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HENSHALL,DOUGLAS : IF ONLY

ACTOR OF LAST RESORT
If only one could change the past. . . how different life would be. That is the premise of a charming new British romantic drama, which introduces Scottish actor, Douglas Henshall, who would have been a journalist, if only….. PAUL FISCHER met Henshall at this year's Toronto Film Festival.

Douglas Henshall plays Victor, an often unemployed and unemployable actor who is down on his luck, drinking heavily, and having an affair. His girlfriend, Sylvia (Lena Headey), whom he really loves, finds out and dumps him. When she sets out to marry someone new, Victor magically goes back in time in order to try to win her heart again - then he, too, meets someone else at the least opportune moment. Following on the footsteps of the similarly plotted Sliding Doors, Henshall is not happy with the obvious comparisons between the two. "We were actually making this movie at the same time as Sliding Doors was being made, and obviously they released a long time before we did. I wouldn't want anybody to think that we made this movie on the back of Sliding Doors." The actor insists that his film is more than just Sliding Doors with a male perspective. "Ours is saying that regrets aren't really a good idea, because if you could go back and fix something, there are no guarantees that you won't mess it up in some other way."

"I really loved the story"

Henshall further defines the film - initially called The Man With Rain in his Shoes - as being "about human beings' inevitability to make mistakes, and you'll just grow up and life is suddenly perfect." He sees Victor "as a little bit lost as an actor. What I really liked was the ark of the character, and the changes he went through. But I really loved the story, because it was something different, and it finally gave me the chance to do something with a wee bit of comedy in it, which I haven't done." The character is also a frustrated actor, something which Henshall can identify with. "I don't think you can be involved with the acting profession for any length of time and not understand anything about frustration."

Henshall made his film debut under the name of 'Dougie' Henshall in the 1990 British crime thriller The Big Man, which starred Liam Neeson and Billy Connolly. The Glasgow-born actor moved to London. "I started out wanting to become a sports journalist. I wanted to do commentary on the football, but I never got the right qualifications at school to get me into the right college in Edinburgh. So I thought that if it's about qualifications, I don't want to be a journalist." Then Henshall thought of art school "but I never got my portfolio together in time."

"the job of last resort"

Acting, he says, became "the job of last resort." He studied in London, and has since garnered rave reviews for his portrayal of Corporal Berry in Dennis Potter's Lipstick on Your Collar (1993). His other film credits include Angels and Insects (1995), Orphans (1997) and Kull the Conqueror (1997).

He'll next be seen on the big screen in This Year's Love, which stars Catherine McCormack, Jennifer Ehle and Kathy Burke. Then he starts shooting a British TV movie, Psychos, about life in a mental hospital.

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