Fellowes to adapt The Wind in the Willows for new movie

Julian Fellowes is to write the script for the movie adaptation of classic children’s novel The Wind in the Willows. The Downton Abbey creator is teaming up with Oscar-winning producer Gerald R. Molen to give Kenneth Grahame’s 1908 classic the movie …

Julian Fellowes is to write the script for the movie adaptation of classic children’s novel The Wind in the Willows.

The Downton Abbey creator is teaming up with Oscar-winning producer Gerald R. Molen to give Kenneth Grahame’s 1908 classic the movie treatment. The British author’s famed children’s book focused on four anthropomorphised animals named Mole, Rat, Toad, and Badger, who lived by a river in Edwardian England.

Fellowes will collaborate with director Ray Griggs, while Richard Taylor from Weta Workshop and Peter Jackson’s Weta Digital will help to create the special effects and visual effects for the film, as the four main characters will be computer-generated.

“We could not have dreamed of a better writer and creative force than Julian Fellowes to work with Ray Griggs to bring to life the classic English novel’s characters, nor finer visionaries than Weta to capture the look and feel of Grahame’s world,” Molen said in a statement, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Molen didn’t reveal any casting news, but teased, “We are finalising some of the finest actors to lend their creative and vocal talents.”

Production on the project is set to take place this year at Jackson’s Stone Street Studios in Wellington, New Zealand, while California-based company Skywalker Sound will design all the sound effects and ambient noise.

Disney previously turned Grahame’s book into a short animated film in 1949 and the late Terry Jones wrote and directed a live-action version starring himself, Steve Coogan, and Eric Idle in 1996. There have also been many TV film adaptations.

Fellowes is no stranger to the material – he wrote the script for a stage musical of The Wind in the Willows back in 2016.

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Shanina Shaik considered quitting modelling ‘many times’

Shanina Shaik has “wanted to give up” on her modelling career many times.The Australian beauty moved to New York City as a teenager to achieve her dream of becoming a model and made her debut at New York Fashion Week in 2009, before scoring her breakth…

Shanina Shaik has “wanted to give up” on her modelling career many times.

The Australian beauty moved to New York City as a teenager to achieve her dream of becoming a model and made her debut at New York Fashion Week in 2009, before scoring her breakthrough in 2011 when she was cast in the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.

Despite her success, Shanina has admitted to Vogue Australia that she has considered quitting the modelling industry many times in the past.

“Honestly, there are so many times where I’ve wanted to give up! I’m like, ‘I might quit modelling now… I don’t know.’ But having people around you who really care about you definitely keeps you going,” she candidly confessed.

The 28-year-old, who appeared on Australian reality show Make Me a Supermodel, added that she had to prove her critics wrong at the start of her career because they thought she couldn’t do high fashion.

“At the beginning of my career, a lot of people thought I was quite commercial and that I couldn’t do high fashion, so that gave me a lot of insecurities,” the star continued. “Then I had this one amazing year where I booked Victoria’s Secret, which had always been a huge goal of mine. And I walked for the Chanel show too. It felt good to prove people wrong, but it also showed me how important it is to believe in yourself and have a good team.”

Shanina recently moved to Los Angeles and is pursuing an acting career, having scored a role in Greed alongside Steve Coogan and Isla Fisher.

“It was quite different to modelling, but I really enjoyed the process of it,” she said of the shoot. “I think being on camera so much helps in some way, but it’s not just still imagery. With acting, you’re constantly moving and being seen from every angle – you can’t hide!”

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John C. Reilly helped write ‘emotional’ Stan & Ollie scenes

John C. Reilly helped to write some of the “emotional” scenes in new film Stan & Ollie.In the Jon S. Baird-directed movie about the comedy double act Laurel and Hardy, the Chicago actor portrays Oliver Hardy and Steve Coogan takes on the role of St…

John C. Reilly helped to write some of the “emotional” scenes in new film Stan & Ollie.

In the Jon S. Baird-directed movie about the comedy double act Laurel and Hardy, the Chicago actor portrays Oliver Hardy and Steve Coogan takes on the role of Stan Laurel.

The screenplay was penned by Jeff Pope, though Reilly has now shared that he and Coogan had input in writing the dialogue for a number of key moments in the narrative.

“Steve and I participated in making the dialogue work in a way that seemed real to us, given our pasts as performers,” he said in an interview with Collider.com. “We know what it’s like to sit in the dressing room, and be sore and sweaty, and be talking with someone about ticket sales. We know how that feels. Steve and I have both done it. So, the script needed to be personalised, in that way, and those are the scenes that stick out to me.”

Rather than being a traditional biopic, Stan & Ollie follows Laurel and Hardy as they embark on a music hall tour of the United Kingdom, and depicts their struggles to get another film made. And while Reilly had long been a fan of the pair, he recalled how he was initially unconvinced about playing such an icon on the big screen.

“I was reluctant because I don’t really do impressions. That’s not really my thing. And then, the second thing was that I don’t weigh nearly as much as Oliver, and I wasn’t willing to gain a hundred pounds. But the main trepidation I had was that I didn’t want us to make a film about these guys that would end up being a liability to them. To me, they’re in a perfect place already,” the 53-year-old noted.

But despite his early concerns, Reilly was encouraged by the praise of filmmaker Baird, who he claimed, “really, really believed in me”.

Stan & Ollie began hitting cinemas on Thursday.

