In the final part of his Xmas top ten, Sir Edwin Fluffer writes of his favorite Xmas films and his experience working in the cinema as an ‘actor’:
9 Miracle on 34th Street
I enjoyed this movie so much that I spent years trying to track down the preceding 33 Streets only to find that this is actually the first one. They haven’t made the sequel yet either, but I could always find time in my schedule for a cameo. I’d like to play the judge because then you can sit down behind that nice big desk and if you get too warm you can take your trousers off.
When I was cast in The Searchers I wanted to play it with no trousers on, but the saddles on those horses were most uncomfortable. In the end I had to bring a cushion to sit on, but when John Wayne saw it he wanted one too and the whole thing got out of hand. I had to get Natalie Wood to embroider my name on my cushion because Jeffrey Hunter kept stealing it.
Having no trousers backfired quite spectacularly when I was bitten by one of the horses, which resulted in some quite lengthy medical treatment. To this day I can’t think of lovely Natalie Wood without feeling quite uncomfortable. Sadly all of my scenes were cut from the movie because John Ford felt that the subplot I was involved in didn’t really gel with the rest of the picture. Even at the time I felt that having an astronaut with no trousers turn up in the middle of a western was slightly avant garde and once again history has proved me right.
10 Die Hard
The day I got my star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame I also got a phone call from that lovely young actor Alan Rickman. The poor love was in tears and I could barely understand a word he was saying. I headed straight over to his hotel room and found him in a terrible state. Ally was just about to start filming his role as the lead villain in Die Hard, but couldn’t find the character. It’s every actor’s worst nightmare. With all my years of experience in the business I couldn’t see a fellow performer suffer that way, so I stayed up with him all night long running the lines and trying desperately to find a way for him to get under the skin of that part. It was the early hours of the following morning when I suddenly had a brain wave: why not do it with an accent?
We must’ve tried them all, Mexican, Japanese, Australian, but we got there in the end and the result is one of the most mesmerizing performances in the entire history of the cinema. So if anyone ever asks you ‘who had the bright idea to get Alan Rickman to do a French accent in Die Hard?’ you tell them Sir Edwin Fluffer! Darling Alan was terribly grateful and said he’d tried to get me a credit as dialogue coach.
I don’t know if he remembered or not because when I saw the film I’d had a few drinks and fell asleep long before the end.