By Elizabeth Bishop
I caught a tremendous fish
and held him beside the boat
half out of water, with my hook
fast in a corner of his mouth.
He didn't fight.
He hadn't fought at all.
He hung a grunting weight,
battered and venerable
and homely. Here and there
his brown skin hung in strips
like ancient wallpaper,
and its pattern of darker brown
was like wallpaper:
shapes like full-blown roses
stained and lost through age.
He was speckled with barnacles,
fine rosettes of lime,
with tiny white sea-lice,
and underneath two or three
rags of green weed hung down.
While his gills were breathing in
the terrible oxygen
--the frightening gills,
fresh and crisp with blood,
that can cut so badly--
I thought of the coarse white flesh
packed in like feathers,
the big bones and the little bones,
the dramatic reds and blacks
of his shiny entrails,
and the pink swim-bladder
like a big peony.
I looked into his eyes
which were far larger than mine
but shallower, and yellowed,
the irises backed and packed
with tarnished tinfoil
seen through the lenses
of old scratched isinglass.
They shifted a little, but not
to return my stare.
--It was more like the tipping
of an object toward the light.
I admired his sullen face,
the mechanism of his jaw,
and then I saw
that from his lower lip
--if you could call it a lip
grim, wet, and weaponlike,
hung five old pieces of fish-line,
or four and a wire leader
with the swivel still attached,
with all their five big hooks
grown firmly in his mouth.
A green line, frayed at the end
where he broke it, two heavier lines,
and a fine black thread
still crimped from the strain and snap
when it broke and he got away.
Like medals with their ribbons
frayed and wavering,
a five-haired beard of wisdom
trailing from his aching jaw.
I stared and stared
and victory filled up
the little rented boat,
from the pool of bilge
where oil had spread a rainbow
around the rusted engine
to the bailer rusted orange,
the sun-cracked thwarts,
the oarlocks on their strings,
the gunnels--until everything
was rainbow, rainbow, rainbow!
And I let the fish go.
It was quite enjoyable to watch Russell Crowe play "Russell Crowe, Serious Actor Who Has No Idea How He Got This Terrible Reputation." I mean, I love the guy to death but come on -- I believe in the pussycat (as the host, James Lipton, described him while creaming his jeans over Russell taking him So Seriously) about as wholeheartedly as I believe in Jack Aubrey. And actually, Jack Aubrey exists in 20 novels, whereas Russell Crowe, That Bar-Brawling Skank Who Is Mean To Waitresses And Threw Over Meg Ryan, Nicole Kidman and Courtney Love, exists in about twelve thousand magazines that I've managed to spot in grocery lines even though I normally avoid that shit, so perhaps Jack Aubrey is, in fact, a truer character.
But he came across as funny and thoughtful and self-deprecating, said some very intelligent things about the industry, dealt well with the awkwardness of the early questions, did a few vocal impressions, and he was smoking, onstage, while talking about the evils of smoking in The Insider, which for some reason appealed to me even though I was going, "Fuck, couldn't he live without the cigarettes long enough for students who might be violently allergic to smoke to sit through the interview session?" There was much beeping-out of the F word during the second half of the show when he got comfortable, but it was very easy to read his lips.
Asked his favorite swear word, he said -- explaining that it really should be contextual and pronounced with proper passion -- "Fuck me swinging."
Asked his least-favorite word, he said it was a phrase: "Hollywood Bad Boy."
Asked what turns him on, he said "A well-constructed sentence."
Asked what he'd want to be if not an actor, he said something involving colors -- maybe a designer. (Note: Gay!Russell is vastly more appealing than Hollywood Bad Boy!Russell, and I'm going to believe in the former from now on.)
He was talking about how John Polson wanted to rehearse the kiss from The Sum of Us, and he grinned and said, "John, I'm about to make a movie with Sharon Stone. What do you think she'd think if I told her I needed some private rehearsal time?"
John was all defensive about never having kissed a bloke, so Russell told him that if John leaned in and he leaned in, sooner or later they were bound to figure it out.
He also said he always tells interviewers that Polson was his favorite screen kiss because "it freaks people out." He described his character in that movie as "a gay football-playing plumber," which got a big laugh.
Asked his favorite sound, he said low thrumming sounds like those made by a cello. (Note: I am not wrestling with ABM-M&C RPS bunnies. No, really, I'm not. *throws them to the floor*)
And on a completely unrelated note, perhaps it is silly of me to squeal about this, but every shot from A Beautiful Mind that they showed involved Paul Bettany (including the entire shoving-the-desk-out-the-window scene where John throws Charles to the floor).
He explained that being a DJ is the perfect way to meet women -- "This one's for the girl in the white dress." *whistles*
He thinks Jim Croce is cool, and played "Rapid Roy (The Stock Car Boy)" at his Rocky Horror audition, which he found out about from other people he was acting with at the time. He ended up getting cast and touring with the production, and there were photos of him in character as Eddie.
The program showed a long clip of TOFOG in concert in which Russell was giving one of the other band members a spanking in time with the beat.
He talked about growing up relatively poor in New Zealand and Australia, how he never formally studied acting because by the time he could afford to, he was a working actor. He said there aren't classical roles he wants to play so much as he wants to work with whoever is the Shakespeare of our era; he described himself as a "fucking gypsy" though he mentioned that pretty much his entire extended family lives on his cattle ranch.
He advised the acting students in the audience not to fall in love with their characters because when you're in love, you make yourself blind to all faults, and the more interesting character traits come from exploring the character's faults.
He giggled talking about his weight, how he tried to be a Method actor and gain all that weight to play Wigand in The Insider and it wreaked havoc with his metabolism. He also gave a long, long list of all the injuries he sustained on Gladiator.
At the end, when the students were allowed to ask questions, this very pretty British guy named James said he had snuck onto the Gladiator set when it was filming near where he grew up, and he got all excited and nervous (I think he meant in an "I want to be an actor" sense...though actually no, I don't think he meant that at all, even though Russell was supposed to believe that). And Russell said, "Well, mate, of course you were nervous, you were breaking the law! Did you steal anything?" James admitted to stealing a sign, which he promised to give back to Russell if Russell wanted. (
He said Maximus was originally supposed to be named Narcissus, which he loathed. Then they came up with Maximus, which he suspected would get "Mad Maximus" jokes and indeed it did. Then he came up with the full name, Maximus Decimus Meridius, because he liked the way it flowed.
He said that ultimately you let things go with directors because it's their movie. (This made me howl -- Russell Crowe plays the Anti-Russell!) He did add that if a director lies to him, he'll never listen to a thing that director has to say again.
He said that there is a heaven and God will greet him there with, "G'day, mate." (Unfortunately I am sure I will not be there to see it, as I will be in The Other Place with all my friends.)
On a related but silly note: my Inside the Actors Studio Personality Match is Helen Hunt. I was hoping for Kathy Bates or Carol Burnett, but at least it's not Melanie or Gwyneth!
Necessary pimping: Every word of M&C fic
And thus ends the squeeage for the morning. Now I have to run out to Barnes and Noble where I managed to talk the very nice sales lady into holding a copy of the ROTK Empire for me, even though they officially won't hold magazines. *squees again*