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April 18, 2014

Mixed feelings about HBO's Into the Storm recasting Churchill roles

by Jason Hughes, posted May 31st 2009 5:15PM
Into the StormI've always had a bizarre fascination with the politics of war, So I was a bit embarrassed when reading about HBO's Into the Storm, premiering this Sunday at 8 pm Eastern, to find that it was a sequel to a 2002 HBO film. I tracked down The Gathering Storm and started watching it yesterday and was blown away by how perfectly Albert Finney captured Winston Churchill. I love Vanessa Redgrave as his oh so patient wife. It's just a fantastic film looking at the state of England and Churchill leading into World War II.

Now I'm ready for this long-delayed continuation, as we see Churchill from the heights of power during WWII to his waning years. But I'm not sure how difficult a transition it's going to be with these key roles recast. It's no knock against Brendan Gleeson (Winston Churchill) or Janet McTeer (Clemmie Churchill). I've just so fallen in love with Finney and Redgrave in those roles, I worry that I'll be comparing their performances rather than enjoying the film.

I could always wait seven years before watching Into the Storm, the way people who saw The Gathering Storm in 2002 have done. I'm sure the difference wouldn't be nearly as jarring rather than waiting a few days like I'm doing. However, now that I know these movies exist, I don't think I can wait.

Either I've missed them or there's been a serious lacking in offering the British perspective of World War II stateside. I'm sure Winston Churchill has been explored in media in the UK, considering his stature in their history, but he's been shamefully neglected in the US. Or as I said, I've missed all his exposure. What it means for me, is a dramatic interpretation of a perspective on World War II that I've not really seen much of before. And that's exciting no matter who's playing the roles so long as its good.

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Julie the Jarhead

Don't worry -- from what I've seen from both actors (in other roles), you will be blown away.

>It's no knock against Brendan Gleeson (Winston Churchill) or Janet McTeer (Clemmie Churchill). I've just so fallen in love with Finney and Redgrave in those roles, I worry that I'll be comparing their performances rather than enjoying the film.

June 01 2009 at 10:06 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jeremy Kenyon

Tom Shales reviewed it in the Washington Post a day or two ago.....not that that's an indicator of quality.

He really seemed to like it. And he didn't seem bothered by the change in actors.

May 31 2009 at 11:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
rdclark

Well, wait 7 years before you watch the new one, and see if the recasting still bothers you. :)

May 31 2009 at 7:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
MERVE-THE-PERVE

PBS just showed a mini-series called Behind Closed Doors that was 3 parts 2 hours each. It showed all the meetings between Churchill, Roosevelt, and Stalin as well as the earlier meetings between Stalin and German officials when Stalin was working with the Nazis earlier in the war. The re-enactments of these meetings were based on newly released documents in the 90's from the Russians and from what was already known. It's worth watching if you're into the history of WWII. It shows Churchill in a different light. Bob Gunton from 24 played Roosevelt.

May 31 2009 at 5:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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