Film Stars Don’t Die In Liverpool – special screening

Deputy Mayor Ann O'Byrne, Julie Walters, Paul McGuigan, Leanne Best

A SPECIAL screening of Film Stars Don’t Die In Liverpool took place at FACT in Liverpool tonight (13 November).

Stars Julie Walters and Leanne Best and director Paul McGuigan were in attendance at the event arranged in partnership with the Mayor of Liverpool.

The film tells the story of the unlikely but true romance between aspiring Liverpool actor Peter Turner (Jamie Bell) and fading Hollywood star Gloria Grahame (Annette Bening).

Julie Walters plays Turner’s mother Bella, a part she revelled in. “Bella is a matriarch and a proper working class, Catholic Liverpudlian woman,” she says. “I met lots of women like that in my youth when I lived up there for two or three years.

“She is a strong woman and poor old Joe Snr doesn’t get a look in half of the time,” she adds with a laugh. “He does as he is told. I love strong women. You can see why Gloria is attracted to Bella, as a person. She’s capable and strong and she is going to take care of things.”

The film is one of sharp but not jarring contrasts as Walters says: “The fact that it is a true story is fascinating and the combination of Hollywood meets backstreet Liverpool is quite wonderful.

“Usually, those sorts of stories are about a clash of cultures but this isn’t like that. Gloria is very ill but they all get on as if she isn’t from Hollywood. I also loved the fact that Jamie was going to be in it and I thought how lovely to be able to work with Jamie again.” The pair worked together on Bell’s breakout movie, Billy Elliot.  

Some of the film was shot in Liverpool, including scenes in the Liverpool Playhouse and, as well as the city playing itself, it also stood in for London locations.

The film is already being tipped for awards and is on general release on 16 November.