|Americans in Paris - An intimate look at Santa Barbara's trip to France|
By Marcy Walker, Soap Opera Digest, 1989
For the May sweeps, Santa Barbara's Marcy Walker (Eden), A Martinez (Cruz), Carrington Garland (Kelly), Peter Love (Ricardo) and Elizabeth Storm (Hollis) went on location to Paris, France to shoot the scenes in which Eden and Cruz are reunited with their baby daughter, Adriana. It was a magical week in the City of Lights - and Marcy Walker kept a diary of the experience.
5:30 a.m. Los Angeles time / Friday
We had a limo sent for us. We had an hour to get to the airport. He got us there in twelve minutes. I don't think I'll ever get used to those things. Too cold. And the driver is so far away from you. And inevitably you end up talking, so you're freezing and shouting. A (Martinez) and I aren't on the same plane. We were on the same plane until Eric Preven (associate producer) heard that George Bush and Dan Quayle don't travel on the same plane. "In the event... " Should I be upset ?
2:00 a.m. Los Angeles time / 5:00 a.m. New York time
Two-hour layover in New York City. Where do we go to hang out for two hours ? Aha ! Julie Hanan Carruthers (producer) has a TWA Ambassador's Club Card, so we had a pretzel-ridden haven for a couple of hours. Saw a man. Familiar. Handsome. Realized he's Joe Montana. One of the greatest quarterbacks of our time. When you see people like him, you feel you know them, but you tell yourself not to stare. Really strange feeling. (He's shorter than I thought.)
10:15 a.m. Los Angeles time / 7:30 p.m. Paris time
Tried to sleep. "Tried" is the operative word. I think, in a word, sleeping on planes is inhumane. When I woke up, I spilled juice on myself, then milk. Then, when I went to wash it out of my clothes in the bathroom, I smashed my finger in the door and banged my head on the overheard compartment. I hope this isn't an omen.
Arrival / Saturday
We are here ! Lots of fans (all with cameras) in the airport. Somewhere there will be hundreds of horrid pictures of me... I looked awful. Oh well. I am not surprised by how kind and shy the fans are. I feel the same general feelings from the mail they send. They are always so polite. When we got to the hotel, we got our bags. The bellhop was stupefied. I tried to speak French and then found out his French was worse than mine - he was from Argentina. Eric called... come up to Jill's room. (Jill Farren Phelps is Santa Barbara's executive producer.) It's Courtney's (Jill's daughter) birthday. Imagine ! Ten years old and having a birthday in Paris. We all sat around, talked and ate cheese sandwiches. Little did I know then how those cheese sandwiches would affect my stay in Paris.
4:00 a.m. / Sunday
Wide awake. Jet lag, I think. Walked around and finally decided to sit down and eat some fish. I was amazed that the restaurant was full at four o'clock in the morning. Went back to Eric's room to ask him what I should do about jet lag. I have to work in a day. Do I stay awake ? Do I sleep ? Well, he was gone. Out with everyone else dancing at the Baton Rouge.
Decided to do some shopping since today was the only day. T-shirts for friends and stuff. I thought Paris was the fashion capital of the world. After looking around, it seems they have a love and fascination with old American clothes. Nothing like mutual love and appreciation. Went to the flea market (which everyone said was really neat). Whoever created every flea market ever made from Saugus to Palmdale (in California) created this one, too. Leather jackets, bulk socks and gummy bears by the pound. Wrong place to go, too. "Eden ! Eden !"
Went to dinner with almost everyone. We all ordered steak. And fries. One look at the menu had us all stretching our American roots. I think it had to do with the fact that (Supervising producer) Steve Kent's salad had a live snail crawling across his plate. I never saw a person spit food out faster in my entire life.
2:00 p.m. / Monday
day started out with an interesting twist. (Makeup artist) Carlos Yeaggy was
propositioned by a hooker at seven o'clock in the morning in the lobby of our
hotel. As a testimony to how tired we all are, it took him about ten minutes to
get the gist of it. He thought she wanted to use his phone.
