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Portrait of the City

Date posted: 10.01.2007

Veteran actors Peter O'Toole and Lesley Phillips return to the screen this month in the London-shot film, Venus. Roger Michell directs the Hanif Kureshi screenplay about an elderly actor and his relationship with a teenage girl played by Jodie Whittaker.

The Venus in question is the Velazquez masterpiece which Maurice (O’Toole) takes Jessie (Whittaker) to see at the National Gallery as he attempts to educate and introduce her to culture and art, away from alco-pops and junk food. The scenes were shot in the gallery, as well as in Trafalgar Square.

Jessie’s cultural journey continues through London - taking in The Royal Court theatre, Kenwood House in Hampstead Heath (where Maurice is acting in a period drama), the South Bank and also The Regent’s Park.

The North London residences of both Maurice and Ian (played by Phillips) were shot in and around Kentish Town. The local café featured, and the college where Maurice persuades Jessie to pose as a model at his life drawing class, were also lensed in this area.

The story centres round the bittersweet romance and friendship between Maurice and Jessie, and a parallel romance between the director and London.

Other locations featured include: St Paul’s Church, Covent Garden; AKA Bar; Aldwych Theatre; The Garrick Club; Central Middlesex Hospital and Victoria Station.

Read more about Venus on the official website:

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