29 November 1998 -- "The Three Sisters", with Charles Dance in the role of Vershinin, completed its run at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre on November 21st. Several of Charlie's Angels were lucky enough to be able to attend closing night, and met Mr. Dance after the performance. Read Angel Flight '98 for a report and photos (yes indeedy, group pictures!), and see Reviews for more information.
At the time, Mr. Dance was unable to say what the future was for "Sisters". It appears that the hoped for West End run won't be materialising; we believe this may be partially due to the fact that another Chekhov play, "Uncle Vanya", is there already.
Mr. Dance did say that his next project is a film about a child prodigy violinist, due to begin shooting in Italy in Spring '99.
I know he's sincerely grateful for the unwavering support of his Angels everywhere!
I've spent part of this weekend updating the site. All broken/bad links have been fixed or deleted, and there are a couple of new sources for videos and audio tapes on the On-line Resources page, including the NTSC version of Kabloonak. Go for it!
Please note: you may notice that since Amazon took over the IMDb they are offering a video link to "The Phantom of the Opera" NBC miniseries. Please do not order this video as it's not the one Amazon believes it is -- it's actually a musical comedy starring David Staller, and nothing to do with the miniseries starring Charles Dance. At this point in time I have no confirmation that the miniseries has been re-issued on video. I will keep you posted on this matter.
17 October 1998 -- An acknowledgement letter has been received from Naomi House, thanking Charlie's Angels for our donation of £200 in honor of Charles Dance's birthday on October 10th. Please go to the Notice Board to view the letter, and thanks to everyone who participated!
20 September 1998 -- Charles Dance will be appearing in "The Three Sisters" at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre from 30 October - 21 November 1998. For ticketing information, please see the Notice Board.
6 September 1998 -- For UK/European fans -- The world premiere of What Rats Won't Do is at 9:30 p.m. on September 27th, on Sky's new Premier channel.
2 September 1998 -- My husband woke me up this morning by waving an envelope in the air above my bleary eyes and saying, "What am I bid for an unopened letter from Mr. Charles Dance?" I can't say what the final sale price was -- it was a silent bid!
Yes, I'm happy (gleeful even) to report that Mr. Dance provided a most informative update on his professional activities, so that I might share the news with all of you. I'll take them in order:
In light of this information, I must apologize for remonstrating here with Working Title Film for its sale of Rats to Sky Satellite. This ought to teach me to report the facts instead of theorizing! :)
PFE, which was behind the surprise hit Four Weddings and a Funeral, is seen to be the main European rival to Hollywood. Several 'heavy hitters' in the European media industry have eagerly stepped forward to acquire PFE; here's hoping the studio stays 'over here'.
In my last letter I sent our collective best wishes to him; he responded in closing by saying he is "touched and grateful for" our continued support. I'm sure we'd all agree, it's our pleasure!
The fantastic news of his return to stage has, incredibly, brought a bit of disappointment, as my husband and I are planning to be on holiday in the States from 25 October until 17 November. But with some luck we'll be able meet a few of you US Angels and catch the tail end of "The Three Sisters"' run in Richmond when we get back. Fingers crossed for a subsequent West End opening!
Again, as always, warmest thanks to Charles Dance for letting us know what's up. Break a leg, Charlie!
BBC Gives CD a Ph.D.
28 August 1998 -- According to an article from the Daily Telegraph dated August 22, Charles Dance has signed with the BBC to appear as a doctor in their new medical series.
"Holby", a spin-off from the BBC's hugely popular "Casualty", follows the dramas within an entire hospital rather than just a casualty ward (emergency room), allowing for longer-running storylines. Mr. Dance will star alongside Michael French from "Eastenders". The series is set to begin its run early next year on Wednesday evenings.
(Thanks to Sheila C. for contributing this article, expurgated here for information's sake. Due to the Daily Telegraph's copyright, it won't be appearing in the Archive.)
