central school of drama and speech

Welcome to our film page!

Here you can follow the journey of two actresses completing their final project at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama.

The film has been written by and will be directed by multitalented star of the global BBC hit series The Musketeers- Howard Charles.

This film looks at depression and we aim to not only make a beautiful film, but to help raise awareness and keep the conversation going on mental health.

Please share and join us on our wonderful and challenging journey

anonymous asked:

I was just reading Joe's wiki page and geez he has a degree in English Literature and Drama from University Of Bristol and a degree in Acting from Royal Central School of Speech & Drama. He's smart.

yh he sure must be, especially considering that Bristol Uni is a Russel Group University

Carrie Fisher, Princess Leia in 'Star Wars,' Dead at 60
Carrie Fisher, the iconic actress who portrayed Princess Leia in the 'Star Wars' series, died following a massive heart attack. She was 60.

“It is with a very deep sadness that Billie Lourd confirms that her beloved mother Carrie Fisher passed away at 8:55 this morning,” Simon Halls, a spokesperson for Fisher’s family, released to People.

The daughter of screen legend Debbie Reynolds and singer Eddie Fisher, the actress made her Broadway debut as a teenager in Irene, which starred her mother. After making her big screen debut in 1975’s Shampoo and briefly enrolling in London’s Central School of Speech and Drama and then St. Lawrence College, Fisher dropped out, at the age of 19, after landing the role of Princess Leia in George Lucas’ 1977 space epic Star Wars.

“She has no friends, no family; her planet was blown up in seconds – along with her hairdresser – so all she has is a cause,” Fisher told Rolling Stone in 1983 of the role. “From the first film [A New Hope], she was just a soldier, front line and center. The only way they knew to make the character strong was to make her angry. In Return of the Jedi, she gets to be more feminine, more supportive, more affectionate. But let’s not forget that these movies are basically boys’ fantasies. So the other way they made her more female in this one was to have her take off her clothes.”

“Lucas always had to remind me to ‘Stand up! Be a princess!’ And I would act like a Jewish princess and lean forward, slouching, chewing gum,” Fisher once joked.

Fisher was also the writer of four novels and the ex-wife of singer-songwriter Paul Simon, who she was married to for a year in 1983. Fisher was also in a long term relationship with talent agent Bryan Lourd, with whom she had her only child, Billie Lourd.

Martin Freeman: No ordinary Bilbo Baggins

From ‘The Office’ in Slough to Middle-earth, he finds a heroism in everyday decency


Friday 30 November 2012

The clue to Martin Freeman’s appeal, which is on the verge of going truly global with his role as Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, lies partly in his name. Martin Freeman is a prosaic, everyday kind of name, far removed from the Clints, Brads, Leonardos and even Toms that imbue film projects with such glamour.

This unremarkable Everyman quality extends to his screen persona too. It is why he was so perfectly cast by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant in The Office. For even though Freeman has been at pains ever since The Office to explain that he is not really like Tim – the personification of witty, affable normality surrounded, in the Slough branch of Wernham Hogg Paper Company, by the hapless and humourless – we can’t quite bring ourselves to believe him.

We probably should. For one thing, those who’ve met him confirm it, one interviewer describing him as “searingly intelligent, angry, direct, caustic, lefty, sweary, as stunningly far from Tim as you could get”. And for another, in a feisty, somewhat confrontational appearance on Jonathan Ross's chat show a few years ago, Freeman denounced the word “Everyman” as a decidedly lazy way to describe him.

Certainly there is nothing Everyman about his fastidious and rather retro dress sense, which usually evokes a mid-1960s mod, but on Ross’s show embraced a silk cravat. “Do you know what I’d like to see you in? A top hat,” chirped Ross, after first asking Freeman whether he’d ever considered wearing a monocle. Freeman’s riposte was swift and merciless. “Do you know what I’d like to see you in?” he replied. “A f**king box.” He looked as though he half-meant it, too.

