Bill Nighy to Receive Cinequest Maverick Spirit Award with U.S. Premiere of Sometimes Always Never



California Theatre, San Jose Wed, Mar 6, 2019 7:15 PM
Film Info
Type of Film/Event:Event
Rating:Not Rated
Additional Info
Production Country:United Kingdom
Cast/Crew Info
Cast:Bill Nighy
Jenny Agutter
Alice Lowe
Sam Riley
Tim McInnerny
Louis Healy
Andrew Shim
Ella-Grace Gregoire
John Westley
Director:Carl Hunter
Executive Producer:Kristy Bell
Alastair Burlingham
Andrea Gibson
Matthew Helderman
Julian Hicks
Geoffrey Iles
Sarada McDermott
Jason Moring
Paul Ward
Producer:Roy Boulter
Alan Latham
Sol Papadopoulos
Screenwriter:Frank Cottrell Boyce
Cinematographer:Richard Stoddard
Editor:Stphen Haren


Cinequest will bestow its most prestigious award to beloved star Bill Nighy. In a special event on March 6th, the award presentation will occur in conjunction with the highly anticipated U.S. premiere of Sometimes Always Never, starring Nighy.

For a man who had no initial aspirations to be an actor (but was told that’s what he should do by one of the first girls who paid any attention to him), Bill Nighy has had an incredible and prolific career. For over four decades, he has brought a unique sensibility and immense charisma to each of his roles. After attending the Guildford School of Acting, Nighy took to the stage, performing in numerous plays while also appearing on television and in bit parts in films. In 1991, Nighy was cast as womanizer Professor Mark Carleton in the miniseries The Men’s Room, launching what he considers his “real” career.

What often comes to mind when thinking of Nighy’s characters is an unflagging devil-may-care attitude, behind which lies a rock-hard truth. He is a master of the cavalier throwaway line that can be arrogant and sarcastic, yet also self-effacing, and is punctuated by a toss of the head, a thrust out chin, a shrug of the shoulders, eyebrows arched, and underscored with an impish, tight-lipped grin that says, “Hmmphh...but of course you know I’m right, heh-heh.” In Love Actually, playing the aged, “I don’t give a damn what anyone thinks of me anymore,” rock star Billy Mack, Nighy raises this insouciance to epic, hilarious heights, while still maintaining his character’s likability. It’s a tricky balancing act, but Nighy pulls it off beautifully.

Yet, for all his playfulness in some roles, don’t be fooled. Nighy can turn on a dime and command the screen with a steely gaze and tough-as-nails demeanor. The airy romcom sarcasm takes on a razor-sharp edge, capable of drawing blood. In the political thriller State of Play, his portrayal of sardonic newspaper editor Cameron Foster grabs you immediately. Regarding a freelance reporter who may have information on the conspiracy Foster’s paper is investigating, he observes, “He’s a pisshead. The reason he never sleeps is because he can’t turn his back on a drink. Loudmouthed bloody typist-that’s all you get with him.” Nobody can say “pisshead” quite like Bill Nighy. You can’t wait to hear Foster’s next line. Not surprisingly, Nighy received the BAFTA Best Actor award for his performance.

Additions to his storied artistry include: Still Crazy, Pirates of the Caribbean series, About Time, Lawless Heart , I Capture the Castle, Shaun of the Dead, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Notes on a Scandal, Hot Fuzz, Valkyrie, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1, Rango, and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. His performances were also acclaimed in the State of Play series and in the TV films The Girl in the Café, Gideon's Daughter, and Page Eight, for which he earned Golden Globe nominations-winning one for Gideon's Daughter.

For all the seeming ease in his acting, Nighy has always worked tirelessly at his craft and duly credits that dedication to his long and successful career. He knows that without all the work, the inherent fear in acting could consume him. In a BAFTA interview some years back, he put it simply and elegantly. “Acting is kind of scary. You have to operate whilst your head is attacking you.” His often deadpan delivery of lines belies the extreme care he takes in preparing for a role. But he has no use for “process” or “method.” In that regard, he is a true maverick. He only prepares, meticulously, each and every time. Learning his lines, his stage business, and hitting his marks takes him where he needs to go. He leaves the analysis to drama teachers and critics-firmly believing that with rigorous preparation, the undeniable magic that the stage, television, and films can create takes place. “I think what is exciting is when you realize your fellow actor is entirely prepared. If everybody is prepared, then you can start to rock.”

- P.D. Crane

Wed., March 6th, 715pm, CAL Theatre
Event includes the U.S. Premiere screening of Sometimes Always Never, a conversation with Bill Nighy, and Award presentation.

Through a passion for words, a father reconnects with his son.

The always tremendous Bill Nighy stars in this elegant, offbeat comedy-drama, terrifically written by Frank Cottrell Boyce (24 Hour Party People). Sharp of suit and vocabulary, Nighy is winningly deadpan as Scrabble-obsessed tailor Alan, whose eldest son Michael stormed out of the house after a particularly heated round of the popular board game, never to return. Years later, Alan and his other son Peter continue the search while trying to repair their own strained relationship. Working from a typically witty and astute script, director Carl Hunter deploys a vivid visual style and striking production design to capture the shifting moods of a family who know plenty of words but struggle to communicate. The film positively twinkles with happiness, and is performed with aplomb, particularly by Nighy, who brings a droll sprightliness and deadpan wit to the lead part, but shows how these mannerisms mask deeper emotions.