What The Critics Say

"Rather dark, decidedly English and exceedingly well played."
Derek Elley VARIETY
"Atkinson plays the slightly bumbling Vicar Goodfellow, who's so distracted by his Godly work - trying to write the perfect sermon, that he doesn't notice his son is being bullied at school, that his 17 year old daughter has a constant stream of boyfriends, or that wife Gloria is fed up and craving steamy affection."
Fenella Kernebone SBS THE MOVIE SHOW
"Keeping Mum manages to be both reassuringly familiar and surprisingly fresh. Apart from the witty script, the secret to its success lies in its offbeat casting. Mainstream British comedies are notoriously difficult to get right - too often they're simply poor copies of Hollywood pap - which is why Keeping Mum really is something to shout about."
"THE indefatigable Maggie Smith dons sensible shoes and an innocent demeanor in this patchy British blacker-than-black farce about the housekeeper from Psycho Central."
"Humour is scattered throughout, and although at times predictable, it is still welcome but this is not a non-stop comedy. A highlight comes from Patrick Swayzeís Lance as he and Gloria rendezvous for a passionate lunch and he disrobes, showing off his body and tasteless underwear. This really is one of those moments that donít come around too often."
Christina Bruce SEARCH SA

The Inside Story
If you like a dark comedy then look no further than this British production, "Keeping Mum". It features a delightful cast headed by three women; Maggie Smith, Kristin Scott Thomas and Liz Smith. Set in the idyllic English country village of Little Wallop, the film focusses on the Reverend Goodfellow's family and the difficulties are experiencing. Difficulties he is blissfully unaware of. Originally written by a Pulitzer prize winning novelist Richard Russo, the screenplay was given a British theme after a chance meeting when literary agent Joel Gotler and Producer Julia Palau met at a party. At that time Palau was looking for "for a very special comedy to set in the UK. Joel said he had a wonderful original Richard Russo script. I knew Russo's work as we had done something previously with him, and urged him to send it to me." Palau immediately realized the potential to adapt the script to a British theme. She immediately optioned the rights. Once again chance would play a part when it came to re-writing the story. "Once we had optioned it, we needed to find a writer to adapt it, and at that time Matthew Payne and I were working with Niall Johnson on another script. When we mentioned it to him," she said, "he asked whether he could have a crack at it, and that is how we began our collaboration." As it turns out, Niall Johnson was a big fan of the Pulitzer prize winning novelist. "ďI happened to see Russoís name on the front page," Johnson recalls. "That was all it took to make me pester them into letting me read it! In the script I found all the elements that I love about his novels: good characters, comic yet human, touching; and even though the script was a much broader comedy than his usual work, those elements were definitely there to develop." Production of the film was delayed when the Government changed funding rules. "A lot of the UK finance at present is tax driven, and the problem with tax based deals is that they have sort of artificially imposed completion dates and so on," co-producer Matthew Payne revealled. "Fortunately for us, we had a great cast and a very strong package; therefore we were able to convert our investors in order that they put in their money as pure equity and they werenít actually driven by tax requirements. Also we brought in 'Isle of Man Films' as a financial strand." With funding finalized it was time to put a cast together. "Kristin Scott Thomas responded to the script first and it was wonderful to get her as she had been our first choice. She is the ultimate professional and has brought great sensitivity and humour to the role," says Paulau. "Her performance is a real rollercoaster." Surprisingly, Rowen Atkinson was not the first choice for the role of the Reverend Goodfellow. "Rowan Atkinson wasnít an obvious choice to play Walter,' says Producer Matthew Payne."But the more we thought about him, the more it became his role. I think he was looking for something to do after Bean that would take him away from that kind of role a little, without alienating his legion of Mr Bean fans. So, he joined us and collaborated with us closely on the script which was extremely helpful and great fun." When it came to the role of the Goodfellow's housekeeper Grace, Julia Palau says that Maggie Smith was her dream actress for the role. "It was with great trepidation that we offered it to her, because we didnít know if she would want to play a killer, which seems so against type for her! But Maggie has a wonderful sense of humour and very happily for us, she responded to it and came on board to complete the casting of our extraordinary family." What was it that drew Dame Maggie Smith to the role? "Well, it is the first time I have been required to kill people, and I rather liked the idea of that!", she said. Matthew Payne admits that casting children can sometimes be difficult. "We had a lot of casting sessions and narrowed it down to Tamsin Egerton and Toby Parkes." From the first moment Tamsin stepped into the audition room, it was clear she had something special," says director Niall Johnson. In Richard Russo's original U.S setting Gloria was having an affair with a Britsh aerobics instructor called Vance. But that's not the case in "Keeping Mum". "Once we decided to transplant this story to England, we nonetheless wanted to honour Russoís intentions, so it seemed only fitting to return the favour! Hence Vance became Lance, an American golf-instructor." So why Swayze? "Our first choice for Lance was Patrick Swayze," recalls Julia Palau, adding "even while Niall was working on his first draft. Although this is his first film in Britain, we had worked with him before, and had seen him playing a cameo role in Donnie Darko. He was absolutely fabulous in that role, again playing completely against type, and we thought he could do this part very well." And this [the cast] is what makes makes watching "Keeping Mum" a quite enjoyable experience. It won't be everyones 'cuppa tea', but those who love British comedy will find a lot to like here.
