Updated: Feb 2, 2020
Performer of the week
As I write the final draft of my book, I am continually reminded of all the fascinating people I have worked with, and am so grateful for having had the opportunity. I will feature more and more of them in the coming weeks.
One such person is Lea Thompson. She was cast as the leading lady in a film called “Stealing Christmas,” which also starred Tony Danza and Betty White. I had worked with both Tony and Betty before, but this was the first time with Lea, and I was excited.
I first met with her at her house in Laurel Canyon, and she seemed very down to earth, not pre-occupied with vanity issues, and ready to have fun exploring her character. I asked her to bring her favorite jeans and boots, as I would not see her again for a fitting until we were in Vancouver, Canada, a few days before we started shooting. She was to play the owner of a Christmas tree lot, looking to hire a “Santa Claus” to entertain the children.
What I loved about dressing her was that she did not want high-end store-bought clothes, since her character would not have had those either. We needed basic jeans, t-shirts, and sweaters, as the weather was chilly and the story set in December. For jackets and accessories, I shopped in Vancouver’s excellent vintage stores. My favorite find was this 1970’s fringed jacket. It was a little big for her, but that didn’t seem to matter. I also found faded plaid shirts from the fifties and some really cool scarves. Her look was wonderfully relaxed, outdoorsy, and “real.” I was very proud of what we accomplished together.
One Sunday, a day off, we took the cable car up to the top of Grouse Mountain, North Vancouver, where the ground was covered with sparkling snow. Sitting at the bar in the lodge, we discovered we had very similar experiences in our earlier years. Lea also had danced ballet professionally at a young age, but 6 years later, she was told by Mikhail Baryshnikovthat that although she was a lovely dancer, she did not have the right body type to be accepted into the main American Ballet Theater Company. She turned her attention to acting, as I had done. Amazing parallels!