The Audrey Hepburn Story Review, Part One

This review is a little different from the others on this site. Actually, the review is more of a recap of the American version of this biopic. Why on earth would I do this? Because I think it’s important to point out how incorrect this is, and how it’s a lopsided and downright bad representation of Audrey Hepburn in general. And yes, I could just say “it’s bad” and leave it at that, but I feel it would be more thorough and a little more adult to point out just where it goes wrong and why you should spend that three hours of your life doing something a little more productive, like reading a good book on Audrey or learning how to knit. Anything other than watching this.

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The Audrey Hepburn Story was written by Marsha Norman and directed by Steve Robman. Unfortunately.

I borrowed my grandma’s copy of this atrocity to do my review. She actually bought it in the sweet delusion that I’d like to borrow it and watch it. I have far more detailed notes now [I had originally taped this off of TV], and two new interesting things. The first is the previews. Towards the end of the previews, there’s a sort of video montage of stuff you can rent/buy, and I Know What You Did Last Summer and I Still Know . . . were in the montage. Ick. Then, right before the biopic actually starts, a sort of disclaimer deal comes up, saying that this was “based on published accounts.” Oh, really? They must have skimmed through the Diana Maychick book alone, or some other sensationalist (and wrong!) book. Anyway…

We start out with a dumb MIDI harmonica trilling through “Moon River,” and a taxi pulling up to Tiffany’s. Why start there? Who knows. JENNIFER LOVE HEWITT makes her appearance before the title of this tripe, in case you didn’t know whom the controversy was swirling around. An interior of the taxi shows pouffy hair with a tiara (?!?), black beads (again, ?!?), and small, rectangular glasses. Oh, and a black dress and opera gloves that look vaguely familiar. It’s supposed to be the famous Breakfast at Tiffany’s look, but no one ever bothered to explain why they couldn’t get white pearls or make a hairpiece that more decently resembled the original. And for future reference, all the sunglasses Jennifer wears are not Audrey — or even the time appropriate — style. Compare:

Hewitt Hepburn

Nitpicking? Maybe. It’s called details. As Cary Grant once said: “It takes 500 small details to add up to one favorable impression.” And I’d also like to point out that the fringe (bangs) is wrong, but that’s an ongoing theme here. Moving on . . . The cab driver gives “Audrey” a pep talk, the first of about 2,000 in this biopic, because she’s “nehvahs” — that’s supposed to be “nervous”. I don’t recall ever reading or hearing about these peppering Audrey’s life, despite her low self-assurance in her acting abilities. Hewitt gets out of the cab, goes to the wrong window (someone else noted this, not me), and chokes on the pastry. She begs for an ice cream cone, and while I know Audrey really asked about this, I doubt she’d be childish enough to do this on the set after a take, with Truman Capote himself present. They “clean” her up for the next take while Capote gripes about wanting Marilyn Monroe — the story was written with Monroe in mind, but I highly doubt he’d be on set everyday grousing like that, and I really doubt he had all that much to do with the script adaptation, since it’s credited to George Axlerod and not him. Still, he’s pretty dang funny. Hewitt ponders about Capote’s Gloomy Gus vibes, and now her life’s mission is “to make him smile.” She actually says, “I want to make him smile.” The make-up lady says that everyone wants to (is he Mary Tyler Moore?), and “Audrey” says, “If I make him smile, will you give me a quarter?” You did not just say that! It’s probably at this point — or even sooner, for some — that the Hepburn fans that have vowed to get through this tape their eyelids open and settle down into that comfy A Clockwork Orange torture chair to endure the rest of this. But the make-up lady says that everyone would give “Audrey” a standing ovation, and “Audrey” bubbles, “Well then, it’s a bet!” and sashays off. Uh . . .

Aside about the voice: I honestly think Jennifer Love Hewitt only studied two movies for Audrey’s accent: Roman Holiday and Breakfast at Tiffany’s. For most of the biopic, she talks so low that you can’t really hear her, and in Roman Holiday, Audrey tones her voice down to sound more like royalty and less like a young girl. The parts where she’s not gutturally whispering, Hewitt is talking like she’s drunk — which is odd, considering the fact that she claims she doesn’t drink — much like Holly talks to Cat. I kid you not. There was no credit for a voice coach, so I’m assuming that she taught herself the accent.