Even if we put the word “Everyman” into the same box, whether he likes it or not (and if he doesn’t, then his bank manager surely does), successive casting directors have seized on his capacity to present himself as the only normal bloke in a crazy, dangerous world. He played Arthur Dent in the 2005 big-screen version of A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and as Dr Watson in the BBC’s hit series Sherlock, he is an excellent foil to Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock Holmes.

Interestingly enough, the creators of Sherlock found it much harder to cast Watson than they did Holmes. Several actors auditioned for the role, but only Freeman offered the grounded quality they were looking for. According to co‑writer Steven Moffat, Freeman is “the sort of opposite of Benedict in everything except the amount of talent … Martin finds a sort of poetry in the ordinary man”.

That, at least, was a good way of putting it. Plainly, the ordinariness of his looks, his height, his voice, characterise many of the roles he plays. But he has made hay out of this ordinariness in an extraordinary way, and the latest and most dramatic manifestation of this phenomenon has him playing Bilbo in the first of director Peter Jackson’s three-part prequel to The Lord of the Rings trilogy, due to be released later this month. The comparison won’t please Freeman, but rather as with Tim at Wernham Hogg, he is again playing the straight man in a sea of grotesques, only this time on a vastly bigger stage.

However, unlike Tim, who sprang fully formed from the original minds of Gervais and Merchant, Bilbo is a long-established literary icon, if only to those people who treat the works of J R R Tolkien as more precious than their last will and testament. There will doubtless be some avid fans of the book whose picture of Bilbo does not chime with Jackson’s, and will feel that Freeman is all wrong, but then he was pushed into similarly treacherous waters in Hitchhiker’s Guide – “it’s a script, it’s not the Koran,” he said, in that snippy conversation with Ross – and indeed in Sherlock.

Still, it was ever thus. Even those raised on Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce as Hollywood’s interpretation of Holmes and Watson between 1939 and 1946 should note that Bruce’s portrayal of Watson as something of a buffoon greatly offended Holmes purists. “If a mop bucket appeared in a scene, his foot would be inside it, and if by some sardonic twist of fate  … he managed to stumble upon an important clue, he could be depended upon to blow his nose on it and throw it away,” one critic wrote. Freeman’s portrayal is actually much truer to Arthur Conan Doyle’s original vision. And judging by those tantalising cinema previews, it’s a fair bet that Tolkien himself would have approved of Freeman’s wide-eyed turn as Bilbo.

He was born in 1971, and raised, the youngest of five children, in Aldershot, Hampshire. Freeman was only 10 when his father, a naval officer, died of a heart attack, and like many men who lost their fathers at a young age, he admits to a sense of loss that became more acute as he got older, as it registered that they had never known each other on a man-to-man basis.

But by the time his father died, Freeman’s parents had separated. He was raised by his mother, Philomena, as a practising Roman Catholic, and his faith remains intact. “I’m one of the few people I know who believes in God,” he has said. He has also admitted to having “a very extreme state of mind”, adding: “Things are very black or very white. One minute you think you’re God Almighty, the next you think you’re f**king worthless. This isn’t meant to make me sound interesting and rock'n'roll, but I wouldn’t want to live with me a lot of the time.”

The woman who does is actress Amanda Abbington, mother of his two young children, and Freeman credits her with making him a good deal less gloomy than he used to be. Nonetheless, the state of the world depresses him. He has railed against the priorities of a country that appears to care more about The X Factor than it does about homelessness, and who could honestly argue with him? It doesn’t take a degree in psychoanalysis to see that acting is a form of escapism for him.

It has certainly kept him busy. He has worked more or less constantly since attending London’s Central School of Speech and Drama, and likes to point out that there was plenty of life in his career before The Office. In fact, his parts before Gervais and Merchant muscled into his life tended to be quite edgy; in a TV drama called Men Only, he played one of a group of five footballers who rape a nurse on a ketamine-fuelled night out. Too many more roles like that and it’s safe to say that Jackson probably wouldn’t have seen him as the perfect Bilbo Baggins. On the other hand, Quentin Tarantino might have come calling. After all, Freeman is, without the slightest doubt, a very fine actor.

