Timothy Spall Gives Red Carpet Interview at ‘Denial’ Screening

Jan 25, 2017

Posted by: Dawn Johnson

Actor Interviews, Events, Films, HP Cast, Interviews, Movies, News, Spall, Spall Interviews

Denial featured at a gala screening hosted by the Ham Yard Hotel in Soho, January 23rd. Though the film opened in the U.S. October 21, 2016, the UK release is set for Friday, January 27th. Considering the supremely-talented cast–including Timothy Spall!–and crew involved, it’s sure to be a well-received and worthwhile viewing.

HEYGUYS describes Director Mick Jackson’s take on the courtroom drama as follows:

“[It] tells a story about a story, about the truth and the importance of standing up for it. It takes the legal tussle between Dr. David Irving and Penguin Books as its foundation, and opens up a powerful discussion on opinion masquerading as fact.”

Denial recounts the true story of historian Deborah Lipstadt, who is forced to defend herself against charges of libel for statements made in response to Irving’s goading. To add insult to injury, Irving denies the Holocaust ever happened, and Lipstadt must not only clear her own name, but also “prove” that which is undeniable–history, itself.

The film, based on Lipstadt’s book, “History on Trial: My Day in Court with a Holocaust Denier,” is enhanced by the excellent performances of the cast. The film stars Rachel Weisz (Lipstadt), Tom Wilkinson, Andrew Scott, Mark Gatiss, and Spall, known to Harry Potter fans as the smarmy Peter Pettigrew (Wormtail). In Denial, he takes on another unlikeable character, the infamous David Irving.

Leaky previously reported on Spall’s approach to portraying unsavory characters, those with whom viewers do not naturally sympathize or relate. He said:

“Any role I play whether they hold controversial views, whether they are a popular character, whether they are a person completely insignificant as far as history is concerned, I always do it exactly the same. I try to play them completely from their own point of view.”

Portraying a man who challenges the reality of the Holocaust definitely falls into the category of controversial, so great skill was required in order to do the story justice. Spall was not only charged with accurately representing the man, but also bringing his formidable screen presence to bear in order to make the tension–and stakes–believable. Indie Wire hits on just that detail when describing Spall’s performance:

“Its opening scene would be absurd if it weren’t so believable: Irving — played here by a slippery and wickedly convincing Timothy Spall — crashes one of Lipstadt’s lectures with a few conspirators in tow, hijacking her forum, offering $1,000 to anyone who can prove that the Nazis gassed Jews at Auschwitz, and recording the whole thing for posterity. It’s an uncomfortable moment for Lipstadt, who has publicly vowed never to engage with anyone who claims the Holocaust didn’t happen. One attendee argues that she’s refusing to engage in a debate, but not all opinions are created equal.”

Irving’s opinion on the matter may have been deplorable, but Spall’s perspective is not. HEYUGUYS asked him to elaborate on personal memories of the event and how he used actual footage of Irving to inform his portrayal. Here is the exclusive interview:

Indie Wire concludes its review with this assessment:

“It’s not inherently compelling drama, but it’s immensely satisfying catharsis to watch as it flattens Irving’s nonsense into nothingness…Denial does the modern world a great service by refusing to entertain the idea that there are two sides to every story…stories are powerful things, and sometimes we need to resist them. Auschwitz was hell on earth, but the moment it’s gone is the moment someone starts to rebuild it somewhere else.”

See Denial across the UK this weekend! To read the full Indie Wire article, click here. To view the HEYUGUYS interviews with Andrew Scott, Tom Wilkinson, Professor Deborah Lipstadt, and Director Mick Jackson, click here.





The Leaky Cauldron is not associated with J.K. Rowling, Warner Bros., or any of the individuals or companies associated with producing and publishing Harry Potter books and films.