How We Met: Anthony Minghella & David Parry ; 'Anthony Ended Up Staying with Us for 18 Months. It Rather Bonds You for Life'

By Interviews Nick Duerden & Portrait Steffan Hill | The Independent on Sunday (London, England), October 3, 2005 | Go to article overview
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How We Met: Anthony Minghella & David Parry ; 'Anthony Ended Up Staying with Us for 18 Months. It Rather Bonds You for Life'


Interviews Nick Duerden & Portrait Steffan Hill, The Independent on Sunday (London, England)


A conductor for 25 years, David Parry has worked with companies such as the Glyndebourne Festival Opera and the English National Opera. He lives with his partner, the painter and theatre designer Tim Reed. He is 56 years old.

I first met Anthony through my partner, Tim. They were studying drama together at Hull University back in 1977. After Anthony graduated, he wanted to come down to London to give writing a proper go, and I invited him to stay. I imagine it was a rude awakening for him, coming to London. I don't think he quite bargained for how expensive it was, and how difficult it would be to find a place of his own.

He ended up staying for 18 months " rather longer than either of us expected, but it wasn't a problem at all; Anthony made for a wonderful house guest. He is such a gentle, charming man and, of course, so very stimulating. We quickly became firm friends. I never saw any flaws in him as a flatmate, although he may well have seen some in me!

When you live with someone for that length of time, and have the benefit of not falling out, it rather bonds you for life. When he finally found a place of his own, and both of our careers began taking off, we didn't see as much of each other as we would have liked, but the bond always remained, even when Hollywood came calling for him.

I wasn't surprised when he won all those Oscars [The English Patient, which Minghella directed and wrote the screenplay for, scooped nine Oscars in 1996] because he has always been so determined. But I've never been impressed by Hollywood. I've always loved Anthony's plays; he is the most terrific playwright, and I tend to think that films are second rate in comparison to plays. But Anthony has managed something quite rare: he makes very honest and truthful dramas, and he manages to do this in Hollywood " no small achievement.

Alongside his film work, Anthony has always been deeply musical and has always loved the opera, which of course is wonderful for me. We've been talking about collaborating on one together for almost five years now, so we are both very happy that it has finally become a reality. Traditionally, of course, friends can fall out when they work together, but that hasn't happened. If one of us doesn't think a particular scene works, we can readily say so without fear of offending the other. We are not criticising to be spiteful but simply for the greater good of the project. I have an extraordinarily high respect for him, and I know that he has a great respect for me as well, so we've never had any problems.

Having said that, I am certainly much bossier than he is, or so I've been told. Anthony is quite the opposite. He has the patience of Job, he really does. The man is patient to a fault, but then it's a rather nice fault to have, don't you think?

Anthony Minghella, 51, is a writer-director whose films include 'Truly Madly Deeply', 'The Talented Mr Ripley' and 'The English Patient'.

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