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Stan & Ollie was a ‘labour of love’ for John C. Reilly

Actor John C. Reilly considered it his “sacred mission” to preserve the legacy of comedy icons Laurel and Hardy by signing on to star in a new biopic. The Stepbrothers funnyman teamed up with British comic Steve Coogan to portray the beloved double ac…

Actor John C. Reilly considered it his “sacred mission” to preserve the legacy of comedy icons Laurel and Hardy by signing on to star in a new biopic.

The Stepbrothers funnyman teamed up with British comic Steve Coogan to portray the beloved double act in Stan & Ollie, which chronicles what became their final theatre tour of the U.K. and Ireland in the 1950s.

Both stars spent hours in the make-up chair to achieve their onscreen transformations, but Reilly, who plays the heavyset Oliver Hardy, had no complaints because he was fully committed to getting the look of his icon just right.

“It’s a real labour of love, that one,” Reilly said. “Laurel and Hardy were so important to me growing up, I don’t know if the young people know who they are, but the fat guy and the skinny guy, they were the most famous comedians in the world in the 1930s, and then their careers went on and on; people rediscovered them through TV and stuff.”

“Anyway, they’re very important people to me, and I felt like it was my sacred mission to bring their films to the next generation of people.”

Oscar-winning makeup artists Jeremy Woodhead and Mark Coulier were tasked with masterminding the physical makeovers, and by the time Reilly was camera-ready, he was barely recognisable.

“I had to wear this giant fat suit, tons of prosthetic makeup all around…,” he shared on U.S. talk show The View. “Only my face and (the insides of his hands) were exposed.”

Stan & Ollie, which was directed by Jon S. Baird, opens in theatres next month (Dec18).

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John C. Reilly spent hours in wardrobe and make-up for Oliver Hardy role

John C. Reilly lost weight getting in and out of his fat suit on the set of Stan & Ollie.Playing Oliver Hardy, opposite Steve Coogan as his double act partner Stan Laurel in Jon S. Baird’s new film, John had to undergo hours in wardrobe and make-up to …

John C. Reilly lost weight getting in and out of his fat suit on the set of Stan & Ollie.

Playing Oliver Hardy, opposite Steve Coogan as his double act partner Stan Laurel in Jon S. Baird’s new film, John had to undergo hours in wardrobe and make-up to make sure he really resembled the legendary slapstick comedian.

And the transformation was so good, Oscar nominee John said nobody recognised him when he sat around the set.

“(All that was) needed was the right make-up man. I had prosthetics all over,” the 53-year-old recalled, reports Page Six. “Not just an application. Ears, head, jowls. Contact lenses. The fat suit contained water tubes, moved like flesh and had skin markings. The make-up so complete, staring in a mirror I’d lose my lines. Three hours for costuming. Make-up eventually got down to two hours. Getting it off finally took 45 minutes. I lost weight doing this.

“Sitting outside as some fat guy makes you disappear. I learned they don’t want to see you. When I did this, nobody knew me. I was not John C. Reilly, just some fat guy.”

The film, which premiered at the BFI London Film Festival in October (18), hits screens from late December. It tells the story of when Laurel and Hardy attempted to reignite their film careers in post-war Britain.

To prepare for their roles as the famous twosome, John and Steve watched back old Laurel and Hardy routines.

“I grew up watching totally inspirational, ahead of their time Laurel and Hardy,” he smiled. “You laughed with them. Clued into something eternal, their movies ran on TV over and over. Watching the masterful comedy inspired my voice and movement.

“Vaudeville guys, greatest comedy team of their time, no political agenda, they wrote all their routines themselves. We re-created the skits, watched all their old shows and spent hours practising.”

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Steve Coogan & John C. Reilly underwent major transformations to play Laurel & Hardy

Actors Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly went through major transformations to play beloved comedy duo Laurel & Hardy. The two stars teamed up to play the silver screen icons on what became their final theatre tour of the U.K. and Ireland in Stan & Olli…

Actors Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly went through major transformations to play beloved comedy duo Laurel & Hardy.

The two stars teamed up to play the silver screen icons on what became their final theatre tour of the U.K. and Ireland in Stan & Ollie, and Oscar-winning makeup artists Jeremy Woodhead and Mark Coulier were brought in to turn the leading men into the comedy kings.

To portray Laurel, Coogan opted for a false chin, teeth, and customised tips to make his ears stick out, while Reilly spent at least four hours in the makeup chair every morning, so he could be transformed into Oliver Hardy, who weighed close to 400 pounds (181.4 kilograms) at the end of his life.

In a strange coincidence, Coogan has brown eyes and needed blue, and Reilly had blue eyes and needed brown, so both men wore coloured contact lenses.

“Steve uses his own hair, but it is coloured to match Stan Laurel’s,” Woodhead explains. “Stan was actually a redhead. We toyed with the idea of going red, but it gets distracting. It becomes a surprise that his hair was red. By the end of his life, he was colouring his hair anyway.”

Meanwhile, to make Chicago star Reilly look eerily just like Hardy, Coulier and Woodhead tested four different fat suits made out of reticulated foam. To get the look right, the team, which included costume designer Guy Speranza, drew inspiration from Hardy’s own life.

“Oliver Hardy’s nickname was Babe because he had the shape and proportions of an overgrown baby,” Reilly explains. “I started sending baby pictures to Guy and Mark and it started to click.”

Reilly was encased in the different suits for the various stages in Hardy’s life, which made keeping his cool difficult – he had to be plugged into an ice machine in between takes, but the actor insists the discomfort was worth it.

“Only my face and the flats of my hands were exposed. The rest was encased in prosthetics or a fat suit,” he tells WENN. “So, in a way it was like wearing a mask on your whole body. The mask was so convincing it made me believe from the outside in that I could play this character.”

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