This week Team VIVA were invited down to the red carpet premiere of ‘Now Is Good’ starring Dakota Fanning (Man On Fire, The Twilight Saga, I Am Sam) and directed by Ol Parker (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Imagine Me And You).
The event took place at The Printworks, Manchester, where a red carpet was awaiting the select group of pre-registered guests, made up of press, media types and some lucky competition winners. As ever, The Printworks held a spectacular event, with excellent staffing, assistance and direction to make sure all viewers made it to the screen. The venue seemed like a perfect setting for the premiere of the film – despite the fact that it was shot between Brighton and London – and director Ol Parker agreed “it’s a fantastic spot and a great city – and we are delighted to have it here”.
Adapted to screen from the critically acclaimed novel ‘Before I Die’ (written by author Jenny Downham), it is in association with both BBC Films and Blueprint Pictures, and is told through the eyes of a young girl named Tessa.
Played by Fanning in the brand new film, Tessa is instantly introduced as a sufferer of leukaemia. After stopping her treatment, as it is beginning to slow her down, Tessa writes a ‘bucket list’ of things she would like to accomplish “before dying” and turns to best friend Zoey, played by Kaya Scodelario (Skins, Wuthering Heights, Clash of The Titans), to help her achieve these. Whilst Zoey is there for Tessa and behind her in ‘ticking off’ items on the list, she is portrayed from the very beginning as a loose cannon with perhaps an issue or two to deal with herself.
As the film progresses, Tessa meets her next-door neighbour, the incredibly handsome Adam, played by Jeremy Irvine (War Horse). The two instantly take a shine to one another, and as Tessa’s perception of her initial ‘bucket list’ begins to change, their developing relationship and the emotions it brings becomes a lens into both of their positions as a young person with a fatal illness and someone very close to them.
A fantastic supporting cast comes in the form of Tessa’s family, made up of her protective and very emotional father (Paddy Considine), her mother (Olivia Williams), who begins to avoid becoming involved in the process of Tessa’s treatment and her younger brother Cal (Edgar Canham), who’s young age brings a sharp and very honest angle to Tessa’s on-going battle and journey.
In short – I cannot remember the last time I watched a film that was as powerful, poignant and relevant as ‘Now Is Good’. There was not a single person sat around in the seats who did not appear affected by it, as it was as heart-warming as it was heart-breaking, with some very sharp and well written moments of comedy by Ol Parker – which, whilst tasteful, also made Tessa’s experience and the emotions of those around her so much real.
For those of you who have not read the book or seen a preview screening of this film adaptation, I won’t give away the ending, but will simply urge you to watch this film. Dakota Fanning has taken on yet another incredibly intense role and has nailed it, whilst Ol has managed to adapt a written story into a visual masterpiece, which will both inspire you and test many of your different emotions. With a script to match, you feel incredibly close to all of the characters whom are close to Tessa, and are concerned for them all in different ways.
Following the film-showing, Ol Parker and Dakota came to the front of the cinema to attend a Q&A session with the audience. Whilst Team VIVA had already spoken exclusively to them both earlier – the answers both gave to the inquisitive audience members only highlighted both their dedication and passion for what it is they do.
Fanning explained that, whilst she had a young friend who had passed away after a battle with cancer, she had not drawn on personal experiences too much for the role. She went on, elaborating, that it is important for you to remain separate from the characters you play in order to keep professional and do a good job (and we imagine stay sane – as many of those she has played have been extremely intense…) Director Ol Parker, whose honesty, humour and friendliness was evident from the start, praised Dakota for all of her efforts in the film joking that one day [I’d be] “begging her for a job”.
After the Q&A session came to a close and Fanning and Parker left the theatre, the rest of us made sure we’d dried our eyes and shuffled back out into The Printworks and back to the real world.
Team VIVA would like to thank Dakota and Ol for such great interviews before the screening, and to congratulate them on what is filmic gold. We would also like to extend our thanks to The Printworks – who we will no doubt see very soon – for hosting a wonderful night and allowing us to be a part of it.
Team VIVA x
‘Now Is Good’ gets a mainstream release on Wednesday 19 September 2012