Confetti - Stephen Mangan interview
Interview by Rob Carnevale
THE Green Wing star, Stephen Mangan, talks about coming to blows with one of his Confetti co-stars, as well as personal experiences he may have drawn from….
Q. In the production notes, it says that the tennis coach who plays Jesus actually did attack you? How did you handle it?
A. Jesus was brought originally to teach us to play tennis because Meredith [MacNeill] and I are absolutely hopeless and we were supposed to be professional tennis players. Jesus is a ridiculously good-looking, charismatic, tanned athletic Spanish love God and so I took an instant dislike to him. My character constantly niggles him and took the mickey out of him. As Spanish is his first language and English isn’t, I had a lot of chances to make him look a bit silly. So I think he got a bit fed up with it and one day on the tennis court he said to Debbie: “Stephen’s really annoying me, I want to punch him.” Debbie said: “Go ahead.” [Laughs]
I didn’t know anything about this at all so in the middle of the next take I said another rude thing to him and he launched himself at me and started hitting me. I hit him back for a little while, we got pulled apart by Vincent and Jason, I ran away and got halfway across the field and thought: “I can’t run away, I’ve got to go back.”
So I ran back, saw the camera-man being tapped on the shoulder and turn around and tried to look as hard and as mean as I possibly could. But when I got 10ft from him, I thought: “Now what am I going to do?” So I threw myself at him, we both fell, he landed on top of me on a very hard tennis court, I winded myself, thought I might have seriously done some damage, tried to say “cut” but all that came out of my mouth was something else [mouthed] and the scene ran on. Thank God it did because it actually turned out to be quite a good one. But yes, the director encouraged physical violence against one of her actors.
Q. Did you bring any first-hand experiences of wedding day disasters to your role?
A. Well, my cousin John got married and made a beautiful speech to his bride saying that he’d never met anyone as beautiful as Dawn and that he knew from the first moment he’d met her that they were destined to be together, forgetting that Dawn was his girlfriend of ten years. He’d split up with her the year before and it was actually Jane that he’d got married to.
Q. Are there any scenes that got cut from the movie that you really wish hadn’t been?
A. That’s a funny one because normally when you do a film you read the script a few times, you learn your lines and you know what happens in it. With this, everything was done once so it’s hard to remember what you did. When I saw the film, it was not only a surprise to see what everyone else had been up to – because we were kept apart – but it was a surprise to see what I’d been up to. We just couldn’t remember. Meredith and I had spent six or seven weeks together filming every day, so I can’t think of any one scene in particular that I’d like to be returned.