Not everyone realised that at the time of his big break, in 2001. It tended to be other people in The Office, with more memorable names in real life (such as Gervais himself and Mackenzie Crook, who played the ghastly Gareth), and in some ways more to play with on screen, who took the acting plaudits. But a look back at The Office now offers a reminder of just how good Freeman was.

Away from his own office, Freeman is a man with interests teetering on the obsessive. He is a huge music enthusiast, with an enormous collection of classic vinyl, all of which is filed in alphabetical order. He is also passionate about classic British cinema, and able to expound in depth about that very British comic lineage which connects Kenneth Williams with David Walliams. These interests, and of course his young family, are more than sufficient to keep him at home in Hertfordshire, at least when he is not away filming. Showbiz parties are not his thing. “Do you have fun, do you go out,” Jonathan Ross asked him. “I have fun, but I don’t go out,” he replied.

“What do you do,” asked Ross, manifestly puzzled.

“I stay in,” he said, waspishly.


Judi Dench: in love again

Dame Judi Dench lost her husband to lung cancer when she was 66. Now she has found romance again – with a wildlife expert who lives next door

Dame Judi Dench is on the sofa of her favourite London hotel, the Covent Garden – or “Cov Gar” as she calls it – straining to see who is crossing the room to greet her: “Who am I waving at?” she whispers. The macular degeneration in her eyes makes seeing difficult. Pretty devastating for an actor, surely? “It’s not good,” she admits, but then adds with a get-on-with-it shrug, “but it’s not the complete and utter disaster everybody makes it out to be. I blow my lines up to enormous proportions and learn them with somebody, and on set you get to know where everything is. I get by. It’s just something you adjust to.” 

The person arrives by her side and she sees immediately that it is the manager of the hotel, who has come over to check if she needs anything. When Dench comes up to London – mostly to promote a film or for a birthday (the big eight-o this month, a “filthy” word to her) – she usually stays in room 101. She gets her own dressing gown with her initials embroidered on the lapel. It used to be JD: “I always had a sneaking suspicion that Johnny Depp wears it when he’s in town!” Dench says to the manager. “No,” she replies firmly. “You are the only JD who stays here.” But, anyhow, that’s all irrelevant because it’s been upgraded to “DJD”. “Heaven!” Dench growls with delight. “I love it.” 

For such an impeccably mannered Dame, Dench has a very low, dirty laugh that builds up steam – “huh huh huh” – like a car ignition. Despite the fact that she is 80 this month – “Ahhhh, 49 at last!” she says when I bring up the birthday – Dench lives her life like a woman half her age. Her filming schedule is busier than ever. She travels and she still gets good, stretching parts. (Philomena, Barbara in Notes on a Scandal, Iris Murdoch, Elizabeth I. She wants a “dangerous” one next.) We are about to see her over Christmas opposite Dustin Hoffman in a BBC film, Roald Dahl’s Esio Trot

“Energy I have,” she says. In 2011, for example, aged 77, she made four films back-to-back, including J Edgar, directed by Clint Eastwood, in America and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel in India. Ten years before that, she famously threw herself into filming in the same way, but back then it was to try to cope with the grief of losing her husband, the actor Michael Williams, to lung cancer (then she made three back-to-back). 

Now, her life is much happier. A lot of this is to do with the fact that, after more than a decade of widowhood, Dench is no longer single. “I am terrible on my own. I am really conscious of being in a room. Walking in is agony to me. Therefore I wouldn’t do it.” 

“Boyfriend” doesn’t feel quite the right word to use for the love interest of an 80-year-old dame, but maybe she’d approve of it being straightforward. Dench’s new boyfriend is called David Mills, an ex-Jersey farmer who built a wildlife centre dedicated to British animals on his family land “just a few fields away” from Dench’s own acres on the Surrey/Sussex border. 

