Golden Age Diary

The Golden Age Diary will be an open thread, in which I will post a diary as comments rather than posts. Viewers are welcome to post comments, and I look forward to haing your feedback.

I met Cate Blanchette today, and after a very long time, we chatted in a relaxed informal atmosphere. She is such an instinctual and probing actress, that it reminded me of why I like to make movies. Till I started to explore the script with her, the lines were just typed words on paper that I fretted about. Suddenly as we discussed the meaning behind the words, the sentences and our attitude to them, the words jumped out at me and became life.
I have a concern though. All my actors are working so much that i am not going to get much rehearsal time. Especially Clive Owen who joins us 4 weeks into the shoot. I have never worked with him before and though he is a terrific actor, he and I need to get to know each other more. For the creation of a film depends much on the trust that is created between the actor and the director. Where the lines between the actor and the director blur.
Raleigh is complicated role. On the surface he is an adventurer. Audacious, charming and fearless. But underneath that, underneath the lines and the fearlessness who is he really ? What is his subtext ? I need to sit down and work that out with Clive.

54 thoughts on “Golden Age Diary

  1. Thank you Shekhar for allowing us to view a part of your daily experiences through this format of a diary. From what I’ve seen of Clive, he is as you say and it must be quite odd to him come in weeks after. I do not know much about filming a movie, from behind the scenes, I can just imagine some of the many challenges that you get thrown your way…although, someone with your “vast open know how” and experience must make it run like smooth sailing.
    With not much rehersal time, hopefully, it will all fall into place naturally…I’m sure you would inspire such an atmosphere.
    In spirit,

  2. “a director in the middle of a film
    is like a pregnant mother
    vulnerable, emotional and willing to do anything
    to protect the little child in her womb,
    even die of hunger herself, as the child feeds on her body
    and fight like a tigress if she has to
    but also like a protective mother,
    I make sure that everything is safe
    in anticipation of pregnancy
    and when people treat me
    with callousness
    they dont see that it is not a personal ego that cries out
    but the ego of creativity
    the fear of a terrible pregnancy
    the fear of loosing the baby
    and perhaps the decision not to get pregnant
    perhaps the only way out for me
    is not be so vulnerable
    but then,
    how can I be the conduit of creativity
    and not completely surrender to it ?
    How can not be completely vulnerable ?
    So in which hands do I put myself
    when I am so vulnerable ?
    destiny and fate perhaps,
    I am not sure”
    Dear Shekhar,
    Since posting this in August of 2005, is there anything about this writing you would change now?

  3. dear shekhar,
    this is wonderful. an open thread for The Golden Age… it will be so cool to experience the kaliedoscopic evolution of ur movie from script to screen. thanks for sharing something so personal.
    it must be amazing when the actor u have written for unravels the layers of ur solitary imaginations. collaboration is such a wonderfully expansive process… opens up possibilities…
    as for mr.owen, you should ask him to participate on this blog so that both of u get to know each other… and we get to see two minds jam up… not a bad deal, yeah?!
    ur energies are positively directed to the project… the universal energy will follow… just switch to ‘autopilot’ and watch life work its magic through u and ur actors…

  4. …here’s another thought, invite Clive over and make him some dal and rice with avacado on the side, salad too if you like it πŸ™‚ and talk allllll night long
    Cinda :~)

  5. Dear Shekhar
    Thanks for sharing your work with us in this way. Best of luck with Clive. He’s one of my favorite actors, and an excellent choice for the complexity of a Raleigh. His combined steadiness and unpredictability — in other words, his quiet audacity — fit my perception of Raleigh.
    love, Heath

  6. Good day.
    Is there a likehood you might post a postal address for your filming time this May so that we can send your “queens” a note of good will.

  7. this is such a fascinating period in western. inspired by your opening up of this thread, i just revisited ‘the passion of the western mind'(by richard trans/for pilimico)… it is totally mind-numbing…
    poetry and art, reason and thought… an era sandwiched between the rennaisance and the scientific revolution… simply awesome….
    the flux that civilisation was going through. i believe that when it comes to ideas, the collective human mind behaves like sub-atomic particles. human thought too takes ‘quantum jump’ every time it gathers a critical mass and then, the escape velocity of thought is broken through and human civilisation jumps into an orbit of higher vibrations…