Update on What Rats Won't Do -- A clarification of Sky (Satellite) Movie's rights to What Rats Won't Do has been received. They have purchased exclusive rights to this film until the year 2001, meaning it will not be seen anywhere but on Sky Satellite in the UK.
This is undoubtedly a windfall for the production company, Working Title Film, in the short term. But it may signal a calamity in the making for the recently jump-started British film industry, which really needs to continue offering its best to the world at large if it wants to rebuild its reputation. Shame on Working Title Film for ducking this challenge and denying audiences the world over the chance to see Rats and judge for themselves.
Charles Dance Makes the Grade -- Thanks to all your votes, Charles Dance was inducted into the Classic British Actors list this last weekend!
Michael Austin, Managing Director of 21st Century Elephant and owner of the site, plans to go multimedia in the future and offer photos, sound and movie clips relating to each actor. Clearly this is a site to bookmark if you haven't already.
In the meantime, voting is ongoing and you may cast one vote for as many actors as you like. Believe it or not, other notable British actors like Ben Kingsley still haven't received enough support to make the list, so don't stop with Charles Dance if you can think of other worthy nominees!
Break Camp: The Mailing List/Message Board Saga Continues -- Well, folks, we tried it and we didn't like it, so I'm axing our mailing list in favor of a new message board. "Swimmin' wid de Fishies" Part Deux is now available through the 'Message Board' link at the top of each page on this site. Charlie's Angels, please report for duty.
18 August 1998 -- I'm tickled to report that just within the last week, Charles Dance has picked up close to the 50 votes necessary to make the Classic British Actors list and should be added very shortly! I'm astounded by the obvious enthusiasm out there. My personal thanks to each and every one of you who has taken the time to vote, and to Michael Austin, who heads up 21st Century Elephant, Ltd., for all his kind help. Please keep those votes coming!
The Message Board is disappearing at the end of this month, so whether you're an active participant in the chat or just like to lurk you'll want to join the rest of Charlie's Angels on our new mailing list. It takes only moments to subscribe using the subscription box on the On-line Resources page. If you want to know more about the List before subscribing.
15 August 1998 -- Sky Satellite replied to my request for information regarding their purchase of the rights to What Rats Won't Do. They say this will affect the film's theatrical release; that it wasn't going to be released at all but will now be brought to the British public as part of Sky's Movie service known as Sky Exclusives. "This means unfortunately what it says. It will be exclusive to Sky."
What Sky haven't yet clarified is whether they bought exclusive worldwide rights or not, so for the time being we can only wonder if Rats will ever appear anywhere apart from British satellite.
11 August 1998 -- What Rats Won't Do is suddenly set to be aired in September on Sky Satellite's new Premier channel. The initial preview ads are sketchy but favor Charles, even without the oh-la-la factor of a particular clip. ;) Sky's Astra satellite footprint covers the U.K. and northern Europe, so viewers outside the area are, unfortunately, out of luck where this broadcast is concerned.
How this impacts the film's scheduled wide release to theatres this Fall, I honestly don't know. The implication is for a delayed release in those countries where Sky is available; US distribution may be unaffected. I've sent Sky an e-mail asking about this and will print their response here.
Hie thee quickly to 21st Century Elephant's Classic British Actors site, and send them an e-mail nominating Charles Dance as your favorite classic British actor. We're up against an impressive array of British talent so EVERY vote counts! (Note: Sometimes the Xoom server is unresponsive. If you have any trouble connecting to the site please try again at a different time, and if you still can't get through let me know.)
17 June 1998 -- Apologies for this late announcement; it slipped by me too. On 10 July "Real Gardens", one of the UK's top gardening programs, aired its visit to this year's Hampton Court Flower Show. In conjunction with the Flower Show, the 21st British Rose Festival was bestowing upon deserving notables the honor of having a rose named after them, and Charles was on hand to receive the rose "Precious Gift" on behalf of Naomi House, a children's hospice in southern England with which he is affiliated. You can find out more about Naomi House by visiting their homepage.
