Day 1 - Young Adam premiere opens eiff 2003.

Day 1 of the 57th Edinburgh International Film Festival and the opening night premiere of Young Adam.

by Claire Sawers

Would you Adam and Eve It?

The red carpet was out for the stars of this steamy new Scottish feature as they arrived at Fountainbridge. Notably absent was the film’s leading man, Ewan McGregor, who is stuck out in Sydney, Australia filming the third prequel in the Star Wars series. While film fans (and lots of ladies) were sorely diappointed by his absence, his mum was on hand with the rest of the stars (well, minus Tilda Swinton, who is in America) for the obligatory pre-screening photo-call.

Co-stars Peter Mullan (Orphans, My Name is Joe), Tilda Swinton, (The Beach, Vanilla Sky) and Therese Bradley (this is her big screen début- and a pretty impressive one at that) all stopped to chat and give us their best smiles before heading inside.

I chatted to Peter Mullan to ask him what he thought the audience would make of the film. He replied that he was glad to see such an erotic, highly sexual film being associated with Scotland. After all, as he so charmingly put it, sex in this country can tend to be a case of, "Close your eyes, Morag, this is goin' tae hurt!". Ah, Peter, you old romantic….

Emily Mortimer was full of praise for her co-star and on-screen lover, Ewan, saying that, "He was the kind of guy that takes his job very seriously but not himself." She, like everyone else, expressed her sadness that Ewan hadn’t been unable to make it to the festival (don’t be too sad, Emily, you did get lots of raunchy sex scenes with the main man, after all). Emily, who is 7 months pregnant, added that the film, whilst difficult and emotionally draining to film, had been a great experience.

"There was a real sense of camaraderie as we shot it. Certain scenes were quite tough but you have to have a laugh while you’re doing them. It brought us all closer."

David Mackenzie, the Glasgow-based director struggled for years to bring Young Adam to the big screen. Not surprising then that he enjoyed the chance of making the film with such an excellent cast, and tried to remain faithful to the Alexander Trocchi novel upon which it is based, "I hope the audiences at the Edinburgh Film Fest will respond well to it!" Certainly, the warm recepetion he received from critics so far will have soothed his nerves.

Celeb Count

Okay, so it wasn’t exactly a galaxy of stars worthy of a glitzy Hollywood ‘pre-meer’ but we didn’t do half bad on the celebrity front. Aussie soap actress-turned pop singer Holly Valance was a crowd-pleaser when she showed up with her boyfriend, Peter (left holding the Louis Vuitton hand-bag as she signed autographs for fans). Also making their way down the red carpet were US comedian Greg Proops, Scots funny woman Karen Dunbar, film-fest favourite Paddy Considine (In America) as well as Richard Wilson, Janet Street Porter, Ian Rankin, Muriel Gray, Jack McConnell, not to mention Ewan McGregor’s proud mum and granny.

Canal Knowledge

The screening of Young Adam was introduced by EIFF Artistic Director, Shane Danielson. He gushed over how proud he was to have a film like Young Adam as the opening night film and praised director Mackenzie’s work on the production. Mackenzie then took to the mike briefly to speak of the "enormous talent" of the actors involved in the film before letting Ewan himself have a say via a video message sent from Australia.

Ewan said that Young Adam was a film that "he loved to bits and pieces" and, from the reaction of audience members after the show, he wasn’t alone. I caught up with Holly Valance as she left the theatre and she told me that she had absolutely loved it - although she "wasn’t expecting to see quite so much of Ewan McGregor!". (A reference, I suspect, to Ewan’s full frontal shots in the movie – nothing we haven’t seen before, as any follower of the Scot’s film career will testify.)

As for Young Adam, it is a stunningly shot piece of cinema, positively electric with sexual energy. It was perhaps a slightly grim and gritty start to the festival – think lots of rainy, grey shots of Glasgow canals - but certainly a very intense watch featuring spectacular acting.

As the crowds dispersed, the cast and all their hangers-on headed to The Lighthouse bar in Leith to party into the wee small hours. Rest assured, I will be keeping my ear to the ground for any breaking gossip….

Until tomorrow,

Claire xxx

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