Back to the show. Everyone sets up for take two, and halfway in the cab, Hewitt stares moonily at the crowd down the street clamoring for Audrey. This triggers a flashback to her childhood, and I’m assuming the little Audrey has to be around 4, since dear papa didn’t stick around much later after that. Little Audrey is hiding under the tea table, pigging out on comfort sweets while her parents argue. This is true, so there’s one point for this show. It says on the Internet Movie Database that she is supposed to be 8 here. Um, okay, little discrepancy there, since dad was gone by the age of 6. Anyhoo, Lil’ Audrey upsets the sugar bowl during her binge, and her mum starts yelling at her. Audrey’s mother, the Baroness Ella van Heemstra, is played by Frances Fisher, and I really think she was the only person that was appropriately cast in this. Audrey’s father is played by Keir Dullea, and while he doesn’t really resemble Joseph Hepburn-Ruston, he’s pretty good here. Anyway, daddy rescues Lil’ Audrey and takes her away to the park, where he proceeds to take Nazi propaganda from a pretty blonde. Hmm . . . Later on, the Baroness is haranguing him about his Nazi sympathies. Lil’ Audrey cries glycerin tears into her split pea soup. Yeah, that stuff is pretty nasty. The Baroness accuses Joseph of being on the “wrong side of everything,” and I have to point out this fairly large gaffe, since the Baroness herself was briefly involved in fascist publishings with her husband, so that’s a pretty hypocritical accusation, to say the least. This is the last straw for Daddy Dearest, and out he goes as little Audrey pleads for him not to leave her. Another whoopsie, since Audrey’s dad left when Audrey was still asleep (and supposedly after he got caught in the act of cheating). Lil’ Audrey also calls Joseph “Fava,” so that’s what I’m going to call him from now on.

Lil' Audrey young Audrey

Which brings us back to the Breakfast at Tiffany’s set, where the make-up lady cleans Hewitt’s face of a solitary tear. I never saw it, but others say it was there. Once again, they’re calling for places, and “Audrey” walks to the cab with the cabbie, even though she’d been halfway in the cab before the flashback. He says that his little girl wants to grow up to be just like her, and Hewitt says, “Oooh, just don’t let her grow up to be as nervous as I am.” Um, okay? I don’t know how that fits, since Audrey had done 16 credited films by that time, half of those being in starring roles, and nothing traumatic or nerve-wracking was going on during Breakfast. And don’t forget her stage work, where you don’t get numerous takes.

So now we’re with ambiguously aged Audrey. I’m guessing 8, since that’s when she went to boarding school, as the Baroness wanted her to have an English education. But according to IMDb, she’s the 12-16 Audrey. Whoopsie again. Seriously, was it too hard for Marsha Norman to crack a book while writing this? Or for anyone after that to do so? But back on the farm, teen Audrey is so sulky and whiny it hurts the teeth. She got her accent from Maid Marian in Robin Hood: Men In Tights and it shows: “Eye dewn’t wahnt to gew.” You have to hear it to believe it. Which leads us to another gaffe: not only was Audrey eight when she was sent to boarding school, she had very broken English and couldn’t even speak Dutch that well, so this fake high class accent really sticks out. And she looks like a Muppet.

Middle Audrey teen Audrey

So now Middle Audrey’s at boarding school. Her roommate is off to ballet and asks if Audrey is a dancer. Little Miss Muppet mopes, “I’m not anything that I know of.” Yep, and it’s that Pollyanna attitude that got her through the war! *rolls eyes* Audrey starts taking dance, some montages and heart to hearts with her roommate, and more painful montages of her trying to get through to “Jewsif Hepbahn.” Honestly, the pronunciation makes your teeth itch. One day the headmistress pulls Muppet out of ballet: she’s being called back home to Holland because England’s going to war and it’s not safe. Muppet mopes some more until she hears that Fava will take her to the airport.

Here’s a little aside: the point of this biopic is apparently to drill into us that Audrey Hepburn spent her whole life chasing after her absent father and pining to be a baby factory. Granted, she was abandoned by her father, but this aspect was highly melodramatized here. And Audrey always wanted children, but not to the point where that’s all she talked about or wanted out of life. And while harping on and on about her wanting babies, they only mention one of five miscarriages? Sad and traumatic as it was for her, that’s also a big part of her life. She said herself that she always had a lot of affection in her heart, and since her own family wasn’t ever very affectionate, she wanted to make a family of her own to spend it on. This also manifested itself in her later UNICEF work. Okay, back to the show.

Audrey meets Fava, and she’s elated while he looks half awake. At pre-board, he gets the stink eye and is asked to step aside because of his papers *cough* fascist! *cough*, and Audrey has to tearfully board the plane by herself. Now that sucks — but it’s wrong! The Baroness herself came to pick Audrey up from school, and Joseph was nowhere to be seen, though he did object to having Audrey removed from London, which was strange, since he never visited her.

