by Jack Tewksbury
For forty years the HFPA has recorded interviews with famous and celebrated actors, actresses and filmmakers. The world’s largest collection of its kind — over 10,000 interviews — is now in the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences Library. The audios are fascinating. Below is an excerpt: Anjelica Huston gives an emotional account of growing up under the formidable shadow of her father, director John Huston and the lonesome road to finding her path as an actor.
“John Huston, my father — a celebrated international movie director — loved Ireland. In the Fifties, we moved from Hollywood to a remote corner of Ireland, an hour away from the nearest town. There weren’t a lot of children around. My brother Tony and I had private tutors until we were ten or eleven, when it was thought we should mingle with other children.
It was a childhood without television, so we had to invent most of our pastimes — dressing up, performing plays or riding around on our ponies. At the age of seventeen my father cast me in a medieval romance, A Walk With Love And Death. The film was a disastrous failure and that discouraged me from acting for almost twelve years. It was a very difficult few years, and I had a rather hard time of it.
Because my father was famous and important, it created distance. On the other hand, because I had an unusual father, when I was in my teens the bourgeoisie seemed to be something I aspired to. I wanted everyone to be ordinary and equal. That was my moment of rebellion. But I was essentially brought up by my mother (prima ballerina Ricki Soma) , who was a fantastic woman – very funny, very beautiful, completely devoted to her children. She remained in Ireland with us while my father was working all over the world, and it was a lonely life for her.
Later she moved to London with me and Tony. If she had done so ten years earlier, it’s possible she could have made a career for herself, but it was very difficult for her to start over. So her life was one of frustration.
I remember her as having — along with her lunacy and funniness, — a very sad side, a melancholy, due to the fact that she had devoted her life to an errant husband. I think she was very talented, and I feel I carry the standard for her.
My mother was killed in a car crash. I was having problems communicating with my father. I left my home in London and started off on my own in New York. I was very sad at the time, and I think that can alter the way you see everything, but it was one of those things you have to get through .
When I visited my father, then living in Mexico, I told him, “I’m serious about wanting to become a film actress.” He replied, “Aren’t you a bit old, dear?” ”
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by Jack Tewksbury
For forty years the HFPA has recorded interviews with famous and celebrated actors, actresses and filmmakers. The world’s largest collection of its kind — over 10,000 interviews — is now in the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences Library. The audios are fascinating. Below is an excerpt: in 1993, promoting her turn among Steven Spielberg‘s genetically engineered dinosaurs of Jurassic Park, three-time Golden Globe winner and 1982 Miss Golden Globe Laura Dern talked about embracing her career over the objections of her mother (and co-star in the HBO series Enlightned) Diane Ladd, and finding love on the set.Read More »
For forty years the HFPA has recorded interviews with famous and celebrated actors, actresses and filmmakers. The world’s largest collection of its kind — over 10,000 interviews — is now in the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences Library. The audios are fascinating. Below is an excerpt: in 2003, promoting her comedy Calendar Girls, six-time nominee and two-time Golden Globe winner Dame Helen Mirren reflected on her path as an actor, and what is the elusive essence of this complex craft.Read More »
For forty years the HFPA has audio-taped celebrated actors and actresses. The world’s largest collection of its kind is now in the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences Library. The audios are fascinating. To veteran stars, our HFPA journalists are family; they banter with them and speak openly and frankly about themselves and their artistry.
Few people wake up one morning and find they’re Famous; most wake up and find they’re late for work. Then there are those who, for whatever reasons, attract the attention of local television. They think they’re famous when, in fact, it’s just a slow day for hard news.
Everyone who’s been in a movie five minutes thinks they’re famous. I went into a restaurant where a waitress kept staring at me. She finally came over to me and asked,”Haven’t I seen you before.?” I said, “You might have seen me in the movies.”
“Maybe,” she replied. “Where do you usually sit?”
When I told her who I was, she asked me what’s it like to be on the top. Exactly, I said, like before. Except I have to be in hair and makeup longer. You still have to pay your taxes, sweep the floor, clean the dishes, wash your underwear.
Sure, you have more help, but you have to order the maid to mop the floor. Maybe it’s worse. You don’t have any privacy, and you can’t go out without hair and makeup, which is really boring.
The studios manufacture this idea that there’s paradise here in Hollywood. People come streaming in here because they believe it. Actually the work is mostly drudgery, but they never talk about that.
I’m sitting in a trailer for two hours saying, “This is soboring, I think I’m gonna kill myself,” and then I come out and have to eat the same wilted, tired lettuce sandwich.”
When you’re a star people are nice to you. But you can’t escape rudeness. I remember growing up in the Forties and Fifties. It was so polite. There was so much politeness. Then suddenly in the Sixties there was no politeness, a complete breakdown in civility. People questioned all kinds of authority. I was fascinated by that.
—–Researched by Jack Tewksbury