Bonnie and Clyde (1967)

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Bonnie Parker (Faye Dunaway) and Clyde Barrow (Warren Beatty) on the run!

Synopsis: In 1934, Bonnie Parker, a waitress, and Clyde Barrow, a criminal, just released from prison, are immediately attracted to what the other represents for their life when they meet by chance in West Dallas, Texas. Bonnie is fascinated with Clyde’s criminal past, his bravado in talking about it, and the power of his gun. Clyde sees in Bonnie someone who wanted more out of life- like himself. They decide to join forces to embark on a life of crime (mainly robbing banks) to make fast money and have fun.  Their  small gang of willing accomplices includes C.W. Moss (a mechanic) and Buck Barrow, one of Clyde’s older brothers.  Buck’s wife, a former preacher’s daughter, reluctantly joins in, but then becomes hysterical when faced w/ danger. 

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Newspaper photo of the real life Bonnie and Clyde

If all you want’s a stud service, you get on back to West Dallas and you stay there the rest of your life.  You’re worth more than that.  A lot more than that.  You know it and that’s why you come along with me.  -Clyde says to Bonnie

To modern eyes, this movie is rather tame, BUT in it’s day, it caused quite a stir!  In a TV interview, director Arthur Penn pointed out that this film shows for the first time the firing of a gun and the consequences in ONE single frame. Before that, you’d see a gun being fired, then cut, and the next scene would show the bleeding body.  This was the first film to use squibs (which were embedded in costumes and wired to a central control that made them explode in sequence to create the illusion of being shot).

Leading man Warren Beatty (who was at the top of his profession then) wanted his then-girlfriend, Natalie Wood, for the role of Bonnie. However, SHE refused in order to be able to meet daily w/ her therapist. Producers auditioned a LOT of young actresses (incl. Jane Fonda) for the role of Bonnie; at first, they thought Faye Dunaway was not “hot.”  But then Beatty screen-tested w/ her and was convinced that she was the BEST one for the role. 

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Gene Hackman (in one of his early roles) plays Clyde’s big brother- Buck

Warner Bros. thought it would be a flop, BUT it was a hit!  Roger Ebert had ONLY been a film critic for 6 mos. when he saw this film and hailed it as the first masterpiece he had seen on the job. ONE of the reasons why the film was so successful was because of its anti-establishment stance; people were becoming disillusioned with America’s involvement in Vietnam at this time.

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Young Estelle Parsons (Roseanne’s mom in the ABC sitcom) plays Buck’s wife.

There is SOME humor in this film, too, thanks in part to Gene Wilder (in his debut)!  He plays Eugene, a wealthy Romeo who is robbed of his shiny new car while making out w/ his girlfriend, Velma, on the porch.  Eventually, the couple end up in Eugene’s car WITH the robbers!  When Bonnie asks Velma how old she is, she quickly responds with “33.” Eugene is silent and looks shocked (so she MUST have lied about it before)- LOL!

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Here is a list of Hollywood conventions that were broken in this film (from a commentator on IMDB):

  1. The mix of comic scenes with scenes of violence, intense drama and that weird, beautiful family reunion scene.
  2. The realistic (for the time) portrayal of violence, with blood and moans and pain.
  3. The frank sensuality (for its time).
  4. The likeability (some would say glorification) of criminals (we are sad when they die).
  5. The unlikeability of the sheriff (who, in prior years, would have been the hero).
  6. The portrayal of an unconventional “family” who live together and mostly love each other, reflecting the ’60s hippie ethos.
  7. The use of period music (the bluegrass) rather than all orchestral scoring.
  8. The pointed social commentary (the Depression-era dispossessed, the poor farmer shooting at the bank sign and his foreclosed home, portrayal of the Establishment as villains).
  9. The depiction of “style” (the clothes, the brash attitudes, the coolness) and how its used to establish the triumph outsiders over law-abiding “squares.”

Guess who these actors are?

Timeless Talents

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1) This “out and proud” Englishman is currently appearing on Broadway.  Younger audiences will know him from a VERY popular series of films.

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2) This tall/formerly red-haired Englishwoman has been the toast of UK/US  in recent years for her (humorous) role in a popular TV series.  One of her sons is also an actor- appearing on stage, and both the small and big screens (like his mother).  She is close friends with Judi Dench.

