Elijah Wood at press conference for Green Street and (another picture of) Joss Whedon at the EIFF Reel Life event
Edinburgh International Film Festival, Tuesday, 23 August, 2005
Sorry. I have to apologise in advance because today was yet another example of my loser fandom. After whining and moaning to absolutely everyone in Edinburgh about missing Joss Whedon, a last minute tip-off and some very busy people being kind, got me the only remaining ticket. So today there was no need to kick and shove through the stagnant pedestrian traffic of Princes Street. Today I was cocooned in a bubble of joy.
New Scottish filmmakers
After starting the day by finally fixing the Microsoft Word trauma forever and ever (hurrah!), I went down to the Cameo to see this year's Cineworks showcase. This was five low-budget shorts by first-time Scottish filmmakers and they deserve a slap on the back. It was a bit of a mixed bag, but they all went down a treat with the audience and there were some interesting touches that bode well for the future of Scottish cinema. My favourites were probably animated comedy 'Get Bizzy' and 'The Mermaid', which had a nice take on Celtic mythology using a mixture of live-action and stop-motion animation.
Pretty boys of Green Street
I would have liked to stay on and check out the canapes at the after-party, but sadly there was a press conference for football thug flick Green Street (aka Hooligans) to get to. Poor little me. Such a sunny day, lovely people to chat to, free food and drink, and I had to go and sit in a five-star hotel looking at Charlie Hunnam, Leo Gregory and Elijah Wood. I don't know how I managed to bear it.
It was an adrenaline packed, if fairly brief, half hour, with the incessant clicking of camera shutters making it difficult to hear what was being said. Unfortunately, I was too busy staring at the pretty men to glance down at my notebook and consequently have only five pages of illegible scribbles and a rather bad drawing of a pair of shoes I saw on the way down to show for it.
To summarise from memory: director Lexi Alexander looks like Clare Forlani. Elijah Wood has very blue eyes and is trying to start up his own record label, good news for Scotland as he's a fan of local heroes Franz Ferdinand and Sons & Daughters. In real life, Elijah's neck is not thicker than his head after all. But he does not blink.
Leo supports Spurs and is also appearing in Stoned. To mark the occasion, Charlie wore a sort of cardigan thing with appliqed claret thistles on it in joint tribute to both Scotland and the claret and sky-blue clad Hammers. Or maybe his gran made it and he didn't want to be rude. Anyway, Charlie took the role because he wants to break out of being typecast in weak, passive pretty boy roles, and since he was damn good in Green Street when he wasn't talking like Dick van Dyke, 50p says he'll be playing the villain in a Hollywood blockbuster within 2 years. Provided he can use his own accent of course.
There was only one Scottish cast member, Ross McCall who played the pilot. Ross was responsible for the only act of genuine violence on set, when he got a wee bit carried away in a fight scene and accidentally broke someone's nose. There's a reason why national stereotypes are stereotypes you know.
Reel Life with Joss
I shan't bore you with the details of my fabulous afternoon with Joss.
Oh go on then. If you insist... The Reel Life started at 5pm, but the queue to get the best seats had actually started 4 hours earlier. Mental. Don't they know it's shown on the screen as well? Outside the cinema there was also a small crowd forming to get a glimpse of the Green Street elite as they arrived for the premiere later that evening. Much later. Needless to say, I felt both privileged and smug as I walked past them to join the end of the world's longest queue.
Joss Whedon was hilarious. I have no doubt that the poor girl who paid £210 for her ticket on eBay felt it was worth every pound. Any fans who missed out will be thrilled to hear that all this year's Reel Life interviews have been recorded and will be available to buy later this year. The perfect Christmas present I hasten to add, just in case anyone reading this would like to buy me one. A boxset of Firefly would also be much appreciated. For this reason only, I'm not going to spoil the surprise by paraphrasing all the best bits. Anyway, it wouldn't be as funny as the way he tells them himself.
As the finale they played a clip from the end of the Buffy musical, 'Once More With Feeling' and as everyone jumped up to give Joss a standing ovation, I had a look around the cinema and saw the beautiful sight of a packed house having the best day of their collective lives. As they say in Serenity, "what keeps this ship afloat is love", and there is a lot of love in this town for Joss Whedon. Even if he is a ginger.
More from the Edinburgh International Film Festival.