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Starter for 10 in our magazines

THE MOVIE: Starter for 10

James McAvoy • Rebecca Hall • Alice Eve • Benedict Cumberbatch
DIRECTOR: Tom Vaughan

Love torn… THE CONCEPT:
Set in 1985, Brian Jackson (McAvoy), a working-class student, is navigating his first year at Bristol University. His biggest concern is making the team for the long-running British TV quiz show ‘University Challenge’, and being romantically torn between two of his team mates, Alice (Eve) and Rebecca (Hall).

U.S. RELEASE: February 23 2007, Limited
• Rated: PG-13


“Tom Hanks optioned the book at proof stage and got the rest of us involved. I think he saw something in it, he loved David Nicholls’ writing, it’s funny and charming, and he talked about it in terms of the movie he made, That Thing You Do. That was a period for him in his life, and he thought Starter for 10 was a bit like that for all of us in England. There was never any pressure to do it [in the States]. I think one of the things was it’s a college movie, a romantic comedy, but it’s set in Britain in the ‘80s, that makes it interesting, it’s something a bit different.”

“I was quite familiar with a lot of the John Hughes movies when I was about 14 or 15. There’s a film that really contributed to my performance in this which is The Sure Thing. So getting to do something that had the sensibilities of an American ‘80s movie, I kind of drew on all of those kind of films that I loved.”

“Those American ‘80s movies are definitely in my consciousness. But I don’t think I really discovered them until quite recently, when I was about 17 or 18. I didn’t see them when I was little.”

“Growing up in the ‘80s in Great Britain I definitely knew more about American colleges and high schools than I did about British ones, because the only examples we would have of students on film were from America. Breakfast Club has as much resonance for me as it did for anyone. The only British movie I would say that had any influence was Gregory’s Girl, which is from the early ‘80s and it’s about a geeky guy at school and the two girls he chases.”

“I did Band of Brothers with Tom Hanks about 8 years ago. Tom came onto this set a few times. He used to come down for lunch. He wouldn’t really interfere with the filming process. He’d just kind of come down and entertain us all for an hour, and then back to The Da Vinci Code which he was filming.”

“We got a brilliant comic actor, Mark Gatiss, to play Bamber Gascoingne [the host of University Challenge]. The big debate was do we get Bamber Gascoinge to play the role, he looks pretty good, but he’s not an actor and we were creating a fictionalized version. I didn’t want to have the disruption of some real guy in the middle of it. We had tapes of the show from 1985 and we just copied it faithfully.”

Written by Judy Sloane. Back to top

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Feature © 2007 Visual Imagination.
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Film Review, #681, April 2007 cover

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