Although Dench admits she has been attracted to “quite a lot of men over the years”, she says a new relationship after losing Williams “never even for a second occurred to me, not for a single second”. 

She was famously blissfully married to Williams. They had met at the RSC and become good friends, sharing the same naughty sense of humour. Her best friend, Pinkie Kavanaugh, who died last year (“I miss her dreadfully”), had thrown her her wedding bouquet. And then, in 1971, aged 36, Dench fell in love with Williams, married him and had their daughter, Finty, a year later. 

She had 30 years with him. He gave her a red rose every Friday and advised her on all her parts. It is Williams we have to thank for Dench playing M in 13 Bond films (her last, much to her chagrin, being Skyfall). “When the offer first came in for GoldenEye, he said, ‘Oh God, you must do it! I long to live with a Bond girl,’” she remembers. As well as their happy marriage, they worked together, too, on the stage and for television, most famously in A Fine Romance in the early Eighties. 

A couple of years after Williams died, David Mills asked Dench, an instinctive lover of animals, if she would open the new badger enclosure. “And although I was filming, I just wasn’t in good enough shape to do something like that.” 

But, she says, he “stalked” her − “Yes! I think he did.” Seven years later, in 2010, she agreed to open the red squirrel enclosure. The squirrels were the clincher. Did you resist him then too? “I don’t think I did,” she says. “Ooh, how shocking!” Her chest rocks up and down with her dirty laugh again. 

The relationship – “I wasn’t even prepared to be ready for it” – started from there (Mills is divorced and a few years younger), helped along by their mutual love of wild cats, badgers, otters and pretty much anything with fur, teeth and claws. “It was very, very gradual and grown up. We got together, in a way, through the animals. It’s just wonderful.” 

She recalls a birthday dinner four years ago in the “Cov Gar”, organised by Finty, with her close friends present. Was he being vetted? “I think everybody was vetting each other,” she says. Huh huh huh. 

Dench somehow managed to keep the relationship out of the press for a few years. In a newspaper diary it was insinuated that Dench is now considering marriage again. This, however, seems very wide of the mark. She tells me they don’t live together and have no plans to start. “We are much too independent. And he is very busy. He has a business to run. But he is soooo lovely, with a great sense of humour. Now it’s absolutely wonderful because there’s somebody who makes me laugh. Isn’t it lovely?” 

In a new book of photographs from her life, Behind the Scenes, there are a few pictures of him that Dench has chosen to include; she is beside him, either laughing that dirty laugh or smiling. He has a mop of floppy silver hair and a kind smile. They clearly have a lot of fun. 

Recently, she took him to Los Angeles – his first visit – where Dustin Hoffman was presenting her with a Britannia award (given by the LA branch of Bafta). “David was like this!” she says, miming the craning neck needed for celebrity spotting. In the back of the car, on the way to the ceremony, he started yawning and told her: “I’m not yawning because I’m tired. Baboons yawn when they are frightened!” She loves this kind of thing. It makes her howl with laughter. 

“Love” is not a word that has been spoken of, she says. “I’ve never said those words.” Perhaps she is cautious? She says she lives in the moment. 

“I have ‘Carpe diem’ carved on a piece of stone by my front door. It sounds rather grand, but it’s a very good motto, because what’s the point of waste? You never know what is going to happen tomorrow.” 

Mills was at the hotel with her last night, for the premiere of Esio Trot, but now he’s gone back to the wildlife. They are from different worlds, she says, but she loves his of furry animals as much as he loves hers of sleek A-list stars. (Alongside her two older brothers, one still alive, the other recently deceased, Dench grew up in York with 17 stray cats and a dog.) 

