CANNES France (Reuters) - John Boorman had always intended to make a sequel to Oscar-nominated “Hope and Glory”, his 1987 semi-autobiography set in suburban London during World War Two, and it could very well be the 81-year-old director’s last film, he said.
“Queen and Country”, which premiered in the Director’s Fortnight category at the Cannes film festival this week, fast-forwards the action of “Hope and Glory” to 1952, following the now 18-year-old protagonist Billy Rohan as he is conscripted to fight in the Korean War.
“I‘m not sure I’ll do any more,” Boorman, who walks with a cane, told Reuters TV.
“Old age is a series of retreats. Many of the things, the pleasures of my life have been withdrawn. I played tennis all my life which I can’t do anymore. You know, film-making is one of the few things I‘m able to do, I‘m still able to do.”
But old age does have its advantages, said the director of “Deliverance” and “Point Blank”, citing a conversation with legendary director Sir David Lean just before he died in 1991.
“He said, ‘I hope I get well enough to make this film’ - you know, he was trying to make ”Nostromo“ which he didn’t of course make. But he said, ‘I hope ... because I‘m just about beginning to get the hang of it’,” Boorman said.
“I thought that was so wonderful and I think that most directors feel that ... you need to live to quite a great age in order to grasp everything that’s required to make a film, to hold a whole film in your head.”
With “Queen and Country”, he used his signature directing style of shooting very little and rehearsing carefully.
“I always say, ‘Everything we shoot will go in the film,’ so you’ve got to be right, ready and at the top of your game.”
“When I made ”Point Blank“ at MGM I shot the least footage of film in their history and John Ford used to do that, shoot very little, because his aim was to shoot the film in such a way so that the studio couldn’t recut it,” he said.
“That was always somewhat on my mind too, that it could only be made one way.”
“Queen and Country” features actors Callum Turner, David Thewlis, Richard E. Grant and Sinead Cusack.
Editing by Louise Ireland and Alexandria Sage