And now we’re back to the set of Breakfast at Tiffany’s. I didn’t know Audrey Hepburn dropped acid. Kidding! She’s still not in the cab, either. She gazes at the sulky Capote, looks down her wrong-in-1,000-ways sunglasses and says: “I’ll get you, Mr. Frown-All-the-Time.” You did not just say that! Believe me, it’s beyond bad, and she sounded like she was scolding her dog — who isn’t even mentioned in this film, even though Mr. Famous, her Yorkshire terrier, was her surrogate child. And it wasn’t even with an accent, according to my notes. Oy. So she finally gets back in the cab, and take two happens. She practically runs up to the window, takes half the pastry in one go, and runs off. And it’s a print! Uh, sure. What happened to opening the coffee and actually having breakfast at Tiffanys? That’s another thing I noticed about this whole biopic: it feels rushed. Her childhood and involvement in the Resistance during the war barely gets five minutes, yet her struggle (to use the term ever so loosely) with Capote being okay with her takes up seemingly half the “film.” What gives? It takes 3 hours to get through 30 years, which isn’t bad, but the ratio is totally off. Apparently, Audrey gadding about with various men and giggling and prancing was more important and a bigger aspect of her lasting impression on fashion, film, humanitarianism, and women’s self image than the foundation of her life. Right. And why is every recreation of Hewitt’s favourite scene wrong?!? I don’t mean the knock off wardrobe because they couldn’t use Givenchy’s designs, I mean huge errors. No time or care was put into this, apparently.

whine and cheese

So “Audrey” is all proud of her five-second take and looks around for Capote, only to see that he’s vanished during filming. Cue the un-Audrey pouting (and way too red lipstick). She’s seriously on the verge of a panic attack about not wanting to disappoint everyone, and here’s another thing I don’t understand: Audrey Hepburn wasn’t a wavemaker, but she wasn’t this passive little doll that bent to everyone’s will. This biopic seems to believe that, and I know a few other people who seem to think that as well, thanks to this stupid biopic. I also don’t understand why Hewitt acted this so woodenly, either. She’s either bobbing her head like a chicken with a broken neck, making her concerned/vomit face (which I actually wrote in my notes), or she looks like a wooden Tiki god. I know Audrey had excellent poise from dance, but there’s a difference between carriage and the proverbial stick up the arse.

Hewitt Audrey

Hewitt Audrey

The cabbie’s daughter hands “Audrey” roses, and suddenly we’re back in Arnhem during Occupation. What’s the rhyme or reason for these flashbacks? Is Capote her personal Hitler or something? So middle Audrey whines to her mum, the Baroness, that she said Germany would never invade Holland. Yes, like it’s mummy’s fault. I know Audrey never got a university level education or even finished high school, but that doesn’t make her stupid. I also think she had shorter hair. She asks (or rather, whines) about her dance lessons, and she can still go for now. In another dance montage, middle Audrey lends her threadbare cardigan to a smaller girl . . . and later, she sees the little girl, Hannah, being loaded on a truck. Hannah was Jewish. Muppet gets teary (that’s all she ever does) and says, “Gawd protect yew, Hannah.” Funny how the biopic didn’t mention that Audrey was nearly captured in the same way, or that one half-brother had to go underground and the other half-brother had been taken to a work camp. Or that she even had two half-brothers. Hmm.

That same day, apparently, middle Audrey comes home to see her mum crying. Middle Audrey immediately thinks it’s Fava, but the Baroness says that Audrey’s uncle had been blamed in a Resistance attack of a German train, and that he’d been executed. Crap day.

Now the Baroness takes over for her brother, the slain uncle, at Resistance meetings. In an overly dramatic (and wrong, yet again) scene, middle Audrey bursts into a Resistance meeting and bravely volunteers amidst gasps and the like. Back then it was a way of life, not a dramatic afterschool special. Sheesh! So middle Audrey ends up delivering a message to a downed British pilot in the woods by a farmhouse. She dispatches the message safely, but on her way out of the field, she’s accosted by two German soldiers. She thinks fast, producing some wildflowers she’d picked, and explains that she was supposed to meet her boyfriend, but he didn’t show. Whipping up some tears, she adds, “He doesn’t love me.” They let her go, but nab the farmer that Audrey had been relaying messages to. She hides in the barn and watches the poor old man being shot, and ends up staying in the barn all day and night for fear of being shot herself. She also eats tulip bulbs, so that’s another point for getting something right.

