We bring you the facts about the star of MR TURNER…

Mike Leigh’s latest film – MR TURNER – is released in Irish cinemas this week, and stars Timothy Spall as the eccentric British painter JMW Turner. With this in mind, Movies.ie decided to bring you the facts about Spall who, if chatter is anything to go by, may well be up for an Oscar for his role in MR TURNER.

1. Early Years
Spall made his feature film debut in QUADROPHENIA, and went on to gain wider recognition when he starred in all four seasons of AUF WIEDERSEHEN, PET.

2. Family Career
Spall and his wife Shane have three children together. Their son Rafe is also an actor, and has starred in films including ONE DAY, I GIVE IT A YEAR and PROMETHEUS.

3. Sickness and Health
In 1996, Spall was diagnosed with leukaemia, but been in remission for some time. He has said of his illness; ‘I didn’t know what made me ill but stress had something to do with it and the point is now to head off stress at the pass. It made me aware of things and become more selective.’

4. ‘To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often’
Spall has portrayed Winston Churchill in 2 films; JACKBOOTS ON WHITEHALL and THE KING’S SPEECH. Both films were released in the same year. Spall also took on the role of Churchill for the 2012 London Olympic Closing Ceremony.Disne

5. Life Imitating Art
While preparing for his role in MR TURNER, Spall unintentionally assumed the character while in a pub; ‘I grunted in a Georgian way, “Are you a provider of wine?” I had to go and lean against a wall and take a deep breath to go back and ask, “Can I have a glass of Pinot Grigio?” This is the only time in my life when the character bled into me.’

6. Disney Darling
Spall played the Bayard in ALICE IN WONDERLAND, his second role in a Disney film. His first was as Nathaniel in ENCHANTED. Spall is set to reprise his role as Bayard in 2016’s sequel to ALICE IN WONDERLAND, titled ALICE IN WONDERLAND: THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS.

7. Sail Away
Between 2010 and 2012, Spall and his wife sailed their Dutch barge, The Princess Matilda, on trips around the British coast, the Isle of Man and Northern Ireland. The voyages were all captured on film, and broadcast in three separate parts on BBC Four. While filming one episode in 2011, the Spalls became lost in the River Medway estuary and had to be guided in by the Sheerness lifeboat.

8. Sing for your Supper
Spall sang his own vocals in SWEENEY TODD: THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET, but has also sung in TOPSY-TURVY, LUCKY BREAK and LOVE’S LABOURS LOST.

9. Sharing Roles
Gary Oldman and Timothy Spall, who starred together in the HARRY POTTER films, have both played the William Shakespeare-created character of Rosencrantz; Oldman in ROSENCRANTZ & GUILDENSTERN ARE DEAD and Spall in HAMLET.

10. Coming Up…
As well as ALICE IN WONDERLAND: THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS, Spall is set to star in Australian film SUCKER; a coming of age comedy about the timeless art of the swindle, the sting and sleight of hand.

MR TURNER is released in Irish cinemas on October 31st 2014

Words: Brogen Hayes