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Cinema: HEAD TO head - Max Beesley & Mark Williams.

One of them earns his living as the pretty boy of British films, trotted out whenever the screen needs brightening up with handsome features. The other is a character actor, known for his funny face and hilarious comedy characters in The Fast Show. But now they're appearing side by side in the new Brit flick Anita And Me, based on the best-selling book by Meera Syal. But which of them has Hollywood in their sights and which of them is destined for work in the local chippy?

MAX BEESLEY

BORN: Burnage, Manchester.

AGE: 31

SPEEDY STARTS: Max was brought up in a Manchester suburb, son of cool jazz drummer Maxton Beesley and jazz singer Chris Marlowe. He claims that he always wanted to be an actor and started appearing on the London social scene in the mid-'90s in a bid to get his face known around town. He finally got a part in a 1997 TV mini series and has, erm, hardly stopped working since. 3/10

FUNNY GUY? Well, he did star as that great character Wullie Smith in The Match, and in the critically-slammed Maria Carey showcase Glitter. But in Britain he's best known for his love life. A two-year relationship with Mel B, Scary Spice, ensured his face was rarely out of the newspapers. And a pretty face it is too - so pretty that the love god wears a wedding ring when out on the town to warn off randy women. 2/10

FAST FORWARD: Anita And Me is a chance to show the world he really can act. And in case that fails, he's got a film for release in 2003, The Visitors. He's moved to LA and plans to further his career by meeting Hollywood moguls in the gym. Hopefully, if it all fails, it won't faze him as he's a committed Buddhist. 4/10

VERDICT: 9/30

MARK WILLIAMS

BORN: Birmingham.

AGE: 43

SPEEDY STARTS: Life began on a Birmingham council estate, but Mark rose above his roots to read English at Oxford. He claims to always have had a passion for acting, but his break took a while to arrive. Probably because, as he admits, he has a face like "the corner of a crocodile handbag". For years he supplemented occasional roles by falling back on his carpentry skills, serving in a fish and chip shop, and even working in a psychiatric unit. 6/10

FUNNY GUY? Meeting Paul Whitehouse in a shared cab ride worked out well for Mark. Paul liked his sense of humour and asked him to join the Fast Show team just weeks before they were commissioned and became a national institution. Soon afterwards Mark made his Hollywood breakthrough in 101 Dalmatians, going on to Shakespeare In Love and the new Harry Potter film. 8/10

FAST FORWARD: He's currently touring with a live Fast Show extravaganza and, bizarrely, can also be seen in a new 10-part series for the Discovery Channel exploring subjects such as mining and cotton-making. 6/10

VERDICT: 20/30

CAPTION(S):

IT'S ALL AN ACT: Max; SUITS YOU, SIR: Mark
COPYRIGHT 2002 MGN LTD
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Copyright 2002 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Nov 29, 2002
Words:516
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