John Hurt - Details


"At the centre of the story is the relationship between father and daughter which survives everything and heals the wounds of history," explains John Madden. "Dr. Iannis' voice -- his experience, his sense of loss, and his belief in his daughter -- becomes the voice of the island, a place riven and shattered, but which builds on the rubble of the past a future of hope and renewal.
"The concept of healing is integral both to the vocation of medicine and to the mythology of Cephallonia. It takes the father's intervention to provide the balm that heals. That is why he writes the letter to Corelli.
"The story to some extent is about the balance between practical ideology and humanism. Although the culture is steeped in religious belief, Dr. Iannis is not a religious person - yet the moral heart of the film resides in him. He and Corelli have a natural affinity because this is true of him as well. Despite being the aggressor and occupier, Iannis immediately senses that Corelli is a man worthy of his daughter."
John Hurt grew a proper moustache for his role. "The Greeks are very proud of their moustaches," he comments. "They're an important part of their facial make-up and it's subtle enough not to interfere." The actor also had to master an accent, aided by voice coach, Joan Washington, and by being on the island. "The 'noise' one makes is extraordinarily important. We remember people by the sound of their voices, not just by their faces. There's no cut-and-dried scientific way of getting there. I listen all the time. Greek is a very polemical language, with lots of short vowels."
Dr. Iannis is "the sage of the piece, his awareness of the history and of what's happening making him almost a chorus. Though very much a member of his society, he also stands somewhat outside it. The community is religious but he is not. His passions for his daughter, his people and his work are enormous. He recognizes that Corelli is less interested in being a conqueror than in the glories of living."
On filming on the island of Cephallonia, Hurt comments, I sat and looked at the picture postcard view across the bay and then it drifted across my mind that these very extraordinary things happened really not that long ago, certainly within my lifetime.”
The story has many threads but Hurt believes that, in essence, it's about love. "It's not some sentimental or romantic tale, but it is about love, about the fact that if it weren't for love, there'd be no point in living."



  • 22nd January 1940 - Birth