  8. Dear Mr Kapur,
    It is great to let us see how a film is born. I am sure you are the only filmmaker who would do such a thing. Thank you very much. In Ancient Greece all people, connected to theatre, were considered as devine and blessed by the gods. In fact, every theatre was attached to a temple of Dionis. So now we will be able “to touch the devine here on Earth”, as Michael Hirst wrote.
    Thanks a lot!
    Simona πŸ™‚

  9. Dear Shekhar,
    I have waiting for the sequel to ‘Elizabeth’ for years. I am so happy that both you and Cate are on board with the project. You will do a great job directing this movie. I really look forward to seeing it πŸ™‚

  10. Shehkar:
    How wonderful to be able to stay current with your Golden Age blog. Thank you for doing it.
    I have a very complete web site for Clive Owen, and will happily link your blog to my news page and the Golden Age page.
    Have you read the novel “Death of the Fox,” by George Garrett? It gives us a close and heartbreaking look into Raleigh’s life and the times in which he lived.

  11. Thank you, Shekhar, for sharing your thoughts and allowing us to join you on this wonderful journey. “Elizabeth” with Cate Blanchett is currently being shown on one of the cable channels and I re-visited it last night. I am reminded of what a passionate and brilliant actress Cate is. I am absolutely thrilled that she finally signed to return to this role.
    I adore Clive Owen and have seen most of his films. He is a fine actor and seems to embrace complicated and flawed characters. My observation is that he is most powerful when given the chance to convey a scene with a sparsity of words. He conveys so much intensity and emotion with his face and those beautiful eyes. Brilliant casting for such a complicated man as Raleigh! I think you will find him a delight, as he is so appreciative of fine directors. He will give 150%, though I think he is quite exhausted these days.
    Best of luck . I eagerly await your film.

  12. When are you starting principal photography on the movie? I look forward to reading more of your film blog. Thanks

  13. Excellent idea (someone had earlier) to invite Clive to join this running blog on Elizabeth. It would give you, the director, early insight into how Clive perceives Raleigh — and his input here would be pure delight for all. The brilliant pairing of Blanchett & Owen in these roles will be magic, of that I’m certain.

  14. Hi Shekhar,
    I just wanted to thank you for this diary, it’s the coolest…
    Also Thank you (so very much) for casting Clive as sir Raleigh as I am a huge fan of his, I am super excited for this movie, and even though this will be the first movie of yours that I’ll be watching somehow I have huge hopes and a lot of confidence in it….can not wait for this movie! SO Hurry up please πŸ™‚
    I am sure things will work out with Clive as I have heard he’s a very intelligent actor besides being talented…so you guys will be alright!! I hope πŸ™‚
    I wish you the best of luck and I hope you have a fantastic time making it….
    and plz promise you’ll keep your diary updated…
    meanwhile-just to get to know your work- any suggestions on your favourite movies that I can check out?
    thanks a lot

  15. “But underneath that, underneath the lines and the fearlessness who is he really? What is his subtext?”
    Raleigh’s subtext can be gleaned not only from the way he lived his life but from his writings…If you really are reading these comments, then PLEASE make sure Mr. Owen researches these…I truly believe that Raleigh was a consummate realist who understood better than most what was important in life.
    “Remember if you marry for beauty, thou bindest thyself all thy life for that which perchance, will neither last nor please thee one year: and when thou hast it, it will be to thee of no price at all.”
    “It is the nature of men having escaped one extreme, which by force they were constrained long to endure, to run headlong into the other extreme, forgetting that virtue doth always consist in the mean.” – Raleigh
    He was also a man of few words who understood the value of action over discussion.
    “Talking much is a sign of vanity, for the one who is lavish with words is cheap in deeds.” – Raleigh
    …but he was also a fervent romantic at heart, a lover of women, and a lover of the concept of love itself.
    “The Excuse” by Sir Walter Raleigh
    Calling to mind, my eyes went long about
    To cause my heart to forsake my breast,
    All in a rage I sought to pull them out,
    As who had been such traitors to my rest :
    What could they say to win again my grace?—
    Forsooth, that they had seen my mistress’ face.
    Another time, my heart I called to mind,—
    Thinking that he this woe on me had brought,
    Because that he to love his force resigned,
    When of such wars my fancy never thought :
    What could he say when I would him have slain?—
    That he was hers, and had forgone my chain.
    At last, when I perceived both eyes and heart
    Excuse themselves, as guiltless of my ill,
    I found myself the cause of all my smart,
    And told myself that I myself would kill :
    Yet when I saw myself to you was true,
    I loved myself, because myself loved you.
    I have loved Raleigh’s works well and they give such valuable insight into his character. I hope you and Mr. Owens capture the essence of the man you wish to portray…for I do believe that Raleigh’s following is at least as substantial as Mr. Owen’s. πŸ™‚
    Best of luck with the project…I’ll enjoy checking in here to see how this tale about one of my favorite writers is coming along.

