|Sunday, November 30, 2003|
As far as politics goes, she may have earned the sobriquet of an Iron Lady. But when it comes to films, former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher is apparently all at sea.
A new book titled Cinematic Legends narrates an interesting anecdote in the chapter on the late Audrey Hepburn.
When Thatcher met Hepburn at a UNICEF function in 1997, she squeezed the actress’ had and complimented her saying she looked so much younger in real life than she did in The African Queen.
The visibly embarrassed Audrey told Thatcher that the lady in that movie was not her but the 40s superstar Katherine Hepburn.
Upon this Iron Lady gave her a surprised look, squeezed her hand again and whispered in her ear, "Gosh, anyone could make that mistake. You do look so much like your mother!" Quite clueless that the two had nothing in common except their second name.
The slip’s showing
The ravishing Melanie Griffith has been hiding a dark little secret all these years. But during the filming of Love On the Rocks, her latest starrer opposite Michael Douglas, the cat came tumbling out of the bag: Tight close-ups of her face revealed unflattering crow’s feet around her eyes.
Now, this is the last thing producers wanted as Melanie is playing the role of a beautiful middle-aged woman on a spy mission to North Korea. When the 39-year-old actress saw the rushes of the film she screamed in horror and begged for a re-shoot.
The make-up chief shied away, saying he could do nothing more than what he had already done to hide her crinkles. So poor Melanie rushed to a plastic surgeon and got her skin pulled around the eyes, the bags removed and her puffy lids lifted before the producers agreed for a re-shoot—much to the annoyance of Michael Douglas who had to do a lot of juggling with his dates to finish the film.
The new godfather
Despite being one of the most gifted actors around, Gene Hackman has seldom committed himself to serious and challenging roles. Now, for the first time in years, he’s accepted a role which could be a standard-setter for future stars.
In a new, untitled film, Hackman is set to play the all powerful Mafia boss Jimmy Hoffa during the John F. Kennedy era.
In the sixties, Hoffa challenged the might of the Mafia, traumatised President Kennedy with blackmail, was partially responsible for Marilyn Monroe’s suicide and then, simply dropped off the face of the earth.
Hackman is all excited about the past which he feels will re-establish him as the best actor of his generation — a sobriquet which has been taken away from him by actors like Robert De Niro, Jack Nicholson and Anthony Hopkins.
Hardly anyone in Hollywood knew about his existence till Cape Fear came along. And that film, in which she played Nick Nolte’s daughter changed everything for Juliette Lewis who is the current hot property of the tinsel world.
Her Oscar nomination has assured her a plethora of roles in films like Natural Born Killers, The Other Sister, Room To Rent and many more.
In fact she’s made such an impact with their performances that top studios are vying with each other to cast her. Woody Allen has already replaced Emily Lloyd with Julette in his new film The Dying Night while Robert Woodland has dropped his plans to cast Cameron Diaz and signed Juliette instead for his new movie, Information Awaited.
Not bad going for a star who was not even listed in the titles of her first few movies like Any Which Way You Can and Home Fires.
Another kiss-and-tell book? Yes another, but this time a different and more poignant one by yesteryear superstar Ali MacGraw, best known for her role in Love Story. In her book the actress confesses how her life has been a series of failed love stories.
The trouble began when she co-starred with the late Steve McQueen in the 1972 movie The Getaway. Although both were married, they began living together and later married. But, says MacGraw, she soon discovered McQueen was perpetually on drugs and started terrorising and abusing her physically.
All the time he flaunted new girls. Later, when she divorced him she was reduced to penury as she had signed a pre-nuptial deal with McQueen. The next two years passed off in an alcoholic haze of flops and obsessive love affairs with men like actor Peter Weller, musician Mickey Raphael, footballer Lance Werner and a married author Terry Smart.
But then she decided to take charge of her life and went to the Betty Ford Clinic for Alcoholics which has now turned her into a new lady. The book Moving Pictures is a runaway success and is bringing in money and fame afresh — two things MacGraw has been deprived of over a decade.
— Newsmen Features
This feature was published on November 23, 2003