LEADER; JEMMA’S SURVIVED THE CURSE OF CRAIG
December 6, 2003
ONE of the great things about the British film industry is the way it gives young, up-andcoming talents such as Craig Ferguson a chance to make a name for themselves – and then totally blow it.
I’ll Be There, is a particular case in point because not only is Ferguson making his directing debut but he was actually an actor whose career has been blighted by a string of roles in low-budget movies like The Big Tease and Modern Vampires. As the eight other people in the audience of my local cinema will testify on the night I went to see it, I’ll Be There was flat and characterless.
Then, to make things worse, he probably ruined any future movie career prospects for opera singer Charlotte Church. For the uninitiated, in the film she played knackered Eighties rock star Ferguson’s love child who arrives on the scene to halt his downward spiral.
Referring to my notes from that fateful screening, I see: “I’m willing to bet that the first shattered atom split more sedately than the audience rushing out of the auditorium today.”
Presumably, Ferguson also realised how rotten it was and gave up directing.
To my great relief, Jemma Redgrave (she of the great acting dynasty) actually agrees with me.
Let’s face it, she should know, she co-starred in the movie as Charlotte’s reformed groupie mother.
“It’s true, the film was a bomb, ” Jemma admitted. “But it wasn’t a stink bomb. That’s the distinction.
“I don’t give a damn, really. It would have been better for them and, of course, nice for me if it had been a success. But the experience was great. So it doesn’t really matter.”
Tragically, it does when your first film swiftly heads for the bargain basement DVDs bins at Woolies. Though Jemma thinks it would be unfair to drum the flick out of the Brownies altogether.
“It absolutely does what it says on the tin, ” she continued. “It’s charming and funny. The thing is that it’s Charlotte’s first film and I think she’s terrific in it, actually.
“She was very natural and brought a lot of warmth and humour to the part. I think, for a 16 year old in her first film part, she excelled. I couldn’t have done it at 16. I was hugely impressed by her.
“She’s also a delightful young woman. She has got that great Welsh work ethic thing. Hard working, intelligent, funny, sparky. And she sings.
IREMEMBER thinking I didn’t want to work for a while after that I had such a good experience.” You have to be careful what you wish for, don’t you, because Jemma didn’t work for a long while afterwards.
She is back on track now, though, and returns to television in the New Year in the company of another Scot, East Kilbride’s own John Hannah.They star together in ITV’s two-part thriller, Amnesia, in which she plays a marbles-scrambled cop who suspects her memory-scarred husband of having murdered his first wife. And know what? It’s very good.
Thanks to Dawn for this interview. We got more to come so stay tuned…