Sean Joins Fight To Save Cinema
BY ANGIE BROWN
SCREEN star Sir Sean Connery has joined the battle to save the
Capital’s most famous cinema from closure.
The Edinburgh-born James Bond star warned the city risked losing
star-studded film premieres and a building that was "full of
character" and close to his heart if the Odeon in Clerk Street
The cinema has been earmarked for closure within the next year
despite winning a stay of execution earlier this month.
The world-famous actor, who brought the premiere of his film Entrapment
to the Odeon, said it would be a sad day for the city if the cinema’s
reprieve did not become permanent.
Sir Sean, who now lives in the Bahamas, said: "I was delighted
to hear that the closure of the Odeon has been put on hold.
"It’s a fantastic film centre, full of character, with
fond memories for me. The Odeon is exactly the kind of facility
that Edinburgh should be building up - not shutting down.
"We brought the premiere of Entrapment to the Odeon because
of what it has to offer - that would all be lost, and Edinburgh
would be the poorer, if it closed."
Sir Sean attended the Entrapment premiere with Catherine Zeta Jones
at the Odeon in 1999.
Among the other events Sir Sean has attended at the cinema over
the years was the premiere of the James Bond film Diamonds are Forever
He is the latest film star, following fellow Scots actors Dougray
Scott, James Cosmo and Brian Cox, to offer his support to campaigners
fighting to save the Odeon.
A storm of protest followed the initial announcement that the Southside
cinema would close on April 24. It has since been given a reprieve
of six to 12 months by cinema chiefs.
But campaigners fighting to reverse the decision today welcomed
Sir Sean’s backing as a "big boost". Residents in
the area, who fear the art deco building could be turned into a
nightclub, believe the extra time given them by the reprieve may
prove crucial. Maggie Wilson, former chairwoman of the Southside
Association, said Sir Sean’s support had given the community
more hope it would survive as a cinema.
"I am very pleased that Sir Sean is backing us. We do not
want to see the Odeon go or be turned into a nightclub as it is
the only cinema in the area. Sir Sean’s support will help
elevate the campaign’s profile. I would also urge everyone
to continue going to the Odeon to keep attendance figures up."
The cinema has been taken over by developer Duddingston House Properties,
which is behind separate plans to open a live jazz club in the city
with musician Jools Holland.
The Odeon chain said it plans to lease the Clerk Street premises
from the new owners until a decision has been made over the long-term
future of the site.
Odeon chiefs have blamed growing competition from out-of-town multiplexes
for their decision to sell the cinema. Kevin Pringle, SNP Scottish
Parliament candidate for Edinburgh Central whose constituency would
cover the Clerk Street cinema, said he was determined to keep the
"I’ve had a great response to our campaign - over a
thousand leaflets have distributed locally, and Sean’s endorsement
gives us a big boost.
"When Sean brought the Entrapment premiere to Edinburgh, he
brought it to the Odeon - not to any of the new multiplexes - because
the Odeon is different and distinctive. Unless we save the Odeon,
Edinburgh will lose a real economic asset, as well as an important
Edinburgh city council’s planning convener Bob Cairns, whose
ward includes Clerk Street, said he was "delighted" to
hear Sir Sean was supporting the campaign .
"I think such a big name will help the campaign. I’m
informed the Odeon has the only screen in Edinburgh suited for premieres
because it has two projectors.
"The unique twin projectors are there in case one breaks down
during the film.
"I think it is very appropriate Sir Sean has intervened considering
he has attended premieres at the cinema."
(EDINBURGH EVENING NEWS 10/04/2003)