Seeing Leonardo DiCaprio ranting recently at the UN regarding climate change, reminded me of an incidence several years ago. I had told some fellow actors about this at the time, but was it was poo-pooed and dismissed as not really mattering. Perhaps they are correct, nonetheless it will ease my conservative conscious to now commit it to writing.
Several years ago, I was called in by Central Casting to audition for the role of “The Queen” for the upcoming 2007 Academy Awards. It was in the category for the Best Costume presentation and all of us auditioning for would-be Queens of England were lined up, one by one. We had to royally stand and give our best Queen-like glances. It was the year Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary, but I was more pre-occupied with the excitement of being live, onstage at the Awards.
After two days of auditioning (can you believe it?), I was finally given the role as well as four other Queens of England. (Actually, I think we were the only ones who fit Helen Mirren’s original costumes.) From that we had two days of rehearsals on stage with other participates, including some of the celebrities who were presenting.
The big night came and all of us costumed actors had an early call-time. We rehearsed on the stage again as all the biggies in the business began to arrive. I had made a pact with my fellow Queenies (being that we were mortified to be live in front of a billion people and every mega star in Hollywood) that I (an avid dog lover) would be in charge of the little corgi on stage with us in case he got stage fright.
The day was filled with movie star pre-requests, including expensive water bottles, the sound of hairdryers trumpeting thru the hallways, special dietary snacks, mounds of hairspray choking the air, limousine parades lining the streets, etc., etc., etc. We Queenies of course, had to stand back and out of the way (except for the delightful squeal of Helen Mirren seeing us in her costumes).
Our big moment arrived and as we had feared, our little corgi became distressed with the big camera moving towards us. Now all of you dog lovers would agree the appropriate response is, “Okay, forget the movie stars and billion viewers, ‘Baby” is scared!!'” So I did my duty and happily comforted him.
Here’s a clip of me from the Oscars that year—(starting at 2:26):
Later, as I was watching the broadcast from backstage, Leonardo DiCaprio was chumming up with Al Gore on stage after An Inconvenient Truth won Best Documentary. DiCaprio announces proudly that this Academy Award presentation “was the first in history to go green”.
Uh,…what? Are you kidding? I never heard that! How was this “green”? Nobody ever said anything in all the days I’d been there about anything being “green”. I had to seriously think whether there was anything even remotely resembling “green” in all the time I spent auditioning, rehearsing, and the actual Oscars presentation. In actuality, it was about as “green” as the little corgi I comforted.
Was it a lie? What can I say except I was there, for several days, with the cast, crew and a lot of snooty celebrities and not one word was said to me about this show being “green”. But Leo and Al seemed so smug and proud in this announcement, perhaps I missed the big “green” scream?
So here I am many years later. No one in Hollywood cared when I told them at the time, maybe they still don’t now. But seeing DiCaprio rant at the UN made me want to tell it again. Hey, maybe I was wrong, maybe they secretly told everyone but us Queenies to be “green”. But it seems relevant to tell my perspective now. Funny, I couldn’t find a video of what DiCaprio and Gore said that night, but two articles from the next day, including a transcript from a bragging “Think Progress” article and one from CBS. Maybe you can find the actual video clip–or has it now become “An Inconvenient Goof” in Hollywood?