15th February 2009
It has been another extraordinary week in the world of finance and I only think of two words that sum up so much of it, greed and ego. And ego encapsulates so much more of our world than it should. I watched the Chairmen of the major fallen banks being questioned on television by the committee appointed to do. It took me back to the Senate Select Committees, I watched during Watergate and various other public scandals, when I lived in the US. I can tell you that the Brits have not got the hang of it. The last emotion you must not allow to creep through is disdain, a sort of ‘what am I doing here’ response. Even when they were saying sorry, it did not ring true; as many an actor has been told by a director ‘you are not just not believable’. The day to day managers were much better and their attitudes more acceptable. Maybe because they ARE trying to deal with the daily reality of the mess that they, we, are in.
The worst actors I worked with were generally functioning under an over inflated ego. I did a fairly forgettable film in Hong Kong some years ago. It was a love story and unfortunately I was one half of a relationship with a man, whom I could not stand. It was a real acting job I can tell you. I could never get away from him, because he was also directing the film. The actor had had a major success in an American television series about war. He was tall, dark and handsome, but that was the beginning, middle and end of his story, except that he had an ego that wouldn’t stop. I met George Hamilton once at a dinner party and he too was gorgeous, with an ego that wouldn’t stop. However he had a sense of humour about himself and of course that just added to his charm and took the edge off his ego.
I suppose a big ego in actors, without a sense of humour is an occupational hazard that one has to grin and bear. However major business players and powerful politicians are another matter, because they are dangerous. I suppose it is acceptable if they have the brains to go with it, but often ego and intellect seem not to go together. I can tell you it takes all the fun out of acting, when you feel like you are working with an egotistical brick wall, with whom you have nothing in common. My friend Ron Moody (now there’s an actor) won’t do it anymore. He’ll act, but is mighty selective. He appeared in a popular soap a couple of years ago and said he might as well been acting on Mars. I played Ron’s daughter in a television drama ‘I Want to go Home’,
some years ago. He played an old man trapped in bed in hospital and was brilliant. At the time he was a confirmed bachelor, I believe, living at home with his Mum and the next thing I knew he was married with seven or eight children!
I am off to the States this week to my house in Idaho, trying to make up my mind to see if I have the guts to go skiing again. Maybe not, I am planning to do the first of a short film series I am producing at the end of April and would prefer not to be in plaster casts. It will be lovely to see my son, daughter–in-law and my two little grandchildren again. I can’t help sneaking a quick picture of them on here!
I watched the BAFTA’s last week and am delighted that ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ is doing so well.
I was also delighted that Kate Winslett won for ‘The Reader’; it is one of most remarkable acting performances I have seen. Some people have whined that she is too good looking. Why should not a Nazi prison guard not have been attractive? What I loved about her performance is her acceptance of what she did, as just doing her duty. She just did not have to intelligence nor education to understand how wrong it was and that was how many of the ordinary Nazi’s were. Mickey Rourke too is remarkable in ‘The Wrestler’, see it when it is around.
Well that’s all for now. Next time it will be my 'Letter from America'. Thanks for reading my blog!