Home again, home again, and back in the office, to do a little bit of work before it’s home to finish a first draft of one of the two major bits of writing I need to finish in the next eight days. Yes, I’m terrified. But I’ll get it done, because this (writing on really tight deadlines) it what I was trained to do.
Those tight deadlines mean that I’m not rushing out to do the thing (other than going to see The Eagle) that I’m dying to do this week, which is cut my hair. If you were at Gally, you might have noticed I was looking quite a bit shaggier than usual. There was a reason for that, and I’m been trying to find a way to explain it without looking like much more of a mad(wo)man than I already am. But, I’ve decided I don’t care, as it’s on point to some of the things I was saying about Doctor Who the other day.
When I first started acting, I had this moment, sitting in a theater watching the credits roll on something or other than there were three directions I would work with, somehow, sometime. This wasn’t just an expression of desire in my mind, but a fact that had simply not yet come into being (remember what I was saying about all times are now?)
Those directors were, and are, Sam Mendes, Todd Haynes, and Baz Luhrmann. Folks that know me know that I got my first screen credit in Revolutionary Road, putting me a 1/3 of the way to this thing I decided on in a moment of sentimentality at a picture I can’t recall (although I am alternately sure it was either Haynes’ Far from Heaven or one of the Lord of the Rings films). That this first screen credit also came to me for dancing, for doing the first thing I was ever good at and the first thing I was ever trained to do, also meant so much to me. The residuals checks aren’t bad either (and conveniently timed! One was in the mailbox when I got home from L.A. last night).
But beyond that, I haven’t really worried about it. Some auditions that come up I want more than others; such is the way of the world. But I’m always busy with something in my many ambitions, even if it’s not acting, and I am largely content. Living in New York gives me a certain sort of out. If it’s not filming here, it’s largely not my problem. If it’s not filming in the U.S., then it’s really not my problem — I don’t have to worry about success or failure; the option, in these circumstances, isn’t even on the table.
And then Baz Luhrmann started making noises about The Great Gatsby and moved to New York, and my brain exploded. Because who mostly gets work in non-contemporary films? That’d be me. And who dances? Surely Gatsby would need historical dance. And hey, I live in New York and always, always get cast high status. I was thrilled; I was terrified; I was, oddly, trapped in Switzerland at the time, moaning at my friends in email about the gossip sheets and everything that I was missing. All I could do was not cut my too-short-for-the-period hair, which has since been going through an awkward stage both in terms of shape and gender.
Gatsby was on, Gatsby was off. Christian was telling me to cut my hair anyway. Everyone else I knew was sort of rolling their eyes but also totally understanding of my need to look right should the opportunity arise; not cutting my hair was nothing compared to that business of running away to Australia to study at NIDA in 2005. Patty, when I called her at her dig site in India, sweetly and dutifully said, “Poor baby,” when I complained about the state of my shagginess.
Then, while I was at Gally, the story broke (again): Gatsby‘s on. And shooting (apparently in 3D, but that’s a subject for another post) in Australia. My first response was to punch the air, because my hair has really, really been driving me ’round the bend. And my second response was to weep. And when I told Marci about it, who said all the right things in that sorry-like-you-say-when-someone-dies way, I said, I guess some relationships are always better with longing and thought both of the celebration of longing that is the Whoniverse (hey, I was at Gally) and of my very weird and difficult and solitary previously mentioned month down in Sydney. I even found myself missing Bondi Beach, which was the one place in my beautiful borrowed city I sort of hated at the time — too West Coast for this New York creature.
Righto. So no more Gatsby fears for me. No more terror of not getting the chance or getting the chance and not being good enough. Now, I just get to cut my hair, look forward to the next picture from one of my favorite directors, and not have to listen to “When I Meet the Wizard” from Wicked on repeat to remind myself how easily the people we admire can let us down just by virtue of being human.
I’m oddly content with that. For now. But I still remember sitting in that theater all those years ago as the credits rolled on some film I’ve misplaced in my head. And it’s with great and wacky relief that I can tell you my certitude hasn’t changed. But, oh man, I am so glad to be able to do something about this crap curling on the back of my neck. Now the only lingering question is what the hell to do about my grey.
But whatever the answer is, it can wait until March 2, after I’ve made my editors happy.