This lady was definitely one of my kind of people. Katharine Hepburn was talented, forthright, courageous, clevershe outsmarted the big Hollywood studios and she was funny. For anyone seriously considering going into the acting business, you could do worse than read a biography of her life and work. Kate, because that’s what we all called her, when we were making THE LION IN WINTER, started her career as a shining star and ended it as a revered shining star and a nominated actor, many times over. In the middle she was known as box office poison and couldn’t get work in the movies. So Kate being Kate, instead of saying “poor me”, went back to work in the theatre. She bought the rights to a play “The Philadelphia Story” and sent the script to Hollywood, without telling them who owned it. She suggested Spencer Tracy for the part eventually played by James Stewart. Hollywood loved it and said, but who will play the girl, the leading role. Kate says…I will play it”. “Ha, no way” says Hollywood, “ha, then you dont get the film” says Kate “because I own the rights. The rest is history, it is a classic film with wonderful performances, was later made into a musical with Grace Kelly and Frank Sinatra. And..Kate was the winner all round. She had the talent, she had the confidence and very importantly she had the rights!
We have become the Vampire Generation!!! It seems that if the blood of a young person…….. preferably a very young person, is transfused into the body of an old person, it will rejuvenate that old person and make them younger again. Now where have we heard this? In endless horror and vampire stories, I think. It all seems rather obscene to me, but who am I to argue with science and progress. Progress? Young blood, cloned animals, transplanted body parts….I will say no more. I played a vampire: Carmilla, bit of a lesbian as well, from the famous story by Sheridan Le Fanu. She took up with a young girl, who falls in love or in fascination with her and then Carmilla sucks her blood. All good fun…I loved doing it, but having the blood of a young person put into my body, to give me eternal youth, is a bit of a turn off!! We are all living rather too long nowadays, our design was for only about 40 years, so not a surporise, when things break down, rather like an old car!
Some of the most interesting people you meet in life are often complete strangers. I have just come back to the US from a trip to London and had great conversations with people just sitting having lunch or on a bus. Everyone has a story! It’s easy to strike up a conversation with perfect strangers, in my humble opinion, if you are interested in other people. As an actor I am always seeing the possibilities in people as characters. Real human beings are the basis for all the characters that we play. I store quite a few references in my head for future use, people that I might chat to wherever I find myself. It always comes back to research about a character, you are about to play ….why are they happy, unhappy, is it nuture or nature?
I happened to be in a store today checking out and the sales assistant and I started to talk about England and blow me, she informed me that her Uncle is the Highland Piper who plays the bag-pipes every morning for the Queen when she wakes up. This is one of her all important routines in life, like us Brits like an early morning cup of tea!
Some of my earliest experiences in the business was as a BBC actor. I had the opportunity to perform in some terrific productions there in my early years, I played Lorna Doone in “Lorna Doone”, a wonderful romantic story, “1984” the George Orwell book and many others. Check me out if you like, on IMDB. Of course I did become known as a Horror movie actress, having done a few of the those too…”The Hands of the Ripper” (playing the blind victim of Jack the Ripper’s daughter…get your head around that one). In horror, it’s fairly black or white, you are either the victim or the villain. Villains are more fun on the whole, in what I would term, lighter weight scripts. Interesting question though, could you spot a villain in real life? I doubt it. They are usually more complex than those who appear in the usual kind of horror films! I was a bad girl in a horror film, think it was called “Island of the Burning Damned” in the US…”The Night of the Big Heat” in the UK…about group of people caught up in an overheating world…this, we shot mid winter, light costumes and covered in glycerine (pretend sweat)! As you can see below….
Off to the Sun Valley Film Festival this week, I am looking forward to it. Our film THE DAMNED THING is an official entry and I hope to see old friend David Seidler (THE KING’S SPEECH) there, not to mention a couple of others. My favourite person this week is ME. I have been struggling with all the issues of trying to get stuff loaded on to the Internet, including the promo trailer for all 4 films that we now have for the Anthology New Chilling Tales and then it’s off to market with that after a quick trip to the UK, to find a new home and MAKE CONTACT with useful bods. Also been getting DVD’s done with the trailer, posters printed etc, etc. It’s all go. I have only myself to blame, I started all this now, now I have to see it through. I was up till 1am last night trying to figure out how to load a new page on to newchillingtales.com. Each time I thought I had it sorted, I would go to the link only to get the 404 message, page moved or disappeared….grrrh! Oh well persistence is my middle name. On we go friends.
My news…THE DAMNED THING is an official entry into the Sun Valley Film Festival and my kind of people is the great team who made it!
I am delighted to tell you that a New Chilling Tale, THE DAMNED THING is finished and has been accepted into the Sun Vally Film Festival as an Official entry! I am thrilled, it is a wonderful story, written by the great Civil War writer Ambrose Bierce. At the moment the first three films are available to purchase on a DVD, soon we will add THE DAMNED THING. THE DAMNED THING tells of a man, a loner, who is haunted by some creature he can hear, but cannot see. This is the story of what happened to him! Another Classic story, we have recreated on film. Stay tuned ! Thank you.
