Cannes: John Boorman On Hope & Glory 2
Legendary director back in action at 79
Master filmmaker John Boorman was in Cannes today to talk up new documentary Me & Me Dad, directed by his daughter Katrine. The film, which provides both insights into his greatest hits (Deliverance, Point Blank, Excalibur, et al) and a charming glimpse of Boorman family life, is well worth a watch. But despite the fact he’s now 79 years old, he doesn’t plan for it to be a career-capper.
During our meeting with Boorman, he was happy to chat Burt Reynolds, Zardoz and his attempt to make a Lord Of The Rings film in the late 1960s. But he also revealed that in recent weeks he has completed a screenplay for a follow-up to Hope And Glory, his Oscar-nominated 1987 comedy-drama based on his experiences growing up during the Blitz.
“It’s set ten years on, with the same family and characters,” he says. “It’s about the period when I was 18 and went into the army for conscription. I’d often thought about doing it, but kept thinking, ‘1951 to ’53 is such a dreary period.’ At least with Hope And Glory, there was a war going on and bombs dropping. The aftermath was just the dreariest time — rationing was still going on and the Korean War was rumbling.”
But finally he became convinced there was material there for a gripping sequel. “When I started going into it, one of the events was that the king had died and we had the coronation. So all that is worked into the story. All the characters are watching the coronation and you see their different attitudes. The irascible grandfather – who unfortunately can’t be played by Ian Bannen because he died – says, ‘They’re all Germans, you know? And now they call themselves Windsor. Windsor is a brown sauce or a way to knot your tie, not a royal line...’”
Boorman is currently talking to financiers and plans to shoot the film himself in the UK, possibly in Northern Ireland. It’ll be his first film since 2006’s The Tiger’s Tail.
“I was hoping to see the Alain Resnais film here [in Cannes], because it gives me encouragement that he’s 91 and still making films,” the director smiles. “There’s even a Portugese filmmaker (Manoel de Oliveira) who is 103 and just finished another film. At 79, I’m a youngster!”