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Alan Moore: why I turned my back on Hollywood

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Rachel Dearth
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« on: December 20, 2012, 05:16:20 pm »

Moore is a puzzle, and one of the more startling facts about him is that he has spent his life in Northampton, the UK's 73rd biggest town, rich in terms of local history and deprived in most other senses. "So many of the shops are dying on their arse. The only people prospering are the plasterboard manufacturers."

Yet he never expects to leave, even as enthusiasm for his fictions grows in the wider world. A Watchmen film was a big hit four years ago, taking about £140m at the box office. Meanwhile it was the 2005 film made of Moore's V for Vendetta that spawned those unnerving Guy Fawkes masks, the ones habitually worn by protest groups such as Occupy. The masks are now such a potent symbol of rebellion that they were last month outlawed in the UAE, "but I don't want to take credit," says Moore. "It's these protesters making their individual efforts that are doing the job." Besides he is reluctant, ever, to let his attentions stray too far from Northampton. When in 2007 he was asked to appear in an episode of The Simpsons, a producer flew to the Midlands from Los Angeles so that Moore could record his dialogue in a ramshackle studio near to his home.

"This is a good place for me. Keeps me focused. Life's not easy; it's not massively difficult. There's a gravity about Northampton that I like."

The short film Moore scripted, premiered online last month, is called Jimmy's End, an unsettling and richly realised story about the underworld that's directed by fellow Northamptonian Mitch Jenkins. It was shot in a working men's club in town, and features Moore in a brief cameo.

Why make a film now, after so many years of squirming resistance? "My main experiences in the past had been of the Hollywood variety, which was on many levels repulsive to me. Every film is a remake of a previous film, or a remake of a television series that everyone loved in the 1960s, or a remake of a television series that everyone hated in the 1960s. Or it's a theme park ride; it will soon come to breakfast cereal mascots.

"But I'd always thought I liked the idea of a really cheap, little film. If you want to be a writer or an artist, all you need is a Biro and a Woolworths jotter; it's a democratic medium. I love films that are made with almost no budget."
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