A TWITTER conversation about the BBC’s Film 2012 last week reminded me that the Camden New Journal‘s former film reviewer Antonia Quirke’s memoir Madame Depardieu And The Beautiful Strangers is itself being made into a movie.
Antonia, with big TV hair these days that might make you forget she was once the picture byline on our film pages, is the one who pops up knowing the five best kisses in movie history, the five best chases in movie history, hell, the five best kiss-chases in movie history, and the five best twists, the five best dreamboats, the five best scenes with parrots, the five best everything in movie history, the ten best everything in movie history… because she has pretty much seen every film in movie history. I think she should be presenting the whole damn show on Film 2012.
But what will the Madame Depardieu book look like on the big screen? Especially if they cover the early chapters when Antonia remembers her days in the New Journal’s offices in Camden Road with a mixture of warmth, nostalgic romance and maybe some “everybody at the Journal was a communist” [a quote from the book] exaggeration as well. On her BBC bio, the paper is listed as a ‘radical freesheet’ as if Jean-Paul Marat writes the Things To Come column.
By the time I stumbled into the office for the first time myself, AQ was filing from afar and doing radio and TV and all sorts of stuff. She knew the office back when we didn’t, when you could spend all day tooting ciggies at your desk while you worked. She writes in the book that “the Journal for all its slapdashness was a very serious operation with a sinecure on the Local Newspaper Of The Year Award… always running the necessary campaigns and magnificently inclusive little obituaries of local burglars and tramps.”
But the scene I want to see recreated is somebody playing Antonia and somebody playing the film director Oliver Stone. The two met during her New Journal days. She got a scoop interview for the paper and Oliver Stone was left asking, as recalled in the book, whether this ‘radical freesheet’ was “like the Village Voice?”
“Oh yes, very much”, Antonia told Stone that night.