At a glance:

One Tate project,
One theatre project,
One short film,
Two feature films,
Three new DVD releases, four re-releases,
Three projects in development, one of which filmed,
And a live discussion.

The year started with more information and materials from the first of the yet to be released films, 'G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra' (one of the three projects filmed in 2008 and set to première in 2009). Already the teaser trail from Super Bowl gave a glimpse of Eccleston as Destro.

First original news of 2009 came with the announcement of casting for 'A Doll's House' in the end of March. Neil Kelman was to be the first substantial theatre role since 'Electricity' in 2004. The production was based at Donmar Warehouse, London, directed by Kfir Yefet, and the main character, Nora, was played by Gillian Anderson.

Before the play opened, though, the somewhat dormant Tate TH.2058 futuristic project produced an experimental short film for which Chris Eccleston provided narration, and later Tate bookended the theatre première with another release, this time of the promised mini audio book of short stories.

'A Doll's House' started with previews on 14th May, and was undoubtedly the main event of the first half of the year. Reviews were generally positive, still, many critics, while more or less in agreement praising Anderson's efforts, questioned Ibsen play's unorthodox rewrite by Zinnie Harris. Production also gained attention because of serendipity - real life political financial scandal bloomed right in time. Eccleston's Kelman garnered various reactions, unfortunately many reviewers sulled, not accepting that the portrayal actually was historically credible.

Of other events during the play's run, besides the audio book, in June short film 'The Happiness Salesman' was shown at Palm Springs film festival. It has since visited Scotland and North Ireland festivals, and the few reviews there are, are very positive.

Also, June saw the first trailer for 'Amelia', which also introduced Chris Eccleston as Fred Noonan, Amelia's navigator.

The second half of the year was dedicated to the two feature premières. The show began with 'G.I. Joe' on the 7th August. The film was met with some frowns, but was also enjoyed by many, fans of the franchise included. Eccleston's pre-Destro James McCullen was regarded by some to be quite radical an interpretation of the well-known character, but within the film his performance was appreciated (even if deliberately screwed up Scottish accent proved to be a brilliant stroke too bright for this type of film).

'Amelia', an anticipated movie with Hilary Swank as aviatrix Amelia Earhart, arrived on the 23rd October. Following dubious reactions from test screenings - and some last-night re-editing notwithstanding - it received a cold shower of critical reviews. Having abducted a promising indie film with distinguished director Mira Nair at the helm, the studio also failed to ensure a decent promo campaign and a wide release. While the film was noted for masterful cinematography, of actors Chris Eccleston was the one constantly positively mentioned. His character was seen as the most realistic and truthful.

Second half of the year was also when Almereyda's long-suffering 'New Orleans Mon Amour' (2008) slowly became more available, first via cable, then on iTunes and other net VOD services, and eventually as a novelty, DVD on demand, for worldwide audiences.

It was the second of three original releases. In September finally came 'Hillsborough' DVD (1996), a much appreciated tribute on the 20th anniversary of the disaster.

In November (US) and December (UK) 'G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra' became available as DVD and blu-ray - causing some controversy as it was much earlier than normally after the theatrical première.

Additionally, Region 1 received their versions of 'Cracker' box-set (1993) and 'I Am Dina' (2002). Region 2 got a neat special edition of 'Shallow Grave' (1995) and an edition of 'Anchoress' (1993).

The year ended with production of one of the three known projects in development, TV film 'Lennon Naked' (playing John Lennon, to be shown in 2010, BBC Four), and 'Our Friends In The North' panel at BFI.

Also in 2010, there is filming scheduled for a feature film 'This Beautiful Fantastic' in March, and 'Feet in the Clouds' docudrama is still gestating.

- - - - - - - -

This eventful year is also the first year for Art Thou Beguil'd Now? on Blogger. We've introduced many new features - and changes - on the way. Whilst gathering news and accumulating background materials, we continued with some extracurricular activities, such as reviewing all available Chris Eccleston films - what now has become the database for the Filmography, - or trying out discussion topics Have A Think.

We'd like to ask you, what is your experience with the blog? Were any of reorganizations baffling? Do you find what you come looking for? If not, how could we improve the situation?
And most importantly, what do you expect from us in 2010? What about more discussions - on topics or on certain films? Something completely else?

All comments and questions and pet peeves are welcome.

And not to forget, what is your Eccleston event of the year?


Mizchris said...

I love your blog, it is the most comprehensive Chris blog I have seen and thank you for this little reminder :) Oh, hope 2010 is another busy year for Christopher :)

¡Oye Cristóbal! said...

Hi Mizchris,
=) thank you for reading and for your kind words.


joanr16 said...

What is your Eccleston event of the year?

For me, it was discovering this blog! I felt like I'd seen A Doll's House even though I'm about 8,000 miles from the Donmar Warehouse.

The news about the John Lennon project also warmed my heart... although I may have to experience that one by proxy, as well.

