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09 Jul, 2009

Mike Figgis to make fourth plinth documentary

Posted by: admin In: Guardian

Sky Arts commissions Mike Figgis to direct programme about Antony Gormley’s ‘living sculptures’ in Trafalgar Square

Sky Arts has commissioned Leaving Las Vegas director Mike Figgis to make a documentary about Antony Gormley’s live fourth plinth sculptures in Trafalgar Square.

The broadcaster has given the go-ahead to a film to be made by the director’s company, Red Mullet, and to be aired on the pay TV channel in the autumn when the artwork, called One & Other, is finished.

Figgis, the director of films including Nicolas Cage movie Leaving Las Vegas and Internal Affairs, starring Richard Gere, told MediaGuardian.co.uk he had been given a free hand by Sky to make the documentary and that his job was to “observe the art work and see what happens”.

“In that sense I don’t know how the film will pan out – I will just be seeing it and going from there. At the moment I don’t plan a conventional documentary in that sense,” he said.

“But what is attractive about this project is that it is happening over a long enough period so a number of things could happen – things could develop in an original way. The whole point of this project is that you cannot anticipate what’s going to happen,” Figgis added.

In the artwork a different member of the public occupies the space every hour, 24 hours a day, for 100 days without a break. Figgis also helped set up the website that is live-streaming what happens on the plinth throughout Gormley’s One & Other project, which ends on 14 October.

The film is likely to be an hour or 90 minutes long and is a sign of the increasing ambitions of Sky Arts, the channel which today launches a series of theatre plays to be broadcast live. This is the first time this has occurred on British television in a quarter of a century.

Recently Sky Arts announced that former Tory Cabinet minister Michael Portillo had been hired to front the channel’s exclusive coverage of the Glyndebourne festival.

“It’s a real coup for us to get Mike, who is an extraordinary director and we are very excited about it,” Sky Arts director John Cassy told MediaGuardian.co.uk.

“We think this film will be entirely unique. With someone of Mike’s calibre you cannot impose restrictions and this will be one artist’s take an another artist’s work.”

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