There are rumors flying about that Space Truckers (aka Star Truckers) has gone direct to video in the US. I don't yet know what this means for a general cinema release, but front line sources report that teenaged American boys think the video "xcels" and that Macanudo is "kewl"!
Some time ago I reported that Jane Leeves would be playing the lead female role in Us Begins With You (aka Don't Go Breaking My Heart). In fact Jenny Seagrove portrays the widow who's the object of Anthony Edwards' affections; Jane Leeves takes the role of one of her friends. It's also come to light that Charles portrays a 'philandering dentist' in this film. Almost makes root canal sound appealing, doesn't it?
17 June 1998 -- The confirmed script for What Rats Won't Do tells the story of two ambitious barristers (Natascha McElhone and James Frain) whose courtroom battles are all performance art until they fall in love. No clue yet as to what supporting role Charles Dance plays...Let's just hope it's not the predictably amoral law partner.
Stuart Gordon, director of Re-Animator and Fortress, recently explained to a film critic the bickering which has resulted in the delayed US release of his latest film, Space Truckers. According to Gordon, his American and English backers were offered a distribution deal by Universal which one group (he discreetly fails to mention which) declined to accept. Since then they've been busy suing each other. Gordon claims the dust has now settled and says, "Hopefully (Space Truckers) will get a US distribution."
2 April 1998 -- You're all probably aware that Sphere has been released, more or less on schedule as posted here last October. I've not seen it yet, but Charles Dance isn't listed in the credits and I should think he'd get a mention regardless of screen-time. Can anyone verify?
Although The Blood Oranges is now listed on two sites as a Spring '98 release, rumor has it that the film has been scrapped in its entirety after it failed to impress at the '97 Toronto Film Festival. The screen adaptation of John Hawkes' novel is said to have been so poorly done that the only recognizable element remaining was the title, while criticism of the casting ranges from 'absolutely wrong for the part' (Sheryl Lee) to 'did his best with what was handed him' (our Charles). Some film-makers really know how to digest a good book....
On the other hand, What Rats Won't Do is now listed as a Summer '98 release, either in June or on July 1st (IMDb). I'm not sure if this is a US or UK timetable.
15 March 1998 -- At last I've received a delightful response to my letter of last November to ICM, but not from Mr. Dance's agent...It's from Charles Dance himself! Dated 9th March and posted in Somerset, it says that he's sorry for the delay but my letter had been bounced between a few desks before reaching him (I know I keep correcting myself here, but my mind is a confusion of late); and he sounds pleased to have a virtual home, saying, "I'm honoured that you should have established a web site on me"!
Two corrections he offered: 1) He and his mother moved to the Plymouth area of Devon after his father's death, not the Portsmouth area as I mistakenly typed on the front page; and 2) he doesn't as yet have his own production company. Take that as you will!
He also confirmed film information as recently reported on the Message Board: Us Begins With You seems to have changed titles to Don't Go Breaking My Heart and has no release date at this time. Another comedy follows, entitled What Rats Won't Do, which is scheduled for a Fall release this year. And he writes, "I've just completed work on a biographical film on the life of the cellist Jacqueline du Pre, which will probably be released at the beginning of next year." For the time being he's home again and busy in the garden, as are all good Brits (and Brits in training like me ;).
Now, I don't know if he's actually surfed out to this site (I had enclosed printed out copies of the homepage as it stood back in November with my letter) -- but in any case I'd like to extend a huge thank-you to Mr. Dance for taking the time to write as well as for the lovely autographed photo, which I will be sharing with all of you soon!
25 February 1998 -- Heads up for UK fans with cable or satellite TV: Granada Plus will be running "The Jewel in the Crown" each Saturday afternoon at 2:00 p.m. in March, starting the 7th. Spring really has come early this year!
