Category: by: cherry

findmyrupertfriend: CLASS OF 2004



Rupert has just celebrated fifteen years as a professional actor. To mark the moment, I’ve been exploring where he learned his craft.

The Webber-Douglas Academy was in a posh part of town, South Kensington (where Princess Diana liked to shop and socialise). The main building was in a quaint little back street.

An official inspection of the school in 2002 noted some key teaching techniques:

‘Students benefit from the variety of perspectives adopted by movement teachers. In one class, the use of historical photographs and paintings of people gave an imaginative starting point for them to inhabit a particular moment in time and gradually bring these people to life. In another class, the teacher used a combination of semi-hypnotic trance and gentle manipulation of the head and shoulders to help students achieve perfect posture’.

It’s interesting to reflect on how this helped shape Rupert’s dramatic practice, although, in a 2015 Guardian interview, Rupert typically played things down:

‘There’s some technique involved,’ he says of acting. ‘But I think there’s been an overcomplication of it, in a sense. If you say to a kid: “We’re going to play cowboys and Indians, that’s the fort, you guard it” – the kid doesn’t have to sit and think about the role for 20 minutes in silence with their acting coach. They just do it.’ That’s how he tries to act, says Friend, through a process of infantalising.

The school’s Chanticleer Theatre was described by The Stage as having ‘almost the feel of an old, small music hall about it [with] the added edge that its small space offers little refuge for graduating students whose performances are not right on the button. If they are though, they can really impress.’


It may not have been a very glamourous space but it was the fulcrum for our boy’s talent, and impress he certainly did.

On April 15th, 2004, The Stage reported perceptively on the end-of-year graduate showcase:

There were two powerful double-acts. The first of the latter came in the form of a dark comic interplay between Rupert Friend and David Hayler as Harold Pinter’s inept hitmen from The Dumb Waiter. Friend, with flowing locks and fine cheekbones, later gave us a splendidly aristocratic libertine.’

How uncanny are those final words – just as he was about to be talent spotted and cast in the film with Johnny Depp!

Finally, one of Rupert’s fellow-graduates in 2004 was Natalie Dormer (of The Tudors). I’d really like to see them reunited some time – a period drama, perhaps? Mmm…

findmyrupertfriend: So, in the midst of Brexi…


So, in the midst of Brexit madness, all over the news, the screen, the radio, social media, with Teresa May’s pathetic government an international laughing stock, I thought I’d escape into the newly released At Eternity’s Gate. It’s only been on very limited release in the UK since March 29th and had a reasonably strong opening weekend (grossing £58,789 – approximately $76, 688). To get myself warmed up, I rewatched the great interview Rupert did back in November with Zach Laws when the film came out in the States.  You probably remember the red eye and possible stye (HERE!).  

So, I enjoyed the close up (what sort of room was he in?) and the reminiscences (about his growing up among art, thanks to his art historian father, who, I recently discovered, was a good friend of one of my own friends – annoyingly before my time!). I was struck by Rupert’s sensitive attitudes towards mental health, considering the label ‘mad’ (‘I’m increasingly interested in the idea that there might be something really special that such people have to offer’). When the conversation shifted to The Death of Stalin, I slipped into warm memories of how much fun that film was, how hysterical Rupert was as Vasily, and relished the details of how Rupert had been allowed free rein, coming up with the surprise ice-skates and perfecting the face-spitting in his trailer. Rupert’s comment that the most popular request he gets now is not for an autograph but to spit on himself made me smile broadly. My literary scholar’s ears pricked up in pleasure at his reference to A Modest Proposal, Jonathan Swift’s scathing satire on the oppression of the Irish (my ancestors) … and then, suddenly, everything was shattered, when Rupert said of Stalin’s government, ‘This was really a cabinet of fools, dancing this crazy farce out’ – and I found myself plunged right back into Brexit! Rupert doesn’t speak out much on politics, but I can’t help feeling this pointed observation resonates deeply with regards to the current madness. Thanks, Rupert! I’m off to the cinema to spend time with Van Gogh …

findmyrupertfriend: Anonymous asked:  For Che…


Anonymous asked:  For Cherry and other Brits. How is Rupert’s Scottish accent in Stryka? I adore it, as an American!! Please tell me it is spot on.

Thanks for giving me a good reason to rewatch Stryka – a weird and wonderful beastie, where Rupes provides what described as ‘a bit of star power’. More than a bit, I’d say! Seeing his cute spikey hair again was a nostalgia trip in itself. But my mission was his accent …

And, guess what? Those of you who remember my previous ventures into the ‘British’ accent won’t be surprised to hear that for Scottish, too, there’s no such thing; it’s a loose umbrella term for a myriad different, localisable ways of speaking. And here, our boy is smashing the Edinburgh accent. I say to Rupes, as Callen says to Stryka (7’30”): ‘Your accent’s amazing!’


