Italian fan Ambra Corti has contributed this first-hand account of Jeremy Irons’s appearance at the Viaggio nel Cinema Americano, sponsored by the Festival Internazionale del Film di Roma.
[Translated from Ambra Corti's original Italian]
The event in Rome was wonderful! I never thought my emotions could be so great and overwhelming. Jeremy Irons is a wonderful actor and a very fine man, calm and charming and is one of the few actors capable of doing major showbiz productions and supporting charities beyond all expectations, a more extraordinary person there never was!
With his English manner, in the Auditorium Parco della Musica in Rome, he was beloved by everyone, including me,with the power of his warm and seductive voice.
During the evening, we were shown some of the scenes from his films such as The Mission, Lolita, The House of the Spirits, Reversal of Fortune, M. Butterfly, The French Lieutenant’s Woman, Stealing Beauty, Kingdom of Heaven, Dungeons and Dragons, of course, accompanied with comments.
Of The Mission, speaking of the relationship he had with DeNiro, he said:
“At the time, filming went really slowly and DeNiro asked for a lot of takes. When I arrived on the set I was dissatisfied with the choice, I would not accept having to work with an actor who was not trained as I was. With every passing day our antagonism grew until it burst into a furious argument, but it subsided thanks to our producer. Since then we have become great friends.”
Of Lolita he said: “Many found it crazy that I could be like a villain, but I think there are people in the world capable of committing terrible acts and still be humorous, and if I’m not mistaken, here in Italy you have a Prime Minister …” he said with a grin. He did not say the name, but everyone in the room who knew all related, and all burst out laughing! He went on to say: “I did not want to do Lolita because I was convinced that this film would cause me many problems with the passage of time. Adrian Lyne asked me to make this film for 2 years in a row, saying that if I had not accepted the part, he would not have made the film. Glenn Close was to convince me that it was a classic story and had all the right elements for a good movie and a good job.”
I remember that the presenters did ask a question about the Labour Party, who Jeremy once supported. Eventually, there were 4 or 5 questions from the audience (including me).
I remember one in particular, even though it was more of a statement than a question.
A lady, who was from Ischia, pointed out some events took place many, many, many years ago.
At the time, Jeremy was 17 years old and the lady was as well. She said that they had a [brief relationship or a date] and he played the guitar and she was fascinated.
Immediately after this lady, I made my application (Jeremy was directed to me when I raised my hand to speak) and I think I started in the worst and most embarrassing of ways. I said: “Carramba, what a surprise!” referring to the situation the first lady spoke of, and I do not think that he took that very well, but that may just be my impression.
When I asked the question I was very nervous! I wasn’t standing when I asked the question; I was sitting, because even if I was standing I would have fainted! I do not even know how I had the courage to do it, my heart was bursting, I surprised myself!
The real question that I did was: “You have not yet spoken of The Lion King! I want to know how do you dub a cartoon?”
He explained the various technical things that he had to do before moving on to comment directly on Scar. Of Scar he said: “It’s the ugliest animal! Because, unlike Mufasa (played by James Earl Jones) Scar is dry, skeletal, has a bad mane and tail hair has not, however Mufasa is strong, beautiful, strong with the bushy tail!”
Jeremy did not speak Italian at all and the woman sitting next to him on stage acted as his translator. At the conclusion, I and about twenty people went up to the stage in hopes of an autograph, but he was gone. It was a wonderful and unforgettable evening!