Monday, November 24, 2014

Watch Me by Angelica Huston

Angelica Huston. Watch Me: A Memoir. New York: Schrber, 2014.

Huston was a noted “high fashion” “exotic” model in New York. She did not find as much success in southern California as she was not the “tanned blonde” that seemed more desirable there. Her father, director John Huston, gave her a role in his movie “A Walk with Love and Death”. Critics were not kind to her.

Huston dated actor Jack Nicholson. She would later marry Robert Graha. She told Nicholson she liked acting. Nicholson stated he “hated actresses” yet thought they could work together in their next movie “The Fortune”. Nicholson asked director Mike Nichols to consider Huston for the female lead. Huston, fearful for her past bad reviews, did not want to risk it.

Sam Spiegel, MGM’s Chief, and director Elia Kazan wanted Jack Nicholson for their movie “The Last Tycoon”. They gave Huston an audition, perhaps in hopes of luring Nicholson. Nicholson agreed to a lessor supporting role. She was cast. While filming, she learned to consider “the other character’s state of mind.”

Huston writes that director Roman Polanski was “restless, opinionated, urban, brilliant, impatient, and mercurial....You had to work to keep up with him. He was staying at Jack Nicholson’s residence while Nicholson was away. The police raided the house and arrested Polanski and Huston for drug possession. Polanski was also arrested for sexually assaulting a 13 year old. Huston writes she did not witness that.

Huston’s father had emphysema. Due to that, his least films he directed were low budget films.

Nicholson found director Stanley Kubrick a “taskmaster” and “all genius.”

Lee Grant asked Huston to be in the movie “Playing With Fire” which Grant director. Grant could not get the project fuded

Sue Menger, a noted agent, turned down Huston’s father’s request that Menger represent her. Menger stated she represented Ali McGraw who Menger thought look similar to Huston. Menger and Huston, though, became “good friends.”

Huston auditioned for a role in the movie “This Is Spinal Tap”. She received a smaller role than for what she auditioned.

John Foreman asked Huston to be in the movie “Prizzi’s Honor.” Foreman then asked if her father would direct it and if Jack Nicholson would act in it.

Huston won an Academy Award for her role in “Prizzi’s Honor”. She was the only person from the film to win an Academy Award for that film.

The Huston family challenged Ted Turner from colorizing movies filmed in black and white. French law prohibited doing this if the original creator objects. In the U.S., the National Film Preservation Act prohibited substantially altering, including colorizing, a film it had labeled without the creators participating int the altering.

Huston played the Supreme Leader in the Disneyland 3D short “Captain EO.”

Huston agreed to be in a Woody Allen movie knowing only about the character she would play. She had never met Woody Allen and offered to meet him for a drink. Allen said he was sick. She suggested another day. Allen asked what if he would be sick then, too. The drink meet never occurred. Yet she did appear in his movie “Crimes and Misdemeanors.”

Huston researches her character before filming. She wants to know her character
s health, choices, hopes, dreams, disappointments, and secrets.

Huson most enjoyed her acting in the movie “The Grifters”. She was nominated for Best Actress.

Huston played Mortica in the film “The Addams Family”. Her corset made her look well yet it was painful to wear. She had troubled turning her head, it gave her big headaches, her neck blistered, and she could not sit.

Woody Allen asked Huston back to appear in his movie “Manhattan Murder Mystery”. She agreed. She found the dialogue required a lot of fast talking. She worried about missing cues.

Huston filmed an Addams Family sequel “Addams Family Values”.

Huston filmed the movie “The Perez Family”. She found she and Mina Nair had conflicting styles. Huston “was sensing her impatient and feeling a certain discomfort in performing actions without having found my original impulse.”

While filming “Buffalo Girls”, Huston was diagnosed with a basal cell carcinoma which was on her nose. It had to be removed surgically after radiation did not work. Two years later, her nose was reconstructed using cartilage from her ear.

Huston agreed to direct the film “Bastard OUt of Carolina” for the Turner Network Television. SHe was upset she did not know as much about the technicalities of filmmaking yet she “survived on instinct and by surrounding myself with great people from whom I could learn.” The film took 28 days to film. Ted Turner and Jane Fonda screened the film and were upset over the rape and masturbation scenes. Turner declined to air it. It was shown at the Canes Festival. Showtime aired it. Huston was nominated for an Emmy and  Directors Guild awards.

Huston filmed “Ever After”. She first found costar Drew Barrymore giggling during the filming which upset Huston. Huston yelled at Barrymore “All right, missy, I’ve had it.” Barrymore, the next day, sent Huston a card reading “Thank you for making me a better actor.”

Huston filmed “The Golden Bowl”. She found Jim Ivory was “calm” while Ismail Merchant was “loquacious and outgoing”.

Huston filmed “The LIfe Aquatic”. he stated it “was deceptive in that it looked simple, but a great deal of effort went into the set, the costumes, the location.”

Huston filmed “The Darjeeling Limited” in India.. There were no wardrobe or make up artists. Each actor created his or her own look.

Michael Mayer asked Huston to be in the NBC TV series “Smash”. She agreed. The pilot took three weeks to shoot.

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