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Topic: dennis potter

R&R Q&A with Theresa Russell

In which I get on ‘Track’ with one of indie cinema’s finest actresses.

With “Track 29,” one of Gary Oldman’s first films, now making its DVD debut, we talked to its lead actress, Theresa Russell about the 1988 movie, directed by her then-husband, Nicolas Roeg (“Don’t Look Now,” “Full Body Massage”). Russell’s enjoyed a lengthy career, from 1976’s “The Last Tycoon” alongside Robert De Niro, and more recent roles in “Wild Things,” “Spider-Man 3” and even an episode of Fox’s cult series “Fringe.”

R&R: Before we talk “Track 29,” I want to let you know that I was in high school when I rented “Insignificance” (Roeg’s little-seen 1985 comedy in which Russell played Marilyn Monroe), and I think your Marilyn Monroe was way better and sexier than Michelle Williams’ Marilyn Monroe. 

Russell: Well, thank you very much, I appreciate that! I thought I did a pretty good job in that one, too. That was tough, too, to tread that water and thread that needle and walk that tightrope, for lack of a better metaphor.

R&R: With films like that and “Eureka” and “Aria,” I think you can draw a direct line from those to the indie-film revolution that began in 1989 with “sex, lies and videotape.” Do you think maybe you haven’t gotten enough credit for that work?

Russell: I don't know about me, but certainly Nic [Roeg]. He really was one of the first people to start going down that road. He should get more credit. Give him more credit!

R&R: You sure did star in a lot of indies then, though, including “Track 29.”

Russell: Yeah, I did. They were just most interesting. Those days, it was a lot more sexist then in the main studio films. The guy had all the things to do, and the girl was there to show he had a heart of gold, and to have sex with him. The position was always her on top, writhing with her tits out. Which is fine — I'm not shy, obviously. But that kind of gratuitous sex scene, they bugged the shit out of me and were just boring. The more interesting, challenging roles were always those weird ones. I did a lot for love and now I'm poor, so you pay the price. I certainly don't regret any of that.

R&R: I’m sure you get a lot of questions about Gary Oldman, so I’m not going to ask one. But I will ask what memories may stand out from making “Track 29.”

Russell: It has been a long time since I've seen it. When we read the first script by Dennis Potter and knew we were going to do it, it was a good eight months before we did it. In the rewrites and incarnations since, I had more input in that one, and even Gary. We had seen him in ... oh, “Sid and Nancy,” I think, and we thought he'd be perfect.

R&R: Where do you place the film among your body of work? 

Russell: I'm certainly proud of it. It turned out pretty much the way I thought Nic was going to do it. I think it was a really interesting film to make and watch. I guess the favorite of mine would have to be “Bad Timing,” just because. I was young and green — well, not green green, but I was 22 and hadn't even been to Europe, you know? In terms of creative and personal growth and taking on a huge complex character like that, that was pretty intense. That one will probably be my all-time favorite.

R&R: What about outside of the films you did with Nic?

Russell: I guess “Whore,” because it was so tough. I don't know if it turned out that great, but in terms of the work I did on it, where I had to go emotionally.

R&R: What do you most get recognized for?

Russell: You know, it's probably still “Black Widow,” believe it or not, after all these years.

R&R: I would’ve guessed it would’ve been “Spider-Man 3.”

Russell: I had more scenes in that thing, too! I was so upset! There were so many good scenes I had in that that didn't make the film. Oh, well. That happens. —Rod Lott
by Rod Lott 02.24.2012 2 years ago
at 08:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
 
 
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