Whilst glancing through Time Out magazine last week, I saw there was an evening with Terence Stamp scheduled at the BFI for the following Wednesday. I went straight onto the BFI website and booked two tickets. I couldn’t believe my luck. I read Terence’s brilliant autobiographies in the 80s and fell in love with him then, what a life he has led and how eloquent he is when he talks about it.
We got to the BFI with plenty of time to spare and had a wander around taking in all the wonderful posters they have there; perused the shop, spotted the odd celeb, then took our seats in the auditorium.
Terence arrived on stage after a brief introduction from Geoff Andrew who was the interviewer for the evening. He looked resplendent as always in a very dapper blue suit with those striking eyes welcoming us all with a wonderful smile.
The evenings talk was broken up with clips from Terence’s films. To see just a few of them up on the big screen whilst watching the actor himself also watching them, was a huge honour. I wondered what he thought or felt looking at his younger self up on the big screen. Also it showed once again what a brilliantly versatile actor he is, no one role was the same, be it Billy Budd the blond angelic youth to General Zod via The Collector.
His memory of the events is as keen as if it were yesterday and he did wonderful impersonations of Brando, Fellini and William Wilder to name but a few. You could literally envisage his reminiscences as they had occurred and savor the fact that he was sharing them with you with such glee.
He told us how he had received some wonderful advice from none other than Anthony Newly. The night before the final scene in Billy Budd he was wondering how to portrait serine wonder, Mr Newley had said, “if all else fails do nothing” and that was what he did.
I just love the way his mind works, when he discussed his portrayal of Bernadette in Priscilla, Queen of the Desert he said he was wondering how it would be to wake up in the wrong body, something to which most of us have no perception. He also said what a joy it was to work with Guy Pearce and Hugo Weaving. The clip from this received the best laugh of the night. Terence said that actually if you watch the film you will see that it is a perfect film and that lots of people miss that due to the subject matter.
At the end of the evening there were questions from the audience, which Terence answered in great detail. The evening has been recorded so hopefully will be available at some point for us to enjoy again.
I could have sat there and listened to him talk for all eternity. Thanks to the BFI for a wonderful evening and Terence for being so brilliant!
If you haven’t seen Terence’s films then I highly recommend you do and also his books are rather wonderful too.