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Oscars 2000 Friday, 17 March, 2000, 10:12 GMT
A Law unto himself
Jude Law
Jude Law: Hollywood's rising star
By BBC News Online's Entertainment correspondent Tom Brook

With an Oscar nomination for his performance in The Talented Mr Ripley and a starring role in a new high profile film, Jude Law is fast emerging as Hollywood's new golden boy.

In the same week that he received his Oscar nod in February, it was also announced that Law will be taking the leading role in Four Feathers - a remake of the 1939 film about a British army officer who resigns just before battle.

I was looking for somebody who was charisma on legs, somebody you could imagine men and women being attracted to - Dickie Greenleaf is such a flame around which all these moths circulate

Ripley director Anthony Minghella
Four Feathers will be directed by Shekhar Kapur, who made the award-winning Elizabeth, and the work will be based on an adaptation by the British screenwriter Hossein Amini.

The American entertainment media has been quick to embrace Law, 28, as a rising star. One of the country's leading gossip columnists praised him for the "beauty and decadence" he projects.

His good looks, charisma and acting talent have led the Hollywood press to anoint him as the next Cary Grant.

Inner turmoil

Law's good fortune is the result of his dazzling performance as the seductive, expatriate American playboy, Dickie Greenleaf, living in Italy in the 1950s in The Talented Mr Ripley.

He says: "It was a real thrill to be asked to play somebody who enjoyed their life, was enjoying their life or was at least using their own demons and their own problems so outwardly rather than inwardly."
Matt Damon and Jude Law
Damon and Law revel in the high life in The Talented Mr Ripley
The role was quite different from his darker work in David Cronenberg's futuristic thriller eXistenZ where he played the Luddite Ted Pikul and in Wilde where he portrayed Oscar Wilde's selfish lover Lord Alfred Douglas.

Law saw Dickie Greenleaf as quite different and says: "Very often it seems I've either chosen, or been asked to play people who carry a certain amount of inner turmoil, or chips on their shoulder, and here was someone who literally picked up this chip and used it to get on in life, so it was a joy to be asked to play that kind of role."

Anthony Minghella says he witnessed Jude Law's on-screen magnetism while shooting Ripley. He says he cast the actor as Dickie Greenleaf, because: "I was looking for somebody who was charisma on legs, somebody you could imagine men and women being attracted to - Dickie Greenleaf is such a flame around which all these moths circulate.

"He's also capable of the kind of sternness Dickie had. It's not just about being a prince, it's also about having something quite metallic in him which I think he gets to very easily."

More than looks

Law's ability to play an upper class American and strike the right authentic note is another reason why he has made such a strong impression. It's proved to US critics that he can act, that he is not just another pretty face.
Paltrow and Damon
Paltrow and Damon met their match in Law
Law's star is also shining so brightly because his on-screen charisma either matched, or outshone his gilded Ripley co-stars, Matt Damon and Gwyneth Paltrow.

He says: "I had to play this guy who was the focus of almost every scene and yet I was there with Matt and with Gwyneth, so I was a little nervous that here was this guy who had not done that many films having to use his bravado.

"I rather relished that to be honest, it was quite a good way of getting rid of nerves, just sort of riding them."

Clearly this is a golden moment in this young actor's career.
Anthony Minghella
Anthony Minghella saw Law's potential
He can, for some time at least, relish basking in the glow of the Academy's attention. Then, in addition to Four Feathers, Law is also considering starring in The Good Shepherd, which chronicles the career of a CIA agent, under the direction of Robert De Niro.

The Talented Mr Ripley is a film that may be remembered for many different things, but it seems it will almost definitely go down as the picture that launched Jude Law on to the path of international stardom.

See also:

25 Dec 99 | Tom Brook
12 Apr 99 | Entertainment
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