Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt’s husband Stephen Kinnock starred in a hitherto un-noticed 2007 film by the Russian director Tatyana Karaeva, which in English was called “Haute Couture Dress”.
Karaeva, who felt the former British Labour Leader Neil Kinnock’s son looked like a young Tom Hanks, approached Kinnock while he was head of the British Council in St. Petersburg. She had met the young diplomat during a presentation event for a theatre director in the city.
“When I saw and heard how Stephen introduced the director, I thought that he resembled a young Tom Hanks and that perhaps I would be able to talk him into acting in the film. Afterwards at a reception I asked him and he asked for the manuscript to be sent to him,” Karaeva says.
The trailer for the Russian-language film says it “takes place in St. Petersburg, White Nights season. Masha managed to pull in the life of the "winning ticket" in the form of American Tim, who has a burning desire to marry a beautiful Russian girl.”
Hardly a seasoned actor, Kinnock’s only previous run-in with acting was in a nativity play at the age of nine. Nonetheless, the thought of acting in a Russian film attracted him – but felt he had to ask the boss at home first.
“But Helle gave the go ahead. Luckily she doesn’t judge me so much on my acting talents. They don’t seem to be important to her,” Kinnock says.
Asked why he decided to go ahead Kinnock adds: “Sometimes something pops up, and that was one of those moments. I felt that here was something that could be fun and interesting and could give me the chance to improve my Russian.”
The film has only been shown at a single cinema in Russia, where it was a success, but has also been shown on Russian and several other E. European and Asian television stations, including in Kazakhstan.
“OK, so perhaps I’m Borat Number 2,” Kinnock smiles.
Shortly after the film was released in Russia, Stephen Kinnock became embroiled in a diplomatic tit-for-tat operation between Moscow and London.
On January 17, 2008, as part of the imbroglio between Russia and Britain over diplomatic expulsions, Kinnock was detained for an hour late at night with claims that he had violated traffic rules.
In response to Britain’s decision to expel four Russian diplomats in connection with the 2006 Litvinenko murder, Russia ordered both the St. Petersburg and Ekaterinburg British Council offices to close.
DOCUMENTATION: See the full film here (External link)
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Edited by Julian Isherwood