Wednesday 24 Feb 10
I have just had one of those awful LA conversations, where I talk to people who live here and they say that basically they hate the experience that they have each day in this city, but then they have to find things that help them justify why they continue to live here, otherwise there would be chaos. It's very weird and very frightening.
I always say that a) I don't like the fact that this is a work town. People only come here and remain here because they want to be in the world of show. No judgements about that, I am in that world myself, but I don't think it is healthy to live in an environment where everyone is obsessed about work. I think LA must be very similar to Hershey in Pennsylvania, where they make the chocolate. I bet there everyone talks about chocolate all the time. And that would be very boring. Here they just talk about movies, or scripts or box office grosses. And that, to me, is very boring too. I don't want to live in a vaccum from the rest of the world. I don't want my work to be the most important thing about me. And b) I need to live in cities where I can walk out of my apartment and experience humanity: people, shops, restaurants. I want to be able to talk to people and listen and feel other people's lives. I don't want to have to get into a car and drive to one particular area of town to do that. But then someone said tonight that maybe that is a more common American experience. Maybe living in New York gives one a false expectation of what is possible from other US cities. I know NYC is a very different ball game, but I really hope that the rest of US city living is not on a par with Los Angeles: sprawling suburbs with no central area for people to congregate, and, if they finally manage to find a place that will allow them to do so they will only be able to talk about their work with other people who are in the same industry as them!! Too depressing.
Also too late and I need to get off my high horse.
So instead, let's play Ask Alan !!!
Marjolein from the Netherlands asks: How did you have become an actor? I went to drama scool and trained. It was the only thing I had ever been any good at so I thought I should stick with it And why did you want to do something with theatre? The connection with an audience is the thing that made me the most thrilled I have ever been , and still am, in my life. I wanted to make sure I could always have access to that feeling. What is the best thing you have ever done with your job? I have moved and provoked and made people think.
Alan, I love Love LOVE The Anniversary Party. The relationships between the characters are so sincere, complex and palpable that I feel like a voyeur whenever I watch it - like I'm hiding in the bushes or under furniture eavesdropping on all of these intimate and often awkward moments. Did you have particular actors in mind as you developed the characterization? Was much of it improvised? What a fabulous achievement! Thanks so much. We did indeed write it for specific people, most of whom ended up playing the roles. So we used their lives, their speech patterns, their history. Hardly any of it was improvised, but I think because of the ease of the relationships between the actors, and the fact that we wrote in their voices and often about their lives it felt like it was. The scene when they toast Jennifer and I was sort of improvised, in that we guided them into an area that we thought would be good for their characters to talk about and then let them make up their own speeches.
Jane says: You inspire me and are an inspiration to others. Who has inspired you? I am inspired by people who are confident and comfortable with themselves and who want to make a difference in the world. I find inspiration everywhere from so many different sources, but mostly it's always about people who are standing up and being selfless and saying what they think is true and kind and hoping that they can change the world for the better.
Anastasia: How do you feel about Canada? Would you ever want to live here? And next time you are here do you want to go out to dinner? I really like Canada. I have made more films in Vancouver than anywhere else in the world. But I detect a little inferiority complex that I relate to being Scottish and living in the shadow of England in the same way Canada lives in the shadow of the USA. But please Canada, let it go, you have so much more to be proud of. Don't feel you need to be validated so much by others' opinions. And as for dinner, sure, if you have good veggie options.
Hi! I'm writing from Russia! I really like your movies and I can't wait to see you in Burlesque! Can you tell is there any promotional picture, I mean have you shot some promotional photoshoot for the movie? Sorry, my English must be horrible =) Your English is a million times better than my Russian! I don't have any pictures from the movie yet. As soon as there are, I will post them. But I have a lot of eye make-up and a lot of big hats.
Jessica writes: Hello! I was listening to your cd ' I brought a blue car today' (which i love) and was wondering if you'd ever release another album?maybe of your own material?your a good writer and i'm sure it would be amazing. Bless you Jessica. I am writing away. In the last show I did at Joe's Pub in NYC I premiered a new song I wrote about plastic surgery called I Want To See You, so I would really like to release an album of my own songs one day. Watch this space !
Linda asks: What was it like to work with Chris Noth? Tune into The Good Wife on CBS on March 2nd and find out!! It is episode 14 of the first season for those of you who see the show in other countries. Chris is really nice and I like working with him.
Finally.... Tanya from Seattle has these pearls of wisdom:
I noticed one of your other blog readers was having trouble finding 'For My Baby.' I've looked for it myself and the only copy you can still get your hands on is the Region 2 version. Most computers can be set up to watch Region 2 movies, but there's also a cool little trick I learned how to do. There's a company called Slysoft that sells two programs, AnyDVD and CloneDVD and if you use these together you can make a copy of a Region 2 dvd that will play perfectly on Region 1 dvd players. It doesn't breach copyright infringement because it's legal to make a personal back up of a movie you already own. You have to pay for the programs, but I believe they still offer a very descent trial period. This trick also works for 'Plunkett and Macleane' and 'The High Life' as well. Just thought I'd pass on the info =). Thanks so much Tanya. But, eh, geek alert! Geek alert!
And please remember to buy Tupperware for Haiti!! Until Thursday 4th March, if you go to Maria's Tupperware page, ALL the proceeds of what you buy will go directly to Haiti Relief. Isn't that great? No commission or anything! Every cent goes straight to Haiti!! So please, please get buying some cool plastic and help the earthquake victims at the same time. And tell your friends! forwrd them the link! And stop press! If you order by Friday 26th, you'll get a free gift on top of whatever you order!! Woo Hoo!