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Meeting Audrey Hepburn


Getting financial backing for Two For the Road
Frederic Raphael Writer
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So I did Darling and while I was doing Darling I had an idea, because we'd driven up and down from Rome to London and back again several times, and we'd done that trip when we were young in the bus and we'd done it and walked lots of ways, and I said the Beatle on one of the trips imagine if we overtook ourselves like we were when we were hitchhiking down to the south if France? And at that point it was a movie. And it really was a movie because of course it depended absolutely on several journeys eventually being cut together in a way which only cinema can do, and I thought that was a good idea and I mentioned it to Joe, and he said, yes, it's a good idea but, you know, we do the Darling first and... And the Darling thing took quite a while to set up, and I was fairly impatient with them, and I was asked to do another movie by an American director that I... he was fine, but I just couldn't stand the topic that he had raised, and I said to him, I know you're going to be really upset and I may never work in your kind of movie again, but I can't do this movie. And he said, 'Oh, listen, you don't want to do it, don't do it, I mean, that's okay'. He said, 'You know Stanley Donen?' I knew of Stanley Donen, I know Singin' in the Rain. 'Well', he said,' 'because I was at a party the other night and Stanley was saying he'd seen your movie, you know, Nothing But the Best, and he said, you know, he loved it. He loved it. He said to me they say it's the director, but it's not. It's the writer. So listen, why don't you go see Stanley?' So I said, I couldn't possibly, I don't know him, you know. I got... rather British. He said, 'Well, I'll call him'.

So he said, 'Listen, I got Freddie Raphael here, the guy who wrote... uhuh... he's got an idea I think he'd like to talk to you about'. So Stanley said, 'Oh, well, he should come over'. So he had an office in Hamilton Place in those days, quite near where I used to play bridge at The Hamilton Club, with all his movie posters up the steps as you went up to his office. And there he was, about six or seven years older than me, but also of course a hundred years older, because he'd been in Hollywood for a long time, and he worked with all those people, and slept with quite a few of them by the way. However, he was now married to a woman called Adele, who had previously been married to Lord Beatty, as well as having had affairs with Frank Sinatra and various other people, and as I got to the top of the stairs I heard Stanley saying, 'If I can't get the Duke of Westminster would the Duke of Marlborough do?' His wife was quite a keen socialite. So I went in and Stanley said, 'You know, you got any ideas for movies?' And I said, well, yes, I've got this idea about this couple who are driving down to the south of France and they overtake themselves, and then we see them, but it's all done with the journey going south and the time going back and forth, and I thought we'd call it Two for the Road. So Stanley said, 'Well, let's do that'. So I said, oh, but, you know, what do you mean? So he said, 'Let's do that'. But I don't want to do it in England. I'll go away and write it. So he said... I said, you give me some money, and I will go away and write it, and he said, 'The last time I did that I never saw him again'. So I said, well, that's your decision. You'll see me again, I promise you, and if that's not good enough for you I won't do the movie with you. So he said, 'Okay, I'll talk to your agent'.

So he talked to my agent and I got 40,000 dollars, I think, which was not a fortune in those days, because things were booming in California again, but it was plenty, wasn't it?

Born in America in 1931, Frederic Raphael is a writer who moved to England as a boy. He was educated at Charterhouse School and was a Major Scholar in Classics at St John's College, Cambridge. His articles and book reviews appear in a number of newspapers and magazines, including the Los Angeles Times and The Sunday Times. He has published more than twenty novels, the best-known being the semi-autobiographical The Glittering Prizes (1976). In 1965 Raphael won an Oscar for the screenplay for the movie Darling, and two years later received an Oscar nomination for his screenplay for Two for the Road. In 1999, he published Eyes Wide Open, a memoir of his collaboration with the director Stanley Kubrick on the screenplay of Eyes Wide Shut, Kubrick's final movie. Raphael lives in France and England and became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1964.

Listeners: Christopher Sykes

Christopher Sykes is an independent documentary producer who has made a number of films about science and scientists for BBC TV, Channel Four, and PBS.

Tags: Darling, Two For the Road, Stanley Donen

Duration: 4 minutes, 21 seconds

Date story recorded: March 2014

Date story went live: 10 September 2014