Having worked in the film and television industry, I have had the opportunity to meet, exchange a few words with, and watch several prominent Hollywood industry A-Listers do their thing. It has been an honour to watch some at work, (not so much for others), and at the same time a REAL EYE-OPENER.
Most have been polite and courteous, while others have lived up to their not so favourable reputation…ahem. It was also interesting to see how, in real life, they look remarkably different from their on-screen selves. And not necessarily in a good way.
They say that the camera never lies.
Well it does.
Apparently it also adds 10 pounds.
Most of the actors and actresses I have seen in action are MUCH skinnier than they appear on screen. In fact, a few were SHOCKINGLY thin – and I am the first to defend naturally slim people. But believe me, this wasn’t natural.
A fair few have clearly had one too many run ins with the plastic surgeon as well and it’s not a pretty sight (men included). However there were some pleasant surprises.
I’ve never been a huge fan of Keira Knightley, but watching her on the set of Anna Karenina, she genuinely had something quite lovely about her, although it was noted by most of the supporting artistes that she frowned a lot, most probably from concentration…
The Downton Abbey ladies were also a very classy bunch, while Gemma Arterton swore like a trooper on The Prince of Persia and was overheard having a rather crude conversation with Sam Worthington (who no-one had even heard of back then) on Clash of the Titans. I should also mention one scene from The Prince of Persia where Sir Ben Kingsley was blasted in the face by a very disgruntled baby and his wee wee hose.
How we all laughed.
Sir Ben did not.
At the 2009 BAFTA’s I bumped into a very smiley David Tennant in a lift (he really is exceptionally tall) who was very polite and looked exactly as he does on screen.
While working on John Carter of Mars I had the pleasure of meeting several well established actors including James Purefoy who told me how much he had enjoyed a recent holiday to Italy, and Dominic West who agreed that he really should go to Greece and smash some plates.
The most high profile A-Listers I have briefly conversed with were Madonna during the filming of W.E and Clint Eastwood on the set of Hereafter. (On the set of Warhorse I only got a nod from Steven Spielberg.)
Clint (as I like to call him) and I exchanged pleasantries during a coffee shop scene where we chatted briefly about his lunch – a bowl of cabbage. He told me that it wasn’t very tasty. I agreed.
As for Madonna. Well. Firstly, she was very petite, and I probably wouldn’t have recognised her if it hadn’t been for the terrified crew bustling about her. Secondly, she seemed to like the guys far more than the girls. Thirdly, she seemed to want her own way. A lot. But then again, one could argue that she has worked her butt off (quite literally) for many many many years and deserves the right to act like a diva…
In general A-listers like to pass themselves off as completely ‘normal’ people. While this is true for most, particularly those who shun the limelight and treat their career as ‘just a job’ (and let’s face it, if your job gave you fame and fortune why not spend some of it on enjoying yourself and splashing out here and there), others have well and truly been swallowed, chewed up and spat out by the Hollywood monster.
In my time on set, I have witnessed the good, the brilliant, the bad, the downright childish, and the very very ugly. (This also includes crew – make-up, wardrobe, tech crew etc – most of whom have been very pleasant, but others have been so rude for absolutely no reason that I even saw one poor girl reduced to tears…)
In any industry, it ALWAYS pays to be polite and friendly to people, no matter how high or how low they are on the pecking order.
After all, you never know who might be paying for your next meal ticket.