GTO 3987 on Mulholland

GTO 3987 on Mulholland

Monday, May 10, 2010


I've always been fascinated by Monaco. The opening scenes from John Frankenheimer's Grand Prix, the horrific images of Lorenzo Bandini's crash on ABC's Wide World of Sports, media images of Grace & Rainier and Teddy Bass' Monégasque registered Porsche in Sexy Beast--they all forged an indelible impression. I wanted to be there and experience it though I understood that I would be a visitor and not one of 'them'.

So it was with some degree of anticipation that I first arrived in the principality to shoot scenes for Point of Departure. I'd been filming in Paris and Cannes (during the Festival) and descended to Monaco in the days prior to the Grand Prix. I booked a room at the Hôtel de Paris just across from the casino. My room looked out at the sea and the harbor and had a direct view of the Prince's private entrance to the casino. From the balcony, one could look down into the cockpits of the Formula 1 cars as they turned into Casino Square.

The first day I spent shooting MOS shots of my leading lady--can you say girlfriend?--as she inhabited the lobby of the Hôtel de Paris, entered and exited the Casino and generally made herself part of the landscape of Monaco. She looked as though she belonged and, for that brief period, I felt as though I belonged, too.

Taking some time off from shooting, we spent almost an entire day at the thermal spa across from the hotel which you access--wearing your terrycloth robe and slippers--by way of a private tunnel leading from the hotel. That evening we walked down the hill towards the start/finish line and ended up in the pit area, as yet unoccupied. When we were about to look for a taxi to take us to dinner, a large truck arrived. It said Jaguar on the side of its trailer--Ford's Formula 1 brand at the time. That truck was followed by another and then another. Thoughts of dinner vanished and I can truthfully say that never have I been so excited by the sight of big rigs or articulated lorries, if you will. The circus was coming to town!

Later that evening, I was running an errand and my taxi received a hip-chuck from the Jaguar team truck (minus its trailer). I sat patiently while the drivers filled out a constat--my official involvement with the Grand Prix that year. It was all very amicable and I thought to myself how very different Monaco is from Los Angeles.

In spite of all my preparations, I was not fated to see the Grand Prix of Monaco that year. Business called me away to Paris and it all happened without me. Somehow, though, watching the trucks carrying their Formula 1 cargo arriving to a complete lack of fanfare--I think we were the only witnesses to the event--made up for missing the race. I was privileged to watch the behind-the-scenes workings of a very big show. I remember those trucks as vividly as I remember Clay Regazzoni winning the Italian Grand Prix at Monza. I guess that means I'm a fan.

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