Monday, September 12, 2005

F. Murray Who?

Never, never piss off Jean-Jacques Annaud.

Last week I bought the DVD of Jean-Jacques Annaud's 1986 film The Name Of The Rose, which was based on the medieval mystery novel of the same title by Umberto Eco. I read the novel and loved it when it was first released, and then subsequently saw the film back in '86 and enjoyed it also.

The thing I love about DVD's are the extras, I especially love watching the film with the commentaries turned on. It's kind of like getting the backstage gossip. In this instance the commentary is by the director, the aforementioned JJ Annaud. Well, the commentary is very interesting and informative, and he has nothing but praise for his actors... until he gets to F. Murray Abraham, where he decides to hell with 'political correctness' and is extremely frank.

As it turns out F. Murray was hot from having won his Oscar for Amadeus, and decided it was time to throw his weight around a bit and wreak some revenge on directors as a species. All the other actors played as a team, but not Abrahams. Annaud makes an interesting point about difficult actors, he explains how directors will frequently discuss certain actors and what they are like to work with and the stories of who is difficult and who isn't quickly get around. He goes on to say that those actors may keep on working (and you just have to look at Abrahams list of films to see he is still a very active actor) but the quality of the jobs they get offered suffers hugely, as only second and third tier directors can be bothered with the fuss.



Michael said...

I've had "The Name of the Rose" in my book stack for a long time. I keep shuffling it down. I'm intimidated by it, even though I think I might love it.

The Other Andrew said...

It's a heavy read in parts, but worth plugging through. Apparently it is one of the most frequently 'bought but not read' books ever - so you're in good company! I love medieval history, so I was pretty motivated to read it.

Michael said...

I love the time frame as well, so I should just do it. Have you read "Foucault's Pendulum"?

The Other Andrew said...

Oh yes I have, LOVE it. Likewise it can be a challenging read in parts, but very worthwhile. I like a bit of 'secret society' conspiracy theory stizz also.