Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Ridley's Game for Alison' Con Trick

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Ridley's Game for Alison' Con Trick

Article excerpt

Byline: By Neil Bonner

When you're up for a part in a major Hollywood movie about confidence tricksters, it helps if you can con the director - something Alison Lohman did beautifully.

The blonde babe didn't have a lengthy movie CV. After all, she was only 22 at the time - she celebrated her 23rd birthday yesterday.

Yet she totally convinced British director Sir Ridley Scott that she was only 14 - the age of the character she now plays in Matchstick men - an American term for con-men.

Stockton's Sir Ridley, whose cinematic successes include the Oscar-encrusted Gladiator, met the young actress on co-producer Jack Rapke's recommendation.

"I hadn't seen Alison in anything before, so Jack insisted I watched her film White Oleander," says Scott.

"I immediately had a good feeling about her. Then, when she walked into the room, I thought 'this is our 14-year-old.'

"We chatted for over an hour and by the time our meeting finished it was getting dark. She had been so convincing playing it as a teenager that I asked if someone was coming to pick her up to take her home ... she said she'd be driving herself!"

In the comedy caper, Roy (Nicolas Cage) and his partner Frank (Sam Rockwell) are small-time con-men who make a fast buck by flogging dodgy and decidedly overpriced water filtration systems.

But obsessive-compulsive chain-smoking agoraphobic Roy is rocked when he discovers he has a teenage daughter Angela (Lohman) who is desperate to meet him.

At first he is over-protective of her but gradually introduces her to the tricks of his questionable trade. She discovers she has a gift for con-trickery, too, and wants to join the partnership, giving the movie shades of Paper Moon, the 1973 film in which Ryan and Tatum O'Neal were a con-tricking father and daughter.

Lohman explains: "Angela's young and bored. …

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