Timothy Spall has told how he could be an artist in a “parallel universe”, as he plays another famous painter in his new film.
The actor stars as the English artist LS Lowry in Mrs Lowry & Son, which had its world premiere at the Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF) on Sunday evening.
The role comes five years after he starred as the British painter JMW Turner in Mike Leigh’s 2014 film Mr Turner.
Spall explained that it is not a coincidence that he finds himself playing another well-known painter.
He told PA Scotland: “I’m very interested by artists. I’ve always done a little bit of mad drawing and art. For Turner, I learnt how to paint for two years before I did that in preparation for that.
“But I’ve always had a slight… there’s been a parallel universe which I would have been maybe a painter in or some kind of pictorial artist, perhaps.”
Spall was speaking at the world premiere on the red carpet at the EIFF’s closing night gala, and declared he was “delighted” to be in the Scottish capital.
His new film, directed by Adrian Noble, explores the relationship between Lowry, one of the greatest artists of the 20th century, and his bedridden, controlling mother Elizabeth, played by Vanessa Redgrave.
— Edinburgh Film Fest (@edfilmfest) June 30, 2019
“I loved the script,” Spall explained.
“It was a revelation to me because I didn’t realise how important and how close he was to his mother, and how she was both the motivation and seemingly the barrier between him actually doing what he did.
“This film is, in a sense, an investigation of that dynamic – how somebody was obsessed and devoted to painting a subject matter in a sense for the one person who he loved the most, who happened to take every opportunity she could in letting him know how much she hated his paintings.”
Spall told how he read biographies of the artist and studied his work to get into the role.
He said: “Then it’s all to do with what you feel about it (the character) and bringing that feeling … and becoming that character.
“It’s not for me to judge whether I’ve got that right or not, that’s for the audience.”