Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Articles: Ashes to Ashes

February 3, 2008. "Keeley's New Show Is A Real Fashion Disaster" from The Sunday Mail.

"Ashes To Ashes star Keeley Hawes admits filming the new BBC1 drama was a fashion disaster from beginning to end.

"The star of the follow up to timetravelling cop show Life On Mars spends the first episode in stockings, suspenders and a micro-skirt after she wakes up in 1981 dressed as a prostitute, listening to Ultravox.

"And things get worse for her as Detective Inspector Alex Drake, who has to endure some shocking New Romantic styles as she battles to get back to the 21st century.

"Keeley, 31, groaned: "I've got a white leather jacket and matching boots, I run about in stilettos, my hair looks permed and revolting and I have to wear an all-in-one jumpsuit and skin-tight jeans.

"'I do get to wear some Agent Provocateur underwear, a red basque-type thing. And there is a bright blue shirt that's quite fun but there's nothing I'd wear personally.'"

"But she has had support from real-life husband and former Spooks co-star Matthew MacFadyen - who makes a guest appearance later in the series sporting a dodgy moustache and bad mullet.

"She joked: 'No, I didn't ask him to bring it home. The part came about when I showed him an episode and he said, "God, I wish I was in it!"'

"Ashes to Ashes sees Alex being taken hostage and shot in 2008 - only to wake up in 1981 working with Life on Mars politically incorrect cop, Gene Hunt (Philip Glenister).

"DC Chris Skelton (Marshall Lancaster) is also back but in this series Hunt drives an Audi Quattro instead of a Ford Cortina and has a case of sexual chemistry to solve.
Keeley said: "Alex and Gene have a love-hate relationship. It's sexy but she has a daughter, Molly, to get back to in 2008."

"Keeley was wary of the part after the runaway success of Life on Mars, which featured John Simm as 21st Century cop Sam Tyler.

"She said: "I feel a responsibility to the seven million viewers. It's very different from Life On Mars and has its own identity."

"Ashes To Ashes is on BBC1 on Thursday at 8pm."

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February 5, 2008. "'I Don't Remember the 80s'" from The Daily Record.

"Keeley Hawes is about to become one of the most famous Eighties icons on TV but she doesn't really remember the decade.

"At 31, the actress, who made her name in spy drama Spooks, is simply too young to have clear memories of Dallas, Maggie Thatcher, shoulder pads and jump suits.
So filming time travel drama Ashes to Ashes was a challenge for Keeley, who will play Alex Drake in the BBC1 show that starts on Thursday.

"She said: "I may have been watching re-runs of The Magic Roundabout.

"'I have vague memories of street parties for the wedding of Charles and Lady Diana, and that's about it.

"'Oh, and I remember my gran nicknamed me Buzz after the character in the BT adverts of the time, who was a strange little yellow bird called Buzby. My lovely nan said I was just like him, always bouncing up and down on a wire, and full of energy.'

"The series follows up the adventures of the Life on Mars team, and in particular the defiantly non-PC DCI Gene Hunt. This time the action is set in London, it's 1981, Gene has left Manchester behind him, and Alex is a psychological profiler, who is propelled back from 2008 when she is shot by a villain from her past.

"Keeley said: 'I know it all sounds complicated, but you'll soon get the gist of what is going on.

"'The thing about Alex is she knows she's living in a sort of parallel world, but all she cares about is that she gets back to her daughter, Molly.

"'I was a huge fan of Life on Mars, I love Philip Glenister (who plays Gene) and when they offered me this role, I leapt at it.'

"Keeley says Ashes to Ashes is 'one of the most challenging film dramas I've ever been involved with.'

"She added: "It's fun, it's escapist, it makes a few points about policing then and now, and it's very different.

""I read it at one sitting, which is always a good sign. I had a good giggle when I went for the costume fittings - because so much that was cutting edge fashion back then has come around again.

""So while you wouldn't catch me in a red leather mini skirt and black stockings with lacy tops in real life, they don't look that outrageous when you see me in them in the first episode.

""I was of the Madonna generation, really, and 1981 was the time of the New Romantics - some of the music is, actually, pretty good.

""I was just a girl in the Nineties, and I used to go clubbing then. I remember insisting on having a perm when I was quite young, though and it must have looked terrible. Lots of denim all-in-ones as a child too.

""There were one or two things in Alex's wardrobe that I was slightly tempted by, but the BBC hired everything in - and all the costumes had to go back to the proper owners."

"Thank goodness, as it is unlikely Keeley's kids would approve of mum coming home like an Eighties fashion disaster.

"Keeley and her husband Matthew Macfadyen have two children, Maggie, four, and Ralph, one. Keeley also has a seven-year-old son, Myles, from her first marriage to cartoonist and illustrator Spencer McCallum.

"Keeley and Matthew met while they were making the first series of BBC espionage drama Spooks where she played enigmatic spy Zoe Reynolds.

"She left Spencer after only five months of marriage but has always strongly denied that she and Matthew had an affair on the set of Spooks. However divorce was something that didn't come easily.

"Keeley said: "When you're the child of parents who have been together for 40 years, you never believe divorce is going to happen to you."

"Watch out for Matthew in one of the episodes of Ashes to Ashes, where he makes a guest appearance.

""It was hysterical", she said, "He wore this huge mullet wig. I could not wait for him to take it off. Every time I went near him on the set he got very defensive.
He kept on telling me 'Mind the mullet, mind the mullet.'"

"Matthew is taking things "very quietly" at the moment, he says, appearing over Keeley's shoulder. "I rather like being a house husband," he admitted. "For the moment."

"He made his name as D'Arcy in Pride and Prejudice in the film version with Keira Knightley.

"His proud wife said: "Being D'Arcy in Pride and Prejudice the other year certainly hasn't harmed his career.

""There have been lots of scripts arriving. A lot of them have come from the States, which is gratifying for him, but believe me the majority of them are not great works of art."

"When they are not working, the couple often take breaks with their kids in Scotland, and they've found an idyllic spot in the Highlands.

"She said: "We've been there a few times - but the first visit was very memorable. We started to wonder why strangers kept asking us if we'd come up to see Greg and Emma. Nearly everyone who stopped us had the same question.

""For a while we wondered who this couple we'd never heard of actually were, and why would visit them?

""And then we looked at each other and twigged what it was all about. We realised they meant Emma Thompson and Greg Wise, who have a holiday home in the Highlands.

""There's even been talk of us buying somewhere in Scotland in a few years. The only drawback is the midges."

"After her stint in the Eighties, Keeley hopes to return to the theatre. She said: "I love doing stage work. It wouldn't matter which theatre, as long as it was a really good script.

""And I'd love to work with Matthew again at some time.

""At the moment, we've got a very good arrangement. If I'm filming, Matthew is at home with the kids. If he's doing something, then I look after them. So we've never ever had to think about a nanny, mainly because we've also got the blessing of doting and accessible mothers on hand."

"As well as being a mother and TV actress Keeley still has one ambition: "I'd like to make a horror film", she chuckles. "I love the genre, they look like a lot of fun to do.

""I also love thrillers, but I'm a total nightmare to watch them with because I sit trying to work out what is going to happen, and who is about to do what to whom - and why.

""I then have the dreadful habit of telling Matthew the ending I've figured out. It drives him batty."

"Ashes to Ashes, BBC1, Thursday at 9pm.

"'I have vague memories of parties for Diana's wedding but that's about it'"

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I hope you're all watching Ashes to Ashes!

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