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Thursday 22 March 2018

Spall 'shocked' by Cannes prize

Timothy Spall won the best actor award for his role in Mr Turner at the Cannes Film Festival
Timothy Spall won the best actor award for his role in Mr Turner at the Cannes Film Festival

Timothy Spall has revealed his initial reaction was "of shock and amazement" after he won a top film award for his portrayal of British painter JMW Turner.

The 57-year-old won the best actor gong at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival for his performance in Mike Leigh's Mr Turner.

He said: "After we came here first and showed the film, I knew it got a good reaction but I've been around a long time so you know..."

Timothy had to fly back to the south of France, after heading to Holland following the world premiere at the French film festival.

"I was messing about in my boat in Holland. I had my hand with grease all over it, and then the phone rang and they said, 'You've got to come back, you have to. It is imperative', so here I am," he added.

Timothy, who has starred in the Harry Potter films, The King's Speech and Secrets And Lies, said it was "an absolute delight" to reunite with longtime collaborator Mike to play the artist.

" It was an absolute delight to work with Mike Leigh, the person who's given me the best opportunities in my life to investigate one of the most complicated English artists ever in the history of the world - a contradiction, both a beast and a genius, an ape and a romantic," he said.

"I didn't have to pretend I was handsome because I'm fat. I think I'm slightly better-looking than Turner was so it wasn't a big deal on the physical front, so I could concentrate on the soul of the character."

As for his own painting skills, Timothy added: " I can now paint about as good as Turner did when he was about nine or ten. I'm never going to get as good. I just paint my own mad things."

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