Ewan’s on a shoestring

By Tom Teodorczuk, Evening Standard7 August 2006For a first-time director working on a shoestring budget, the cast is impressive.But Ewan McGregor, Sophie Okonedo and Dame Eileen Atkins have all accepted the minimum actors’ wage to appear in an independent film set on Hampstead Heath, which follows seven couples discussing their love lives on a hot August afternoon.Despite its stellar line-up, Scenes Of A Sexual Nature cost less than half a million pounds to make and was filmed in less than a month. McGregor agreed to take a break from blockbusters such as Star Wars and The Island to play one half of a gay couple contemplating adopting a child. In one scene he argues with his boyfriend – played by Douglas Hodge, who appeared with McGregor in West End hit Guys And Dolls – over who would give up work.”We broke all the rules,” said director Edward Blum, a north Londoner himself. “Ewan came on board because he liked the script.”Both himself and Douglas are brilliant actors and they were incredibly generous with their time.” The comedy-also stars Polly Walker from BBC epic Rome, comedian Catherine Tate, Mark Strong, star of Our Friends In The North, and Andrew Lincoln of Teachers.Each cast member was paid the Equity minimum rate for their appearance. Word of mouth quickly spread about the merits of the film’s script, written by television writer Aschlin Ditta.Blum, who has directed several television dramas including The Bill, said: “All the cast signed on during a two-week period when there was a rapid fire of actors saying yes.”To attract really good actors you need really good parts and material and the individual stories really appealed to them.”Once they knew they were going to be well looked after and the film was going to turn out well, it turned out to be quite easy.”Another factor helped. “A lot of the actors in the film live up there and know the area,” said Blum. McGregor lives in Hampstead, Okonedo in West Hampstead.Other tableaux in the film include a blind date gone wrong and separated spouses who get back together just before signing their decree absolute.Blum believes the star of the film is the heath itself. “This city has beautiful parks but it is such a wonderful place,” he said. “People talk about their lives, relationships and emotions on Hampstead Heath.”You can see all of the major sights of the capital there and the film gives a wonderful idea of London.”? Scenes Of A Sexual Nature will be released in late October or early November.Source: www.thisislondon.co.uk Thanks to Trish for the link