Page ONE from Kent Fletcher scrapbook of the time he played PERCIVAL in the film "Lord of the Flies"
By AL Dinhofer
Some men are born great, others achieve greatness. Thirty-three young boys, aged 6 to 12, may be having greatness thrust upon them over on Vieques Island these days. They compose the cast of the movie "Lord of the Flies" being filmed there. Their mud-splotched, gamin faces will appear on motion picture screens just about everywhere in the world.
For the past two weeks the boys (non-professionals, except one) have been romping about the beautiful beaches and sea-grape bush of Vieques. The movie is about a group of British schoolboys whose plane crashes on a tropical island while they are being evacuated from London during World War III. In their attempt to survive they face the problems of crating a community. Civilized instincts are pitted against primitive instincts. Some of the boys deteriorate to where they are smearing themselves with mud, aboriginal fashion.
Most of the lads working in the film are of British extraction who reside in the states. Some, who do not have speaking parts, are from Puerto Rico. As far as the boys are concerned, it's a 10-week summer camp with lots of sports events and games when they're not on set with director Peter Brook.
They are living dormitory-style in a building which was once a pineapple factory.
"While none of the boys has asked for an air conditioned dressing room," says associate producer Al Hine, "they're well are of what they're doing. They're learning a good deal about the mechanics of filmmaking, and getting involved in the production. This could easily become a miniature Hollywood."
A few of the boys got together recently and started making their own movie on 8 mm color film. It's called "Something Queer In the Warehouse." And this week another "Independent" production sprang up in competition.
Local photographer Tom Holliman, who is cameraman for "Lord of the Flies," agrees the kids are deeply involved in the work they are doing. Holliman says each week the boys are invited to look at the "rushes," or prints of the filmed material. After a screening, one pint-size thespian said in a chipped British accent: "Mr. Holliman, I want to thank you for a job well done."
Because the boys are so bright, the producers and camp counselors are constantly seeking ways to keep them occupied. Last week a film poster contest was held. James Tregidgo, 12, of Kingston, Jamaica created one of the best posters which read "Lord of the Files, Starring the Lovable Hugh Edwards."
Hugh Edwards, 10, of Herts, England, has one of the few key roles. He's an intelligent-looking lad who wears glasses and has a face so round that Holliman remarked: "His face is so spherical, I can't find a spot on it to focus my camera."
Several of the boys from Puerto Rico are being given lessons in the British scent by the others. David St. Clair, 9, of Santurce, Peter Davy, 8, of Rio Piedras: Ed Valencia, 8, of San Juan: and David Brunjes, 6 of Santurce can all say "cawn't" instead of "can't."
Nicholas Hammond, 10, of Washington, D.C., is learning to handle the "clap-board," which is the sign with the barber-pole stripes containing the specific number of the scene about to be photographed.
Nicholas discussed the business of directing the film with Carter Harman, local music critic and writer who is sound director for the production.
"If you were directing this film how would you do it?" Carter asked the lad. "Completely different," the boy replied.
Director Brook, who doesn't mind competition, has been giving the boys daily lectures about not looking into the camera when it's in "action." These lectures are par for the course when working with amateurs or kids according to Brook. But what is distracting is that several of the boys have been following Brook around for days seeking information of how one wins and Academy Award.
THE LORD OF THE FLIES by William Golding
Produced by.............................................. Lewis
Allen and Dara Hodgdon
(in alphabetical order)
Roger Allan........................ Piers
(Bio press release by Kent Fletcher from when he was working making the film)
Though one of the youngest boys in the film, Kent Fletcher is the only "pro" among the "Flies." In America all his life "only I went to England for about two years or two months or two something's when I was about 2." Kent became a "pro" when be appeared as Michael in the last season's TV version of Peter Pan with Mary Martin. But professionalism has hardly gone to his head and Kent might want to be an actor like father Branwell (whose lively performance as Henry Higgins in "My Fair Lady" was repeated for the boys last week and will be reviewed in next issue, Mr. Fletcher also did the excellent drawings of last issues "Boys of the Week," Mrs. Fletcher is here as untiring and enterprising Wardrobe Mistress and Make-Up Girl, but leaves the future indefinite. His name by the way is theatrical since his father was playing the Duke of Kent in Shakespeare's King Lear (Directors Peter Brook) when Kent was born. In Peter Pan Kent did a lot of flying suspended from a set of wires - he though this was OK but sometimes they just lift you up and down... once though I really flew fast - right past where I was supposed to and on to a camera, boy was it steaming hot! Once Mary Martin slammed into the wall and then they put up a mattress where she hit the wall but they didn't put them up anywhere else, anybody else could have bumped anywhere else and got hurt perhaps. Kent was interested to know why everything was done here in separate takes while in TV "we rehearsed for three weeks and then we did the real thing, and the real thing, and the real thing." Kent likes working in movies better "because in Peter Pan I was so unreal, that would never happen a boy flying, just like westerns on TV where Good Guys always win." Also television work has a lot of reflectors and hot lights and if you're the cameraman "at the end of the day a little red thing (the cameraman) walks out of the camera booth." As for non-theatrics, Kent likes his school in Greenwich Village (P.S. 41) though "sometimes the teachers are bad and scream too much." For hobbies he likes to poop around or go swimming, and skin-diving where "the only place I can do this is at the beach." Kent would like to live in the country and prefers the simple life of his grandmother who, lives in a house in New Haven, Conn. Where there is no hot water "you heat it on a stove and put in freezing water to cool it off and it all steams up. the water is fresh out of the ground and is mush more natural." As for camp life versus life in his two story house with garden in New York Kent thinks that "Beds at home have thick mattresses where you can bounce up and down, here we only have cots, you can't wake your moms up here and at camp you only can get candy every two days."
New York Times 3/22/1961
30 BOYS NEEDED FOR A NEW FILM
Roles in "Lord of the Flies" Call for British Accents - Jean Seberg Eyes a Part
By EUGENE ARCHER
A casting call likely to tax the resources of Actors Equity has just been issued from the offices of Allen-Hodgdon, Inc., an independent film producing company in midtown Manhattan.
Thirty acting roles, including three leading parts, are available for photogenic male performers, experienced or otherwise, in the new film adaptation of William Golding's English novel, "The Lord of the Flies." The actors will play a group of British airplane passengers who crash on a desert island in the Pacific, set up their own government and gradually lapse into barbarism.
The limiting requirements that are troubling the director, Peter Brooks, are that all applicants must be equipped with natural British accents, and all must be within the age of 10 and 12.
Production of the drama, the harassed Mr. Brook said yesterday, must start in Puerto Rico in June, so that the eight-week shooting schedule may be completed during his cast's grammar school vacations. To date, an exhaustive search among local British residents has produced no results.
Interviews are being granted to all applicants at the company's offices on 156 West Forty-sixth Street, and the most promising boys will be tested promptly.
"There are 100,000 British families residing in the United States," Mr. Brook remarked with somewhat forced optimism, "and surely there must be thirty suitable youngsters in the group."
Anyone interested, he added hopefully, should dial LT1-1670.
Purchase the DVD at AMAZON.COM Lord of the Flies - Criterion Collection
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