Roald Dahl’s Esio Trot is a film of a Roald Dahl book that tells the story of a shy old man who tries to win the heart of a woman who is obsessed with her tortoise. Dench plays Mrs Silver as a bossomy, red-headed, sexy northern widow who has secretly been wanting all along to get her hands on the shy, virginal Mr Hoppy (Hoffman). It’s a love story of old age blossoming among animals (60 real tortoises, 40 fakes on the film set). 

Hoffman adored Dench and she, in turn, says she was “bewitched” by him. “Oh, he’s a beauty. A beauty, really self-deprecating, and the way he runs it down. I love it! I love! And he’s wonderfully naughty, gloriously naughty.” 

During the press conference, they stroked and patted and held hands. Hoffman has called Dench a “scrumptious woman all her life”. Early pictures show a sensual, plump round face and pleasingly normal curves rarely seen on today’s young actresses. Hoffman – who has a much younger second wife – told her that if he’d known her back then, he’d have never let her get away. Sitting on the sofa drinking her coffee, Dame Judi repeats the line to me wistfully. “He said, ‘I’d never have let you go!’” 

Clever old David Mills then, for not letting her go; for waiting seven years and finally enticing her over the garden fence with his red squirrels. What does he make of it all? “He’s taken to it like an otter to water,” she says, chuckling. 


Dame Judi Dench’s grief for Michael Williams has changed over time but never left her. “It becomes different. It alters. It doesn’t become any less. Only the other day, I opened a drawer and then shut the drawer and there was Mikey’s photograph on the floor. I was able to go, ‘Ooh, how lovely!’ whereas before I would perhaps not have been able to cope.” 

Williams lived long enough to see Dench’s career change – or rather develop – from the stage (she’s played all the Shakespearean great roles) to the big screen, sealed when she was nominated for an Oscar for playing Queen Victoria in Mrs Brown and then won one for Best Supporting Actress in Shakespeare in Love in 1998. (There have also been six Oliviers, six film Baftas, four television Baftas and a Tony.) 

At her age, of course, she is losing her friends and family. This year, after Pinkie, she lost Jeffery, one of her elder brothers and “one of the longest serving members of the RSC”. 

Dench cites Jeffery as the inspiration for her decision to ditch theatre design to attend the Central School of Speech and Drama, from which she went straight into the Old Vic Company, playing Ophelia. There is a photograph of them together, in old age, in which they look remarkably similar. She becomes very quiet. “Hmmmm. Hmmm,” she says, looking away. 

She spent time with him in Cornwall in the summer of 2013 and had intended to take David to meet him, but he died sooner than she expected. 

And of Pinkie, too, she says: “I miss her dreadfully. I always used to think, ‘I’ll ring Pink up and have a good moan.’” 

Dench is much more famous than many of her early actor friends (Dame Maggie Smith aside, whom she calls “Mags”), but her late-found international fame was never remotely relevant or even felt. “It simply isn’t the case that the best actors are the ones in work. I remember seeing Pinkie in Sabrina Fair in Frinton. She was so good … God, she was good.” Her voice trails off. 

“We went through everything together. Everything. Marriage, babies, her divorce, Mikey dying. I’m sure other people have that … But I’ve had and have such good friends. You’re lucky to even have one like that in a lifetime.” 

Friendship and being part of a gang, family or film, is everything to her. For a long period during Dench’s marriage, they lived happily with Williams’s parents and her “ma” in Charlecote, near Stratford-upon-Avon. They are all buried there; Dench’s father, Reginald, who was a GP; her mother, Eleanora, who was a wardrobe mistress at York Theatre; Williams and his parents, too. 

Later, when Finty had her own baby – “my Sammy”, Dench calls her 17-year-old grandson now, a dead ringer for Ed Sheeran – they lived together in her house on the Surrey/Sussex border, where she is today. In the garden, there is an armillary sphere, on which is engraved a quote that Williams would say to them: “When we are together, there is nothing we cannot achieve.” 