  16. Golden Age is about Divinity. It is about Elizabeth’s struggle to find the divine in herself. Her battle with her mortal self. Is Divinity absolute ?

  17. Absolute?
    Monarchs believed they were divine, regardless of their imperfections; the chosen of God to lead His people…but like all things, does not the notion of divinity depend upon the belief…the will…of the goverened?
    In this day and age even the divinity of God is not inviolate…but in Elizabeth’s day? I think the monarchy was the closest thing to God most Britons experienced.
    I couldn’t say what Elizabeth struggled with, but I could well imagine that a monarch with a conscience WOULD struggle for perfection…for divinity.
    What a burden.

  18. this is the highest quality to reach in this biz. showing the viewers what they really want in life: to get to know, that everybody is divine. they don΄t want the absolute, they want to watch the path, the fight, the “let go” to discover the divine inside.
    you cannot identify with the absolute but with the is-situation as a battle to find the no-situation: the absolute. so why asking if divinity is absolute. the moment you become divine there is no more question.
    that΄s the point. you cannot do more in making movies.
    and this makes my heart jumping for joy!
    in A word: thanx!!!

  19. I think Elizabeth was a realist and didn’t consider herself devine. In my opinion she created this devine image we all know because it was part of her absolute power. All monarchs did it and some of them really believed it. As for the struggle, well, we all seek for perfection, don’t we? And she was a Queen…

  20. …more importantly, does Divinity allow for doubt ?…or self doubt??
    Driven by a purpose, but what purpose…?
    An apt title…we call the Age of Kings, the Golden Age, or any era in which right & order is supposed to have prevailed – Divine Right of Kings & so on…
    In Indian mythological terms this might be the Age of Rama, where the characters endured similar struggles with their noble duties, or dharma, and their mortality…
    The Elizabethans were acutely aware of the idea of a past “Golden” age and might have tried to resurrect it in their present – and why not ?…but was it a successful experiment ??

  21. Divinity…pertaining to “Godlike”?
    Are we all, in some way, trying to connect with this?
    Divinity can be everchanging in the realm of our minds…one person’s divinity can very well be another’s devility (made that up:) what it seems to boil down to is the two sides of the coin divinity or not, whether it’s discovered or not, there’s something even deeper than divinity (the inside of the coin) what’s holding the two sides together? What is this energy drawing together and gathering to make what seems like infinite formations?

  22. Hi,
    I just wanted to say I find the saying ‘I dream therefore I am’, very inspiring, and it his with that in mind that I am writing this, I am a young actress from South Africa, a great admirer of yours and of Cate Blanchett’s. Ever since I saw ‘Elizabeth’ it has been a dream of mine to be involved in a film like that, I wondered whether you were still casting at all for smaller roles, where the casting was taking place and whether you might see there being a chance for a young person with a dream!

  23. I’m really looking forward to this one. I’m a big fan of Clive Owen and happy to see him in this alongside Cate

  24. Dear Shekhar
    I finally caught Inside Man last night. Clive Owen’s performance and presence stand quietly at the center of Lee’s textured, tense, funny NYC sensibility, and linger clearly, darkly, like a black pearl glowing softly in the palm of one’s hand. He was an excellent counterbalance to Denzel Washington’s bright power. I can’t think of another actor who could have stood up to Washington as well as Owen did. He will be so good as Raleigh.
    love, Heath

  25. Thank you so much for replying, I wish you all the best of luck and I really look forward to seeing the film, next time – definitely! frances

