The following excerpts and images are used with permission of the author
A new biography of Mike Hodges
You can order the book
Amazon USA (March 2003)
...Clive Owen was cast as the central character, Jack Manfred. "Clive is extraordinary. He's the most precise actor I've worked with since Michael Caine. He also has an extensive knowledge of filmmaking and its rhythms." - Mike Hodges (Page 158)
...Paul Mayersberg's screenplay is very cleverly structured. It was the script, says Owen, that attracted him to the project:
"I liked the emotional world underneath the surface of the script, which was not immediately apparent. It's very economically written with quite a simple storyline, the casino is an analogy for something bigger. The voice-over is the film for me. Without that it would be too elusive. Jack has a conversation with the audience throughout. Part of my decision was also Mike's involvement; he's a joy to work with, he's very experienced which is very important when you're making such a complex film."
"Jack is very cynical, very calculating. He doesn't play to whims and follies. He's elusive and doesn't give much away. He goes on a journey to do this with his sense of security." (Page 161-62)
...Clive Owen's intense, minimal performance as Jack Manfred is the best of his career so far and his own third person voice-over gives the film an icy, distant quality. "That's the personality of the film," Owen points out. "Unusually, it wasn't narrative voice-over. It wasn't just filling in gaps in the narrative, it was like having a chat to the audience." (page 163)
On the reception of the film in the USA (page 168-169):
...Clive Owen's charismatic performance was compared to a host of stars, from Humphrey Bogart and Robert Mitchem to Sean Connery and Michael Caine."
Such was the impact of the film on American critics that they were soon talking up its Oscar chances. In particular, Owen was being singled out as a likely bet for a best actor nomination. Then the Academy of Motion pictures ruled that Croupier was ineligible for the Oscars because it had been briefly released in Singapore the year before, as well as having been screened on Dutch television..
Owen...didn't seem that bothered about having missed out at the Oscars: "When I first heard of the Oscar rumours, I thought, 'Oh yeah.' But then they started cropping up everywhere, and it was so well reviewed that you start to think: 'Well, you never know.' But, to be truthful, it's such a fantastic story for a little film to have a life like that. Ultimately it's all about the work."
On I'll Sleep When I'm Dead
..Is the story of a man forced into extreme violence by the male rape of his younger brother...."When I was doing Croupier, I found that that I really got on with Clive Owen and asked him to read the...screenplay." (Hodges, page 169-170)
Mike Kaplan, who masterminded Croupier's USA success, is producing I'll Sleep When I'm Dead. With Paramount Classics guaranteeing American distribution he approached the independent film company Revere Pictures and obtained a budget of $6.5 million.
Hodges says: "The film is about a criminal boss, Will Graham (Owen), trying to escape from the millieu of violence and deprivation he was born into, just like Jack Carter. But unlike Carter, he's become a recluse. A bum constantly on the move. Our story reveals how he is relentlessly sucked back into his old life, a place his younger brother still inhabits."
"My opinion of the project changed drastically when I returned to it after all these years. Because I see the world as such a dangerous place right now, maybe more so than ever before, and because revenge is much on our minds, our film has an added urgency."
"...In a way it's a samurai film. Once a samurai, always
a samurai. As with Jack Carter, Will can't escape his past. None of
us can, of course." (page 171)