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3) This Canadian actor (seen above in a stage production of Much Ado About Nothing) often pokes fun at his wholesome, Disneyesque image.  His career has had a recent resurgence as well.  When he whistled, many ladies wanted to come running! 

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4) This wholesome, formerly red-haired beauty could sing (her first love), dance, and act from a young age.  She took the stage  at age 11 in her native England.  Currently, she’s promoting a children’s book. 

Who’s Hot Now

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5) This actor has done it all- both here and across the pond.  He recently starred in a critically-acclaimed show (now out on DVD).  After he saw Val Kilmer and Mare Winningham (both pictured below) onstage, he decided to switch to their high school to be part of the theater program.  “I’d never seen anything like that- they were so talented.  We did a few plays together.” he commented.   

Val Kilmer (Top Gun)
Val Kilmer (Top Gun)
Mare Winningham
Mare Winningham

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6) This English actor has been working since he was a tween.  He refuses to be typecast, often going to great lengths to fit into his roles.  He hit it big (worldwide) a few years ago playing an iconic American hero. 

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7) This actress made a big name for herself (won an Oscar) at a very young age.  She is the star of one of cable’s biggest hits and married to a co-star.  (Awww… I couldn’t resist the ducks!) 

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8) This actor is everywhere these days- his career is red hot!  He was raised in Ireland, the son of an Irish mother and German father.  (Come on, this is too easy!)   

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ANSWERS:

1) Sir Ian McKellan (continuing his role of Gandalf DEC 13 in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug)

2) Dame Maggie Smith (see her next JAN on PBS’ Downton Abbey)

3) Christopher Plummer

4) Dame Julie Andrews

5) Kevin Spacey (House of Cards is now available for purchase at Amazon & FYE.  You can see it on Netflix, too.)

6) Christian Bale

7) Anna Paquin

8) Michael Fassbender (most recently in 12 Years a Slave)

Entertainment Trivia: UK Edition

Richard Armitage: The face that launched a thousand fan sites
 
 
My father’s family were weavers and spinners. It was where I came from and it was exciting to think I could be a part of it.  The dichotomy between the powerful, almost monstrous, entrepreneur and this kind of vulnerable boy is exciting for me to look at.  – On his North & South character, John Thornton  
 
I try to be quite a detailed actor.  People were really picking up on that.  Even if it was just a flicker of the eye or something, they got it.  On the tremendous fan response after N&S aired
 
– He can play the cello, flute, and guitar.
– Richard joined the circus one summer to get his equity card.  Though he started out in musical theater, he changed directions, and attended LAMDA.
– Richard has been chosen for a key role in The Hobbit.  He’ll also appear in the new Captain America movie in Summer 2011.
– As you can hear, he has a gorgeous voice!  Richard has done a good deal of voice work: radio plays, novels, poems, and commercials.
– He describes himself as a method actor. 
– His parents names are John and Margaret, just like the leads in N&S!
 
  
 
Sean Bean: A (magentic) Yorkshire lad
 

I think there was a time I was linked to it but I suppose I blew it playing 006 [Alex Trevelyan].  They made a good choice in Daniel Craig.  He’s a very good actor.  He was in one of the first Sharpes we ever did and I gave him a bit of a battering. So we can always say Sharpe battered Bond.  – On Casino Royale (2006)

Though his family lived on a Sheffield council estate (government housing) to be near their relatives/friends, Sean’s dad ran a successful small business.

– He can play the piano (as you’ll see in Clarissa).

– Like many well-known UK actors, Sean is classically trained (from RADA).

– The scar over his eye was given to him by Harrison Ford during a fight scene in Patriot Games.  Ford hit him w/ a boat hook. 

– Sean loves football (soccer); he has a tattoo in honor of his team.

 
– Wolfgang Peterson (his Troy director) commented that Sean’s performance is “a beautiful thing.”
 
– You can see Sean in Game of Thrones, a HBO miniseries out in April.
 
 
Ioan Gruffudd: Proving that immigration is fantastic for Hollywood
 
 
Being attractive, it’s not something I do consciously.  It’s incredibly flattering that people think I appeal to women.  But that was a gift from my parents.  My acting, my personality – that’s what it’s about.
 