What They Had To Say.
"The role of Gloria is the ultimate frustrated housewife," says Kristin Scott Thomas. "She is married to a rather dithering vicar, with two teenage children and desperately feels she needs a break. I was immediately attracted to the part."
"What drew me to the script was that it had a great tone to it," says Rowen Atkinson. ďIt was very gentle and definitely comic; but comedy with a much greater subtlety than I am normally associated with. Walter is a very three-dimensional character, and the script has just got a lovely, slightly dark tone to it."
"Oh God Dad, not again!" Rowen Atkinson's young son's reaction upon hearing his dad would play a Vicar again.
"Basically Holly is a nymphomaniac,"says Tamsin Egerton with a giggle. "She is very confident around men and has a very competitive relationship with her mother, so they are constantly bickering and fighting, but she likes that quick witted banter. She has a fantastic relationship with her father and loves him to bits."
"There was fierce competition for the role," says director Niall Johnson. "Casting directors Andrea Clark and Jeremy Zimmermann had brought some really talented young actresses into the mix, but Tamsin had it from the outset."
"Having the opportunity to work with Rowan Atkinson, Maggie Smith and Kristin Scott Thomas was like drawing a moth to the flame," says Patrick Swayze. "The character I play needs a whole lot of love; he is a guy who is ruled by his crotch, all he can think about is women and he canít get enough of them! What a gem of a role!"
"There is a British tradition of darkness in comedy which we havenít seen for some time and in many ways the pleasantness and the appealing nature of the characters when it turns out that they are concealing dark secrets, is in many ways even more shocking," says Atkinson.
"When I heard I had the part I was so excited, working with all these brilliant actors is amazing. My Mum was thrilled when she heard about Patrick Swayze! I have loved everything that Rowan Atkinson has ever done, and I think I have every video of all his films," Toby Parkes said. "So working with him is very special."
Patrick Swayze On "Keeping Mum"
Rowan Atkinson "is a legend all over the planet. I donít believe there is anyone in the world that doesnít know and love Mr. Bean or any other of his work, and I have followed him for a long time. I would also have to say that the idea of being in a male-to-male contest with Rowan competing for his wife, I could never have foreseen that in my lifetime."
"Kristin Scott Thomas "is a gorgeous being, as well as a phenomenally talented actress. I think any guy who saw The English Patient had to fall head over heels in love with her. She has done such good work and is a true pro. She was also a very professional kisser, which made the process, quite enlightening!"
Maggie Smith "I will never forget the work that this lady has done, and it was a joy to be on the same set as her. The real extent of my work with her though, was her hitting me on camera with a hefty iron, and I didnít feel a thing! I can now say I got hit in the head by Dame Maggie Smith, and it was my honour."
Working with the British "gave me a lot of new friendships and a renewed respect for English crews, English actors and the English sense of humour which just cracks me up. One of the fears of an American actor coming to the stage in London is being afraid of being shot down, but each day I came back to the set as Lance the sexy golf pro it really seemed that people welcomed me with open arms and I really appreciated that."
Cast & Crew Bytes
"KEEPING MUM" stars .......
Rowan Atkinson
["Bean", "Rat Race", "Johnny English" and "Love Actually"]; Kristin Scott Thomas ["The Horse Whisperer", "Life As A House", "Gosford Park" and "Chromophobia"]; Tamsin Egerton [TV Mini-series "The Mists of Avalon" and "Napolťon"]; Toby Parkes ["Keeping MUm"]; Maggie Smith ["Gosford Park", "My House in Umbria", "Ladies In Lavender" and "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire"]; James Booth ["In the Doghouse", "French Dressing", "The Man Who Had Power Over Women" and "Percy's Progress"] Patrick Swayze ["Point Break", "Donnie Darko", "Waking Up in Reno" and "Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights"] and Liz Smith ["Haunted", "Secrets & Lies", "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" and "Oliver Twist"] as Mrs Parker.
