On Saturday I was lucky enough to attend a very special charity evening in aid of the Queen Elizabeth’s Foundation. It took place, as you might have guessed at the legendary Pinewood Studios just outside London near Windsor. The event was in aid of the Queen Elizabeth’s Foundation, a charity that helps people with disabilities to increase independence and improve life skills.
The event was named the Pinewood Legends evening for a reason. Invited along as guests of the Foundation were:
- Roy Button OBE (Senior Vice President & MD of Warner Bros.)
- Paul Weston (Stunts, Daylight, Superman I, II, III)
- Terence Clegg (Producer, Out of Africa, A Clock Work Orange)
- Mike Moran (Movie music score composer)
- Joss Williams (Special Effects Supervisor on Green Zone, Hell Boy 2, Rambo, The Bourne Ultimatum)
- Anthony Waye (Producer, Casino Royale)
- Saeed Jaffrey (Actor, Gandhi)
- Paul Hitchcock (Producers, Mission Impossible, Firefox)
The evening started with a champagne reception and a chance to mingle. Everytime one of the legends turned up, they were announced and entered into some of the music from the movie in which they are best associated. It was a great little touch which got everyone in the mood for an evening to celebrate the film industry and specially, the legends with which we were with. Shortly after everyone was seated in the Heatherden Hall ballroom (a room which has hosted pretty much every single famous actor in the last 50 years) we were welcomed which a magnificent display as every candelabra in the room erupted with sparks flying into the air! I think it shocked everyone but looks spectacular. I was on the table with Joss Williams, a special effects guru who has been in the industry for over 20 years. During this display, I just heard Joss’ wife Andrea ask the question, why didn’t we have this at our wedding!!
Joss Williams may not be a name that you’d recognise immediately but if I was to tell you that he’s been responsible for special effects in films such as Tim Burton’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Bourne Ultimatum, Band of Brothers, The Pacific (out 2010 and is the follow up to Band of Brothers) and many many more! He’s been nominated for three BAFTAs and you can check out his IMDb profile for the full list. His first movie was that of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom with Stephen Spielberg and George Lucas. I guess working on that as your introduction to the special effects industry can’t be too bad!His latest movie is that of Green Zone which he has been working on with Paul Greengrass who is responsible for the Bourne franchise. If all goes well, Joss will be working on Bourne 4 which everyone hopes will begin shooting next year.
After our lovely meal, each of the legends were asked questions that related to their lives in the movie industry. Anthony Waye was asked who his favourite Bond was and he was very good at sitting on the fence saying nice things about them all! I guess he is still producing :)! Terence Clegg recounted working on Out of Africa, a beautiful film which if you haven’t seen, you simply must. It stars Meryl Streep and Robert Redford and Clegg read the poem that Meryl Streep read in the movie. Following Terence, Joss Williams recounted the story when he had to make a giant pool of chocolate for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and how the big cheeses from Warner Bros. in the US came over to check that the pool would be big convincing enough for the audience. Suffice to say that he passed the test and the huge pool of chocolate that you see in the movie was made by Joss’ fair hands. Paul Weston was last to share and told us about the late Christopher Reeve and what a top bloke he was. During one of the shoots, Paul who is a stuntman was injured and Reeve paid a trip to his house to make sure he was OK. Paul’s daughter answered the door, when Paul asked who was there ‘Superman’ she replied!
The evening was wonderful and I was privileged to meet so many different people who have worked in the movie industry for such a long time. Thanks to the Queen Elizabeth’s Foundation for putting on such a great event and I look forward to the next!
You can check out photos from the evening and all the legends below.