Thursday, November 19, 2009

Winter's Muse: Geraldine Chaplin

Today's guest post comes courtesy of the brilliant and funny lady behind Loose Leaf Tigers -- a blog dedicated to girl crushes, great art, and gasp-worthy fashion finds...

Bonjour! It is such an honor for me to be guest posting here at Nothing Elegant; one of the most stylish, eclectic and intelligent blogs i have come across. I visit here almost every day, and so should you!

With winter fast approaching, i thought i'd take this opportunity to celebrate two fabulous actresses (Julie Christie and Geraldine Chaplin) from one of the most wintery films ever made: Dr. Zhivago (1965). Let's begin with the elegant and fascinating Geraldine Chaplin, eldest child of Charlie and Oona.

Geraldine made a brief appearance in one of her father's films when she was eight years old, but her dreams were of the ballet rather than acting and it was while dancing in Paris that she was discovered by David Lean, who chose her for the role of Tonya in Doctor Zhivago.

Throughout the 1970s, Geraldine appeared in several of Robert Altman's films, as well as nine movies directed by Carlos Saura, with whom she has a son named Shane. While filming Welcome to L.A. in 1976, Geraldine was required to do a nude scene. Although she was perfectly comfortable doing the scene herself, director Alan Rudolph feared the loss of financing if the producers fell into disfavor with her world famous father, by embarrassing him prior to his death.

As such, the scene became one of the first experiments with digital compositing, positioning Chaplin's head on the body of a former Penthouse pet (!). Geraldine performed the scene in a nude body-stocking and it took almost an entire month, using antiquated production equipment, to digitally merge Chaplin's head with the body double.

Some of my favourite of Geraldine's performances can be found in Altman's Nashville (1975) and Pedro Almadovar's Talk to Her (2002), one of many foreign films in which Chaplin, who speaks fluent Spanish as well as French, has starred. In 1982, Geraldine played her real life grandmother Hannah in Chaplin, starring Robert Downey Jr., a role for which she received a best supporting actress Golden Globe.

In 2006, she married Chilean cinematographer Patricio Castilla, with whom she has a daughter, Oona. Geraldine now calls Miami, Florida home, where she has a house on the beach. The humble actress has been quoted as saying: "I thought it'd be easy to get into the movies as Charles Chaplin's daughter. And I suppose it was. Except I wasn't much good as an actress - really terrible at the beginning."

If you'd care to read the companion piece to this entry, please come visit Loose Leaf Tigers and celebrate the life and career of Dr. Zhivago's other star, the incomparable Julie Christie...

::Thank you so much to Tara and her wonderful readers for having me! xo


me melodia said...

You have a beautiful blog and a wonderful point of view.

Must troll your archives.

Starr Crow said...

this was so interesting! i never really never knew much about charlie's daughter, or that he even had one for that matter. i've always admired him though. very good guest post. :)

{Tara} said...

me melodia -- Thank you so much! I am so happy you stopped by.

A Thought -- I know! I also knew very little about her and was so glad Heidi did this post on her; now I need to see more of her films.

Mattias said...

Geraldine is absolutely beautiful, why haven't i heard of her before? x

Every Little Counts said...