My mother and I go to a preview screening of James Cameron’s Titanic the night before its official release date. The film has a profound impact on me and my life. After paying to see it a further seven times, I then get a job as an usher at my local cinema, and get paid to watch it countless times more. It would go on to become the film I am most associated with amongst my friends and family in my entire career as a movie fanatic.
Ten Years Later:
My wonderful parents buy me tickets to see the stage version of Walt Disney’s Mary Poppins in London’s West End as a Christmas gift (one year it was Coldplay tickets – they seriously are the most amazing parents EVER). My Mum and I go together the following year, and, arriving in our nation’s capital characteristically early, we decide to have a casual mooch around the shops before the show begins. On our way back to the theatre we take a detour which leads us down an obscure backstreet filled with quirky, independent shops and quaint little patisseries. Outside one such bakery, sat at a table reading, trying his best to enjoy some local, jam-filled confection whilst remaining incognito, is none other than Bernard Hill – captain of the titular ship in the Movie of my Life. Of course, I freak out, and my Mum says I can’t possibly walk past him without saying something. So, I go back and interrupt the poor man’s respite, apologising profusely and insisting that I do not intend to badger him for a signature, but to thank him for his part in the amount of entertainment and pleasure Titanic has brought me up to that point. He is uncommonly gracious (if not a little weirded out), and I walk away thrilled that I have met someone from the credits of that film.
Four and a half years after that:
I move to Norwich to live with my partner and embark on my writing career following completion of a BA (Honours) degree in Mass Communications (if you had told me this on the day I met Bernard Hill, I would have laughed in your face; but life can change a LOT in four years). Amongst the first of my great achievements upon moving to this bright and vibrant city, is my selection as the official blogger for the 2012 Norwich Film Festival. My first blog post reveals the identities of the judges for the event.
I receive word that another judge is to be added to that list. And it is none other than:
Bernard Hill – Actor
British-born Hill has enjoyed a career which has spanned over thirty years, after rising to fame as Yosser Hughes in the acclaimed 80’s television drama, Boys from the Blackstuff (1982). Since then he has appeared in some rather influential films, including iconic roles as Captain E.J Smith in Titanic (1997) and King Theoden in The Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001 – 2003). Having recently turned his attention to voice-over work – as the Narrator of video game Fable III (2010) and short films The Wraith (2011) and Analogue Love (2011) – Bernard Hill makes for a well-versed and high-profile addition to the 2012 Norwich Film Festival panel.
I’m unsure as to whether Mr. Hill will remember the then-morbidly-obese fool, who disrupted his dessert in the back streets of London one overcast day in April of 2007. However, I intend to apologise to him regardless for my cringe-worthy behaviour. It’s incredible how I continue to be perpetually and inextricably linked to Titanic. All I need now is to meet my idol – the magnificent Kate Winslet – and my life will be complete. Perhaps I’ll ask my old mate Bernard if he’s still in touch with her…
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