Well I woke up to some shocking news the other day – an article saying Rooney Mara was going to be playing Audrey Hepburn in a biopic. It really shook me, even after realizing that it wasn’t the Wildside production. My mind just raced back through the entire past 20 years of my life, back to the beginnings of my journey with Audrey – I remember watching The Audrey Hepburn Story when I was about 18, and just learning about Audrey. How at first, I actually enjoyed it. I like biopics, generally. But as I learned more, the gulf between Audrey and Jennifer grew wider. The glaring mistakes or outright rewrites of Audrey’s life made me feel that Audrey deserved better. I started writing down my research. In notebook after notebook, then on index cards as I organized it all chronologically in preparation to write my own script.
And I wrote it.
I spent my hours on set as a background actor scribbling it down, then typing it out in Final Draft. My weekends were spent at the Margaret Herrick Library in Beverly Hills, looking at microfiche of old articles. One even had Audrey’s Los Angeles address printed right in it. I couldn’t find that address when I went looking for it though. The neighbourhood must have been renumbered in the 45 years since that article.
Well, I wrote and I wrote. I made two versions. One was a double script. And one focused more on the middle of her life. I used as many direct quotes as I could. However, I was never really confident in it. I’m not a writer.
A friend of mine saw the passion I had for this, and he said he wanted to produce it. I didn’t see him often, only a handful of times a year. He was busy running a charity called the Angel Foundation, and he lived a bit outside of L.A. somewhere… But one day in 2006 I think it was… after being unable to get ahold of him for a time, I learned that he had passed away. He had leukemia. So with him died my hope of getting the script produced. I put it away. I would have to simply work hard, make a name for myself, and try again when I had some clout. That day has still not come.
The announcement in 2018 gave me one last hope. Now in my 30’s, I know I could do a better job than I could back then. For starters, my teeth look a hell of a lot better now after Invisalign (which I’m about to do a second time)! I’ve had many acting classes, ballet classes, and experiences to draw from. I’ve gone through heartbreak after heartbreak. I’ve lived in Europe – France and the Netherlands. I’ve been to the places Audrey has been, and walked in her footsteps. I’ve owned a Yorkie, beginning to end, 13 years of that silly furbaby. I’ve found more confidence (though maybe still not enough). And I’ve learned a lot more about Audrey. I don’t know if any of that is enough to convince somebody to give me a chance. Once again we’re seeing how having a famous face helps you to land good roles. But what percentage of actors even reach that level? I was once told that only 5% of SAG members even made a living with acting. Five percent. Does that mean the rest of us aren’t talented enough? I doubt it. There are plenty of talented people who don’t get work, and plenty of people who get work despite not being talented. And I still cling to some hope that in this case especially, for Audrey, one of the other unknown 95% may be given a chance. Just like they took a chance on her for Roman Holiday, giving an unknown actress a major role over any other famous actress of the day, I hope Wildside makes their casting decision not based on fame, but based on the person who can truly bring Audrey to life. Even if it’s not me. Although I can’t imagine anybody giving more of themselves to the role than I would. So, I’m still here, still doing my best, and still hoping.