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Last Updated: Tuesday, 21 November 2006, 17:50 GMT
'He was an extraordinary character'
Julian Fellowes on the set of Separate Lies
Julian Fellowes worked with Altman on Gosford Park
Actor, director and screenwriter Julian Fellowes, who won the best original screenplay Oscar for Gosford Park in 2002, talked to BBC News 24 about the film's director Robert Altman, who has died aged 81.

Robert Altman was a giant of the industry, and he was, of course, a giant in my life because he completely changed it.

The whole thing [Gosford Park] was such a fantasy. I was asked to write this screenplay and then I was flown to California. It was like being in a film of one's own life.

Then he paid me the great compliment of asking me to be on the set for the whole of the filming - which is very unusual for writers - so I was able to be there as an a eye-witness to the whole thing.

Sincere love

What was completely distinctive about Bob's work was his incredible grasp of visual narrative.

He knew how to photograph a scene and get all the elements into it in a most complex way.

He could devise these films that were incredibly complicated, like string vests of narrative, and take you through it.

He also had a real, sincere love of actors. He really loved actors. Lots of directors say they love actors but they don't really - he did.

The extraordinary thing was that he kept the energy and dynamic of a youthful rebel until his 81st year. He was an extraordinary character.


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