Pictured above is Myrna Loy, glamorous? Undoubtedly. Comfortable? Well let’s see, her eyes are taped, she has a twenty pound headdress on, she probably spent four hours in makeup, and that heavily brocaded and sparkling gown looks – itchy. So, in answer to my own question – she probably is nowhere near comfortable – and I haven’t even mentioned the blistering hot kilowatts creating that oh-so-special aura.
I don’t know why, but that image of Ms. Loy always makes me want to peel away a few layers of illusion. A friend, an assistant director, provides the perfect reveal:
I was in Mongolia with local extras. They were tribesman of the Steppes. Very nice people, and very earthy in a way that didn’t involve deodorant. Everybody chain smoked. Mornings would usually involve a gaggle of extras standing in a big circle smoking, hawking, and spitting up phlegmy globs we called “oysters.” For some reason, one morning I came around the corner from base camp and saw a ten foot diameter fairy ring of oysters quivering on the ground. I don’t know why that particular morning it got to me. Maybe it was the breakfast burrito I’d just finished. I broke into a sweat, doubled over, and threw up.
An Australian Prop Man came up as I wobbled on my feet and wiped my mouth. He handed me a bottle of water, rested a steadying hand on my shoulder and said, “Time to toughen up, Princess!”
Here’s the dealio my darlings, making movies is arduous and the patina of glamour is hard won. The stuff that dreams are made of? Time to toughen up…