Oct 10, 2009

Give this man an Oscar: my interview with Nick

"Hornby’s literary and musical tastes are well known—less so his taste in movies. When his first book, Fever Pitch, came out, the screenings rooms in Soho where they showed the movies were not far from his office, so we often used to kill afternoons together, watching stuff like Barton Fink, Short Cuts, Dead Man Walking, Apollo 13. We share a devotion to Tom Hanks, particularly the early stuff. (“How many actors have two great movies like Big and Splash to their name? Plus we both know at least 25 people who would mock us for liking him.”) As far as directors go, he loves Mike Leigh, Steven Spielberg, and Robert Altman, having had his world turned upside down in 1975 by first Jaws and then Nashville. ( “I thought it was the best thing I’d ever seen.”) At university he had his statutory art-house phase, and once sat through Jacque Rivette’s four-hour masterpiece Celine and Julie Go Boating (“My greatest achievement as a filmgoer, or indeed, as a human being.”) Somewhere in there, between Spielberg’s gigoloish devotion towards an audience’s pleasure and Altman’s commitment to disturbing the peace, between Mike Leigh’s peppery truth-telling and Hanks’s sprightly fun, you sense something of Hornby’s own sensibility percolating through — funny, sad, prickly, warm. An Education was adapted from a 20-page memoir that appeared in Granta magazine by the journalist Lynn Barber, about her affair with an older man while still a suburban schoolgirl in the early 1960s. It was, says Hornby, the “first time that I’ve really stuck with a script, coming back to it again and again.” — The Daily Beast

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