17 February 1998 -- Paul and I are back from our romantic adventure to NYC, where we took in "The Scarlet Pimpernel", "Jekyll & Hyde", and "Phantom of the Opera" (all highly recommended) with a few net friends, witnessed one drug bust, stumbled on a film crew shooting a new movie starring James Caan and Hugh Grant, and if not for a mad dash through four subway cars would have missed our chance to see the Statue of Liberty (who knew you had to be on one of the first five cars to exit at the South Ferry station???). I wouldn't trade being a trouble magnet for anything!
Two tidbits of minor interest have come to my attention since my return. First, Us Begins with You, Charles' latest film directed by Will Patterson, is reportedly now in post-production.
Second, one of Paul's Valentine's Day gifts to me was a copy of "Alan Rickman, the Unauthorized Biography" by Maureen Paton, in which I stumbled on this reference to Charles:
"Some of the stories about the scripts on which Rickman has first refusal are almost farcical, though not particularly funny, of course, for the actors that unwittingly took his leavings. (Says writer Peter Barnes), 'In The Last Action Hero, the villain was played by Charles Dance. He agreed to it after seeing an early script. Then he happened to see a later script with the words "Alan Rickman" in brackets after the name of his character...!'
(Additional -- SuperSleuth Sheila pointed me to a paragraph in Geoff Tibballs' "Rebecca: The Official TV Tie-In" that elaborates on the above, telling how Charles showed up for the first day of shooting LAH wearing a T-shirt that read, "I'm cheaper than Alan Rickman.")
There's no denying that both Charles Dance and Alan Rickman make for the kind of film villains you want to beg to mug you. It's just a shame that Hollywood has -- and continues -- to restrict the roles available to talented overseas stars like these with its lame 'British Baddie' formula.
So sez contact!
19 January 1998 -- There's been nothing new on the Dance front for two months now, at least not that's obvious. Back in November I wrote to Charles' agency, ICM in London, with a polite request for photos and an update on his activities; anything they were willing to share. The rather impolite response has been silence. I'm one to believe any reply is better than none, but ICM is a large corporation, one which evidently doesn't recognize the importance of fans. So be it...My compadres and I will carry on sniffing out what we can about Charles' professional activities via other routes and share them with you as quickly as possible.
As for myself, it's been a hectic holiday season! A self-performed new hard drive install over Christmas left me reeling with various and sundry problems with Windows 95 (hitherto known as "The Hairball"). I've been able to stabilize my system (sledgehammer and large doses of valium) just in time to travel to New York City with my husband for the "Phantom of the Opera" 10th anniversary on Broadway. I'll return to the UK on Feb. 7th -- maybe by then we'll have news on Charles. Fingers crossed...And belated wishes for a Happy New Year to all of you!
10 November 1997 -- UK fans will want to tune in to BBC1 at 7:45pm on Sunday, November 16th, for the following (from the BBC on-line TV schedule):
4 November 1997 -- If you're wondering why Star Truckers (aka Space Truckers) hasn't visited your local US theater yet, I've got the reason: a source says the film is tied up in a distribution rights battle. Put away the popcorn, this could take a while....
30 October 1997 -- Sphere update: This sci-fi thriller starring Dustin Hoffman and Sharon Stone has, according to the rumor mill, suffered one production set-back after another from its inception. Charles Dance was in the cast as of March but out in June, presumably due to shooting conflicts with Us Begins with You. It could be his scenes for Sphere were completed beforehand; on that optimistic note I offer the following:
29 October 1997 -- Sources on the net say the romantic comedy, Us
Begins with You, began filming in London on June 5. "ER"’s Anthony Edwards stars as an American sports therapist going nowhere in London, and Jane Leeves (Daphne from "Frasier") is a young widow with two children whose friends are trying to find her a new Mr. Right. Co-stars Charles Dance and Jenny Seagrove, with Linford Christie debuting as himself. Director Will Patterson.