LONDON – Ken Loach arrives in the dining room of the Ritz, London, surrounded by his massive entourage: security guards, PAs, hair consultants, spectacle polishers and Socialist Worker newspaper vendors.
He’s talking on his iPhone with Bruce Willis while waving his minders to push away the delegation from Venezuela. ‘Ciao, ciao, Brucie, M’Wah!’ he says as he plumps down into the chintzy armchair reserved especially for him and gives me a jaded look over. ‘I suppose you’ll do.’
So Ken, could I just ask…
I say, call me Mr. Loach old boy! One doesn’t do informality. One would think we were at Claridges! The very idea!
I’m sorry Mr. Loach.
Think nought of it, old fellow. Garcon! Garcon! Yes, quails eggs and caviar. Pronto.
So, Mr. Loach how do you feel about being awarded the Golden Bear Award for Lifetime Achievement from the Berlin Film Festival.
Delighted, obviously. Delighted. T’is a gong and even at my age one feels very humble to be recognized. Plus the Jerries are about as far from those blasted Israelis as it’s possible to get. So there’s that!
You have made a career of making politically challenging films.
It all started when I was passed over for Dr. No and that talentless hack Terrence Young got the gig. I thought it’s the bloody Carry On films all over again. I had been slated to direct Carry On Nurse but that tart Gerald Thomas slipped in. After that Dilys Powell said ‘Do political’. I said ‘Dilys dear, I don’t my Whigs from me Harold Wilson’, but I read a copy of the Morning Star and quicker than you can say Trotsky I’d made Kes.
And you never looked back.
I was always trying to get something else. I would have loved to have made Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines or Sex and the City 2, but by the time my name had got about I was pigeonholed. All I could do was stuff about the grubby working class, workshy layabouts to a man. Sitting around drinking tea, and trying to diddle their betters out of their land and wealth.
So you’re saying you don’t actually agree with the political point of the view that your films seem to subscribe to?
Karl [addressing one of his security team], Karl, pray, strike this hack roughly about the top of the head.
No, young man. I do not subscribe to the Bolshevik nonsense that some read into my films. My films, for me, represent a social comedy of the stupidity of the hapless lower orders. Raining Stones: idiot wants a dress for his daughter’s confirmation. The Wind that Shakes the Barley: bog thick Murphys knocking seven shades out of each other for who knows what. Land and Freedom: ditto but with Spaniards.
Some have said that your next film might be your last.
Indeed, though if Sarah Jessica Parker wishes for me to help her with Sex and the City 3 I will be more than glad to proffer my services.
Jimmy’s Hall will be released in 2014 and Sex and the City 3 in 2015.