The film script has none of the traditional ‘broad’ Scottish dialect: classics such as ‘wee’, ‘bonny’ ‘heed’ (for head), ‘aye’ or ‘bairn’ which anyone impersonating a Scot would most likely use as they’re so clichéd. But the accent is immediately recognisable as authentically Scottish because it’s a classic, precise Edinburgh accent (much softer, clearer and less ‘shouty’ than other types, such as Glaswegian – from Glasgow) and so, widely favoured for international intelligibility. One key feature is the vowel sound ‘oo’, which is identical in words such as ‘foot’, ‘good’, ‘school’ and ‘choose’, so that ‘pool’ and ‘pull’ are indistinguishable.

Rupert hits all the right notes – the squashed vowel in ‘phone’, the audible ‘r’ in ‘ears open’, the rising intonation at the end of questions (‘what are you guys up to?’, ‘What’s phase two?’), overly pronounced medial ‘t’ alongside glottal stopped final ‘t’ (‘nineteen seconds’, ‘about it’). Especially diagnostic is his fabulous ‘great’ – splitting the diphthong with a slightly trilled ‘r’ (worth a listen – he repeats it three times at 4’55”).

Looking more closely, he’s given Callen a particular subset of the Edinburgh accent, very close to Ewan MacGregor. This is known as the ‘Millennial’ Edinburgh accent, favoured by students and the upwardly mobile. Leaves me wondering, does he have friends from Edinburgh? And was it his idea to make Callen Scottish? Further research needed.

FMRF’s Death of Stalin Review!


And it’s ALL about Rupert…

By: Cherry

Warning: DoS spoilers below.

This review by Den of Geek is so astute with respect to Rupert: 

Rupert Friend steals the show a couple of times, with his drunken Vasily Stalin (son of Joseph) flitting between rage and nonsensicalness on the regular.

The rest is all from Cherry who saw DoS yesterday:

Although he appears in only a handful of scenes, Rupert makes his mark. His Vasily manages to be absurdly arrogant and yet strangely vulnerable, so off his head with excessive vodka consumption that he has only the slenderest grasp on reality. Big sister Svetlana is endearingly protective of him to the end, ‘He is not a bad man. He’s just ill’. His weak attempt at refraining from alcohol under her careful supervision is sadly shortlived. 


There are other humanising touches such as when Vasily bursts in on his father’s autopsy, ‘What are you doing to my father, you jackals?’. The poor adjutant who leaves Vasily’s room having endured his speech writing is given a cheery farewell which speaks volumes, ‘You are a real listener. Thank you’. When his speech at his father’s funeral falls horribly flat and is drowned out by the formation flypast, he moves away clutching his piece of paper rather pathetically. It is characteristic of Rupert to insinuate some surprising nuance.

Most of the role is sheer bluster, though, and he portrays this magnificently, with striking turns of phrase, such as the infamous ‘clattering fannies’ reprimand. We’ve heard many of his best lines already in the trailers – and they got big laughs in the cinema, especially the crowd pleaser ‘rude fucking pie’ and ‘testicle’ insults. 


It’s not just the sharp delivery of outrageously mixed metaphors and fantastic imagery that contributes to Vasily’s strong impact. Rupert performs some fine physical comedy too, from the first moment when he strides onto the ice, in a ridiculous combination of heavy trenchcoat and iceskates, to the autopsy scene where his comic timing comes to the fore: he masters a seriously dramatic pause to gain attention, before a sudden awkward dash, moving to a brilliantly static prolonged grappling, while the bystanders look on in bewilderment. In one scene he somehow projects spittle on to his own forehead (or is it cgi? – I’d love to know!). 

One of my favourite affectations is Vasily’s habit of bitterly ironic negation: ‘Stalin’s son does not fuck up’, ‘You will not take me down’, ‘I will not be squeezed’, ‘I will not be silenced’. 


Despite being grossly ineffectual, Vasily perversely bounces back from every humiliation, oblivious to all loss of dignity. Stripped of his gun, he petulantly declares, ‘I’ve got loads anyway’. Extracting a reluctant salute, he states, ‘Let that be a warning’. Rising from being wrestled to the ground, he drapes himself on a chair, saying, ‘I simply don’t care’. Such resilience acquires a kind of charm in the hands of our handsome hero.


Of course the film is very dark, and there are many horrific aspects but I found Rupert’s turn thoroughly delightful. Among the monsters and atrocities, Vasily is a welcome clown. And for certain Quinn followers, there are some especially appealing moments: a white shirt with several buttons undone, a technically ‘shirtless’ scene (although featuring a vest) and even a couple of dogs!