Middle Audrey finally gets back home and the Baroness must have pissed herself in relief, seriously. She got home just in time, since the war has now ended (hence the Nazi’s rash actions), and the British and American soldiers are parading down the streets and handing out cigarettes and chocolate. There’s also a clip of a Churchill speech, and it’s apparently wrong. I checked IMDb and it said that this speech was broadcast in 1940 for Britain, not 1944 for Holland. Whoopsie. Middle Audrey gorges on chocolate, only to take violently ill and collapse. The Baroness gets a doctor, and he says that Audrey needs penicillin now or she’ll die of colitis, asthma, and acute edema that had nearly reached her heart. The Baroness frets about how to get the medicine that quickly, and . . .

Gah! Why are we back on the Breakfast at Tiffany’s set? Oh, right, Hewitt has to sing. Seriously, this scene is beyond pointless. She’s wearing some strange hippie garb and a kerchief that ties down her ears (Audrey never wore scarves that way) and sitting on some random car hood. And she has her hair down, which Audrey usually didn’t do. But I digress. Hewitt sings “Moon River” in the wrong key while making eyes at Jay Leno — er, “Blake Edwards,” and then asks Blake (director of Breakfast) if he still wants her to sing. He says yes, and she simpers, “Hmmm, I s’pose so. After all, I didn’t know how to do half the things I did in my life.” Look, Audrey did admit that, but she didn’t have it tattooed on her forehead and reiterate it every time someone talked to her. Oy. I’d also like to point out the fact that there’s a random guy sitting off to the side, playing guitar for Hewitt. This is pretty stupid and superfluous, since Audrey learned and played the chords of “Moon River” herself, but I take it this happened because Hewitt can’t play guitar herself, and couldn’t bother to learn.

Moon River

Skip to more dance classes. It’s Hewitt as Hepburn from here on out, for the record. She’s mechanically stretching at the barre with this stone look on her face, and it’s really bad stretching, too. I mean, my ballet instructor would have thrown her out, it’s so not right. Um, and there’s about a mile of cleavage there. I can somewhat understand dropping the neckline of the famous black Breakfast at Tiffany’s dress a bit to keep away a lawsuit, but there’s no reason on Earth that Hewitt has to has the lowest-cut leotard out there.

what are you doing? not for ballet, no

So another dancer on the other side of the barre starts chatting her up, and it’s Tori Amos — nope, sorry, that’s Kay Kendall. I won’t bash her too bad, because she is funny. “Audrey” is totally blowing her off and being stony, and non-sequiturs about the resolution — er, how the Baroness got the penicillin to save her life. She also blathers that she lost time dancing during the war (she really had to stop because her edema made her feet and legs swell so bad she could hardly move), and Kay tells her to get some quick cash by working in revues in night clubs. Little Miss “I Don’t Know How” says — wait for it — I don’t know how. Surprised? Not really. But Kay gives her pep talk #238. Kay also says that “Audrey” needs a boyfriend. Ugh, it’s all about men and making babies, isn’t it?

So “Audrey” is stretching when Madame Rambert, the dance school teacher, talks to her about dance. Blah. After that, for some reason, is a dance montage that Hewitt isn’t in, though we’re supposed to believe she is. I looked really hard and rewound the tape a lot, and I swear that’s a dance double. But I thought Hewitt knew how to dance? Weird. Anyhoo, she’s whining to mummy about how she can’t be a great dancer but that’s what she wants to do. While her mother, Dutch aristocracy, is laying silverware in a restaurant. To feed her whiny mouth. I know Audrey wasn’t this ungrateful, especially after the war. In fact, she vowed that if she survived the war, she’d never complain aloud again — and she didn’t. She also didn’t talk about it incessantly because everyone suffered, and they all just wanted to get past it. So they did. The Baroness ever so nicely says that you have to be flexible with your life’s plans because, basically, sheisse happens. Then there’s some crap dialogue:
“Audrey”: Wasn’t there anything you wanted more than anything else?
Baroness: I wanted you, doesn’t that count?

That’s sweet. But wrong.

Now “Audrey” is working late at the barre, practicing wobbly relevés and putting her arms way too far back in arm positioning exercises when Madame approaches her. She fixes Hewitt’s arms (thank you!) and finally breaks the news: “Audrey” is too tall (hah! Not Hewitt!) and too old to ever be a prima ballerina. Actually, those were the real reasons Audrey couldn’t be a prima ballerina. The reasons given in the biopic were that she “has neither the stature nor the talent.” Ouch. Hewitt stares, makes her head bobble, twitches her lips, moistens her eyes, then kisses Mme. on each cheek and squints her face awfully funny.

