<i>Variety</i> spotlights below-the-line talent

Some of the unsung stars of the British film industry

The breadth and depth of world-class below-the-line talent is one of the greatest benefits of shooting in the U.K. It means foreign producers have no need to go to the expense of shipping crews to the U.K. from elsewhere.

Here are some veterans and up-and-comers worthy of special notice. (A word of caution: These lists merely offer a sample of the abundant talent available and aren’t intended to be comprehensive.)


For a country whose cinema is sometimes criticized as too talky, the U.K. is actually a world leader in the visual art of cinematography. Consider the 2007 Oscars, where three of the five nominations went to Brits — Roger Deakins for “No Country for Old Men” and “The Assassination of Jesse James,” and Seamus McGarvey for “Atonement.”

Roger Pratt (“Inkheart”) is among Blighty’s most durable veterans, while a rising star is Danny Cohen, who brought an unlikely beauty to “Dead Man’s Shoes” and “This Is England” for director Shane Meadows, lensed the Emmy front-runner “John Adams” and just shot “The Boat That Rocked” for Richard Curtis.

And don’t forget: Barry Ackroyd, Michael Coulter, Henry Braham, Remi Adefarasin, Brian Tufano, John de Borman, Anthony Dod Mantle, John Mathieson.


Another visual art in which the Brits excel. Lindy Hemming has dressed James Bond, Harry Potter and Bruce Wayne, and is currently working on the Mel Gibson thriller “Edge of Darkness.” Jany Temime has also done several Potters, Sandy Powell is a legend, and Louise Frogley dresses George Clooney in most things he does. Up-and-comers to watch include Verity Hawkes (“Inkheart”) and Julian Day (“Control”), a rare male in this feminine enclave.

And don’t forget: Natalie Ward, Ruth Myers, Penny Rose, Joanna Johnston, Jill Taylor, Colleen Atwood, Jacqueline Durran, Rachael Fleming.


The credits of George Fenton are so lengthy, stretching back 40 years through films such as “Gandhi” and “Dangerous Liaisons,” that it comes as a shock to realize he’s only 58. It’s even more surprising to find that although he has been nominated five times for an Oscar and six times for a film BAFTA, he has never won either (though he has won three TV BAFTAs, most recently for “Blue Planet”).

The new kid on the block, also controversially excluded from Oscar recognition, is Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood, whose extraordinary score for “There Will Be Blood” was disqualified from Academy contention because it included previously performed music.

And don’t forget: Nicholas Hooper, David Arnold, Rachel Portman, Michael Nyman, Richard Hartley, Christopher Gunning, Patrick Doyle.


With Oscars for “Gandhi,” “Dangerous Liaisons” and “The English Patient,” Stuart Craig is the dean of British production designers. For the past decade, he has devoted all his energy to creating the contemporary Gothic stylings for all the “Harry Potter” movies. One to watch is Mark Digby, who has helped directors such as Michael Winterbottom and Danny Boyle to explore challenging, unfamiliar worlds in movies such as “Road to Guantanamo,” “A Mighty Heart,” “28 Days Later” and, most recently, “Slumdog Millionaire.”

And don’t forget: Jim Clay, Martin Childs, John Beard, Gavin Bocquet, Allan Cameron, Jon Henson, Tim Harvey, Maria Djurkovic.


One of the biggest attractions of shooting in Blighty is the chance to pack your movie with outstandingly versatile actors. But with such an abundance of choice, the services of a good casting director are crucial, and there are none better than Nina Gold, whose credits include “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader,” “Bright Star” and “The Other Man.”

A rising star is Des Hamilton, a Scottish actor turned casting director with a particular knack for finding kids for edgy pics such as “This Is England” and “Donkey Punch.”

And don’t forget: John Hubbard, Priscilla John, Jina Jay, Michelle Guish, Gail Stevens, Celestia Fox, Lucy Bevan, Fiona Weir.


Currently facing the challenge of cutting Heath Ledger together with surviving surrogates Jude Law, Johnny Depp and Colin Farrell in Terry Gilliam’s “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus,” Mick Audsley is one of the U.K.’s most versatile and experienced editors, although his talent has hardly ever attracted the attention of awards voters.

Two young women have got the U.K. film community buzzing with their scissor skills — Melanie Oliver performed miracles for young Brit director Tom Hooper with the Emmy-winning miniseries “John Adams,” while Justine Wright is routinely described as “brilliant” by those intimate with her work alongside director Kevin Macdonald on “One Day in September,” “Touching the Void,” “The Last King of Scotland” and now “State of Play.”

And don’t forget: Stuart Baird, Jim Clark, Anne Coates, Peter Honess, Peter Boyle, Martin Walsh, Claire Simpson, Robin Sales, Andrew Hulme.


They don’t come much more seasoned than Les Tomkins, who started out working with one eccentric U.S. expat helmer, Stanley Kubrick, on pics such as “The Shining” and “Full Metal Jacket” and most recently helped another adopted Brit, Tim Burton, bring forth his elaborate vision for “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.”

Among the newer art crew, Nick Gottschalk drew attention for Joe Wright’s “Pride and Prejudice” and “Atonement,” while Chris Lowe earned his spurs on “The Golden Compass” and has just proved his range on “Young Victoria” and “Quantum of Solace.”

And don’t forget: Frank Walsh, Mark Raggett, Peter Francis, Anna Pinnock, Suzanne Austin, Patrick Rolfe.