The Cameraman

Camera crews have a way of making you feel important, although in Cannes it seems Ferraris and De Loreans work pretty well, too. Tip: if you want attention, hire five guys in matching red t-shirts to follow you around with a camera. Suddenly everyone wants to know what’s going on, who’s being filmed and how they can get in on the action.

Unfortunately, I don’t quite have the budget to hire a posse. However, Jason’s friend Marcus happened to be making a documentary on the Cannes Film Festival and needed to get some footage from the aspiring actress point of view. We decided to do a poolside shoot on the rooftop of the Noga Hilton. I declined his offer to be filmed in a bikini – and not just because my skin is so white I could audition for a Storm Trooper. It was cold up there! So much for improving on London’s weather.

Marcus interviewed me for about two hours (“plenty of tape – let’s keep rolling!”). I’m not sure if that was a good sign, or whether it took him that long to get the needed 15-second sound byte out of me. After all that rambling, I really don’t know what I ended up saying, but I’m pretty sure I didn’t mention my enduring thoughts of stalking Harvey Weinstein in a misguided effort to replace Gwynnie as his new muse. Pretty sure.

Marcus and his sound guy Steve took Cher and me to dinner to celebrate the taping. I just didn’t feel as important anymore without the camera rolling. I think two hours of non-stop chatting exhausted me of anything interesting to say. We ordered dinner and I felt important again, making use at last of my high school French/Franglais. (So I thought “escalope” meant “scallops” – it’s an easy mistake.)

As Cher and I walked back from dinner, we were suddenly ambushed by three photographers demanding to take our picture. Wow – the paparazzi! I assumed they must have seen me being filmed at the Hilton. We obliged, showing off our well-rehearsed feet-to-the-side, shoulders-to-the-front, hand-on-hip S-curve poses. It helps fight back against those 10 extra pounds the camera adds.

“What publication is this for,” Cher asked the one who spoke the best English.

He chuckled and said “Come back tomorrow and pick them up for 10 Euros each,” then pointed to a large board with photos of all of his similarly-posed victims, and a price list: €9.95 for an 8 x 10, €7.95 for a 5 x 7.

Thank goodness we rehearsed the S-curve. If we’re going to be posers, we might as well be the best at it.

The Player

As far as I can tell, all routes that lead to being fabulously successful have at least one stopover in “the playground of the rich and famous” – Cannes. I decided that I must check out the film festival scene so I’ll know what to expect in the future. Besides, I needed to get away from the unseasonably cold London weather.

My friend Cheri, or Cher as we’ve decided to call her this week to up-glam her a notch, cashed in some favors, trading on her Silver Hilton HHonors status (attained from business trips to exotic Aberdeen, Manchester and the like) to get us a room at the Noga Hilton.

We arrived to a bottle of wine and a mass-produced personalized note from the manager…so far so good. We dropped off our bags, changed into our specially-selected Cannes outfits (no belt for me) and took a beachside stroll down La Croisette.

Living in London and having a perpetual propensity to be late for work, I have developed a very efficient system of making my way through a crowd. The three main elements of snaking through sidewalk clutter (a.k.a. other pedestrians) are: perfecting the pivot, developing a method for gentle “accidental” pushing and hubristic determination – to be used in various combinations.

It’s also important to not get distracted by evangelists, people spray painted in metallic colors pretending to be statues (as if standing still were a talent) or other impediments to forward motion like the guy in Cannes who balances cats on his arms – or something – I didn’t stop to look.

We decided to brave the beach crowd and meet up with an actor I know, Jason, who is the quintessential English playboy with no apparent need for a day job. After eight mobile calls back and forth – “Are you before the giant movie screen or after,” “Are you closer to the beach or the sidewalk?” – we spotted Jason in his tiny Burberry swimming trunks and Versace sunglasses.

Cher and I received cheek kisses (considered extra glam in the States, but just baseline here). We got comfortable on some stolen hotel towels and hoped to unearth some insight as to where the glam parties would be that night. Instead we politely avoided drinking the only remaining bottle of beer and introduced ourselves to Jason’s friends, while he flitted up and down La Croisette looking for producers, hot chicks or both. Finally he came back to our stolen towel haven.

“Did you guys see that guy with the cats?”

“Yeah, he was amazing,” I lied, and cracked open the warm Heineken.

Practical Magic

I’m at a fashion crossroads. I’ve been travelling down The Gap Street and I’m afraid it’s come to an abrupt end where it meets The Glam Road.

Becoming fabulously successful is hard work, and you have to dress the part. To prepare for some serious shopping, I consulted every glam girl’s trend bible: In Style magazine. After perusing a few pictorial spreads showing how to replicate celebrity styles at mortal prices, my eyes froze upon what can only be described as a fashion sacrilege.

The title of the article was “Six Perfect Pairs of Moccasins”. I can just about accept that some people might enjoy metallic ballet-style flats, or sequined slippers that parade as shoes, but moccasins? Unless you’re Pocahontas, there is simply no need to wear moccasins – ever. No amount of color or decoration will elevate these above Hush Puppy penny loafers circa 1981.

I promptly recycled the In Style and turned to the television for shopping inspiration. (Distractions are needed after the deposing of a deity.) I stumbled upon a marathon of “What Not to Wear” re-runs. I’ve now learned so many rules about what NOT to wear, that I have nothing TO wear.

Adding to my pre-existing, irrational fear of belts, I am now told not to wear color with black and that I shouldn’t leave the house without something called “magic knickers”.

That evening I tramped back and forth to my closet hoping for something – anything – to reveal itself as the perfect outfit…in the same way I’ve been known to intermittently open the fridge door hoping that the perfect sandwich will somehow appear even though I haven’t been to the store in weeks.

Finally, I settled on jeans and a black shirt and decided that I could indeed leave the house because, after all, I bring my own magic to my knickers.

Two-Weeks' Notice

By now I should have learned to plan on an hour to get anywhere in London. I went to an audition near Spitalfields market – only three tube stops away – so I figured half an hour was plenty of time. The rehearsal room was only a few doors down, they said. I left according to schedule and all was fine. I had even factored in the five-minute wait at Angel tube and the three-minute wait to change trains at Moorgate. Unfortunately, I had not planned on the 10-minute walk from Liverpool Street to the audition (they must have a different definition of “a few doors down”).

I walked swiftly and, with my trusty “A to Z” map in hand, I got to the place only two minutes late. Practically on time. Someone walked in just after me – phew. It’s always better if you’re not the last one.

I vocally warmed up this morning (if singing Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful” in the shower counts), but I have had a cold for over a week now. We’re talking serious phlegm, and no tissues in my enormous-should-have-everything-I-ever-need-in-it handbag. I’ll just pop to the loo when I arrive.

I looked around. No loo.

“We’ll just close all the windows and door to block out the street noise,” the director said.

This is London, so there is no air conditioning. Great. I am sweating like a madwoman from the tube and the walk. I just need ten seconds to blot off the sweat with my compact and come up with a creative way to de-phlegm.

“Lucy, why don’t you sit on the couch and we’ll start with you? You don’t mind if we tape this I hope.”

So my sweaty face is preserved forever on film. Hopefully she’ll destroy the tape before I’m fabulously successful.

Despite the beginning, I felt the audition went quite well. She taped us in some “real” conversations and told everyone to discuss their first time. No one would say anything, except one guy who said his first sexual experience was with a horse. He declined to provide further details.

I read for a few scenes and then the director said they’d have callbacks in two weeks.

I’m out of town in two weeks.