SAT. FEB. 14/2004/19:21
Read the most current LFN™ interview with MX online, HERE, by clicking on the "PRESS" tab!
The following was posted by MX on The Official EDWARD WOODWARD Website:
(1/19/02 1:37 pm)
MR. EDWARD WOODWARD, O.B.E.
I had seen all the episodes of CALLAN® when I was a boy in Salford, Manchester (later reading the books as an adult), so it was literally a dream come true when, during shooting of Season V of La Femme NIKITA®, I was permitted to work with him and to watch him in action!
I can say without fear of contradiction that he is the finest actor with whom I have ever had the privilege of working, and a complete gentleman, as one would expect.
I was engaged as a Stuntman/Actor for Seasons II - V of LFN, and had done episodes with MS. SIAN PHILLIPS, but had not met her, so when I reported for my wardrobe fitting for Episode #508, I sat on the leather couch at the studio, as usual.
Episode #507 was being shot at that time, and MR. WOODWARD came strolling past me, twirling the cane his character used in the series!
I had not known that he was involved with the series at this point, as the last episode in which I had appeared was Episode #502, so my immediate mental reaction was:
"Crikey, CALLAN® just walked past me! THE bleedin' EQUALIZER® just passed within 3' of me!"
Naturally, on the outside, I maintained my sang froid demeanour, as I had no wish to cause disquiet to him or anyone else, so I had my fitting, while all the time, he walked past the door of the Wardrobe Department, humming gently to himself.
When MR. MIC JONES, the Stunt Co-ordinator, came out to meet me, he laughed himself silly, as he had KNOWN that I would nearly wet myself when I saw that MR. WOODWARD was in the programme, and he & the other stunt personnel took great pleasure in giving me the gears for the remainder of the afternoon.
I asked whether it would be all right for me to observe him at work, and was assured that it would be so. The episode was being directed by one of my favourite directors, with whom I had worked several times in the past, M. RENE BONNIERE, so I knew that I was in for a treat.
I repaired to the studio between takes, where I found that MR. WOODWARD was the first on set for makeup, and was immediately greeted by M. BONNIERE, who waited patiently for the shot to be set up.
When MR. WOODWARD finished and was on his way to shoot the scene, I introduced myself and told him how much his work on CALLAN had influenced my career, to which he responded:
MR. EDWARD WOODWARD, O.B.E.|
as The EQUALIZER®
"CALLAN®! Good Lord! That WAS a long time ago! You don't look old enough to remember that, son! Sure you don't mean THE EQUALISER®?"
I replied that I also enjoyed his work in that programme, then outlined my theory that CALLAN had faked his own death, then emigrated to America, becoming ROBERT McCALL, which caused him to roar with laughter.
By this time, M. DUPUIS & MS. WILSON had returned from their respective dressing rooms, had their makeups applied, and were ready to resume work.
"See me afterwards, and we'll talk some more about CALLAN. Why don't you stay and watch for awhile? I won't be long, and this is my final shot of the day."
I nearly had heart failure, but I said, coolly,
"Yes, sir, thank you, sir; I should like that very much."
The scene being shot was the one wherein MR. JONES tells NIKITA & MICHAEL that OPERATIONS was killed while saving ADAM, and what a bloody education it was!
When his co-stars spoke, I couldn't make out a word, and the boom mic' would dip to within inches of their heads.
When MR. WOODWARD spoke, the boom mic' backed off several feet, and from where I stood, at least 40' away, I heard every syllable he uttered, as crisply & cleanly as though I stood beside him, listening to him snapping British currency in his fingertips!
His takes were spot on each time, while his colleagues required something like 9 takes, a testament to his economical, disciplined Style & Technique.
I was immeasurably prouder than usual to be a Briton on that day!
"What a killer Classical actor he must be!" thought I to myself, as my scalp tingled with each vowel & consonant that cascaded from his lips.
When finally he was wrapped, I offered to escort him to his dressing room, hoping to pump him for intel on the way.
"Still can't find the way back to my bloody dressing room on my own," he said with good humour, and I asked him whether he would mind my asking his advice about SHAKESPEARE, to which he replied with some eagerness,
"'Mind'? I should say not! What would you like to know?"
I explained that I had been cast in a production of HAMLET in the role of LAERTES, and inquired whether he might have any useful tips he might like to impart, whether germaine to that role in specific, or SHAKESPEAREAN acting in general.
"Have you? GOOD for you! You have a beautiful speaking voice, and excellent posture, so I imagine that you're more than a match for your HAMLET, whomever he is. When do you open?"
Next Monday, I told him.
"Blast! I'm flying back home on Sunday afternoon, so I can't come, I'm afraid, but I'll tell you about when I played LAERTES opposite [SIR] MICHAEL REDGRAVE at Stratford."
You could have knocked me over with a feather!
By this time, we had arrived at his dressing room, and he invited me in to sit. Would I like some tea? Coffee? No?
He then told me of how he had found the greatest challenge in the role had been to sustain an energetic throughline between the start of the play to the end, and that this had been accomplished by holding onto his resentment of the Stratford hierarchy, rooted as it was in British Public School snobbery.
"MICHAEL REDGRAVE was very good in the part, but not an easy man to get along with, and not a very disciplined fencer, I'm sorry to say."
I could not believe my good fortune, to be made the recipient of such candid revelations from such a great man.
He said that the main thing I should remember was to hang onto my own voice & dialect in the part, as LAERTES is "essentially a Working Class character, which is revealed when he talks to OPHELIA before leaving for France," and that I would be fine, as long as I knew my lines and the fights by heart.
He talked to me for nearly an hour - on his own time! - before I thanked him, not wishing to overstay my welcome, and not wishing to tire him out.
He again expressed regret that he would not be able to attend the opening of HAMLET, but wished me the best of luck, and said that he was glad that I had not abandoned the stage for the screen, as it was important to sustain one's spirit through the discipline that is Live Theatre.
Shortly afterward, I discovered your excellent website, and heard his voice reading HAMLET in an episode of THE LONE GUNMEN®!
I hope to have the honour of working with him again in the near future, even if I must swim an ocean to make it happen.
Please carry on your great work on his & our behalf.
"...Be seeing you!"
OWEN TELL, SECTION ONE Operative, LFN® Seasons II-V
WD 2nd TEAM LEADER - Intel Retrieval
ASIAN SUBSTATION TEAM LEADER - Level 5
LFN WARRIOR - Level 6
PETA'S SHADES #32: Black PORSCHE CARRERA® Spectacles
(3/3/02 5:19 am)
M. RENE BONNIERE
This past Friday, I had the privilege of being auditioned by M. RENE BONNIERE for a major role in TRACKER®.
He remembered me, and we talked about what a great time we had both had working with MR. EDWARD WOODWARD on Episode #507 of La Femme NIKITA, all of which surprised the Casting Director, who had not known of my involvement with the programme, or of my past work with M. BONNIERE.
The audition went extremely well, largely because I had been made to feel a level of relaxation in the situation that is normally absent. Directors virtually never audition one themselves, unless one is called back for a 2nd audition, so the experience was a great uplift to my spirits.
The fact that the script was well-written did not hurt, either!
Normally, I am able to put out of my mind the audition once it is over, but now that I know he is in charge, I REALLY want the job, because he is the kind of director whom I would like to be, if ever anybody asks me to do so: a very gracious, professional, polite & pleasant man with style, wit & savoire faire.
Sent: Friday, November 21, 2003 2:05 PM
Interview with Malcolm Xerxes