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15 MAY [1987]

...Tim Roth is cast as Harold, and I'm shocked when I meet him because I had written Harold as an unorganized and rather messy activist, a contemporary of Gus' and Diana's. Tim is cool and dapper, and looks at least ten years younger than Diana. Chris [Menges, the director] tells me to have faith, but I'm not convinced he's not going to be perceived as Diana's toyboy....


Tim Roth (Harold) flies in. [The film was shot in Zimbabwe.] He's not happy about Harold. He wants some changes made. Harold should be better delineated, more involved, have more presence. In other words, and what I hear, Harold needs more screen time. I've nothing against this in theory, but at this stage what we gain we lose elsewhere.


Tim Roth wonders what's happening on Harold. I've expanded the scene in the office, given him more dialogue. I've written him into the church hall meeting scene when Solomon is arrested. He wants to be at the funeral. You are at the funeral, I say. No, he doesn't want to be standing around the graveside with the women. He wants to be in the action, with the rock-throwing breakaway group who confront the security forces. Yours would be the only white face, I point out. Why is that wrong, he asks. Because it is, in the context and the time. [South Africa, 1963.] Don't worry, says Chris [Menges] in an aside, we won't see him, I promise. Then why should he be there in the first place?


[Filming the funeral scene]...I spot Harold (Tim Roth) in the breakaway militant group, the crowd. He's running with them, throwing rocks. The only white face. Chris is too exhausted to take him on. Don't worry, he assures me, we'll never see him on screen. (You have to be quick, but he's there...)


...I watch my favorite scene--Harold with Molly at the school, after Diana's re-arrest. I'm horrified when Tim Roth wants to play it sitting down, on the ground. I know this is a scene that must be played standing up. We shoot it both ways.


...I may have given the impression that I often experienced it as interference, but in the end I have nothing but respect and thanks for the part the actors played. In their individual attempts to centre themselves in their roles, they gave the story life and texture...

A World Apart