The work has gone rather smooth. Everyone's prepared. The crew is fast. Rick Bennewitz (our director) is his usual kind, patient self. He is truly a pleasure to work with. A's got a cold, but he's such a trooper that you wouldn't even know he's not feeling well. He has gotten so used to working past his point of exhaustion that I think it's actually what fuels him sometimes.
We had our first Parisian lunch, which is more than humane. Wine at lunch ! But we were good - no wine. I'm trying to lose weight, though, and they served bread. Delicious bread. And cheese. Tons of cheese. And café au lait. With sugar. Can't win for losing...
7:15 a.m. / Tuesday
Didn't sleep so well. My legs kept cramping up on me from all the stairs we ran up and down. Last night, went out to dinner with Carlos and Grant (Johnson, production assistant). We went to this little Paris place that was obviously a native spot. By the looks we got, we certainly weren't that welcome. A lot of them recognized that I did Santa Barbara - it was explained to me by (New World Television's executive vice president) Gerry Ament that the share we hold here makes us more popular than The Cosby Show in our own country - and asked for autographs. The thing is, most people who recognize you are happy to meet you and would like an autograph and treat you kindly. In this particular situation, they stared at me with disgust, requested an autograph and then talked about dumb Americans while we ate. I kept feeling like if I just shut up they wouldn't know I was a "tourista". They seemed to not only know I was, but kind of abhorred our frivolity. We had a good time anyway. Shows what good company can do. Second day today. Hope it's good.
We are shooting at the Eiffel Tower. Windy... and forty degrees. Freezing. I have long underwear under my dress but had to cut the legs off because I'd look stupid otherwise. A lot of good long underwear does when you have to chop all of it off. l finally realized that this really quiet man who's been following me around is my bodyguard. I've been wondering who he is - but he's so inconspicuous that I'm usually not aware of him. l feel safe in his hands. He's big and looks rather ominous in his FBI coat. I wonder if he's packing a piece (that's detective talk).
Finished tower scenes. Sun was killing my closeups. I wish I could get better at dealing with direct sun but I just never seem to do anything but squint. My bodyguard's name is Jean Paul. He got to really show his stuff when we were leaving the Eiffel Tower in the elevator and we stood trapped like rats in the compartment until the elevator above was finished loading. He was surrounding me in the group of people like a cheap suit. I signed autographs and spoke broken French for about five minutes until finally we took off. It was sort of a relief. I'm one of those kinds of people who doesn't think anything's wrong unless somebody else thinks there is. Having a bodyguard makes me think there's something to be frightened about.
Waiting. Raining... figures. We are ahead of schedule and doing great. So we are all standing by. Some literally standing out in the rain, others in warm trailers talking about the rain. l hope no one gets sick.
On the way back to our hotel, I heard the most hilarious story. Every day since we've been here we've had these little portable toilets - three to be exact - on top of this flatbed truck. So if you need to "go", you hop up and do so. Well, yesterday afternoon, Danny Webb (our cameraman) was in the position in which nature called and was forced to use the facility. While he was inside, the truck pulled away. Location move ! Danny Webb saw Paris in an extraordinary way. The image is hysterical.
8:00 a.m. / Wednesday
Our party was last night at the Polo Club. Met the head of New World Television, our financiers, a lot of people who are associated with our show who you never get the pleasure to meet. Robin Wright's (ex-Kelly) mom was there, too. She's in Europe producing a movie. The only problem was that there was only hors d'oeuvres and alcohol and we were all starving. Being an entrée person myself, cucumber sandwiches just didn't cut it. About 11:30, when we got back to the hotel, we got oft the elevator to see Steve Kent and Rick Bennewitz cruising back to their room with McDonald's bags in their hands. A Big Mac at midnight may not be your cholesterol-conscious choice, but it sure is the best idea I've seen since we got here. I could smell those pomme frittes a mile away !
