Real Life experiences from the Actors
Date: Mon, 24 Jul 2000 10:33:32 From:
George .... "David St.Clair"
I collect all trivia information from the filming I can get my hands on and would love to have more. Would you have the time to add to my collection? If yes. Here my big one. What is Ralph writing in the sand? (see attached picture) I will always wonder why he made a conscious effort to make very clear letters; A., (can't identify). and E. written upside down and backwards to him so it read correct for the camera, complete with periods in the proper place for the camera.
I will always wonder.
Sorry, but I have NO idea what Ralph was writing - or at least my memory fails me!
I was surprised that my name was associated with my screen name (George - had been Harry, but I kept saying "hairy", so Peter changed it for me!) On the http://amazon.imdb.com/Credits?0057261 site, when the rest of the cast (save the major characters) was left nameless. Strange...
I was first "outed" as a kid when, unbeknownst to me, my picture showed up in the big LIFE magazine spread. My friends' parents and my teachers saw it and told everyone I'd been in the movie - I'd been entirely quiet about it (don't know why).
I was lucky to have been involved, as my family lived on Puerto Rico at the time. If I remember correctly, I was one of three "local" boys in the cast. We moved to the Virgin Islands (St. John) shortly thereafter, so we went from "really nice" to a true paradise (at the time, anyway). As a kid, of course, Vieques was a lot of fun, especially when we were shooting the mountaintop scenes in the middle of the Marines' training area (now the subject of all those protests). We found thousands of brass shell casings and MANY unspent rounds (individual and in belts) all over the area. I am shocked that no one was even hurt during that time - other than Ralph, from falling off the rocks!
I was big for my age (8), so I was "promoted" to a hunter from the Li'lUns (I wasn't in Jack's Choir, but was his ally). But the hunting scenes, like chasing pigs through the jungles, were quite exciting because we really WERE running through the jungles chasing pigs with spears in our hands! Dancing around the fires at night, almost naked and covered with war paint, really got our blood running. I am VERY surprised that Tom (Simon) wasn't more seriously hurt in real life during the scene where we killed him on the beach - we were supposed to stab our spears into the sand next to him, but a few kids hit him by mistake. He was only bruised and scraped, but he was clearly terrified during the filming. We actually DID get wilder and wilder as the summer went on, mostly just because we were away from our parents and any competent authority. But the things we had to do during filming really started to carry over - for instance, the boy who played the Piggy-killing villain, Roger, was the one who was fond of catching lizards and throwing them into the electric fans at our dormitory!
We certainly weren't totally unsupervised - just away from home with 30 other kids living on cots - mostly just normal kid wildness. Like any group of kids stuck together for awhile, cliques did get formed and some tension arose between groups. But no major stuff beyond a few fights. But there was a lot of time and a lot of situations for getting into trouble in ways normal suburban kids couldn't (like how many can catch lizards and throw them into electric fans?). There was an old truck loading chute was still outside the pineapple factory where we stayed, and I almost got myself killed in it one afternoon. I was standing on the trap door, a good 30' (it seemed like a LOT more!) over the concrete rubble that had been the truck parking pad, when a friend opened the trap door. As I fell, I was able to fall so that my upper body landed face down on the steep slope of the chute, my lower half dangling in thin air. My hands managed to stick to the rusted metal long enough for someone to climb up to pull me back up. It's tough to be eight and to see your life flash before your eyes! |:^)
Getting dirty and covering ourselves with war paint and mango juice and other stuff is a kid's dream come true! Slaughtering pigs, spitting them and cooking them over open fires, pulling the meat off the bones with your hands, drinking coke mixed with beer in the coconuts we were handing around the fire during the feasts -- not a bad way to play! I suspect they wanted to give us maximum leeway to run wild, to make the filming that much easier (since we weren't actors), but always kept us out of REAL trouble. No one, as I recall, ever got seriously injured or sick - just bumps, bruises and a few cuts.
Life imitates art....
Harry .... David St.Clair
A Great Experience
December 13, 1999
Reviewer: David St.Clair from Pennsylvania, USA
It was a pleasure to see the original version of "Lord of the Flies" again. I'll be interested in seeing the DVD version as well, to see what additional material comes in that format. Having been one of the boys in the movie, I also appreciated seeing the reviews posted by other Amazon customers! I wonder if any of the other cast members have checked out this site...
I confess to liking the original version far more than the remake, but that's not surprising, I guess. I TRIED to keep an open mind when I saw the new version, but, alas, I failed. My recollections of running from the burning jungle, coughing, onto the beach at the end makes a black-and-white rendition seem more real to me. --This text refers to the VHS Tape edition.
Tom Gaman .... "Simon" in Lord of the Flies movie.
Date: Fri, 12 Jan 2001 15:46:47 +0000
Enclosed is a piece for your website for you do something with. I have passed it by David and he seems happy with it. Let me know what you think.
Happy new year to you too!
TRIVIA FROM THE TWINS -- JANUARY 2001
It is a pleasure to contribute something of our experiences of making Lord of the Flies to this enterprising website. A lot of water has flowed under the bridge since 1961, when we were all of 9 years old, but making the film has been something that has come back to haunt us every so often and not much time goes by without some reminder of that summer. Of course, many memories were reawakened by the trip back in 1996.
