Feb 4, 2013

Actor tributes

Paying tribute to an actor or actress, as I understand it, consists in choosing a sufficient variety of clips from their films showing all their different faces, expressions, looks, attitudes, smiles... helping the audience understand where the charisma, beauty or talent of the star resides. My friend Claudia does this wonderfully with her tributes to classic Hollywood legends, capturing the essence of each star with the perfect music choice. This one being absolutely spot on and breathtaking:

Claudia wrote this for me, about this particular work of hers: "I heard the track from the Moulin Rouge! Soundtrack. It was really haunting, moody, mysterious, and somehow I could see Garbo's face the entire time. If I played the track back, I could already see some of her film moments edited with the music - all in my head. It was perfect for her, and I set out to make the tribute immediately. I knew that the strength of Garbo was in her face - her stares, her eyes, her expressions - and that was how I went about choosing clips". And she added, now talking about the art of paying tribute to movie stars: "Actresses like Garbo and Marilyn - the music has to have a sad and sombre sound. Actresses like Bette Davis and Joan Crawford the song has to be about strength, the plight of the woman, heartbreak (like so many of the characters in their films). My Gene Kelly tribute had to resemble his vivacity, the life and creativity he brought to the screen. Whilst my Bogie and Jimmy Stewart tributes had to mirror their heroic, iconic performances onscreen". She's edited tributes to Grace KellyJames Dean, Rita Hayworth, Ava Gardner,...

When editing a montage for an actor, I don't use clips from each and every one of their movies, I prefer choosing a quality of the performer and exploring it with the right song. For example, Paul Newman and Harrison Ford have many dramatic roles in their filmography, with some impressive performances (The Verdict or Witness, to mention just a couple), but I wanted to focus on their charisma as leading men, their charm as ladies' men, their rebel attitude as scoundrels and, why not, their sex appeal. I made an obvious song choice for Newman, I admit it, but it's such a great classic and I think it suits his character:

Harry is also a great action star, but I left that out to show his "joker" quality, hence the music choice, also very appropiate thanks to the "space cowboy" thing:

When paying tribute to an actress, there's always a lot more images to choose from, especially if they're beauties like Michelle Pfeiffer or Winona Ryder, cause directors do linger a lot on their gorgeous faces. For Michelle, I wanted a sexy song from the 80's, and Robert Palmer was just perfect. If you ask me, she's one of the most beautiful women in cinema history, but she's not a diva, she doesn't take herself too seriously. That's what I wanted to show, her feline eyes, her slim body, her discreet curves, yes, but also her coolness, her likeable character (which makes her twice as sexy):

Winona is veeery different. She has a lovely face, like an angel, and a peculiar body (she's very short and she has a great rack, pardon my language). But it's her vulnerability, her sweetness, her childlike expressions, her tormented soul that makes her so irresistible. "Crazy" by Aerosmith was the perfect choice for my vision of Winona, I wanted to make reference to her troubled personal life outside the screen, but to say "we love you just the way you are" in the end:

Michael J. Fox has been one of my favorite actors since I was a very very little girl. When I started his tribute, I knew I wanted it to show how universally funny and lovable he can be. The song is taken from one his films, "Doc Hollywood". It's a very cheesy song, I know, but I love the fact that it's saying that he's unique and he did everything just the way he wanted to do it. I presented a bit of his dumb side, too, cause he does have a lot of talent for comedy. And I couldn't resist making reference to his height:

The other actor I was crazy about during the 90's was Keanu Reeves. I know his filmography and his expressions like the back of my hand. We all agree he's not a great actor, but I think he's fantastic in physical performances (which he also enjoys like crazy, he does his own stunts in action films) and he's incredibly sweet and funny when he's given the right role (sometimes involuntarily funny too). Many people think he's inexpressive, and I can't help but see him exactly the other way round, as a very espontaneous, natural, even childish actor who has a talent for a very particular type of performance. It's hard to explain, maybe my video will elucidate:

My latest actor tributes were for a couple whose careers I've been following closely since 1990. Both from my own generation, they proved the world you can be a child actor and survive. For Chris Ricci I tried to claim the magnetism of her face, her big eyes, her unconventional attitude and the sexiness of her body (even when some people have said she was overweight, I actually think a few extra pounds suit her). She changes so much from one role to another, it's amazing. She's not a great actress, but I do think the camera loves her:

Watching Elijah Wood grow up on the big screen is somehow fascinating, especially when you realize he has hardly changed in the last 15 years! It's funny that his first appearance was in Back to the future 2, with Michael J. Fox, who's probably the greatest example of being 32 and still looking 17... "When I grow up (to be man)" by the Beach Boys seemed perfect for this, and also has that same positive attitude, nice disposition, sweet character Elijah shows in so many of his roles:

I also have tributes to Geena Davis and Jennifer Connelly, and I have a song ready for Russell Crowe.

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