Terence Stamp, NYC 2009
"Changed my life"
Excuse my absence - I have been watching way too many films lately. Gazing, like Ray Davies, on my very own Waterloo Sunset. It's spring preview film season - the projectionist keeps throwing them up there and I keep watching. For me this happens twice a year. In the fall, it's the New York Film Festival rollout. And in the spring, it's New Directors / New Films. At a pitch of between 2 and 5 films a day - "as long as I gaze on Waterloo Sunset I am in paradise." This week alone I've been transported to the Russian Arctic, Iran in 1953, Warhol's New York and the world of Candy Darling, Costa Rica and Argentina.
This morning I spent my subway ride giving my eyes a rest, while listening - over and over and over - to Waterloo Sunset - an astounding single that just gets better with each listening. Riding the subway, I felt as one with the lines - "millions of people, swarming like flies round Waterloo underground." Then I recalled that the line "Terry meets Julie, Waterloo Station, every Friday night", is reportedly based on Terence Stamp and Julie Christie, stars of the then current film 'Far From the Madding Crowd.' Not the theme song of the movie - just inspired by the whole notion that these two stars were in the film. God save Ray Davies. His songs belong in films - i.e. Wes Anderson made excellent use of "This Time Tomorrow" in his recent 'The Darjeeling Limited', and I heard he checked around with film buffs to make sure it was never used in any films before.
So last fall, when the NY Film Fest was showing 'Red Riding', the British TV version of the very popular serial killer books by David Pearce 'Red Riding Quartet', those in the know showed up for the one-off 6 hour screening. And one of those spotted at the theater was Terence Stamp. My job was to ask him if I could shoot a picture of him. He seems tough, but was very gracious. And though I could not get myself to ask about the Kinks song, I had to tell him that my favorite film of his was Toby Dammit, directed by Federico Fellini, based very loosely on an Edgar Allen Poe tale 'Never Bet the Devil Your Head', in which he plays a burnt out British star accepting a meaningless award in Italy in order to pick up a free Ferrari. Mr Stamps' response to my praise was - he looked me right in the eye and said "Thank you - That film changed my life". He was so sincere, I was taken aback.
And so what does all this add up to? Nothing except that Terence Stamp is way cool and Waterlloo Sunset is an amazing song.
"As long as I gaze on Waterloo Sunset I am in paradise."