My brother and I were already big cinema fans when the opportunity came, and neither of us really believed that we were, actually, going to be in a movie when we were told what was going to happen. We were living near New York at the time and, as part of the British community in New York were natural targets for the casting directors looking to fly British boys to Puerto Rico cheaply. Although considered too young, all that changed when they discovered we were identical twins. Our reluctant Mother was, after a number of calls, persuaded to take us for an audition. Why we were, apparently, singled out, became clearer when we talked with Peter Brook in 1996. Firstly, of the pairs of twins interviewed, we were the only ones who looked alike both in person AND on film. Two pairs of older brothers came out to film and, had they looked alike on film, would have taken our parts. Our other saving grace was that we were, like "Samneric", a pair. We did everything together, were inseparable and, again as Peter reminded us later, we finished each other's sentences.
I remember the auditions especially. We saw Mike McDonald first in a penthouse apartment with a roof garden. One of the first things we were shown was a mock-up of the newly designed auditorium of the Lincoln Centre and we were asked if we would like to look inside. This we duly did. We were then asked to tell jokes and we also volunteered to sing songs. At the second audition ( it could have been the third!!) we met Peter Brook for the first time. This time we actually went in to the roof garden and he pretended to be a pig and hid behind a hedge. We had to hunt him out and then attack him as we were filmed.
I am quite sure now that we were two years too young for the parts and this came out in the film in which the parts of the twins were severely cut in relation to their place in the book. We were not "actors", indeed there are no "actors" in the film, and could not convey maturity above our years. It is still an astonishing thing to me that "Lord of the Flies" came across as well as it did given that fact. It demonstrates how alive Peter and his casting directors were to the personalities of all the protagonists in relation to the boys who were auditioned. The astonishing and moving thing about our return in 1996 was that all of us, almost without exception, were essentially the same people that we were in 1961 and yet, we had to go back to the story to find that out.
Most of the filming itself is still vividly placed in my memory. Our Mother was employed as Matron to the boys, one her conditions for letting us go but welcomed by the crew, so we had some security. Nevertheless, she lodged at Frenchman's House and we were at the disused Pineapple Cannery down the road. Interestingly it seemed miles between each site to us at the time but the return showed that it was actually less than a mile between the two. The smell of the dormitory remains vivid; the infestation of crabs, spiders and rats, beloved by some boys but detested by us, still haunts me to this day. Because we were younger than most, we had to work harder to be part of the group. As William Golding had surmised, our survival mechanism was exactly that which kept Samneric alive, in that we kept our own company.
For ease, we were organized into small groups led by some of the older boys. Our first group leader was Tom ( Jack) Chapin and we called ourselves "The Bash Street Kids" after an English comic strip which had been brought by Hugh Edwards from the UK. We moved around quite a lot, however. We were organized by Counsellors, who brought in from the states. In 1996, Peter actually said that most of them were lazy and idle and had to be changed regularly. They organized us in the evenings and on days when we were not filming. We had barbecues, we fenced, we swam, and we must have been a plague on the insects who were subjected to being tied to Water Rockets and pumped into orbit, or forced into racing each other.
Every day a "boy of the day" was nominated and this was a great treat. The "boy of the day" got to hand out the mail and extra little things to do single him out. Then there was "Boy of the week" . That was the real honor. The prize for that was a Spanish Silver Doubloon. My brother and I were accorded that prize for a particularly painful and, in retrospect, nasty piece of filming. Peter, again in '96, claims that this cannot have happened but we still have the Doubloons to prove it.
His contention was that, if boys realized that they were marooned on an island, far from home, they would cry. But could he get anyone to cry on film? So one afternoon, David and I were filming when, suddenly, we were surprised by four or five boys from behind a bush bearing cactus thorns, which they proceeded to prick us with. We duly cried.
So many memories.
Our trip back in 1996 did bring much of it home to us. We were both very nervous, however. We had both continued to love the cinema and this had turned to a love of theatre, music and opera. Naturally, our respect for Peter Brook was overwhelming by this stage, having seen many of his famous productions including "A Midsummer Nights Dream" in 1971. It seemed strange to us that he would want to go back to this point of his career at that stage. And yet he seemed equally haunted by the memories of making the film and needed to work through some of the responsibility he felt in taking us through the experience at that age, especially those who had taken leading roles. Tom Gaman has suggested, on these pages that David and I seemed "tortured by our inseparability".
Neither of us is quite sure what he means by that. He may be referring to my attempts to show how David and I are individuals in our own right as well as being twins, an interpretation resisted by the producer, on reflection, correctly. "Lord of the Flies" is a permanent exhibit now for us of the joys and trials of twinship and we would not have missed it for the world.
Subject: Re: Berengaria reference
Thanks for your note. I have seen the site and was impressed. Where did you find the before and after pictures, especially the afters, because I do not recall that particular mugshot of me on the left and David on the right?
Thanks also for the intriguing historical puzzle. I have a friend who is a Crusades scholar and he is busy working it out as I speak. I also have another historian friend whose period is Henry II and John and he is also intrigued. Expect a solution sometime next week.
I had a chance to look up more things on your site and have been very impressed with the detail. Well done. Interesting that David St.Clair identifies himself as Harry and that "Life" identifies him as George.
Purchase the DVD at AMAZON.COM Lord of the Flies - Criterion Collection
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