Vintage Adventures: Interview with Matthew Bourne on The Car Man - 2001

30 April 2020

Welcome to another Vintage Adventures film from the archive. This week we have been celebrating The Car Man as it comes up to its 20th Anniversary on May 16th. Join us for a look back at the original 2000 production of The Car Man, and hear Matthew Bourne’s thoughts on the show all these years later.  

"This little film served as an intro to the first film version of the show with the original cast in 2001. That film was made very differently to how we make our films now (as “live” performances) and was shot over 2 weeks at Pinewood Studios with multiple takes and a more “filmic” approach including “interiors” and a different use of space. Its interesting to compare both approaches? The version you will see on Sky Arts this week was filmed live at Sadler's Wells in 2015 and captures the live feeling of a performance as it happens. I think now I favour this approach though I would definitely like the chance to capture one of our other shows in a studio one day if we could film for sufficient time?  (maybe Dorian Gray or Play Without Words?)

Its interesting to think back now that The Car Man was originally conceived as a vehicle for the two Broadway stars of Swan Lake, Adam Cooper and Will Kemp who had shared the role of The Swan/Stranger. I wanted to play off their different personalities against each other in the roles of Angelo and Luca (Much inspired by the chalk and cheese brothers in Visconti’s masterwork “Rocco And His Brothers”). But due to some long forgotten reason, Adam ended up not being in the production and the role went to Alan Vincent who had been one of my favourite swans in the Broadway ensemble of the show and who showed great charismatic presence and machismo (in fact he named his character Luca Machina!) Of course Alan made the role his own and its really fun to see some great clips of him in this short film to contrast with the role of Dino that he plays in the 2015 film some 15 years later! 

Also here look out for our wonderful Associate Artistic Director, Etta Murfitt as Rita, Saranne Curtin, a big star in many of my earlier shows, as Lana, another of my male “muses” for several important NA shows Will Kemp as Angelo and of course our beloved Scotty Ambler as Dino.

The original sub-title to the show was…. “An Auto-Erotic Thriller” - which i thought (and still think) was rather clever, but there was a concern that it would be a “turn-off” for audiences - I’m not so sure but who knows? Anyway, for later versions we took inspiration from a line from Bette Davis in All About Eve and told audiences to “Fasten your seat-belts” which I also love…… so buckle up and enjoy this short intro to this most popular of shows… and also enjoy the screening on Sunday…." 

MB x

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