Hollywood star to visit Harwich

HE'S tackled gangsters, spies and dubious government officials, but now one of Britain's biggest movie stars is to take on an audience of film fans at a special screening in Essex.

Elliot Furniss

HE'S tackled gangsters, spies and dubious government officials, but now one of Britain's biggest movie stars is to take on an audience of film fans at a special screening in Essex.

Clive Owen will be taking part in an exclusive question and answer session after a showing of his latest picture, action thriller The International, at the historic Electric Palace Theatre in Harwich.

Mr Owen became patron of the cinema in November 2006 and has helped support the team of dedicated volunteers who run it.


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He and his wife, who have a home nearby, used to watch films at the old cinema in the early part of their relationship and Mr Owen offered his backing to the Palace when it emerged that costly structural repairs were needed in order for the site to remain operating.

With his support, a fundraising campaign successfully reached its target and the repairs have since been undertaken, with the cinema now going from strength to strength.

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Peter Hadley, a member of the Harwich Electric Palace Trust, said Mr Owen had been a “surprisingly hands-on” patron and was regularly in touch.

He said: “He's always keen to know what's going on here. Every time he's back he meets up with one of us.

“He has been away in Australia shooting a movie but he's surprisingly hands-on really. This screening and question and answer session was entirely his idea - it's his baby.

“People love the format. We've done them in the past and you think 'can we do something more interesting?' but it's such a winner.

“They love to see a movie and ask a question about it to the people involved.

“With the banking theme, The International couldn't be more topical right now.”

After a break from the big screen in 2008, the Oscar-nominated actor will also be appearing in romantic spy film Duplicity with Julia Roberts when it reaches cinemas next month.

The Electric Palace first opened its doors in 1911 but was closed in 1956 after 45 years of continued screenings, only interrupted by flooding in 1953.

It reopened in 1981 after being painstakingly restored by the Harwich Electric Palace Trust and now runs as a club, with a small membership fee payable on entry.

Tickets for the special screening of The International are still available. For more information, and details about membership, visit www.electricpalace.com.

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