July 20th 2004
The “stars” have arrived. Namely, John Hurt, Hugh Dancy and Claire Ashitey. They couldn’t be more different, yet all are charming and completely enthusiastic. John seems to have Africa etched on his face. He knows Africa well and his father was a priest – who better to play Father Christopher. He’s a secret smoker (“I only smoke in Africa”) and is welcoming and funny and a total professional. Hugh is young, highly intelligent and very sorted. I can see he’s thought long and hard about the film and his part of “Joe”. It’s a big role for him and he has that mixture of nervousness and confidence which will take him far. I like him and so does Michael. They get on well which will be crucial in the next few weeks. And Claire – still only seventeen and this is her first film. She’s funny and cheeky and also very smart. On her first night – away from her parents and her friends - she shows her calibre: coming down for supper, her homework for next term’s exams under her arm, she sits down and gets her books out (German and History), orders herself a vodka and tonic and starts work. Hilarious.
Claire-Hope Ashitey (Marie)