Monday, May 08, 2006

Drax Industries Floats …

For those of you who know Alfred de Turris, I need not go any further.

But for those of you who do not, let me give you a brief CV: he played Lebel in 'The Day Of The Jackal', Jean-Pierre the doctor in 'Ronin' and most famously, James Bond's nemesis, Hugo Drax, in 'Moonraker'.

It is actor Michael Lonsdale's real name.

Born in Paris in 1931, he's perfectly bi-lingual in French and English (hence the multi-national roles) and is one of those character actors who's face is known but the name doesn't always spring to mind.

I was enjoying a drop of May sunshine by the river when this small river boat chugs it's way against the flow. On the foredeck sat 2 actors, a 16mm camera and operator (light meter in hand), and a sound recordist. As the boat drew level, I noticed the remaining technicians crammed into the small cockpit behind, crouching to remain out of shot.

As my camera's shutter rattled it's way through 5 frames a second, I recognised the chap with the trademark beard. But could I remember his name? Nope. As it happens, he noticed me and shot me a glance right into my lens, gave a slight grin then turned away and went back to work.

I waited a further hour for the return of the boat, hoping for another chance to grab a few frames up close and personal-like, but it was not to be. His name still escaped me so I rang a mate in the UK. No luck there. It wasn't until I got home and did a search for 'James Bond Baddies' did his name pop onto the screen.

"Oh, it's HIM!"

He may not be an A-list celeb, but he’s still working flat-out - and on a Sunday to boot. What I had seen was the crew shooting a sequence for a new French film "Une Vieille Maitresse", due for release next year. I enjoyed Lonsdale's performance in 'Ronin' - a superb Anglo, American, Irish, French terrorist movie, starring Robert de Niro, Jean Reno and Jonathan Pryce and as for Bond ... a classic.

Fascinating, what you see if you keep your eyes peeled …



Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home