  26. Dear Shekhar,
    Deep down, without getting too philosophical, whether it was the “Golden Age” or not” I truly believe that Elizabeth thought of herself as a woman first and a queen second.
    I started watching Clive Owen films only this past December and I have to admit that, beside from the man being an outstanding actor, he’s good looking in the way that men ought to be, not Mr. Steve Stunning or prettier than his leading lady. But, this is the thing I noticed as a common thread. When I watched his later work and then his earlier work; if Clive gets a chance to inject what I perceive as his personality traits more into his characters, the character becomes markedly more alive and real.
    For example, King Arthur and Nick Callahan, the Doctor Clive played in Beyond Borders. The reactions to the deaths of their closest friends were identical but still in character. I also don’t think that Clive personally enjoyed acting these two roles because they were “good guys”.
    In “Century”, I didn’t see a performance that flowed because I didn’t see of what I perceived as any of Clives personality traits into Paul’s character, mind you, I still saw a well acted performance but Paul seemed stiff to me.
    The same with his role in Chancer.
    My gut feeling is if you let Clive be Clive, Sir Walter Raleigh will shine.
    Would you please reply with your thoughts, I wish you well with the production and I’m anxiously waiting to see the movie.
    Warmest Wishes,
    Judy Dragutsky

  27. Which casting agency are you using for golden age for extras. I have just started working as an extra and would very much like to be part of your work.

  28. I was so excited when I heard of this film. I look forward to seeing what you and Ms. Blanchett can acomplish. I just had the pleasure of seeing her in Hedda Gabler in NYC, and Elizabeth was the film that cemented her as my favorite actress. The two of you will for sure execute quite an exceptional film.

  29. Dear Shekhar,
    It’s easy to get to Mary’s website, just write Clive Owen next to SEARCH WEB and press enter, Murfsplace is one of the sites (blogs) listed on the page that appears.
    Hope this helps.
    Warmest Wishes,

  30. Thank you so much for this – I have been eagerly awaiting this sequel. I am delighted that you have chosen such a fine cast yet again to headline the movie. Cate is by far, my most favorite actress and am sure she will be as intricate in her acting as always. I often find myself watching the first movie to inspire me and i am sure with your dedication to direction and storytelling will do again. May i commend you for having the stamina and initiative to allow us to encourage you upon your journey! I just hope there will be a third movie?

  31. dear all, given the keen level interest all of you are showing in the Golden Age Diary, I have opened a sub blog called ‘Golden Age Diary’. If you scroll up to the top of this page, right on tp, click on Glden Age Diary and you will get there,
    thank you all for sharing,

  32. Thank you so much for your kind generosity to keep this diary for us to read.
    I am sorry to say, as huge fan of Elizabeth (One of my most favorite movies ever) and Geoffrey Rush, i found out too late about the open castings for extra’s too late.
    It would have been the chance of a life time!
    I am hoping to have the chance of catching a glimpse of Mr. Rush in July when i am in the UK and in London, so not far from the studios.
    I will love to read all your experiences and will come back daily.
    Friendly greetings from Holland,

  33. Hi Shekhar,
    Are you in any way able to give just the tiniest hint of a clue about when and where Geoffrey Rush will be shooting his studio and location scenes?
    Kindest regards,

  34. Hi, I’m Spanish and I love Cate Blanchett. I have a little site about her. I love her films and I think she will shoot a very good one again. Elizabeth is my favourite Cate’s role. I want you to greet her becouse I’m so far. My site is open to all of you!!!I hope this film will be fantastic

  35. Hi Shekar,
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences. It is very rare to find a celebrated director interacting in this manner in cyberspace. Your blog is a fascinating insight into the minds of one of my favourite directors.
    I will never forget watching ‘ Bandit Queen ‘ at Uphaar Theatre(Delhi). When the movie ended……there was pin drop silence and then slowly the women in the audience began to rise followed by the men. The movie stayed with everyone, long after the credits had come up. I guess the Indian audience at that time was not used to such graphic imagery and the story being based on a real life entity made it all the more powerful. One of the movies that inspired me to be a filmmaker and those moments when the credits came up for Bandit Queen is something I will never forget.
    Thank you for sharing your world….
    Warm Regards
    Abhimanyu Ari J

  36. Dear Shekhar,
    I’ve enjoyed your site and I am looking foward to being an “aspiring merchant” in the crowd scenes at the gallows you are filming in Winchester. I’m sure your schedule is punishing, but if you have time, one mile south of Winchester Cathederal lies “The Hospital of St Cross and Almshouse of Noble Poverty” ( 1132 – present ) with many Elizabethan buildings.The place is unique. The Gentlemen of the almshouse still wear an Elizabethan hat and gown. My studio ( day job – Artist )is in a tower built by Cardinal Beaufort ( 1450 )and in the room above me is the bedchamber where Philip of Spain stayed before going on to marry Mary.
    I hope all goes well
    Rind Regards
    Edward Wills

