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Derek de Lint Home Again In Roeland Kerbosch's "Affair Play"
by Eric Koch

click here for the original article in Dutch
1999. Uitgave B.V. Dagblad De Telegraaf.

Many thanks to Bill van Voorthuysen
for the superb translation of this Dutch article into English.

They've seen it all, in Amsterdam. But a nearly naked man in a chilly autumn rain, screaming while trying to restrain a young woman, is enough to stop the passersby along Reguliers Canal.

The woman tears herself loose and flees into a totally strange car waiting for the bridge to drop and let it pass. On the rear seat of the expensive Bentley sits a surprised Derek de Lint. His unconventional introduction to Lysette Anthony represents the beginning of a rather dramatic romance in "Affair Play", the new movie directed by Roeland Kerbosch and produced by Matthijs van Heijningen.

"Amusing scene, no?" remarks a happily smiling Kerbosch after the take. "Not something that'll happen to you too often. But you don't go to the movies to watch everyday happenings. Truly, a fairy tale. But you'd be perfectly willing to believe the unfolding story for an hour and a half. As a movie maker, I try to look through the eyes of the viewer."

That is why Kerbosch lets Lysette Anthony (the British actress whom we still fondly remember from "Looking for Eileen") break up with her friend in a sauna. After which the man, draped in only a towel, follows her into the street trying to make her change her mind. The meeting with Derek, however, is going to put her in even greater jeopardy.

Between the two of them, a beautiful relationship grows, but sinister past happenings stand in the way of prolonged happiness. De Lint is (again) tortured by an overdose of jealousy, which he tries to control by a dangerous act. He then comes close to losing Lysette, but after he finally musters the courage to confront his past, there is hope for a shared future.

Roeland Kerbosch, in his (English language) psychological thriller, evaded a too easy happy ending. "I like stories that allow the viewers to fill out a few things for themselves. That's what should distinguish "Affair Play" from the average American thriller. Technically speaking, this movie ought to be able to compete with the Hollywood products. Camera man Nils Post will make sure of that. He is never satisfied with any shot, but I know the results of his perfectionism. He demonstrated that in 'Voor een verloren soldaat' ('For A Lost Soldier'.)"

That movie took Roeland Kerbosch behind the camera again, with remarkable results, for the first time since the last production he directed. He gave evidence of great progress as a cineast. His feeling for nuances in a story full of emotional booby traps, strangely enough, was not fully appreciated in his own country. But this atmospheric movie was among the top fifty most watched ones in the U.S. for weeks.

His reentry was more or less a matter of necessity. Kerbosch, then the producer of movies like "Ademloos" (Breathless), had been looking for a long time for a director to film his story. "Typically Dutch," Kerbosch thinks. "Everybody wants to be a writer. The mere trade of converting a story into pictures is considered too menial a job. Well, so I just did it myself.

And I found I just liked it again. In spite of all the problems. We had a very inexperienced crew. But a lot of hard work got done. This time, I kept myself occupied more with the whole than with the details. In the past, I got myself involved into everything. You then lose the overall picture. I feel a lot more relaxed now than before. And that makes the job a lot more fun."

Partnership Even more so, because he knew to be surrounded by professionals. With smart and experienced Matthijs van Heijningen he has formed a two-man team for years already. "His first production was one of my own movies," Roeland Kerbosch remembers. "Later on, we lost sight of each other. We started working together again when he arranged for 'Ademloos', which originally was to be made for T.V., was rescheduled to be run in movie theaters."

Together with Van Heijningen he took over the well-known art house theater 'The Movies'. Plans to put a large movie theater complex on the Haarlemmerplein (plaza) are in an advanced stage. "Nice, your own movie theater," Kerbosch says. Both of us are movie lovers. With a product like "Affair Play" it's also nice to know you're dealing with a kindred spirit."

Regarding the choice of main actors they were in complete agreement. Derek de Lint is truly a giant, someone of international standing. In his own country he is sometimes under appreciated, I suspect. Perhaps also because he mostly mostly abroad. He is a pure professional, one who plies his trade quite well, without much fanfare. Very clever, the way he manages to loosen up that originally starchy business man in 'Affair Play' more and more in the course of his relationship with that young woman. No matter how much you put in a story, it still remains up to the actor to flesh out the persona.

It took a few years. De Lint grew up as an actor before the cameras. He was a movie personage as a handsome young man in 'Kort Amerikaans', but during that time he was not supposed to open his mouth too much yet. He later honed his talent in acclaimed international productions like 'The Unbearable Lightness of Being'. In Amsterdam, the emphatic grey in his black hair indicated a new phase in his career.

"Dyed grey, really," laughs forty-something De Lint. "But I'm now being asked for older roles as well. I'm not unhappy about that: this age period offers interesting possibilities." He grimaces. "As long as you don't end up in that familiar Hollywood cycle. When you're young, it's: Derek de Lint, who is that? Then follows: We want Derek de Lint for that role. When you get older, they'll say 'find me a Derek de Lint look-alike'. And finally you hear again: Derek de Lint, who's that?'

Just like it was for director Paul Verhoeven and his colleagues Rutger Hauer and Jeroen Krabbe, 'Soldaat van Oranje' was an international business card for De Lint. He, however, did not choose to stay abroad permanently. "In Hollywood, you sit closer to the fire, sure. But if you drop by regularly, they will remember you. My family is much more important than my career. My wife has a nice job in Amsterdam and my kids are happy in school."

Both of his sons are interested in movies. The youngest one plays a bad boy who throws a rock through De Lint's apartment window, even a minor role in 'Affair Play'. So Derek de Lint can afford to age without having to worry: Someone is ready to take his place as the 'jeune premier'.

Translated article added to this website: 4/27/99

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