Interview with actress Jenny Agutter

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Image © Jenny Agutter via Facebook

National treasure, Jenny Agutter, star of The Railway Children is starring in a new Cornish film

Tin is Miracle Theatre's feature film of love, greed and opera in a Cornish mining town - made entirely in Cornwall. Based on a true story, the movie came from the acclaimed theatre production by Miracle, and it follows an operatic troupe that become embroiled in a bank scam and a maid who saves the day. London Calling spoke to star of the film, Jenny Agutter on her love of Cornwall, filming on green screen and why the arts isn’t London centric.

London Calling: What did you think of Tin?

Jenny Agutter: I actually only saw it for the first time last night - I thought it was delightful and really charming.

When I came onboard they said it was a micro budget movie - but they did it in great style! And Miracle managed to do it on an absolute shoestring.

LC: What made you choose to do this movie?

JA: I’m a fan of the theatre company, and I wanted to be supportive of them, and when I saw the production I really wanted to do it.

LC: How was filming in Redruth using the green screen?

JA: It was amazing - it means you have to use your imagination quite a lot!

It is a really extraordinary way to work.

LC: Does the hyper-real look help the melodrama of the film?

JA: It does have a very interesting look and it feels super-real in a way - very much story telling and makes it very theatrical. So it’s not like being on a set and looking like something like you expect, there’s something very heightened and theatrical about it.

LC: Do you have any personal links to Cornwall?

JA: My husband has lived there for a number of years and when I married him he was living there. We have a house down there, and so for the 25 years we have been married I’ve been coming down to Cornwall.

LC: Where are your favourite places in Cornwall?

JA: I go to Kennack Sands and I go to Kynance Cove a lot.

It’s more the coastal paths, than the beaches - I like to walk along the paths.

LC: Do you think arts are becoming London centric now?

JA: No I absolutely don’t. London is an extraordinary city and has a great deal going on. But, I think going way back money started to go into the regions - not a great deal but enough to support arts in different places.

So a lot of small companies set themselves up, but there’s never been a huge amount of money and it requires a great deal of ingenuity. And the people that have really created something special have become successful. The obvious examples are Knee High and Miracle.

I think it’s very healthy from that point of view, and in Cornwall people require companies and artists that can spread to different places. Cornwall is a large county and you can’t get people to bus in.

Public transport is not that great. There are far flung communities. What is lovely about what Miracle do is you can see them from Bodmin down to the Lizard to Land’s End. They go everywhere!

And Cornwall is a place that has always attracted artists, craftspeople and musicians - I don’t know why - there’s something about it that seems to attract them. Partly because it’s not a place that people pass through, people end up in Cornwall. There’s a lot made out of community and sharing things and sharing ideas and putting theatre on.

LC: Has this idea of community come through in the film?

JA: The production is very Cornish, it is ultimately the quintessential Cornish story - tin mining, the Cornish community and into that come this troupe of actor, opera singers.

It’s a lovely combination of imaginative and wild - you’re going to do something operatic, you’re in an environment which is wild. You’ve got a story that is based on a true Cornish story but using all the elements that are there.

LC: Will it appeal nationwide?

JA: I think that the Cornish audiences will love it. And I’m hoping its cragginess and being so particular will be appealing to other people. There’s something so specific about this particular story that I think people will enjoy it.

LC: Well the nation is certainly liking Poldark at the moment! Have you been watching it?

JA: I’ve been away so got to catch up!

LC: You have had an illustrious film career - are there any particular favourites?

JA: The Railway Children and Walkabout were special - came at a very particular time. American Werewolf was something I enjoyed enormously. And in terms of work I loved working with the Royal Shakespeare Company.

To book tickets to London screenings click on this link.

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