Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Claire and Julia's excellent adventure

After weeks of searching, Julia and I finally found something I could wear for The Making Of Plus One shoot in the south of France. Colin thought it looked like an overall, but I prefer to think of it as a classic shirt dress in the style of Yves Saint Laurent - something Catherine Deneuve might wear to lunch. Dark blue, as it’s slimming, and long sleeves to cover my arms that have lost their youthful tone.

Director Mary McGuckian likes her actors to improvise their scenes rather than work from a script, so there was plenty of opportunity to interject and get my face on camera. A particularly hilarious scene had Julia teaching the brilliant Jennifer Tilly one of her songs, which Jennifer proceeded to murder. Another great scene was when Geraldine Chaplin, who plays the casting director and voice coach, gave Jennifer’s character elocution lessons. From left to right: me, Sarah Stockbridge who plays the scriptwriter, Mary McGuckian, Suzan Lori Parks who plays the director, Julia and Jennifer Tilly.

From where I was sitting, it felt like we have a very funny little film on our hands. Now it’s all down to the editing. The plan is to get it premiered in Cannes 2009 (May). Fingers and toes are crossed.

Everyone on the shoot was an absolute star. We adored our make-up artists, Suzanne and Trish. Mary should make a movie about Trish, who lives a most exciting life that includes four lovers. “A lot of men like older, larger ladies,” she says. Here's Trish with Antonin.

When Antonin, the set runner, popped his head in the Hair and Make-up room and asked if the Fordham sisters could be on set in twenty minutes, Trish replied: “These are hands, not wands.” That has become our favorite phrase; Julia and I try to say it at least five times a day. Following this amazing shoot, Julia and I flew back to London, picked up my daughter, Mia, then drove to Hayling Island for a few days with Mum and Dad. Here we are after a wonderful meal at Hayling Golf Club, one of the few genuine links courses on the south coast of England. Dad's president of the club, founded in 1883.

I dropped Julia at the airport at dawn’s crack and had an extra week in London sorting out my visa at the US embassy and spending time with Mia. There weren’t enough hours in the days to see all the friends I’d have liked.

Highlight of the week in London was going to see The Allan Carr Show being recorded. Mia works on the show as a runner. I was so proud of her. She wore a headset and looked very important indeed. I’m going to get her a clipboard for Christmas. There is no greater joy than seeing your children happy, healthy and living their dream. Mia assured me I didn’t embarrass her when I asked a man in the Green Room after the show what he did and he said he was the executive producer, but she’d have much preferred it if I hadn’t brought my Primark carrier bag backstage (bargain pyjamas for Marley Rose). Mia was working in the production office on Monday and Allan Carr asked her if I got back to LA safely. Isn’t that nice?

I took Gareth, the onset wardrobe supervisor from The Making Of Plus One, with me as my Plus One to The Alan Carr Show recording. Then Gareth took me as his guest to the new Soho House club in Shoreditch where we watched the US Presidential election unfold. A perfect day. Here's Gareth with the costume designer, Sally.

It’s been two and a half years since I was in London. I had forgotten how bloody cold, wet and grey it is. LA certainly feels like the best place to live. France was cold and wet too. And everyone smokes! Have they not heard that smoking stinks and it kills you?

Another highlight was going with top mate Sue Turton to The Fairy Tale Ball at Home House. The costumes were amazing. Sue and I traipsed around London looking for something suitable for me to wear. I decided to go as a fairy godmother and found all the accessories I needed at the Disney store. A terrific night of champagne, dancing and excellent nibbles to celebrate the club’s 10th anniversary. You too could be a member for just 1500 quid a year. My camera ran out of battery so I didn’t get any good photos of the event. I’ll get one from Sue later.

It was an incredible trip, but I’m glad to be back in LA. Mum was sad when I told her, but LA feels like home, especially now Barack Obama has been elected president.

I can’t wait to see Julia again as I have a most excellent visual gag. I shall rummage in my Disney carrier bag, pull out two purchases and say: “These are wands, not hands.”

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