Timothy Spall: ‘the brutal, sinister world of my comedy heroes’

Timothy Spall
Timothy Spall as comedian Max Wall, one of the master clowns of music hall, in Stephen Cookson’s film Stanley, A Man Of Variety.

The actor’s new film – Stanley, A Man of Variety – echoes David Lynch and a dark Ealing classic. Here he tells why he chose to re-create the giants of music hall as ‘English noir’

Timothy Spall has often played characters that stick in the mind – from Barry in the BBC hit series Auf Wiedersehen, Pet to his award-winning performance as the great British painter in Mike Leigh’s 2014 film, Mr Turner. But Spall’s latest film goes several steps further.In Stanley,

A Man of Variety released in cinemas next month, he concocts a blistering string of recreations of several of the great comic variety acts of the past, including Max Wall, George Formby and Noël Coward. It is an extraordinary tour de force, but not a comfortable one to watch. Spall and his collaborator on the film, the director and writer Stephen Cookson, have a deeply unsettling argument to make and they do not hold back [… ]

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Noël Coward moves to film with the best kind of propaganda

The only motion picture that can fully be called “a Noel Coward film.”

Playwright/songwriter/performer Noël Coward was born in 1899, and spent much of the 20th century documenting modern life in Great Britain. He wrote and sang about the rich and poor, finding commonalities of character across the social classes. He believed in the inherent virtue of his people—even when he found English folk funny or sad—and he converted his affection into activism during two world wars, offering his gifts to the military to use however they liked.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE: Noël Coward moves to film with the best kind of propaganda · Watch This · The A.V. Club