Michael Caine, Christmas Parties and Those Who Are Found With In
Hold the phone! Not only did David Eldridge go to Exeter University, he bloody well spoke at my graduation ceremony!! I’ve spent the week reading Under The Blue Sky. While I don’t believe it to be exceptional, it was the perfect demonstration of the ideas of dramatic action that we’ve been looking at in class, particularly in John’s theatre classes.
Here’s an extract for ideas for the Michael Caine/Terence Stamp scene I’m writing with Kat & Matt:
SCENE 2: March 1963 – Caine & Stamp’s Apartment.
Caine (29) is wearing a 19th century British officers jacket, a pair of boxer shorts and white sports socks. In one hand is an officers helmet, in the other is a script. He is pacing around, trying his best posh officer’s accent but keeps slipping into his native cockney. Stamp (23), lounging in a chair, hungover, tells him he sounds and looks ridiculous.
Caine, knowing this is a huge film and could be his breakthrough, tries hard to concentrate. He invokes Turner’s spirit, claiming this to be a place of genius. Stamp tells him he’ll need better than that to pull off this role. He goes on to say what it was like to work with Peter Ustinov, and Olivier, and how THEY were REAL actors. Caine, annoyed, tells Stamp not to get too big for himself – he’s only been nominated for best SUPPORTING actor, (for the film Billy Budd) and that any idiot can win a BAFTA – and all that glory hasn’t gotten him more work (Stamp doesn’t get another film released til 1965).
Stamp brings up the issue of age (Caine’s 30th birthday is days away) and, in an attempt to derail his concentration, tries to get Caine to celebrate. He’s tempted…but refuses…saying how he owes this place better than that?
Caine might here go on a talk about how much he loves the idea of Turner, and this place (perhaps implying he wants the greatness and loves the idea of a legacy, but doesn’t actually know THAT much about him), saying how he wants to achieve greatness in his life time, just like Turner, and not like some other artists who only get it post posthumously. What good’s that?
Stamp says that, on that fact, the bailiffs came around the other day, Stamp had answered the door, and the bailiffs demanded payment for Caine’s alimony to his wife (mentioned in the photocopy you gave me). Stamp, repeating the lines Caine had fed to him (“He’s a tight cunt, he’s got no money”) cannot convince the bailiffs – you’re living on HARLEY STREET, you must have something. Stamp gives them a fancy chair.
Caine is horrified to hear it – it was an original (perhaps Turner’s favourite/the chair someone he painted sat in?! I know he did landscapes but hm…)/Caine’s favourite. Chair image could be a way to segway into the next scene?
BASICALLY the antagonism is: Stamp is the better actor, and younger, but feels he might not get to do anything beyond well respected (but not lucrative) character roles.
Caine, is older and not being quite so good is nearing the end of his belief in himself, having only played bit parts up to his point. He feels Zulu will be the start of something great for him if he can nail it.
I’ll make this funny, and catty and a bit lovely, touching on ideas of class (both were old school cockneys), success and inspiration.
It seems like the Academy Awards that year were on April 8th, and location shooting started on Zulu on March 28th. This means, as Caine was out filming Zulu and becoming an icon, Stamp was in Los Angeles, hoping to win his Best Supporting Actor Oscar to go with his BAFTA. He does not…
Caine (despite giving what the director called the “worst screen test he has ever seen” for Zulu, goes on to become a bigger star than Stamp, though Stamp is arguably the better actor. Stamp ends up in a relationship with Jean Shrimpton, she dumps him, he disappears to India for 10 years! I’d love to allude to this – the relationship started when he was living with Caine.
Got it? Good…moving on:
Went to a Christmas Party on Monday. It was excellent. So excellent, in fact, that I have no pictures to share from it, which I realise is unusual for me. I’ve enjoyed the last two parties I’ve been to, with no horrific middle-class angst follow up. The likelyhood is that I’m spending more time with people I actually LIKE now, and so when going to these things it’s a joy rather than a bit of a chore.
Still in head, likely to remain there for the near future.