It is only relatively recently, when Finty and Sammy moved to London, that Dench finally had to face living on her own. But this month Finty is coming for a bit while she is in a play, and Sammy – “Oh, I dote on him. It’s heaven” – visits most weekends. He calls her “Ma”. And there is a housekeeper who keeps the show on the road and a PA who helps her answer her letters. 

Today, her make-up artist, Em, is waiting in her room and she’ll have a lobster and chips lunch with her. Later, they’ll have a glass of champagne together. (“Champagne is my only drink.”) On set with Hoffman, too, she regularly tried to get him to go out, but he always needed a nap. Richard Curtis, writer of Four Weddings and Notting Hill and now Esio Trot, says affectionately of Dench that she is “very badly behaved”. 

Almost 70 years ago, on her first day at her Quaker boarding school in York (she is still a Quaker), she let off a fire extinguisher while “horsing around” with a chum. The girl is still her friend today: “We speak on the phone every Sunday.” Clearly, there is still a lot of “horsing around” going on. “I don’t want to work with anyone who can’t laugh at themselves or make mistakes or look foolish,” she says. 

Billy Connolly, after acting opposite Dench in Mrs Brown (the film that really brought her to the attention of Harvey Weinstein, one of the producers of Shakespeare in Love) said of her: “You know those English twittering f***ing women – they think she’s one of them, and she isn’t.” 

Once, for a Bond premiere, Dench had a 007 Swarovski crystal tattoo applied to the back of her neck, and another time, she got her make-up artist to put a fake tattoo saying “Harvey Weinstein” on her “arse” – a very Dame Judi word. When the rapper Lethal Bizzle coined the phrase “dench” for “cool”, and used it on his clothing range, she bought the cap and the T-shirt. Today, she wears a boho collection of necklaces and rattling bangles. 

Dench loves the comedians she’s worked with, such as Connolly and Steve Coogan on Philomena. “How dare they be so good at this? I said to Steve, ‘Get back!’ Straight acting is not their bag. They should be [on the stage] making jokes and yet they come to a film and wipe the floor with the lot of us.” 

During one play, she and Kenneth Branagh were sent home from rehearsals in disgrace because they couldn’t stop laughing. 

That Dench makes a point of mentioning Mills’s humour as one of his attractions is unsurprising. She loves people who make her laugh. And she loves animals. Filming Esio was a joyous combination. 

“But what about the orchid mantis?” she exclaims of Life Story, the BBC wildlife programme that can melt even the steeliest of hearts. “And the barnacle goose? Who wants to be a barnacle goose? You lay an egg, you go through all that …” 

Dench starts straining as if she is trying to push out an egg of her own, her voice forced with the effort of laying: “Tr-y-i-n-g t-o la-y a-n e-g-g… and then the poor thing hatches and has to throw itself off a cliff and gets eaten by a wolf! Christ almighty, we’re lucky!” Huh huh huh. 

A couple of strangers are sitting on a nearby sofa side by side bolt upright. What dynamite for them to see Dame Judi give an impromptu performance as a barnacle goose. “Do I know those people?” she whispers, peering over at them.


In the third stage of Dench’s life, she is top of the tree. She has been professionally liberated, poignantly, by widowhood – “This kind of filming would have been very hard on Mikey, very hard indeed” – and yet now is no longer alone. 

She is in the middle of filming Richard III with Benedict Cumberbatch, in which she plays the Duchess of York, and has finished the sequel to The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, the story of a group of older people who decamp to India to stay in a hotel rather than a face the deathly prospect of a care home. 

In Behind the Scenes, Dench includes a picture of herself in her garage, beside a very bling BMW, which, because of her eyesight, she can no longer drive: “I just lean against it. It makes me feel about 29. It’s not to do with age, it’s the engine. You’ve got to keep the engine going.”

Roald Dahl’s Esio Trot is on BBC One on New Year’s day at 6.30pm

(edited to include the magazine cover i grabbed from detectivecaz)

Shoot credits
Make-up: Emma Page using Chanel Christmas 2014 and Sublimage L’Essence