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Portrait of the artist

TIMOTHY Spall has told how he was ordered by Mike Leigh to learn to paint more than two years before their latest film - a biopic of painter JMW Turner.

Spall, whose career includes appearances in a string of Leigh's films, ended up taking lessons in preparation for the role.

Speaking at the Cannes Film Festival, he said: "A brilliant English portrait painter called Tim Wright gave me lessons - when I wasn't working I'd see him two or three times a week."

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