By Baz Bamigboye
Last updated at 12:04 PM on 10th February 2012
Charlotte Rampling says she doesn't mind a few wrinkles and finds face lifts much scarier
Hollywood casting directors are scouring Europe to find actresses over 50 who haven't had plastic surgery — because there are so few of them left in southern California.
But leading lady Charlotte Rampling, 66, is not afraid of a few wrinkles. 'There's something creepy about actresses with face lifts,' she told me when we met to discuss her latest film, I, Anna, a gripping thriller about a woman and what Charlotte calls a 'deeply disturbing incident'.
'You don't know what you're looking at. You think: 'Knock, knock!' What's behind these strange masks? You can't see the feeling in their faces any more. But if you dare to grow old, there's something beautiful about it.
'The creed and the code in Los Angeles is: "Do it!" And if you don't do it, you're a renegade. And if you're a renegade there, where do you go? Europe, I suppose.'
Rampling would be terrified of facing the scalpel because 'once you start, your face starts to change, and then you start to say: 'Oh, I need a bit more here and a little bit more there.'
'I would rather bear the agony of saying: 'Let my face get older naturally, and let the wrinkles and lines show!' '
In the 2006 film Heading South, Charlotte Rampling happily showed off her natural beauty
I, Anna, is directed by her son, Barnaby Southcombe, and is being premiered at the Berlin Film Festival on Sunday.
It is about a lonely divorced woman (Rampling) who finds herself in an unbearable situation. There's a marvellous scene, early on, when she captures the eye of Gabriel Byrne, a police detective who becomes infatuated with her as he investigates the murder of a man in a London apartment block.
British actress Charlotte Rampling, pictured at the International Cannes Film Festival in the French Riviera in 2005, has always gone for the natural look
In the film she wears high heels and a classic Burberry trench and has never looked more seductive. She describes it as 'taking the femme fatale to her fatal end'.
Her son says the mac (usually the preserve of the screen detective) was his own little playful twist — a nod to some of the dangerous women his mother has played in the past.
Think of the 1975 remake of Farewell, My Lovely, in which Robert Mitchum has to search for an elusive Rampling, or The Verdict, when she betrays Paul Newman.
'She's steeped in blood, as it were,' says Barnaby. 'And I just think it's interesting to see where all those fallen women go.
'My mother's covered the whole palette of noir-ish women, from an 18-year-old femme fatale to a more vulnerable and more touching woman in her middle years.'
Barnaby didn't approach his mother directly with the part. Instead, he sent it through her long-time agent Jean Diamond.
'I was nervous about it,' he says. 'And scared.' He and his mother had long ago made a pact about being brutally honest about their work. 'She has been quite hurtful in the past — she doesn't mince her words.'
But not so with I, Anna. Once she had committed, she worked with him as she would with any other director.
Smiling, she told me: 'Once I've got to know the director — and here this was easy, because I've known him quite a while — I commit totally to the collaboration.'
I, Anna will open here in the autumn.
Costa Del Sweeney
British actress Hayley Atwell: To play 'an object of fascination'
Hayley Atwell will stay mainly in the plain when she shoots in Spain.
She will play 'an object of fascination' in a film drama called Falcon, which stars Marton Csokas as moody chief inspector Javier Falcon.
The dramas are based on the novels of Robert Wilson.
Sky Atlantic has adapted two tales - The Blind Man Of Seville and The Silent And The Damned - and they will begin filming on locations in Seville and Madrid next month.
Csokas, who appeared with Jessica Chastain in John Madden's thriller The Debt, will play the flinty detective in the four films (two episodes per book).
If they catch on with viewers, Sky Atlantic will shoot more through production company Mammoth Screen.
Hayley has finished work on the film version of TV hit The Sweeney, and she plays Charlottle Rampling's daughter in new movie I, Anna.
She is also in discussions about working with Rose Byrne, one of the stars of the mega-hit comedy Bridesmaids (the insufferable one).
