The Brit at the Back
by Anwar Brett
Film Review, September 1999
Nice chap, John Hannah. That's the trouble. He seems almost typecast as pleasant characters. Whether you first noticed him as Gareth's heartbroken lover, reciting Auden poetry at the one funeral that interrupts those Four Weddings, the man who wooed Gwyneth Paltrow in Sliding Doors, or even as the vaguely-dissolute-but-nice-really-brother of Rachel Weisz in The Mummy, he comes across as a thoroughly decent bloke. This clearly rankles with the actor, as he craves more diverse and exciting roles in which to show his acting mettle.
"I seem to play quite nice, unthreatening characters," he nods. "But then i'm the kind of guy that people as to look after their luggage at airports while they go off and do something. So I guess I've got a fairly trusting face -- if only they knew! I have a darker side I could bring out but, as an actor, it's an area that I haven't really investigated even though I know it's there. I know I'm not this lovely, nice, warm, friendly guy that people might assume. There's more to me than that."
As his star rises higher, Hannah is having deal [sic] with the threat of typecasting as well as make allowances for the minor inconveniences that fame brings. "Fame is horrible," he sighs, "You'd have to be a moron to like it. The worst thing is the paranoia of people staring at you, it makes you think you've got a bogey on your nose, or something. Or if you have a row with your wife in public, if you're anonymous people still see the same thing, but there's something about people knowing who you are when you're not at your best."
The normality of his reaction, the down-to-earth personality that probably makes directors cast him as dependable types, surely comes from his relatively late entry into acting. Falling into the business almost by chance after quitting his job as an electrician, he studied at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. "All my friends were getting jobs, and I realized that if I wanted one going to drama school was the one thing that didn't require any specific talents," he smiles.
Such modesty aside, Hannah is currently carving out a busy and productive career. He jokes that, of course, all the best scripts go to Ewan McGregor and Robert Carlyle, but still manages to work with much success on stage, TV and in film. And after The Mummy there is more to come. He has already completed Norman Jewison's Lazarus and the Hurricane, as well as the low budget British film Circus.
"I've always said that I'd go anywhere for a good script," he nods. "The trouble is there's a lot of bad scripts around so it's a question of trying to find good roles. Circus is great though, it's about a week in the life of a conman.
"I think it really reflects something I've noticed in the last few years, that we're actually making films that are about pure entertainment rather than social realism. And we don't feel guilty about doing it, because they're still very much from the heart. That's great."
Hannah and his producer
by Keely Winstone
copied with permission from mad.co.uk
While John Hannah, actor, continues to score feature film hits in Hollywood, his EC1 alter-ego is quietly developing UK drama with producer-partner Murray Ferguson. Keely Winstone finds out how to switch between the two as Clerkenwell Films prepare...
Meet John Hannah, development executive and budding producer. He might be more familiar as a star of the big screen, but these days Hannah's day-job shares the limelight with Clerkenwell Films, his production outfit with ex-Scottish Television producer Murray Ferguson.
While Hannah's film contemporaries (Ewan McGregor, Jude Law, Linus Roache) set up on their own to gain more control, this star insists Clerkenwell isn't just for Hannah vehicles, and he's getting good offers right now anyway, thanks very much.
But that doesn't mean he'll be passing up anything he fancies playing: "If there's something I'm right for, I get it first," he grins. And it's already happened for Clerkenwell's kick-off project, ITV drama Inspector Rebus. Ferguson sees the commercial advantage: "Clearly we can use that card."
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John Hannah Makes Me Roll Ma Rrrrrs
by Geri Richter Campbell
Jane Magazine, May 1999
Who didn't cry when John Hannah recited the W.H. Auden poem in Four Weddings and a Funeral? Will he ever live that down? "Well, it's better being remembered for that than for pulling out an Uzi and killing the clientele in a McDonalds," John says in his melodic Scottish brogue. John was working as an electrician when his boss encouraged him to become an actor. After Four Weddings put John on the map, he was Gwyneth Paltrow's love interest in Sliding Doors. John, who is 5 foot 10, had to wear lifts during the close-ups, but took it as a compliment. "I was like, 'Wow, I've arrived,' because there woulda been a time in my career where they just woulda got a a taller actor," John brags. "They were worn by Tom Cruise, so I kept them." I ask John if his wife, British actor Joanna Roth, ever gets jealous. "Of course not," he answers facetiously. Not even of Gwyneth? "You know how people always envy what they're not? Well my wife is really petite and very dark; so yeah, a tad," he confesses. His newest film, The Mummy, is a special-effects extravaganza about a mummified priest who comes back to life. Did he ever think he'd be making big-budget Hollywood movies? "No, I never thought I'd be makin' any kinda movies. I'm surprised anyone even employs me at all," John says, laughing.
John's home to the Holyrood Thrills
by Gavin Docherty
Scottish Sunday Mail, April 25, 1999
We've barely settled down to talk when John Hannah bursts into fluent Hollywood
whizzkid speak. His conversation is peppered with movie mogul jargon.
One Mugging and Two Heroes
Evening Standard, February 1999
FORMER Coopers & Lybrand accountant Gary Smith, head of Aim-listed film company Winchester Entertainment, still does his due diligence thoroughly. Yesterday, he finally clinched the deal to get Four Weddings and a Funeral actor John Hannah to star in Winchester's next film Mr Benn - but it's taken ages. Three years ago, Smith was schmoozing Hannah at the Cannes film festival. When a luvvie was mugged outside, Hannah raced out of the bar in pursuit of the attacker. A reluctant Smith, desperate to impress Hannah, reluctantly followed him. "I kept a safe 10 yards behind," he tells me. They got the mugger - and Smith has now got his man.
Scots film star John hates being famous
by Alison Maloney
The Sunday Post, June 27, 1999
The Honest Truth
Did you really insult
your home town of East Kilbride recently?
What do you really
think about East Kilbride?
What do you do for
Do you ever pinch
yourself when you think about your rise to fame?
Were there hard
times on the way?
Ever think of finding
a different job?
What is your family's
reaction to your fame?
Why did you decide
to change your career?
Would you like to
live in Los Angeles?
Do you get to spend
enough time with Joanna?
Do you like fame?
Did Joanna come
out to Morocco while you were filming The Mummy?
Do you have any
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