HOLLYWOOD – In another EXCLUSIVE extract from Sir Edwin Fluffer’s autobiography “In Like Niven!” comes this startlingly honest account of the great English actor and director Sir Laurence Olivier.
Larry Olivier had moved into a new place high in the Hollywood hills. It was every bit as grand and elegant as the great man himself, but the tree outside his bedroom window was home to a large family of rooks, and the dawn chorus would often wake him from his slumber.
I’ve never been much of a morning person and darling Larry’s early morning phone calls filled me with dread. Following the success of Henry V and Hamlet he’d found another one of Billy Shakespeare’s screenplays to have a go at; but this time he’d decided to turn it into a musical.
Banquo! was to be his all singing, all dancing version of Macbeth, and he’d already started work on the score with Larry Adler. I went round for breakfast to hear the fruits of their labour. Adler took out his harmonica and played me a couple of numbers including There Is Nothing Like A Thane and Kiss Me Hecate, I cancelled my plans to go bowling with Keenan Wynn and said “Where do I sign?”
We were all ready to begin filming, sets were up, costumes were made, Donald O’Connor had been booked, then tragedy. Larry lost a tooth during a heated game of chequers with Bobby Morley and his singing voice went with it. He wouldn’t let the part go to anyone else and the whole thing was cancelled – Three months of work down the drain, and I was furious with him.
Larry Adler gave me one of his harmonicas to say thank you for all my support but I could never learn to play the bloody thing. In the end, I gave it to Charles Bronson who used it to great effect in Sergio Leone’s One Upon A Time In The West. But that’s another story…
HOLLYWOOD – Kenneth Branagh renowned thespian and film director, adapter of Shakespeare for the big screen and Knight of the British Empire has changed his name to Director of Thor.
Sir Director of Thor telephoned Studio Exec to explain his reasons:
It happened when I happened across the trailer for my new film Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit and I saw they had written ‘From the Director of Thor ‘as a selling point. I was up all night thinking about that. Following my justly celebrated debut, starring in and directing Henry V, I went on to a career which was understandably compared to Laurence Olivier. I directed more Shakespeare including my masterpiece, a four hour Hamlet, as well as hugely successful Big Chill rip off Peter’s Friends. I’ve played Wallander and Shackleton and directed the National Theatre. I’m a knight of the realm. But none of that warrants a mention. No, it’s all subsumed by the fact I directed a comic book film, and not a very good one at that. So I thought f*ck ’em! If that’s what the people want, that’s what they’re going to get. I hop, a skip and a jump and I was down the deed poll office, paid my ten bob and my name was legally changed.
Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit from the Director of Thor Director of Thor Branagh will be released secretly.