Monday, January 11, 2010

Polluting the Blogosphere Since Yesterday

It's my anniversary. I've been blogging a day now.


Actually, it’s not nearly as bad as I thought it might be. Kind of like being locked out of your house in your underwear. Sure, it's embarrassing. Maybe a bit cold, it being the middle of winter. And sure, your kids are behind the picture window, point and laughing at you. But once you get used to the, uh, climate, you feel fine.

But one thing I've learned from reading about blogs (yes, there are blogs about blogs) is the importance of sharing things worthwhile. Unappreciated. Out-of-mind.

And when I think "out-of-mind," I think Peter Sellers.

Peter Sellers.

The great director Jonathan Miller says Sellers was one of the great actors of the 20th century, and compares him to Olivier, adding Sellers was "much more subversive and interesting and modern than Olivier."

Recently I was watching "Lolita," a remarkable film in so many ways.

Sellers's performance is mind-bending. He has presence you can't deny. And his ear for American dialect is uncanny. (He does a pretty good German accent too).

But he was essentially an unhappy guy. He wanted things (and to Sellers, that included women), but once he got them he hated them, they were flawed, he had to get rid of them right away to get newer, flashier things.

Also, Sellers couldn't do a number of takes the same way. Like his friend, rock drummer Keith Moon, Sellers did his part differently each time he was on camera – not as a conscious decision, but simply because he could do it no other way. And after two or three takes, Sellers went downhill. Fast.

The opposite was true of Shelley Winters, who Kubrick coached through 20 to 30 takes. Kubrick quickly saw Sellers crumble before Winters got the scene down. Kubrick's idea: keep Sellers in his trailer until everything was set, then let him out to do his own spontaneous performance.

Sellers was thrilled with Kubrick, the first -- and maybe only -- director who "got" Sellers. "Stanley Kubrick is God," Sellers proclaimed.

When the press asked Kubrick how it was to work with Sellers, Kubrick replied, "There is no such person."

Imagine being that gifted.

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