Director Sets Enigma Story Straight

By Gire, Dann | Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), April 18, 2002 | Go to article overview

Director Sets Enigma Story Straight


Gire, Dann, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)


Byline: Dann Gire Daily Herald Film Critic

Film director Michael Apted admitted that when he started shooting his latest film "Enigma," he felt a little intimidated working with power playwright and screenwriter Tom Stoppard.

"I was in awe of Stoppard before I met him," the 61-year-old English director confessed. "He has a brain as big as a house! It was rather intimidating because I wanted certain things in the script. He turned out to be amazingly collaborative and generous and kept writing lines up to the bitter end. I've found that the better the writers are, the more collaborative they are. The poorer they are, the more confrontational they tend to be."

Apted and Stoppard's new movie, "Enigma" opens today, and it tells the fact-based story of how British intelligence cracked the Nazi's Enigma code during World War II. Did Apted view this film as a correction to Hollywood's "U-571," which unjustly gave the code- cracking credit to the Americans?

"Frankly, no," Apted said. "Mine's been in the works long before 'U-571' was conceived. I thought 'U-571' was a jolly well-made Hollywood action thriller that didn't pretend to be a definitive history. Of course, my film is full of fiction as well, so I can't take the high moral ground by claiming to be the perfect historical recreation. It is kind of annoying when movies do that, run roughshod over history. But everybody does it."

This tendency probably annoys Apted more than other filmmakers. As a documentary maker, he has been the force behind the "Up" documentaries that look in on a group of British kids once every seven years, starting when they were 7. …

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