I thought I’d write about something a little lighter for a change. A lot of you know that I spent a huge chunk of my life in Hollywood, so I felt it was about time I wrote about that, especially because I think it’s entertaining. It seems the mood of the blog’s been too dark. It irks me that Word Press won’t allow comments to my blog. C’est la vie.
I thought I’d tell you that my favorite actor to work with was Marlon Brando. I’ve told people that in the past and they say, “Marlon Brando?” But what no one remembers is before Talkies there were Silent Films and before that the Stage. Stage acting is very different from the Movies. Even TV acting is different. Brando came in right after talkies and single-handedly defined Movie Acting. Both Silent Films and the Stage you have to overact, but with films dubbed Talkies when they first came out, you really had the option of acting like a regular guy on the street, basically acting like you weren’t acting. It was Brando who first did that, if you watch On The Waterfront you’ll see what I mean.
Aside from being a genius at acting he was a really terrific person. He had his own perspective on everything and had enough money that he didn’t really care what anyone thought of him. Perhaps, deep down he did, but he never let on. I love that quality in a person. I think with all the abuse we suffer as children, and all the “shoulds” we hear all our lives, it’s very difficult to be true to what makes us happy, what makes us really content and joyful.
I thought I’d tell a little bit about being on the set of The Island Of Dr. Moreau. I didn’t have to work as an assistant director or anything, I just had to act as the half woman half cat character, so it was an easy gig. Val Kilmer was the main character and Dr. Moreau was played by Marlon Brando. We had to the island to ourselves, just a handful of actors, the director and the crew. We found ourselves with a lot of down time and no entertainment or restaurants.
Marlon wore a muumuu pretty much all the time. He loved them and said he felt so comfortable that he didn’t understand why people wore shirts and pants. I sometimes wonder that myself when I see dignitaries from Africa put on Western garb. I think, “What are they nuts?” It seems a little ridiculous. At any rate, Marlon loved hanging around in a muumuu and drinking wine. He brought his chef with him so almost every night I would wear my muumuu over to his area and we’d talk and drink wine and eat all night long. Even Val thought we were ridiculous and Val’s threshold for things out of the ordinary is pretty high. He was also more than a little intimidated by Marlon so I worked on him for a couple of days to get him to join us. All in all it was a very strange and wonderful experience. Very otherworldly.
The movie was strange enough, it’s about a scientist to splices animal genes into human genes, an idea that scares me and is undoubtedly being done privately on remote islands. (I think some of the characters in the movie were possibly results of those types of experiments.) I try not to think about it because it’s pretty disgusting: but the movie works well as a fantasy.
The moral of the story is the things we talked about were way outside of the usual dinnertable chatter. I belong to a club or two that the rules are you don’t talk about religion or politics and you don’t swear. How does anyone expect to cure the ills of the world without talking about religion or politics? Everyone has his or her comfort zone which was instilled in us by our parents. We probably have the same comfort zone as our parents had.
So I submit that probably 80% of you are thinking, “I would never lounge around all night on palm leaves dressed in a muumuu and drink wine and eat food with my hands (Marlon didn’t like utensils) along with two men dressed in muumuus. I would never swear and I don’t like people who do. I get upset and angry when I talk about politics; and anyone who’s not of my religion is just wrong and stupid. I don’t like talking to people who I KNOW are going to Hell. I don’t want to hear about other religions or meditation or anything my Reverend said is wrong.” So 80% of you would never do the things Marlon Brando and I did. (Just FYI: I worked with Marlon Brando on all of his movies beginning with a Streetcar Named Desire. I lobbied ferociously to use him in The Godfather and talked him into doing the movie The Freshman. I would consider him a good friend – without benefits – if you get my drift.) Marlin had an unusual, interesting way of thinking about EVERYTHING. I try to always listen to everything with an open mind, and I can always learn something that way. I can agree to disagree.
Without an open mind, you’re missing out on life. If you can get yourself upset and angry by talking, you’re just hurting yourself because you’ve closed your mind to all kinds of exciting opportunities and happiness.
Here’s a statistic that I just heard, in 1950, 80% of people thought interracial relationships were wrong and 20% thought it was okay. In 2015, 80% of people thought interracial relationships were okay and 20% thought it was wrong. Did interracial relationships somehow change? Or did attitudes change? And if attitudes can change that dramatically shouldn’t you, from time to time, reevaluate your judgment system. The anger that we feel about our judgment system being right, has to be dissolved away, probably through prayer or meditation. Don’t you owe it to yourself and to the world? What kind of world will we leave to our children.
I believe that if we, as citizens of the earth, can’t begin to talk about religion and politics, we may never be able to achieve World Peace.