Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 25 December 2014

Connolly: We need older characters

Billy Connolly thinks there should be more room in movies for older actors
Billy Connolly thinks there should be more room in movies for older actors

Billy Connolly reckons films need to reflect real life - by having more mature characters.

The Scottish comedian stars alongside veterans Dame Maggie Smith, Pauline Collins and Sir Tom Courtenay in new movie Quartet, about a retirement home for musicians.

Billy said: "It's a very modern thing, this dependence on youth. If you get old black and white movies like Dial M For Murder, those movies in the 40s right up until the 50s, movies were all full of old people. There were hardly any young people.

"The young people were played by people in their 30s or 40s. The young crumpet would be 35 or 38, mincing around. There was a change in the 1950s. I think they invented the teenager in the 1950s and there was no such thing before that. And they stuck them in everywhere they could."

He added; "I hope they just get back to the way they did before or a mixture of the both and use older actors. Instead of having the token old one like Driving Miss Daisy every now and again. Have it the way life is, a mixture."

Many of the supporting cast of the film - directed by Dustin Hoffman - are real-life musicians.

"That was one of the better parts of the film, that they were real musicians and they play all the time like real musicians do. You can't stop them," Billy said.

"Between takes you feel them playing. And they hadn't had a phone call in 20 years (to perform) most of them. They're all superb. They were all lead players, ace players, but they hadn't been asked to work because of their age."

:: Quartet is released in cinemas on January 1.

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Your dry humour will be very popular. It's always difficult bringing a large group of people together. Everybody feels like they are walking on eggshells. After cracking a few jokes, you'll put the group at ease. Resist the temptation to make fun of relatives, especially the more sensitive members of the group. Nobody likes feeling singled out. Watching a light hearted comedy can also be a great way to generate a festive atmosphere. This is a time when people can put their differences aside.More