Jamie Bell Interview: ‘Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool’
“They fulfilled each other’s needs,” says Jamie Bell about the real-life love affair between young aspiring actor Peter Graham and movie star Gloria Grahame that is depicted in the romantic drama “Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool.” “Gloria at that time in her life I think had been in so many romantic entanglements with people that ended very turbulently … What she found in Peter Turner was someone who would unconditionally love her … I think those are very profound things, just a feeling of being understood, or being seen, or being noticed for who you are.” Watch our exclusive video interview with Bell above.
Bell plays Turner opposite Annette Bening as Grahame. The film is based on Turner’s memoir, and not only that, Turner also took part in the production. “I talked to him a lot for hours end he was so generous with his time and with his memories,” Bell explains. “It’s daunting playing a real guy who existed and is still with us and was so heavily involved because they’re right in front of you a lot of the time. It’s nerve-wracking. This story to him is probably the most important thing that’s ever happened to him.”
Bell describes the relationship between Turner and Grahame as “a pure story, a story without judgement, a story of love,” but “on another level they were incredibly attracted to each other. I think there was something profoundly physical that they shared together, and I think they both just loved having fun. They both liked getting into trouble and having fun together.” That certainly suited Turner, whom Bell says “is someone who says yes to any and all experiences. If there’s an open door he’ll walk through it. If there’s an offer to come in and disco dance and drink with someone he’ll do it.”
One could say the same of Bell, who rose to fame as the title character in “Billy Elliot,” but who has sought out wide-ranging and adventurous films as an adult — from “Jane Eyre” to “Snowpiercer” to “Nymphomaniac.” “My career is like a pinball machine, it really makes no sense at all,” he says, but “as long as there’s a challenge there it’s worth it.”