Literary Latitudes - Poem by gershon hepner
With your own face to act is hard,
and using someone else’s may
make life more easy for a bard
who’s not quite sure what he should say.
I have a lot of faces and
I speak in tongues that aren’t my own,
to try to help me understand
the ones that I have never known.
outside my somewhat learned mind,
from faces I create emerge
the words that I could never find
without an alien demiurge,
and so, while writing in disguise,
I countenance large multitudes
of voices, sailing with surprise
to literary latitudes.
Patrick Goldstein (LA Times, October 12,2007) interviews Michael Caine, who stars again in Peter Schaffer’s “Sleuth” in which he co-starred with Laurence Olivier in 1972 and now co-stars with Jude Law:
In the new 'Sleuth, ' Caine projects the air of a chilly éminence grise, playing the famous mystery author who matches wits with his wife's young lover. It's quite a sight seeing him play a pillar of the establishment, considering that when he first emerged in the 1960s, he was dismissed as a working-class upstart. 'There was a big fuss when we did the original 'Sleuth' over me, this working-class Cockney, going head-to-head with Lord Olivier - everyone thought I'd be out of my league, ' he recalls. 'Olivier wrote me a letter saying, 'You may be wondering how to address me' - which I wasn't wondering at all. But he said, 'You must call me Larry and only Larry forevermore.' ' A crafty student of acting, Caine says he wasn't at all worried about going up against Olivier. 'Remember, he was a theater actor while I was already an experienced film actor, so he was in my medium, not his. If it had been the theater, he'd have wiped the floor with me.' Olivier had just been fired from London's National Theatre and turned up on the set in a terrible state. Olivier was out of sorts until the third day of rehearsals, when he arrived with a matchbox containing a small mustache. 'Once he put on the mustache, he was wonderful and forgot all his troubles, ' recalls Caine. 'If you think about it, in all his best film roles, he has a putty nose or a wig or mustache. He used to say, 'I can't bloody act with my own face.' ' Caine laughs. 'Every actor needs something.' The morning he did his first scenes with Shelley Winters in 'Alfie, ' he was so nervous playing opposite a big star that his mouth was too dry for him to speak. 'She had a tall glass of water, so I went over and had a drink.' He laughs. 'It was straight vodka. I was pissed all day.'
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