Good Omens to have special free screening at the Edinburgh International Film Festival
- Alex Johnston
- 21 May 2019
The long-awaited TV adaptation of Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett's comedy-fantasy masterpiece is one of many festival events with a Scottish angle
And the heavens did open, and the angels came down, and lo, they sang with one voice, and the words they sang were: Rejoice, for the TV adaptation of Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman's Good Omens is coming very soon. And those fans who can restrain themselves from watching the entire thing in a oner are in for a treat, because the Edinburgh International Film Festival is giving a special free screening of the whole thing on Sat 29 Jun.
Good Omens, originally published in 1990, was the only collaboration of two of Britain's best writers of fantasy. The story of an Antichrist who's switched at birth with an ordinary small boy, and who then grows up in a small English town unaware that he's fated to be a major player in the End Times, it's a small miracle of storytelling, fantasy and jokes: for example, did you know that the M25 Orbital Motorway is designed that way because it's the shape of a demonic sigil? It explains so much.
The casting alone is BAFTA-worthy, headed by David Tennant and Michael Sheen as the reluctant demon/angel duo of Crowley and Aziraphale, but also featuring Josie Lawrence as the prophetess Agnes Nutter, whose prophecies, such as 'Do Notte Buye Betamacks', are all true but nobody understands them at the time; Jon Hamm as the angel Gabriel; Jack Whitehall as hapless witchfinder Newt Pulsifer; Adria Arjona as Agnes' plucky descendant Anathema Device; and big names such as Michael McKean, Nick Offerman, Benedict Cumberbatch and Frances McDormand in various supporting roles.
A film of the book was in development for years, with Terry Gilliam attached at one point, but it fell through. Gaiman started work on the TV version at the request of Pratchett, who died in 2015. The series is directed by Scottish director Douglas MacKinnon (The Flying Scotsman and episodes of Outlander, Sherlock and Doctor Who) and features music by David Arnold.
The EIFF this year has a strand of Scottish-themed events. 4 Views of Scotland shows a selection of Film 4 and Channel Four productions about Scotland, with Paul McGuigan's The Acid House, Philip John's Wedding Belles and Ken Loach's Carla's Song and My Name Is Joe. There are Scottish Shorts from the Scottish Film Talent Network; a programme of documentaries called Phenomenal Women, curated by Scottish Documentary Institute director Noe Mendelle; and a programme of short films by young Scottish filmmakers. Other events include the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra's performance of Miles Davis' Sketches of Spain; a conversation between composer Craig Armstrong and actor-director Peter Mullan; a screening of The Amber Light, a documentary about the mythology of whisky; and a panel discussion, Food for Thought, chaired by Fiona Richmond of Scottish Food & Drink.
And of course, there are the features filmed and set in Scotland: Jamie Adams' Balance, Not Symmetry; David McLean's Schemers; Brian Cox and Blythe Danner in Strange But True and Angus Macfadyen in Robert the Bruce.
More information on the festival is available at the EIFF website.
The 73rd Edinburgh International Film Festival runs from Wed 19–Sun 30 Jun 2019.