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Friday, 15 June, 2001, 23:08 GMT 00:08 UK
The talented Mr Minghella
Born to Italian parents on the Isle of Wight Anthony Minghella is a very English film-maker with an intriguing touch of the exotic.

The director, who has been made a CBE, made his debut with a love story starring Juliet Stevenson and Alan Rickman.

Juliet Stephenson
Longtime Minghella collaborator Juliet Stephenson
But Truly, Madly, Deeply was no ordinary romance - one half of the leading couple was already dead when the film opened.

Though his first foray into Hollywood was the disastrous Mr Wonderful, Minghella bounced back with his 1996 Oscar-garlanded adaptation of Michael Ondaatje's The English Patient.

Next up was his provocative adaptation of Patricia Highsmith's novel The Talented Mr Ripley starring Gwyneth Paltrow, Matt Damon and Jude Law.

Minghella, Damon, Law and Paltrow
Minghella with the Talented Mr Ripley cast
Minghella himself adapted the novels for the screen.

Long before he became a Hollywood player he was a well-known TV writer and playwright, winning the Best New Play Award in 1986 for Made In Bangkok.

Minghella has attributed some of his writing skill to his Italian background.

"For a long time I didn't feel particularly at ease with English literature. It's more intellectually orientated and keeps a distance from the emotions," he once said.

"Happily this cool and cynical way of writing is becoming less fashionable nowadays. I live in the right time in that sense."

Anthony Minghella
As well as being a writer and director of some note Minghella is also a keen musician, something which has played an important part in his films.

He has said that the inclusion of Marta Sebestyen, a Hungarian folk singer, on the soundtrack of The English Patient added another dimension to the film.

Minghella recently collaborated with Truly Madly Deeply stars Stevenson and Rickman and The English Patient actress Kristen Scott-Thomas on a screen adaptation of Play by Samuel Beckett.

And he also worked on a forthcoming BBC film called The Assumption of the Virgin, a true story of a nun who bears a monk's child in medieval Italy.

Minghella is co-writer and the film features The English Patient star Juliette Binoche and is produced by his wife Carolyn Choa.


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17 Mar 00 | Oscars 2000
02 Feb 01 | Entertainment
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