Monday, 8 October 2012

Paul Brannigan: 'The Angels' Share'

Star power: Paul Brannigan at The Angels' Share photocall during Cannes

From a life of drugs on a tough housing estate to sharing a love scene with Scarlett Johansson - Britain's unlikely new movie star

Paul Brannigan's life story could make a Hollywood film on its own

Both his parents were ­heroin addicts and he started taking drugs at 11.
He was expelled from school at 14, sent to jail over a gun battle at 17, and there’s a scar on his face from a knife fight with his own brother.
So how do you go from there to ­becoming a Hollywood actor sharing a love scene with Scarlett Johansson?
Ask Paul Brannigan... it’s his life story.
It’s certainly a long way from his gritty Glasgow council estate to the glamour of the Cannes Film Festival.
And 25-year-old Paul could have been forgiven for pinching himself as he was mobbed by A-list stars at his film’s première in the glitzy French resort.
But the dad of one is learning to take this sort of thing in his stride since he was plucked from a life of deprivation and crime to star in The Angels’ Share.
A huge critical success, it has already been hailed as the new Full Monty. And Paul’s natural acting talent has impressed the industry’s top names. So much so that the former jailbird has just finished filming steamy love scenes with Holly­wood star Scarlett Johansson for a new sci-fi movie.
The gorgeous actress plays a man-eating alien who tries to seduce Paul’s character.
“At first I was really nervous to meet her but she’s nice and laid back, she made me feel relaxed and confident,” he ­reveals. “She was fantastic and down to earth. She was asking me about my wee kid and my background. And she gave me some nice ­comments about my timing which boosted my confidence.
“I play a happy guy who’s out on the pull. I’m chatting Scarlett up and she seduces me.”
Paul may even have even used his own chat-up lines on film.
“I can’t actually remember because I was a wee bit p***ed at the time! We were having a drink ­together. We had the script and then you just fling in the odd line yourself. Y’know, ‘You have beautiful eyes’. It was great fun but to be honest I get more starstruck with my football team Glasgow Celtic.”
It’s a typically down-to-earth ­approach from a man who just months ago was still trapped in a life of drugs, crime and violence.
So when it came to playing ­Robbie in The Angels’ Share, a lad in trouble with the law who is determined to make his life better for the sake of his new-born son, he had plenty to draw on.
“Robbie’s story is very similar to my past. I was like Robbie, like many young kids growing up, there’s millions of ­Robbies out there.
“Like any other boy from Glasgow I was involved in gangs and alcohol and taking drugs. Just a rough, rough life.
Read more (with photos) at The Mirror 

Sunday Mail 2012 Great Scot awards

The entertainment category was won by feel-good film The Angels’ Share, which scooped the Jury Award at the Cannes Film Festival. It was written by Paul Laverty, directed by Ken Loach and stars Paul Brannigan.
Source: Daily Record

English director Ken Loach reveals how he loves filming Scotland's working class stars

The man behind The Angels' Share and Sweet Sixteen says he wants to make one final film in his 'second home'
He’s the Englishman who has been a voice for the plight of Scotland’s working class in six of our best movies.
But the 76-year-old Ken Loach is finding it harder and harder to make movies and wishes his American counterpart Woody Allen, who is the same age, would stop so that he can retire too.
But the softly spoken director hopes he can make at least one more film in his “second home”. He said: “I hope there’s another Scottish film. It’s always possible but I’m not sure how many are left in me.
“Directing is a young man’s job really. I wish Woody Allen would stop and then I could stop.
“But I enjoy making films. I like to keep out of trouble and off the streets.”
Ken, from Nuneaton, Warwickshire may be best known for the film Kes but in Scotland, he is loved for his gritty portrayal of real life and for discovering talent, often using real people rather than actors for key roles.
Robert Carlyle, who’d then appeared in Taggart and The Bill, starred in his 1991 film Riff-Raff, as did Peter Mullan, whose harrowing portrayal of a recovering alcoholic in 1998’s My Name is Joe won him the best actor award at that year’s Cannes Film Festival.
Loach then discovered former footballer Martin Compston as the star of his 2002 film Sweet Sixteen. He also gave a role to Gary Maitland in the film and used him again in this year’s The Angels’ Share. Sweet Sixteen also gave William Ruane and Annmarie Fulton their big break, both going on to River City.
William has worked with Ken a further three times – appearing in 2005 film Tickets (which also featured Compston and Maitland and saw three directors creating interlocking stories about different groups of people on a train to Rome), his Irish movie The Wind That Shakes the Barley, and The Angels’ Share.
The director’s 2004 Scots film Ae Fond Kiss gave Atta Yaqub his shot at stardom. And Ken’s latest discovery is Paul Brannigan, the star of The Angels’ Share.
But try to pat Ken on the back, for not only making films in Scotland but giving us some of our finest actors, and he tries to dodge it by wishing he could give more people the opportunity that being in a film can bring.
His most recent star Paul, for example, has been in jail and had to deal with both parents being heroin addicts.
The fledging actor has even claimed that Ken saved his life by giving him the role.
Ken, who has been making socially conscious films since 1966’s television play Cathy Come Home and the 1969 film Kes, said: “There are many people we would like to have had in The Angels’ Share and we just didn’t have the parts.
“Paul is a bright lad and he would have found a way but the sad thing is that people need a stroke of luck out of the blue, which making a film is. And you can never plan for that.
“So many kids just won’t get that and will fail and not do as well as they could. That is in the hundred thousands through Scotland and the rest of Europe. It’s a real tragedy.
“There are people that are growing up with no secure financial future and no chance of bringing up a family in any kind of security, not even finding a place to live.
“Every day they are talking about cutting their benefits, cutting jobs, cutting this and that. It’s shocking that we have allowed it to happen.
“Not that the Tories are vicious. They are vicious. That’s their class. What is shocking is that the people who should represent working people have allowed them to happen without any fight. Of all the main things, that makes me the most angry.”
Read more at Daily Record 

The Angels' Share

The Angels' Share
Starring Paul Brannigan, John Henshaw, Gary Maitland.
Directed by Ken Loach.
Classification: MA15+, 105 mins.
Official Site:
Country: UK, France.

Robbie, a young father facing prison, is determined to give his newborn son a better life – but he must first turn his own life around. Veteran director Ken Loach (Kes, Sweet Sixteen, The Wind that Shakes the Barley) creates an appealing comedy out of the challenges and opportunities that Robbie faces in meeting up with three other unemployed former criminals and from discovering he has a fine nose for whisky.
Source: State Cinema

DVD: The Angels' Share (15)(review)

star number 1star number 2star number 3star number 4
"You're just a wee thug," claims a distraught mother about Robbie (Paul Brannigan), a scrawny Glaswegian who is desperate to escape his bleak environment for his baby son, and his caring girlfriend.

Thankfully, John Henshaw's compassionate community service supervisor is on hand to help, instilling in Robbie a passion for whisky. It turns out the scallywag has a nose for it. The Angel's Share begins as a tale of grinding poverty and savagery before becoming a much softer, more palatable, Ealing-style comedy caper.
Source: Independent
star number 5

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