I was lucky because I didn’t have to spend hours in freezing water.  There weren’t many people my age on set, so Kate, Leo, and I hung out together.  We would pile into Leo’s dressing room, which was full of PlayStations, mini basketball hoops and the like.  – On his Titanic experience
 
– His name, which is Welsh, is pronounded “Yo-wahn Griffith.” 
 
– Ioan’s parents were teachers.  His grandparents ran an amateur drama society in Cardiff, Wales. 
 
– He can play the oboe and sing (as you can see in some of his work).
 
 
 
– Delia Fine, an A&E VP, told People that Ioan won the role of Horatio Hornblower b/c of his “decency and good-heartedness.”  He auditioned 3 times.
 
– Ioan, who moved to LA in 2002, likes the optimism of the US. 
  
 
James Purefoy: Were ancient Romans anything like this?
 
 
The age of chivalry isn’t dead, is it?  It doesn’t even have to be a man or a woman that you could be chivalrous to.  If somebody’s in trouble you give them a hand.
 
Purefoy is originally Norman French and means “good faith” or “my word or bond is in good faith.”
 
James left school at 16, traveled, and did a few odd jobs.  But he returned to school at 18 to complete his A-Levels (equivalent of college).
 
The year before he was going to graduate college, James was noticed by a casting agent from RSC, who asked him to come to Stratford right away. 
 
 
 
– He also screentested for the role of Bond.
 
James was cast as the lead in V for Vendetta, but left after creative differences w/ the filmmakers.
 
 
David Tennant: You’ll actually be glad that this doctor is in!
 
 
I was very small, about 3 or 4 I think, and just wanted to be the people on telly telling these wonderful stories.  Obviously the idea grew and matured with me but I can’t ever remember wanting to do anything else.  I’ve just sort of taken it for granted all my life that that was what I would do.
 
– David (whose real last name is McDonald) wanted to be an actor from age 3.  His dad (a Presbyterian minister) submitted his pics to a talent agent for Scottish TV when he was 16.  David got an audition and a role soonafter!
– His maternal grandparents were Protestants from Derry, Ireland.
– David began studying theater full-time at age 17 at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama.
– He was nominated for the Olivier Award (London’s equivalent of the Tony) for his performance in the lead role in Hamlet.

Classic Hollywood Trivia & Quotes

Dustin Hoffman and Gene Hackman roomed together in New York at Hackman’s one-bedroom apartment on 2nd Ave. & 26th St.  Hoffman slept on the kitchen floor.  Originally, Hackman had offered to let him stay a few nights, but Hoffman would not leave.  Hackman had to take him out to look for his own apartment.  (LOL!)

Another roommate of Hoffman’s in NYC was Robert Duvall.

They would often go to the apartment rooftop and play the drums.  Hoffman played the bongo drums while Hackman played the conga drums.

Gene Hackman worked as a doorman, soda jerk at a pharmacy, and moved furniture while he was a struggling actor in NYC.

Hackman (now retired) admitted that he took roles with money as the first consideration in some cases. 

Hackman said:

Dysfunctional families have sired a number of pretty good actors.

I wanted to act, but I’d always been convinced that actors had to be handsome.  That came from the days when Errol Flynn was my idol.  I’d come out of a theater and be startled when I looked in a mirror because I didn’t look like Flynn.  I felt like him.

I was trained to be an actor, not a star. I was trained to play roles, not to deal with fame and agents and lawyers and the press.

 

Hoffman said:

I wanted to be a jazz pianist, but I wasn’t good enough.

I started junior college in Los Angeles because I didn’t have the grades to go to university and I didn’t want to go into the military. So in my first year of junior college I’m failing and I don’t know what to do. I don’t want to get a job, I want to be a student, and a friend says, ‘Take acting, because they don’t flunk you – it’s like gym, nobody gets an F.’  I took it and suddenly it was the first thing I ever did that wasn’t painful. Where I held focus. And suddenly, rehearsing with somebody – learning lines – hours could pass by. And I begged my parents to let me go to this acting school, because I knew I couldn’t fail.

 

Laurence Olivier‘s ancestors were French Huguenots (Protestants) who fled to England in the 17th century because of persecution by the majority Catholics.  (That’s why his surname is French.) 

