Thursday, February 5, 2015

Talking to a Movie Star

What a terrific performance,” Mr. Wonderful said folding a coat over his arm. I nodded.
“He said to meet him after the show,” I said exiting the theater for the lobby.
“Then we’ll meet him now.”
What if he’s not cool?”
“Then he’s a fool.”
“What do you think he’ll be like?” I said biting a fingernail.
“… A human being.”

As a girl I read a lot of books: Ethan Frome, O Pioneers! and that feel-good Orwellian comedy, 1984. I also read my fair share of 19th century English literature, namely: Jane Austen, E.M. Forster and more Jane Austen. After all, who doesn’t love Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy? I dare say, Mis-ter Dar-cy.

I particularly liked the book A Room with View by E. M. Forster. My fondness for the book was rooted in several possible elements. It could have been the Italian travel component (Rome and Florence!); or could have been Lucy, the free spirited young heroine who follows her heart; or it could have been the free-thinking, Thoreau-reading man she kissed in a field of red poppies. Che bello!

When I discovered that A Room with a View had been made into a movie I watched it on DVD, VHS and Betamax, which is where I first saw the actor, Julian Sands. He played the free-thinking, Thoreau-reading man whom Lucy kissed in a field of red poppies. And as “George Emerson” he was perfect; a total movie star.

Years later I had the pleasure of meeting him on 24, the TV show I was working on when he had a guest starring role as an evil Russian bad guy named Bierko. When I met him off-camera he was so humble and pleasant. But he didn’t need to be humble or pleasant because he had played “George bloody Emerson”. Perfectly!

Recently our paths crossed again over a project I was working on. Julian was performing a one-man show about the British writer Harold Pinter, “A Celebration of Harold Pinter”, whom he had known personally. Using that personal connection to inform his work in this show, he chose to highlight Pinter's poetry and the Pinter... Pause. Julian's performance was powerful, real, humorous and heartfelt. Uh, Hello? Of course it was. He's a movie star who played "George frickin' Emerson"!

Through our talks about my project, Julian had invited Mr. Wonderful and me to visit him after the Pinter show in the theater's reception room. After a tour de force performance of Pinter, Julian was still on and working the room; saying witty things to theater patrons, fans and moi. (Although I'm both a theater patron and a fan.) Through it all he was still so humble and pleasant. If all movie stars--and people--were like him the world would be a better place.

Although the project I was working on did not work the way I wished it had, I got to talk to and hug a movie star whom Mr. Wonderful called “a... human being.” And I called “a fantastic... human being”.

It was better than talking to "George @#$% Emerson"... Almost.

"A Celebration of Harold Pinter" is traveling throughout the country. If it comes to your town, do yourself a favor and see it.

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