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No introduction needed for two 'Clouds' actors

September 13, 2004|Susan King

Over the years, numerous real-life couples have played reel-life lovers on the big screen -- among them Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford, Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, Warren Beatty and Annette Bening.

Now Charlize Theron and Stuart Townsend carry on the tradition in the historical romance "Head in the Clouds," which opens Friday.

"Head in the Clouds" isn't the first time the two have acted together. They met while making "Trapped," a 2002 thriller that was both a critical and commercial failure. Theron has gone on to win an Oscar for "Monster"; Townsend's other credits include "About Adam," "Queen of the Damned" and "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen."

Though the 32-year-old Irish actor receives third billing after Theron and Penelope Cruz in "Head in the Clouds," the film revolves around Townsend's character, Guy -- a shy Irish schoolteacher who possesses a deep commitment to fight injustice in the world.

Set against the backdrop of the Spanish Civil War and World War II, "Head in the Clouds" chronicles the complicated, passionate love affair between Guy and Gilda Besse (Theron), a vibrant, hedonistic French heiress. Cruz plays Mia, a crippled Spanish nurse who lives with Gilda and Guy in Paris. Mia also happens to be Gilda's other lover.

Thomas Kretschmann of "The Piano" plays a Nazi general who takes Gilda as his mistress during the German occupation of Paris.

"Head in the Clouds" was written and directed by John Duigan, the British-born, Australia-based filmmaker who scored several art house successes early in his career with 1987's "The Year My Voice Broke" and 1991's "Flirting," which starred a young Nicole Kidman, Naomi Watts and Thandie Newton.

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-- Susan King

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