  37. Shekhar
    Having had the honour to work as an extra in the Wells Cathedral location I must just voice my admiration for the scale and depth of your work. I had little prior knowledge of the complexity involved. It was a pleasure to observe you at work and look forward to the release of this film.
    Best wishes for the rest of the project
    Thanking you

  38. Cate Blanchett is a force of nature and beauty, an almost supernatural yet effortless-looking talent. I am now reading “The Life of Elizabeth 1” by Alison Weir, and the more I learn of the Queen the more I realize what a spot on casting decision it was; Cate can embody every quality that the young Queen had. And watching her transformation in the first film is to watch the essence of great acting. And I really have no doubt about her ability to do it again. Shekhar, what I admire about your approach, at least with the first film, is your seeing it as an emotional telling of the events of her reign; those of us who wish to know more about the details can do as I’m doing, read books and learn. But your job was to make a visceral film, and you achieved it. Best of luck with this one, though you won’t need it; you are fortified by your own skills, a great writer, and a mass of acting talent.

  39. I have been a fan of “Elizabeth” for years, and have been through many copies on VHS and DVD (I loved it that much!). And so I await “The Golden Age” to hit the screens. I think you have a wonderful talent and a wonderful cast to boot, so I know I won’t be disappointed!

  40. Hiiii Shekhar sir,
    I am a great fan of both you and Mr. Deepak Chopra.I have almost seen all of your released films.But somewhere down the line I feel kind of incoherent connection in your films,except Mr. India and Mosoom.Sir I am extremeely sorry for being quite personal,but believe me this is an honest feeling of one of your great admirers.
    I am also requesting you to do something on the combination of spirituality and super natural phenomena, because I believe that could be a excelent coherent masterpiece.
    Thank you.

  41. dear mr kapur, i really am interested in the relationship between elizabeth and mary queen of scotts, they have said that they never met, but in three movies that i have seen they have met. i hope that in your movie they meet and have a huge fight,since mary always thought elizabeth was a heritec since her mother was not royalty and the british people per anne of a thousand days felt she was a whore.

  42. Thank you for your diary entries, and for being so extraordinary with your fans and the readers here. I’ve read these since they’ve been posted, and it has earnestly shown uncommon warmth and interest in the audience who will be watching “The Golden Age,” and, I warmly believe, is a rare contrast to others in the industry. This is true enough that I hope others–including studio executives and those greenlighting films (Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner, as well as someone like Mike Medavoy excepted) whom I hope will warmly take this as an example in knowing that no filmmaker needs to pander to what they believe to be the lowest common denominator among audiences. What resonates and is true in terms of intent and emotion are the only things which matter, and those which have that kind of intelligence are the ones which achieve the greatest true longevity. Far too many people in the industry seem to be bent on unmitigated solipsism, and I am so warmed by the sense that you aren’t one among them. That Elizabeth was so nuanced and intelligent, in addition to a beautiful film which took that important chance on Cate Blanchett, means the world.
    If you should ever feel like working with Clive Owen–and perhaps Cate Blanchett–again, there is a book which is making the rounds at the moment about WWI–The Illumination: A Novel of the Great War. It is in part about the war correspondents on the Western Front–and the few in the trenches–during and following the last weeks of the war. You were asking about divinity in one of your posts–this is a reflection of what the divine means, perhaps when it matters most–in this case among those who are facing a war about which it seems far too many people have forgotten, realizing that loving another human being–whether it is filial love, romantic love, or the Schopenhauer sense of seeing another’s well-being in that critical moment between life and death being more important than your own–is the closest thing to knowing the divine. In the hell of war, that kind of love is the only thing which helps you remind you that you are indeed alive, and still human, and perhaps is the only thing which can heal those who have faced such an experience. It is like Parzival asking the question which heals, because he has given of himself, not expecting anything in return, but because of that selflessness, he is given the Grail itself. If you get a chance, take a look at it–it may be an important book to be made into a film, and one perhaps you could do the truest justice.
    With true, warm regards,

  43. Not secret that that that we search for, whereas you will not always
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  44. I’m from Germany and I waited for this movie since years. I get Goosebumps when i saw the trailer of THE GOLDEN AGE. I can’t wait till the movie starts into the cinemas. Wonderful and thank you Mr Kapur for this movie.
    Elizabeth is the most famous redhead in hisotry.
    Best regards from Berlin, Germany,
    Carsten Berger

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