Bollywood babe ready for her first kiss
Bollywood princess: Tena Desae looked beautiful at the premiere of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Tena Desae proclaimed she had never been kissed before — on film, that is.
But now she will get her first movie smooch from Dev Patel — he of Slumdog Millionaire fame.
They play young, illicit lovers in the poignant comedy drama The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, which also stars Judi Dench, Maggie Smith and a host of major names.
The bulk of it was filmed on locations in India where Tena is a well-known TV commercial model turned Bollywood actress, though Marigold is her first foray into Western-type film fare.
She was a little perplexed when director John Madden asked her to do a kissing scene with Dev.
'We don't kiss in public. It's not done. So I was concerned at first,' she told me.
'I didn't know how to do it, and I was very nervous. But Dev was wonderful and behaved like a gentleman.'
Family is all important for her, and she respects those traditions. 'My parents are really quite strict, so I have to be home at a certain time — even now, at the age of 25.
'If it's old school friends that my parents know, then I can stay out till late.
But if they don't know them, they want me home by 9pm. If I have work, then I don't have a deadline. I don't argue with them. That's how I have been raised and I'm happy with it,' she said.
We'll be hearing a lot about Tena in the future, so I hope she gets permission to break a few curfews.
From left to right: Dev Patel, Celia Imrie, Tom Wilkinson, Diana Hardcastle, Tena Desae, Dame Judi Dench, Ronald Pickup, Penelope Wilton and John Madden were also at the premiere
Cocktails with Carey Mulligan is one of the auction prizes up for grabs at the Almeida Up Close fund-raising event, being held at One Mayfair on February 23.
Michael Attenborough will speak, Jonathan Pryce will sing, and others, including Daniel Evans, Jenny Jules, Samantha Spiro and Meera Syal, will sing everything from Sondheim to Winehouse.
Director Indhu Rubasingham is putting it all together.
Cop film gets sirens working
Actress Zoe Tapper plays a police officer's wife in the taut thriller Blood
Actresses Zoe Tapper and Natasha Little are playing the women behind a couple of hardened cops who go too far when they investigate a murder.
The two women are the girlfriend and wife of officers being played by Stephen Graham and Paul Bettany in the taut thriller Blood, which Nick Murphy will direct at locations on the Wirral later this month.
Bettany, who will be a presenter at Sunday night's Orange Bafta awards, and Graham play brothers who come into close contact with a murder suspect (Ben Crompton).
Brian Cox, who was so good in Ralph Fiennes's great Shakespeare film Coriolanus, plays Bettany and Graham's retired police-chief dad, and Mark Strong — who never stops working — plays an officer with a suspicious mind. Comic legend Ade Edmonson has a cameo role.
Blood is being produced by Pippa Harris, with her Neal Street Productions partner Sam Mendes as executive producer.
There is also backing from BBC Films.
The film is based on the TV drama Conviction, written by Bill Gallagher eight years ago. He has adapted his story for the big screen.
Nutini's on the road to Nowhere
Paolo Nutini could write some of the music for a stage show based on the John Lennon film Nowhere Boy
Paolo Nutini, the chart-topping Scottish singer-songwriter, is in negotiations to write the score, and more than likely the lyrics, for a stage show based on the John Lennon film Nowhere Boy.
The picture focused on the tug of love that went on between Lennon's real mother Julia and his Aunt Mimi, who raised him.
Based on an autobiography by Julia Baird (the Beatle star's half sister), the movie showed how the teenage Lennon picked up much of his early musical influences from his mother, and her love of jazz and rockabilly.
Directed by Sam Taylor-Wood, using a screenplay by Matt Greenhalgh, it featured a lot of rock and R&B covers, as the adolescent Lennon, McCartney and Harrison helped form the Quarrymen.
But director Rupert Goold and producers Sally Greene (one of the people behind Billy Elliot, and chief executive of the Old Vic) and Ecosse Films (who made the movie) want to listen to an original score, before they decide how to proceed, in terms of the music.