Thanks for all you do!

¡Oye Cristóbal! said...

Joan, your words mean a lot to us. Thank you for staying with the blog and for your contributions.

As for Lennon project, the latest quotes from BBC 4 indicate that they're at least considering international possibilities, so the situation is not entirely hopeless.

Anonymous said...

And not to forget, what is your Eccleston event of the year?

Not only did I see Christopher "live" playing the disgraced and then latter the reformed character of Neil Kelman in Ibsen's "A Doll’s House" at the Donmar but meeting him twice outside the theatre in June.

His performance was the first he had done in five years and proved to be an instant sell out, though I think it was mainly to do with the superb casting of Gillian Anderson, Toby Jones, Anton Lesser and Tara Fitzgerald.

But the attached photograph was the highlight for me what was a fantastic 2009. That shows not only the warmth and charm of the man but what a genuine person he is too outside the limelight.


¡Oye Cristóbal! said...

Jen, yes, this year indeed provided good chances to see Eccleston live, and I'm glad for everyone who did.

(Re ADH cast, little correction, that's Toby Stephens)

And cheers for info from BFI.
Here's direct link to your photograph. Thanks for sharing.

Hedgehog said...

I too would like to say thank you for running this blog - Alex and Chiclit, you're doing a fantastic job here!

I very much enjoyed the "have a think"-activities, even if I haven't yet managed to partake in many of them. Many times, I ended up with indeed having thoughts - and then couldn't find the time to put them into words.

I'm also still looking for a better way to keep track of new comments other than checking each article manually. There probably is one, but being someone who basically sees her computer as a better typewriter I haven't yet been able to figure it out. ;-)

2009 has been a brilliant year in general, with the two short trips to London that included A Doll's House and the OFITN screening neatly fitting into the list of good memories.

As for new activities on this blog in 2010, how would you like a "Spotlight on..."-discussion feature, picking a movie, say, every month and comparing our thoughts in a discussion? If there's background information on the making-of of that movie we could include that in a short introduction text perhaps? I have to admit though, choosing those 12 movies might not be that easy! And let's not forget the spoiler warning... ;-)

¡Oye Cristóbal! said...

Hedgehog, thank you very much for reading - and also giving us a hand.

HAT, can't blame you, you did what's been asked of you =)

Comments, down below on the right under 'subscribe' you can use Atom feed, but it's not perfect. Also you can see the number of comments in recent posts section. But afaik there's no miracle solution...

'Spotlight on' - that's exactly what Chiclit and I have been ruminating about, a bit of a sightseeing tour =) We thought it could run twice monthly, still, question of selection remains. Maybe it's also worth organising into volumes by themes and abandoning the slightly tedious chronological approach?
Cheers for the idea =)

chiclit said...

Thank you to each of you for all the kind words, and the contributions to blog. I like the fact that we have lots of folks contributing and making the blog a more interactive and thoughtful experience. Alex really does all the heavy lifting and tech work here, I am mostly the cheer leader-although I will take credit for suggesting we get on Twitter:)

My Eccleston moment this past year was seeing the tweet that indicated New Orleans Mon Amour was available for download from iTunes. Waiting for it to finish loading was very exciting.

Second moment-seeing the news story about A Doll's House casting-and then reading the accounts of those lucky enough to be able to see it- and to meet Chris outside the theatre. I, too, feel like I was there and I am about 5000 miles away from the Donmar Warehouse myself.

I also really enjoyed seeing CE's interpretation of Fred Noonan, and the positive reviews he got for "Amelia" from US film critics. I surprised myself by becoming an amateur Earhart theorist. Gardner Island scenario, anyone?

I had a chance to see some of Chris's older work this year, and I continue to be blown away by his filmography and development as an actor. Further, I remain moved by his long standing and unwavering commitment to social causes.

Now here is something we didn't ask about but I will share anyway!My lighter Eccleston moments-propping my Nine Action Figure up against my feng shui "prosperity alter" complete with green candle while awaiting news that would hopefully end my unemployment.(It worked!)

And you all should have seen me racing late into a new cafe style movie theatre that I had never been to, in order to view GI Joe explaining my pen and notebook to the puzzled ticket taker/bartender/waitress - by informing her that I was writing "an important blog review!" for friends in Europe (the cafe part meant there were tables in the theatre, making it much easier to write. It was my second viewing of GI Joe and will confess I did take advantage of the situation and imbibe an adult beverage-as GI Joe was not really my genre)

Happy New Year to all of you-and here is hoping everyone, including Mr. Eccleston, has a wonderful and fulfilling 2010!

joanr16 said...

My lighter Eccleston moments-propping my Nine Action Figure up against my feng shui "prosperity alter" complete with green candle while awaiting news that would hopefully end my unemployment.(It worked!)

Love that! Nine mends all. I find he's better than chicken soup when you're home with the flu.