Next we see “Audrey” trying to pose in some Victorian looking outfit, getting irritated with modeling, and huffing out. Actually, the photographer sets her and she insists on wobbling her head around and cutting off his attempts at small talk (“Were your parents Asian?”). Um, this was right after the war and she would be damn lucky to have a job for much needed food and rent money, especially because she and her mother came over to England with practically no money to their name since the Germans had razed or stolen everything of value back home. Also, Audrey modeled throughout her life, and did some really well-known ads. She also had shorter hair. But back in make-believe land, “Audrey” finally auditions for a revue with Kay, and they both get a spot in the chorus line of “High Button Shoes.” “Audrey” bites the hand that feeds her until Kay shuts her up, and Kay introduces her to Nicky, “the star of the show.” There’s much twitching of shoulders and giggling until Nicky picks her up and twirls her to hear her squeal and giggle as only a teen queen can. Er, sorry, the official reason is to see that she’s light as a feather. This next bit is really funny to me. I know this story is true, but when you see it applied to Jennifer Love Hewitt, squinting away, it’s just ridiculous. The director is watching the chorines and he points out “Audrey,” saying: “Watch the skinny one. You can see her eyes all the way to the back row.” Hoo, that’s a good one! Besides, as she’s stumbling about in high heels, she’s too busy looking down and simpering until the final position, when she propositions the director with her eyes. Ew.

It’s at this point that the pianist, Marcel, develops a crush on “Audrey.” He acts so stereotypically French that it’s no wonder the French hate Americans. He asks “Audrey” to dinner (in front of all her friends, of course), and Kay says she doesn’t eat. Coffee? Anything? He asks her if she ever misbehaves, and she simpers (with much eyebrow wriggling), “I would love to misbehave, really I would, but I don’t know how.” Wha?? That leads me to another thing: whenever there’s a slightly “witty” or “clever” line, it’s delivered with a smug face and eyebrow semaphore, which is really, insanely irritating. Moving on, “Audrey” and Marcel have dates that include singing some crap romance song at the piano and having a giggly picnic in the grass while Marcel acts the stereotypical Frenchman. There’s some especially stupid dialogue on the picnic blanket where Marcel “eh, how you say”s his way through yet another pep talk about how she’s so damn beautiful evil aliens would cancel their plans to conquer the planet just to lay at her feet and feed her grapes. He didn’t use that analogy, but he did reference the Man in the Moon. He also says “You are too beautiful,” and I check my gag reflex as Hewitt simpers “Oh, please don’t,” while smirking into a flower. So modest! Ugh. It’s here I also wrote “Seems like someone wanted to sell a soundtrack.” Honestly, the singing isn’t even remotely like Audrey’s, and Audrey always knew she wasn’t a singer, so it’s not as if she flaunted it.

“Audrey” starts to get recognized in the chorus line circles and begins doubling up on shows. Shots of Hewitt prancing and smirking and generally looking kind of like a hussy, which Audrey had too much class to be. More men flirt with her (yeesh, shades of Time of Your Life here), Marcel gets “sick of love” with her, and she dumps the poor fop because she wants to work now, not quit to start a family. Oh wait, that’s the real reason. The reason Hewitt gives him is that he’ll just fall in love with another actress and leave her. Dude, just take up Catholicism. Worked for Spencer Tracy’s wife. He handles it remarkably well for just professing how sick he was, shrugging and saying he’s glad to be the first to have his heart broken by her. They also failed to mention that the director put a very strict clause in all the girls’ contracts forbidding them to have relationships with anyone else from the show, and Marcel following Audrey really pissed the director off, which was another big reason they had to call it quits. Ah, but you’d have to read a whole book to know that.

“Audrey” plods home and finds a letter from the Red Cross regarding Fava, and the Baroness gets peeved at “Audrey” for looking up the deadbeat. She also points out that he was just released from an internment camp, where all the Nazi sympathizers and fascists got sent. “Audrey” swears to do everything to find him, actually saying, “I’m going to find my fava if it takes the rest of my life,” and I order 50 copies of Audrey Hepburn by Barry Paris to ship to everyone directly involved in this tripe. May they be forever shamed at what a half-assed job they did.