"KEEPING MUM" was .......
directed by Niall Johnson
["The Big Swap" and "The Ghost of Greville Lodge"]; screenplay by Niall Johnson ["The Big Swap" and "White Noise"] and Richard Russo ["Nobody's Fool", "Twilight" and "The Ice Harvest"]; costume design by Victoria Russell ["Gothic", "Aria" and "Colour Me Kubrick"]; production design by Crispian Sallis ["Dirty Weekend", "Prince Valiant", "Once Upon a Time in the Midlands" and "Gladiatress"]; cinematography by Gavin Finney ["This Boy's Story", "A Man You Don't Meet Every Day", "Breathtaking" and "Alex & Emma"]; original music by Dickon Hinchliffe ["Nenette and Boni", "Intimacy", "Friday Night" and "Fourty Shades Of Blue"] produced by Julia Palau ["Playing For Keeps", "The Leading Man", "The Dress Code" and "Head in the Clouds"] and Matthew Payne ["Apetite", "Night Train", "A Texas Funeral" and "Head in the Clouds"].
What It's All About
Reverend Walter Goodfellow is the well meaning vicar of the parish of Little Wallop, population 57. Consumed with his work he's oblivious to what is going on around him. His wife Gloria is fed up with the incessant barking from the terrier next door and with Walter's lack of attention to his marital duties. Walter's 17 year old daughter Holly is a raving nymphomaniac who loves a good shag. Walter's son Petey is, unbeknowns to him, being bullied at school. Even worse, the local Golf Pro, an American by the name of Lance, is about to get into Gloria's pants. Then salvation comes in the shape of an elderly housekeeper named Grace Hawkins. Grace has an immediate effect on the Goodfellow household. Shown to her room she notes "A perfect home for a perfect family." But Grace is not all she appears to be. There are dark secrets from her past that the Goodfellows are not aware of. And coincidently, since Grace moved in the terrier next door has disappeared and it's owner Mr Brown has taken a sudden trip 'down under'. Grace has also discovered Gloria is meeting Lance and planning to leave Walter. This is something she plans to remedy very quickly. The awful truth about Grace Hawkins is about to surface.
The Verdict
"A dark British comedy which features a very good performance by Maggie Smith. The cast lead by Kristin Scott Thomas and Smith is solid. Swayze plays the sleazey Golf Pro Lance to the hilt. Don't expect a 'Bean' performance from Rowen Atkinson. While he does provide some very funny moments this is a more measured pereformance and one which shows he can do a lot more than be 'silly' funny. A black comedy isn't meant to be outrageously funny but at times "Keeping Mum" defies that rule. Recommended."
Who's Who?
Rowan Atkinson
Kristin Scott Thomas
Tamsin Egerton
Toby Parkes
Maggie Smith
Patrick Swayze
Liz Smith
Rupert Simonian
James Booth
Rowley Irlam
Patrick Monckton
Andy Jones
Jack Ryan
Terry Alderton
Tony Denham
Morgan Gower
Emilia Fox
Roger Hammond
Alex MacQueen
Murray McArthur
Vivienne Moore
Paul Viragh
Reverend Walter Goodfellow
Gloria Goodfellow
Holly Goodfellow
Petey Goodfellow
Grace Hawkins
Mrs Parker
Billy Martin The Bully
Mr Brown
Ted the Pond Workman
Bob the Pond Workman
Mark (Boyfriend #1)
David (Boyfriend #2)
TV Chat Show Presenter
Police Interrogator
Reverend Campbell
Rosemary 'Rosie' Jones
The Judge
Train Ticket Collector
Convention Master Of Ceremonies
Mrs Martin
Policeman On The Train
The Crew
Directed by Niall Johnson
Written by Niall Johnson & Richard Russo
Produced by Julia Palau & Matthew Payne
Original Music by Dickon Hinchliffe
Cinematography by Gavin Finney
Film Editing by Jonathan Sales & Robin Sales
Casting by Andrea Clark & Jeremy Zimmerman
Production Design by Crispian Sallis
Art Direction by Simon Lamont
Costume Design by Victoria Russell
Run Time 103 minutes
Rated M [AUST]
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