Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Gwyneth Provides the Proof

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Gwyneth Provides the Proof

Article excerpt

Byline: LUKE LEITCH

REGRETS? Gwyneth Paltrow's got a few. When she won her Oscar for Shakespeare In Love, the actor cried like a baby.

Now, though, she ' s realised that it is the bad films that are really worth blubbing over.

Paltrow spoke to me this week to counter the hatchet-job gossip in the US that condemned her Sylvia Plath biopic as a "misery fest" - a pretty odd assessment considering America's most significant film critics, including those of the LA Times and New York Times, have since raved about it.

Paltrow is fiercely proud of Sylvia - which closes this month's London Film Festival - but, in a rare confession for an actor, she did admit some of her films haven't been the best. "For a few years there," she drawls, "I was very lackadaisical about the films that I did and the choices that I made."

Sadly, she is too diplomatic to name the films - happily, I'm not. Shallow Hal was boring, Bounce was Ben Affleck's rehearsal for Gigli and as for View From the Top ... even Paltrow herself called it "A View From My Ass" until her producers protested.

Now she's shooting a film that won't be rubbish. How do I know? Because it's a screen version of Proof, the play that saw Paltrow seduce London's theatre critics a few years ago at the Donmar.

She plays Catherine, the fragile daughter of a bonkers maths genius, and is directed by John Madden - who just happened to direct Paltrow's Oscar-winning Shakespeare In Love performance.

"He's smart," she says of Madden.

"He forces you to use all of yourself, not to be lazy, and not to rely on tricks."

It is the kind of work Paltrow wants to do in future, she stresses.

"It's so well written, and challenging - exactly the kind of thing I am interested in," she tells me.

That doesn't mean we're going to see a lot of Paltrow, though, because she plans to tip the so-called work/life balance firmly in favour of life: "I am not going to work for the sake of working. I would prefer to do one film a year - two if there is something really fantastic. But I don't want my life to be just a cycle of work, work, work - I want to enjoy my life."

For those of us who have no choice but work, that's just a bit sickening.

But Paltrow, who has millions of dollars and cerebral squeeze Chris Martin to play with, knows she is privileged.

"I know I'm lucky - don't think I don't know that."

Zorroful times for Catherine Jim gets better, stronger, faster WHEN Antonio Banderas - as Zorro - used his sword to slice away at Catherine Zeta-Jones's clothes, she was left in nothing but her underwear. The scene was a masterstroke, and now she is set to burn herself back onto our retinas with a reprise of her role as fiery Elena in the sequel to 1998's The Mask of Zorro.

"Banderas is signed on," says director Martin Campbell, "and Catherine wants to do it. …

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