Paolo Nutini could write the score and very possibly the lyrics too
The film stopped before the Quarrymen travelled to Hamburg, so the show may not need to use any Beatles tunes.
Nutini, who has released two albums — These Streets and Sunny Side Up — will come up with some songs and workshop them with the show's creative team.
There's chatter about Nowhere Boy coming into the West End next year, or early in 2014.
Doctor Who rematerialises at the National
Actor Christopher Ecclestone as Doctor Who
Christopher Eccleston has been persuaded to rejoin the National Theatre after an absence of more than two decades.
The actor, who starred as a sophisticated drug smuggler in TV drama The Shadow Line and once upon a time played Doctor Who, will appear as Creon,
opposite Jodie Whittaker in the title role of Antigone. Polly Findlay will direct them on the National's Olivier stage from May 23.
Eccleston last performed at the National in the plays Bent and Abingdon Square.
He also appears with Terence Stamp, Vanessa Redgrave and Gemma Arterton in Paul Andrew Williams's film Song For Marion.
And Harvey Weinstein rates highly enough to want to put it up for consideration in the next awards season — which starts all over again in September.
Sheridan Smith and Daniel Mays, who will portray Charmian Biggs and Great Train robber Ronnie Biggs in the ITV drama Mrs Biggs.
The five-part series will examine how Charmian and her children moved to Australia with Biggs after the robbery. She and their sons remained there when Biggs sloped off to Brazil.
Charmian has worked with the drama's producers and has approved Sheridan to portray her.
Filming will take place on locations in Australia and the UK.
Sheridan has also been working on the stage musical of Bridget Jones, which will now open at the Savoy Theatre next year. Sheridan will play the famous singleton.
Patricia Hodge and Nicholas Le Prevost, who will star in the Arthur Wing Pinero farce Dandy Dick, which will launch a new theatre company: Theatre Royal Brighton Productions.
Le Prevost will play the Rev Augustin Jedd, who desperately needs to raise funds for a new church steeple. Enter a horse called Dandy Dick.
The vicar's sister Georgiana Tidman, described as a rather horsey type, will be played by Patricia. The show will run at the Theatre Royal Brighton from June 25 and then go on a two-week gallop round the provinces. It's hoped it will come into the West End in November, but no theatre has yet been booked for that run.
Alastair Sim and Patricia Routledge did a much loved version of the play in Chichester and London in the Seventies.
Adam Garcia, who has been cast to play the dual role of Fred/ Petruchio in the Cole Porter/Sam and Bella Spewack musical Kiss Me Kate, which Trevor Nunn will be directing for the Chichester Festival Theatre. It will run in the Festival auditorium from June 18 through September 1.
Nunn has a top-flight creative team that includes Stephen Mear as choreographer; Robert Jones as designer; and musical director Gareth Valentine.
All manner of leading ladies on both sides of the Atlantic are being approached to play the tempestuous Lilli/Kate in the show-within-a-show.
Meryl Streep, Viola Davis, Michelle Williams, Tilda Swinton and Berenice Bejo, who are the Orange Bafta best-actress nominees, in what is the most competitive category. They will gather at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden this Sunday.
It's a big Bafta party weekend, starting tonight with a bash for Martin Scorsese and his film Hugo at Claridge's. Harvey Weinstein and the folks at Grey Goose are throwing a late private dinner at the Dean Street Townhouse in Soho.
Tomorrow, Disney's hosting a tea at the Arts Club for the gang from The Help, and Charles Finch and Chanel have a pre-Bafta supper at Annabel's.
Then Sunday night goes bonkers, with events all over town, including Entertainment Distributors and the Weinstein company's after-after party, that will go on into the early hours of Monday. Grey Goose and Chopard are sponsoring that one — though I will be on still water!
Music video by HA-ASH performing Todo No Fue Suficiente. (C) 2011 Sony Music Entertainment México, SA De CV
Video Rating: 4 / 5