Wednesday, 19 September 2007

Only Me

This week Mr. David at Authorblog asks

Hollywood's knocking on your door, to offer you top billing in a studio blockbuster, alongside any movie star of your choice. Whom do you choose?

My answer is - and I'm sure he's getting a lot of these - my dear, I already did.

"Diamond Skulls", a long-forgotten blockbuster, starred Gabriel Byrne as Hugo and... me as somebody else.

A scene in the movie was filmed on the trading floor of the stockbroker firm for which I worked. Just two shots of Hugo walking past the floor to an office, for a dramatic interview therein.

Things went wrong with the dramatic office bit, the schedule overran, and at around six in the evening the crew still had the two walking-past clips to shoot. All the 'real' people had gone home.

I was working late as usual, and got volunteered for promotion from computer programmer to stock trader.

As Stock Trader #1 I hunkered down in my suit, tapped a computer screen with a pen and mouthed my sales pitch silently into a telephone as Hugo walked by.

No jacket, a new (and itchy) shirt from Wardrobe, different camera angle, and I was Stock Trader #2, doing a quick cocaine-snortery nose-rub as Hugo walked by, still, to the fatal interview that he had already, in fact, had several times over.

I made a much better Stock Trader than the stock traders themselves, easy-peasy.

It struck me that the first rule of movie-making is that everything actually happens backwards or sideways, and always goes wrong anyway. It is only in the cutting room that somebody somehow splices the bits together and miraculously creates a Story.

See Truffaut's "La Nuite Americaine" ("Day for Night") for the difficulties of, f'rinstance, getting a cat to drink from a saucer of milk on camera. Or Cimino's epic "Heaven's Gate", where John Hurt does heroic things in an heroic gunfight in a log cabin in Wyoming in 1890, his hair cut and dyed for his stage role as Quentin Crisp, "The Naked Civil Servant", an extravagantly homosexual hairdo which was shocking fifty years later and in a different country.

Would I work with Gabriel again? Absolutely.

Will I ever? Nope, my movie career began and ended that evening in 1988.

Sure, I could go wait tables along Sunset Boulevard like all the other starlets-to-be, but I suspect that, given my age and sex, only the weirdest of Moguls would want to drag me off to his casting couch.


Hollywood here I come! Hope you're ready for me.


OHara said...

Very exciting and surprising.
But that is your 15 minutes of fame all over with! I still have mine to go.

The last time I saw Gabriel I think he was playing a priest at the end of the world.
(Not physically the end of the world - like where all the pirates go).
Apparently yesterday was Talk Like A Pirate Day. Damn. Missed it.

Chertiozhnik said...

Only about 30 seconds of fame.

I still got a life, and another 14:30 to live for.

Yes it was, I did, and haaaargh.

OHara said...

So it is meant to be taken literally then?
15 minutes really does mean 15 minutes?

Some people have far more than they deserve.

Chertiozhnik said...

I think I might sell my remaining 14:30 to K-Fed or whoever wants to bid for it.

That's how they do it. Blame the free market.