The meaning of a true "Acting Professional"

The meaning of a true "Acting Professional"

First published: Sunday, March 19, 2000 - 10:10 pm

During the making of one of the legendary Katherine Hepburn's last pictures I had the priviledge of sharing a private moment Olly Olly Oxen Free w/ Katerine Hepburnthat gave definition to the term "Acting Professional"

The picture was called "Olly Olly Oxen Free", a small (by Hepburn's standards) movie for HBO released in 1978.

The story was of a couple of young boys who wanted to rebuild and fly a hot air balloon belonging to one of the boy's recently deceased grandfather as a birthday tribute. Ms. Hepburn's role was "Miss Pudd", a junk collector who befriends the boys and helps them get the ship airborn.

The adventure ultimately takes them to the Hollywood Bowl during the climactic presentation of the 1812 Overture, fireworks and all.

Olly Olly Oxen Free

Although a stunt woman had been engaged to do so, Ms. Hepburn (no spring chicken at this point) insisted in making the decent into the Hollywood Bowl herself in the interest of reality (and adventure as I would suspect from what I have read about her).

Olly Olly Oxen Free

I was cast as a police officer who's assignment was to secure the balloon's basket, help her and her young co-stars out of the basket, and of course protect the camera's view of the "Star" by keeping the rigging away.

Olly Olly Oxen Free

Once safely on the ground, the Director, Richard Colla, yelled "Cut and Freeze" while the cameras and lights were reset for continuing coverage.

In those few minutes while we held our positions, I endevoured a casual conversation with Ms. Hepburn and felt confortable enough to reach over to brush an errant hair away from her beautiful face. She grabbed my hand mid-way, and said:

 No, No, don't move it, it won't match!"

I was so impressed with her presence of mind in that situation that 1) I will always cherish the moment, and 2) I realized the meaning of a truly trained and professional Actor.

by BAS