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Look out for more coverage of
Tristram Shandy: A Cock & Bull Story in our magazines

THE MOVIE: Tristram Shandy: A Cock & Bull Story

THE STARS:
Steve Coogan • Rob Brydon • Shirley Henderson • Gillian Anderson
DIRECTOR: Michael Winterbottom

Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan THE CONCEPT:
An inventive adaptation of the classic 18th Century comic novel, 'The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman,’ in which the actors not only play the characters but also themselves during the filming...

U.S. RELEASE: January 27 2006, Limited • Rated: R

THE COMMENTS:

STEVE COOGAN (Tristram Shandy, Walter Shandy, Steve Coogan):
“I haven’t read the book. Someone from The Guardian newspaper tried to trick me, because I portray myself in the film as not having read the book for comic effect. He said, ‘I’m going to ask you some questions about the book, have you read it?’ I said, ‘No,’ and he went, ‘Oh.’ He was hoping I’d lie and say yes, and he’d rumble me. I’m not proud that I haven’t read it, I just haven’t got round to it. But I’ve read so much about the book that I know what the essence of the book is. I think Michael’s approach to it was the right one; how would Laurence Sterne, the author, make a film if he was around today, rather than trying to make a literal adaptation.”

ROB BRYDON (Toby Shandy, Rob Brydon):
“There is more affection between Steve and I than there is in the film. In the film we heighten our competitive nature. So there is competitiveness, but we’re both aware of it, and we find it amusing. It would be wrong to say that that was completely made up, because it’s definitely not.”

COOGAN:
“Rob will have a great career as a supporting actor! He’s made the best of what he’s got, he’s not blessed with good looks, he’s below average height, and I think with those handicaps he’s made great progress, so I have nothing but respect for him.”

BRYDON:
“Steve was very instrumental in my getting a foothold on television. I’d made a tape which had been put into the BBC called Marion and Geoff, Steve saw it and when his production company got behind it the BBC decided to do it. I do owe him a lot, and I’m playing him back in a very strange way! I’d been an admirer of his, because he was doing what I wanted to do, character comedy. If I’d ended up doing that genre of comedy, you could have said, ‘Wow, his dream came true.’ But to actually do it with the very person that you admire doesn’t happen too often.”BRYDON

COOGAN:
“When I came to do this film Michael said he had the idea for me to play myself and I was intrigued by that, and then I saw the script and I was a little nervous about it, because some of the lines written for me to say as myself made me look kind of stupid. For example, I refer to the book of Shandy, and I say, ‘Can you believe a book this big doesn’t have an index?’ I know that novels don’t have indexes, but I don’t mind subjugating myself to the film if it’s funny. One reviewer said, ‘Steve Coogan goes from being a self-obsessed jerk to a slightly less self-obsessed jerk,’ which I don’t mind – at least I moved!”

Written by Judy Sloane. Back to top

Visit the official Tristram Shandy: A Cock & Bull Story site
Images above © Picturehouse Films
Feature © 2006 Visual Imagination.
Not for reproduction.

Film Review, #667, March 2006 cover

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