After he became ill, Olivier was replaced by Brando in The Godfather.

He  insisted that people call him “Larry” despite having several noble titles.

 

Olivier said:

Without acting I cannot breathe.

If I wasn’t an actor, I think I’d have gone mad. You have to have extra voltage, some extra temperament to reach certain heights. Art is a little bit larger than life – it’s an exhalation of life and I think you probably need a little touch of madness.

Surely we have always acted; it is an instinct inherent in all of us. Some of us are better at it than others, but we all do it.

 

Robert Redford lost his baseball scholarship and was expelled from The University of Colorado for drunkenness.  (His position had been pitcher.)

Some people have analysis. I have Utah.

I never did look like a 21-year-old just out of college who’d never been laid.  (On why he turned down the lead role in The Graduate– LOL!)

All my life I’ve been dogged by guilt because I feel there is this difference between the way I look and the way I feel inside.

 

Spencer Tracy served in the navy,  and worked as a bellhop, janitor, and salesman while doing stock theater.

Tracy didn’t like to rehearse and would read through a scene only once. He also never liked to shoot a scene more than once, and in most cases he didn’t have to.

He turned down Cary Grant’s role in The Philadelphia Story because he wanted to work on another film.

Tracy said:

It is up to us to give ourselves recognition. If we wait for it to come from others, we feel resentful when it doesn’t, and when it does, we may well reject it.

I couldn’t be a director because I couldn’t put up with the actors. I don’t have the patience. Why, I’d probably kill the actors. Not to mention some of the beautiful actresses.

Why do actors think they’re so God damn important? They’re not. Acting is not an important job in the scheme of things. Plumbing is.

This mug of mine is as plain as a barn door. Why should people pay thirty-five cents to look at it?

Some more trivia…

Aaron Eckhart and his family moved to England when he entered his teen years.  That is where he first got into acting.  Eckhart also served a 2 year mission in France and Switzerland (with the Mormon church).

Ben Stiller a self-professed Trekkie.

 

Catherine Keener is Irish (father’s side) and Lebanese (mother’s side). 

Daniel Day-Lewis was born to a titled poet (father) and an actress (mother).  As a child, he grew up partly in South London, and was sometimes bullied by the tough kids for being “posh” and Jewish (mother’s side).  As a result, he  mastered the local accent and mannerisms and credits that with being his first convincing performances.  In 1997, he moved to Florence, Italy and eventually apprenticed as a shoemaker.  Day-Lewis has his pic is on a stamp of Ireland- VERY cool!

Denis Leary was born to Irish Catholic immigrants; he holds both Irish and American citizenship.  Despite his tough-guy persona, he is still married to his college girlfriend (writer Ann Leary) and enjoys watching the Oprah show.

 

 

Edward Burns, like most of his characters, is a true son on New York.  The actor/writer/director was born in Woodside, Queens and raised on Long Island.  His mom worked for the fed gov’t and his dad was a cop/PR spokesman. 

Emilio Estevez often wrote short films for his brother (Charlie Sheen) and  friends (Rob & Chad Lowe, Sean & Chris Penn) while in high school.  

  

 

Jason Patric turned down the lead role in The Firm; he also turned down the role of Jesus in Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ.  Isn’t the young pic (above) ADORABLE?

Kiefer Sutherland took a brief break from acting in the early ’90s to pursue a career in the rodeo.

Madeleine Stowe,  an actress known for her delicate/exotic beauty, didn’t go on a date until age 18.  Her mother immigrated to the U.S. from Costa Rica.   Stowe began taking piano lessons at age 10 with the aim of becoming a concert pianist — and also as a way of not having to socialize with other kids.  (The 2nd pic is of Stowe w/ her co-star in The Last of the Mohicans, Daniel Day-Lewis.) 

 

Quincy Jones (above w/ Peggy Lipton & his daughters) has never learned to drive, citing an accident in which he was a passenger (at age 14) as the reason.

William Petersen, who is of Danish and German descent, attended college on a football scholarship.  But an acting class changed his life, and he followed his professor to the Basque region of Spain.   There he studied to be a Shakespearean actor.  Petersen was offered the lead role of Henry Hill in Goodfellas, but turned it down.