I was sitting in the “supporting artists” double decker bus on the first floor (that’s the top of the bus if you’re from the USA). I was doing what I always did when I wasn’t watching how the magic was made. I was reading a paperback book. I was thoroughly engrossed in the story when a face appeared at the top of the bus steps. “Excuse me, but have you seen our illustrious director?” I looked up from my book blinking and trying to re-focus my eyes and saw the face and shoulders of a young dark complexioned man. I have to admit that at the time I did not recognise him as the star of the feature we were working on. I gave a shrug and looked around the bus’s interior as if to say, here?? Alfred then laughingly said “Oh silly me, whatever was I thinking. Well thanks anyway. Oh and if you happen to see him can you tell him I’m looking for him? Thanks!”
It was only after he left and one of the other supporting artists asked me what Alfred Molina wanted that I realised who I had been conversing with.
It was on this set that I also got to meet the marvellous Kenneth Cranham. I used to watch him on the telly in the long running Shine on Harvey Moon. He also just recently appeared with good effect in Hot Fuzz. He had a witty outlook on seemingly everything and everybody that day and I was in stitches. That was also the day where I found myself frozen silent when I found myself standing right next to the intimidating form of Brian Blessed.
I was watching them film Alfred and Kenneth in a crowd scene. I had just finished “playing” with a portable camera, a very heavy looking piece of equipment with what looked liked one half of a giant Q-tip attached front and back of the camera. I glanced at the chap who was operating it and said, “Rather you than me, mate.” He laughed and told me that despite being a bit on the heavy side, it was very non-taxing to operate. He offered to let me “have a go” and I did. He was right. It was so incredibly well balanced you did not notice the weight at all. It was after this that I had a scene with my “wife” strolling and looking in store front windows. We finished our bit, she disappeared and I stood to watch the rest of the film being made while waiting for my next bit.
I glanced out of the corner of my eye a bearded longer haired man standing next to me. I was pushed a bit closer to him and I suddenly realised that this bearded spectacle was none other than Brian Blessed. He of the magnificent voice and bigger than life personality. I instantly became a quivering school aged fan-boy. I looked into his face and started to say all the idiotic fan boy things that sprang immediately into my mind. He turned and looked right into my eyes with a fierce gaze that withered my unspoken words before they had even managed to leave my throat. I wrenched my head forward and didn’t even acknowledge his presence, for fear that I would fall under that fierce look again. I have heard from other folks that Mr Blessed is quite a nice chap. I guess that fierce gaze is how he looks at everything.
Writing this has helped me remember some other great folks I’ve met, auditioned for, and briefly worked for. I’ll have to write them down before I forget them again. So I guess I will be name dropping for a little while yet.