“Audrey” gets a ciggie line in a movie, the first of many small gigs. There’s another goof-up here, since they portray her as a ciggie girl in Laughter In Paradise, The Young Wives’ Tale, and Lavender Hill Mob, while she was only a ciggie girl once. These recreations are so awful that, if this was how the real Audrey did them, there’s no way she would have been put in front of a camera again. During filming of one of these, she meets James Hanson. Rather, a generic George Martin. Honestly! As if the miscasting of the lead character wasn’t enough, they totally missed the bus with Hanson. Yeesh.

two strikes Audrey and James

Of course, he’s instantly enamoured of her (more and more like “Time of Your Life,” when Hewitt’s character was a man magnet for all of New York, seemingly), and he’s richer than Paul McCartney. Now, not then. So “Audrey” and friends raid the wardrobe department looking for a killer dress, and “Audrey” does this behind the changing curtain banter that was so from her TV show. Another “Ugh” to the list. And she’s being all twitchy and teen-ish, which hurts my teeth again. She finally gets the dumb thing on and steps out, and everyone oohs and ahs and further inflates Hewitt’s ego.

just don't

A while later, “Audrey” and James are over at one of his many palaces. She also seems to gawk at his wealth (along with her “seduce him!” friends), which is pretty dumb, since her mother is Dutch aristocracy and a family member had quite a palatial spread that she used to visit as a child. Anyway, she does this really lame “dance” that involves running around the room, clutching decorations and flashing her panties with a wobbly high-kick before they waltz about. And don’t forget the “I’m so sexy!” mugging and come-hither stares. She’s got long hair (again, ??) and that infernal sideways fringe. He proposes, saying she can work when she wants, and she hems, haws, and finally accepts.

again, don't

“Audrey” breaks the news to the Baroness, who is pretty skeptical about James and his promises about her freedom, then “Audrey” is off to audition for Monte Carlo Baby. She gets it, tells an anecdote about a script typo that called for “peeing out a porthole,” and giggles like only Hewitt can. Sigh. She also gets talked into getting a new haircut. You know, the “rat-nibbled fringe,” as Cecil Beaton called it, the haircut that was all the rave? Yeah, the one you never see in this biopic for all the god-awful pouffy, dusty wigs. So “Audrey” dorks about between takes in Monte Carlo, dancing and giggling enough to send the cats of Monaco into the Mediterranean, and Colette, author of “Gigi,” sees her and immediately wants her for the new stage production of Gigi. “Audrey” simpers that she can’t act (we know, we’re watching it happen), but Colette poo-poos her and she’s now the lead in a Broadway play. I think the casting on Colette was pretty good, by the way. She resembles the author a lot and has a French accent that isn’t nearly as awful as Marcel’s, so she’s downright talented in this film.

As if that weren’t enough, “Audrey” tells her little gang that someone named William Wyler wanted her to be in a film of his with Gregory Peck, and all her friends keel over. Then we see Hewitt butcher what was originally a really charming screentest. Blech. Her hair is huge (and wrong) and she drawls through very charming lines, giggles, and does the smarmy eyebrow to Audrey’s “I didn’t hear the director say cut. Only the director can say cut,” line. Then she falls on the bed and gushes about the “princess’s tantrums” (?), giggles, and catches herself, apologizing.

She gets the movie (after the play has run its course), and gets inspirational talk #852 from James about her looks. He blathers: “They’re not thinking, darling, they’ve all fallen for you. Just as I have. We all love you.” Hmm, sounds like Hewitt needed some more self-assurance, since nothing that god-awful ever crossed Audrey’s ears. Then she simpers about her funny looks again. You know, the ones Hewitt doesn’t have: “I’m tall and skinny with a long neck and big feet.” So she gets to New York (15 lbs. heavier in real life, since she was so nervous she binged on chocolate — right back under the tea table) and discovers that you can party all night, and she ends up sleeping during rehearsals for Gigi. She gets in big trouble and straightens up (“When you can learn to act, you can give me directions.”), gets singing and diction lessons to help her project, and wins the world with her performance. They actually reenact — very awkwardly — the closing scene of Gigi, and while the rest of the cast had good French, Hewitt slips into her grating American girl talk and yells. Afterward, James is happy in a “that’s nice honey, is this phase over yet?” way, and she drops him. In reality, they’d waffled for a bit about what to do and they had actually set a date, but she kept getting back-to-back work and they both realized that it couldn’t work then. Later she felt guilty and tried to make amends with him, but he was honestly okay with everything and they stayed friends. He was even invited to her wedding with Mel Ferrer.

continue to part two

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