Making a film is an intensely creative experience. Whilst at the BBC I worked with individuals at the top end of their particular area of expertise. Producers, directors and scriptwriters who were BAFTA and Emmy winners, and make-up and costume designers, and lighting cameramen or Directors of Photography, and not forgetting awesome set designers. But that is the creatives involved in actually shooting the movie and, of course, we must not forget post production when the film editors get to work side by side with the directors. All these highly creative people are focused on only one thing and that is to make the best film they/we can. It can feel a bit like being in a whirl wind of organised chaos, with everyone busy and focused on the scene we’re shooting that day. And at the centre of the chaos is the actors and actresses concentrating on remembering lines and wrapping themselves in the character they’re playing, whilst being harassed by enthusiastic make-up artists and costume designers and this is all happening as, perhaps, the director feels a need to discuss the scene with him or her.
Essentially, the actor is an instrument the director utilises to tell the
story. But it is down to the talent of the actor to be believable as the character they’re portraying and ensure the character emotionally connects with the audience.
There are so many great movie stars that stand as icons in the world’s memory. Movie stars such as James Stewart, John Wayne, Marilyn Monroe, Humphrey Bogard, Audrey Hepburn, David Niven, Errol Flynn, Bette Davies and Doris Day to name but a very, very few… And today we have a new generation of film stars. Actors like Brad Pitt and actresses like Kate Hudson…
And on a personal note, one of the first great actors to leave Wales for Hollywood was Lyn Harding. He was my great, great uncle. Lyn Harding starred in such epics as The Man Who Changed His Name. In all honesty, the reason I mention The Man Who Changed His Name is because that is the film where my whole family were shocked when Lyn Harding first appears on the screen – he is the spitting image of my father! But Lyn Harding also starred in Robert Donat’s portrayal of Mr Chips in the 1939 film version of the story Goodbye Mr Chips where my great, great uncle played Mr Weatherby. Interestingly, my uncle was a good friend of Conan Doyle and was, arguably, best known for his stage portrayal of Professor Moriaty in Sherlock Holmes.