Cleared up. Today was a good day. A lot of work and most accomplished despite rain delay. Today was my toughest day dialogue-wise and emotionally. Elizabeth Storm (Hollis) had to do her swan song scenes today. It's terribly cold and she was excellent despite.
I forgot about the night shoot ! Montage of Cruz and Eden around various Parisian monuments at night. Just give me a pair of long underwear and I'll smile and kiss all you want. Crowds of people cheered when we kissed and danced in front of the Eiffel Tower.
7:45 a.m. / Thursday
Well, another day. I can't believe it. Didn't go to sleep until 12:30 last night. A nice 18-hour day. I'm wasted.
are a precious thing here in Paris. But they go to the bathroom everywhere.
Needless to say we have had several "incidents." A's been especially prone to
stepping where he shouldn't. He's three in three days. He did it last night at
Notre Dame (night shoot) and Eric, poor Eric, was the designated s*** wrangler.
I made Serge (our French production manager) take photos of Eric in process
which I can use to tease and embarrass him with later. Eric is like that little
kid in school that you love to tease endlessly.
Another incident was this story that Rick told me about this man and his dog walking near the Seine yesterday. The dog came near the location and took a major dump. Everyone winced. Which way was the wind going ? Well, the little man pulled out a clump of tissues. We all said, "All right !" But he reached down, wiped his dog's ass and threw the tissues on the ground. Laughter resounded. Ca va ?
I heard that the prostitute who propositioned Carlos followed (Associate producer) Jeff Lerner all the way to his room. Jeff thought she was asking him if he was a company. (Translation : Do you want company ?) He kept saying, "Yes, film." She kept saying, "Sure !" Ooohkaaay.
Found channel 4 on Paris TV. Flipping through the channels... Mickey Mouse, CNN, Insertion, News. Insertion ? A porno channel, hard porn on regular TV. Well, this just wouldn't do in America.
11:00 a.m. / Friday
Off early. I'm so happy.
I am going to take a nap. Went to McDonald's. The first bite sent me right back across the ocean. Went shopping and couldn't find anything to fit. I feel so big compared to the clothes. I am tall, but I do have to remember that I just had a baby nine-and-a-half weeks ago and give myself a break.
The last day of shooting was beautiful. We did nice work in Luxembourg Gardens - so incredible. I almost felt sad when Rick said, "It's a wrap." The wrap party was great - on some guy's boat. It had an indoor pool. Our French crew really knew how to let loose, but I had to leave at eleven; exhaustion set in.
When I woke up, I packed and went for a walk. Wish I could have enjoyed Paris a little more from a tourist standpoint, but all in all it was an incredible, successful, beautiful shoot. We went halfway around the world, worked with a French crew, shot twelve episodes, met the press, did interviews, all in five days. Odessa Films, our own team of professionals, did an exquisite job. I hope our audience will enjoy seeing Paris through our eyes. Now we leave. I hate to fly, but I can't wait to get home to my bed, my mail, my script for Monday, my baby.
Our flight was canceled. We were all rerouted through different cities. Jill, the Phelps family, Carrington (Garland), Peter (Love), Elizabeth and her boyfriend, me and mine, were all through Washington. We had forty-five minutes to make our connection to Los Angeles. In Paris they said they'd hold our plane so we could clear customs. They didn't. Then they wanted to reroute us on a milk run to Boston, then Los Angeles. Julie took the bull by the horns and now we are on a direct flight to Los Angeles on American. Incredible 767. I hate to fly but I am enjoying every minute of it. I'm thrilled to be going home. At last. Isn't it always the case that when you want to be going home more than anything, your flight plans turn to chaos ?
at last. Sleep came easy. Bills and junk mail was waiting. 8:45 a.m. call on
Monday; fourteen scenes of dialogue and post tapes. And A missed his plane.
It's good to be home.
|Click on the photos to enlarge them|
|Peter Love and Elizabeth Storm (Ric and Hollis Castillo) pose in front of Notre-Dame-de-Paris with Philippe and Bénédicte, their stand-in for the stunts in the Seine.|