Now this covers two people that I admire. The Queen and my Mother. As you might have guessed this is a fashion drawing of the Queen in her Coronation gown, 1953. My mother was the artist, she drew this sketch before rushing off to Scotland to marry her second husband. In the 1940’s and 1950’s pen and ink sketches were all the newspapers used for their fashion pictures and this is one of them. The year was 1953 and the artists were given a very small window of time to see the dress, sketch it and get it out to t
The dress was stunning according to Mum, covered in precious jewels and embroidered with the symbolic plants of the United Kingdom…the Thistle for Scotland, the Rose for England, the Shamrock for Northern Ireland and the Leek for Wales. I was a great fan of the Royals, mainly for their wardrobe and all the clothes I couldn’t have and of course the jewellry. I do think the Queen has done a remarkable job, for a remarkable length of time, so I am a fan and she is my kind of people. Of course my Mother is defintely my kind of people, although she is no longer with us. She worked so hard and was very talented. As I may have mentioned we were quite poor and I remember her bringing freelance work home, which she often did at night, with her huge drawing board laid across her knees in bed, sketching. The ink part to be done later!
Oscar nominations have been announced and include a few of my kind of people, mainly the women for now and mainly the older women.(Like me) I have to say quickly I love men and will talk about the later, but for now I want to focus on the women. Among the 10 nominations, 5 for Best Actress and 5 for Best Supporting actress and their ages range from an amazing 24 to an amazing 85. I am thrilled and delighted that so many older women are making it still in the acting laurels game. Listing in alphabetical order:
1. We have the lovely Amy Adams nominated for best actress for AMERICAN HUSTLE, she has already won the Best Actress award (Comedy) at the Golden Globes, SAG awards and Critics Choice (Comedy) and now old man Oscar is staring her in the face. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, does not divide up Comedy and Drama and Action Feature, it’s just Best Performance Actor or Actress, Leading or Supporting…it does make the show a bit shorter! And these award shows are now Big Business for Television and their advertisers, so long as they do not grow by too many and too long and drive away audiences, which could happen! Amy is 40, which is an nice respectable age for a lady competing for an Oscar.
2. The talented Cate Blanchett for Leading actress for BLUE JASMINE…another terrific actress and she has already won twice for her acting in this film, Golden Globes (Drama) and Critics Choice (Drama). Cate has already got one or two excellent performances under her belt at the age of 45.
3. GRAVITY is such a masterful movie and to be able to engage an audience in the midst of all this technical wizardry and hold the audience, almost alone for an entire film is major feat in itself. So I salute Sandra Bullock and her wonderful skills stamina and appearance at the age of 50. And “boo” to all those ‘nay sayers’ who moaned about her hair and wardrobe.
4. Then we come to the extraordinary actress Judi Dench nominated for Leading Actress at the age of 80 for her moving and intelligent performance as “Philomena” in the film of the same name. I first saw Judi at the Old Vic Theatre, when I was still at school, playing “Juliet” in “Romeo and Juliet…we could see then that she was a major actress in the making…she is a joy to watch on screen and stage.
5. On to Sally Hawkins, who has been nominated for Best Supporting Actress for BLUE JASMINE at aged 38, a mere child and a terrific comedienne…HAPPY-GO- LUCKY.
6. And now the baby of the bunch, Jennifer Lawrence 24, nominated as Best Supporting Actress in AMERICAN HUSTLE, for which she has already won the Golden Globe award. It really is a remarkable performance from such a young person, but she won an Oscar last year and has consistently demonstrated a unique and magical talent.
7. We have Lupito Nyong’o 31, in the tragic film 12 YEARS A SLAVE, vulnerable and tragic and already a two times winner, the SAG awards and the Critics Circle, according to her biography she is also a Director. No doubt we will see more of this talented lady.
8. Julia Roberts ..47.. is nominated for Best Supporting Actress and quite honestly I think this terrific actress should be in the Best Actress Group. She gives a real leading performance and she and Meryl Streep make a formidable team of battling women. Sadly this is often down to the films distributors who are afraid that two equal actresses in a leading category will “knock each other out of the race” and so they “suggest” one actress be in a supporting role, to give them both a chance. This is the machinations and politics of Hollywood…an Oscar win means a lot more money at the box office.
9. The Queen of Movies: Meryl Streep, still going strong at the age of 65… is an amazing and consistently outstanding actress and star. She is extraordinary in AUGUST OSAGE COUNTY and is not afraid to appear as a nasty, bitter, vindictive woman, which might give many actresses pause before taking on such hateful character.
10. And lastly in the alphabet, we have a terrific performance from the great June Squibb, aged 85, who can still pull if off at that age as the miserable, irritating and so believable wife in NEBRASKA. Go…June!!! There is hope for us all yet.
And there my friends is a great group of women who should all win, but…………….we wont change the system.