A Pair Of Ruby Slippers

February 25, 2007

Dorothy Gale Biog

Filed under: MACMP — author @ 8:43 pm

dorothy-arnold.jpg

Date of Birth – Undisclosed, Heswall, England.
Date of Death – 13th June 2069 hit by a falling giant “M” when walking under a “cinema” sign, Monte Carlo
Spouse – married 29th May 1999 to Spencer Holmodopolos, Greek Shipping Magnate

Mini Biography

Born in Cheshire in the 70s, a daughter of a salesman and a potter, Dorothy moved to Oxford in her early years. She was always encouraged to speak her mind and try out different activities for her body. She became an avid fan of Martha Graham technique continuing to practice until her death. She had two brothers both much older than her, that often took her to the cinema to watch her beloved films. It was during this time Dorothy decided she would become an actress.

Dorothy attended stage school and after graduating began getting small roles in plays in the West End. She always attracted attention in these parts, especially for her roles in “I’m 16, I’m Leaving Home” (1987) and “I’m Off to the States” (1991); then she finally broke into the mainstream when she took the starring role of the stupid English girl in “Getting Arrested in Malaysia” (1994); The inevitable film offers followed, and after recording a few screen tests, she was cast in “Get a Proper Job” (1996), opposite Johnny Depp. The film was a surprise hit, and after agreeing to her salary demands, Robert Bassett Film Co signed her to a contract. She made two more films during 1996 and 1998. Winning her first Academy Award before defecting to rival production company CCE Studios where she remained for many years featuring in several more movies.

Alongside these film roles, Dorothy was also active behind the scenes (see producer and director). Offstage she used her time to foster her interests in the arts and took every opportunity she could to travel.

From her early 50s and by then working only occasionally, Dorothy explored the world with her husband until her death in 2069 in Monte Carlo.

Trade Marks

Played independent women who thought they knew what they wanted
Was known to moan at the start of a project before settling down
Liked to be entertained and enjoy herself
Worried about everything
Great in a crisis
Very short attention span
Hard on herself

Quotes

Sorry, can I just ask you about this?
Just because it has always been done like that, doesn’t mean it has to be done like that
Its fam’ly, innit, fam’ly
I’m not a control freak, its just that I am the only person who will do it right
Why does everyone else’s look different from mine?

Filmography

Actress

1990s Dorothy played many roles and the ones we will look at here are the ones where it’s apparent she acquired some of her most notable skills. In 1996 in “Get a Proper Job” she played an incompetent sales person turned rookie office worker. The early part of the role involved her being slung out of shops and sworn at, her character starting naive then slowly learning to counter that kind of conflict. The plot followed her dawning realisation that nothing was worth being that unhappy and that you can change your situation as the character took a new job in an office. Having studied method acting at stage school and sporadically throughout her life, after some relevant research, Dorothy demonstrated a natural ability with technology, becoming PC literate in order to be credible in the second half of the film. The film was well received by the public and Dorothy showed great promise that they could expect a stronger performance in future movies. There was a problem however; the management of the production company saw her as typecast in similar ‘gritty” parts. Dorothy knew to progress her acting skills and be seen as a serious artist she would need to move onto a more open-minded production house.

2000s Following her move to CCE Studios, Dorothy’s first role was as a supporting actress in “In Outlet Manager” (1998). She received critical acclaim for her performance praising her for her life like practical knowledge. Her character was once again in an office environment and so she was able to build on her previously learnt PC skills and spent hours with real experts to appear on screen as if she really understood her character’s position. It was “In Outlet Manager 2, The Sequel” (2000) that saw Dorothy progress from supporting role to leading lady. Here Dorothy’s character grew in responsibility managing the change in the film’s storyline from the first film’s chaotic overtones to the second’s more relaxed and organised pace. As a result of this success, Dorothy’s confidence grew and she started to take on the responsibility of looking after younger aspiring actors and actresses. This was a responsibility she took very seriously and always tried to use every avenue open to her to gain knowledge on the best way to go about this. She would become a bit of a pain always asking for advice. It was worth it in the end though as she built a softer and more intuitive way of dealing with people, a relief for the media who had to interview her.

After some time away from the limelight when she undertook some backstage work (see producer and director), Dorothy made her first 2 attempts (again with CCE Studios) at a comeback to acting. The first was half hearted and resulted in a poor performance in a second rate movie as her passions were still very much with producing (The Dream Time, 2003). But the second attempt was much more successful as she had taken enough time away, had carefully prepared herself mentally and physically and was ready to return to the big screen with renewed zeal. Her enthusiasm rather than skills, which were rusty, carried her through (and rubbed off on the other actors) a small part in an excellent film “Time for Change” (2006) which although well received by critics, was not the box office hit she had anticipated. It was later that year she decided to take on extra acting lessons to help find a way through this difficult period and keep her enthusiasm from waning. They had a positive effect and in 2007 Dorothy was to make “Another Year”. A film which saw her display old and new talents with renewed vigour. This film though was in a similar vein to the ones that had preceded it and if she was going to avoid being typecast once again and be able to retain her enthusiasm she would need to rethink her performance. Behind the scenes she re-examined her career. When she finally decided to be honest with herself, she realised that this was the only time in her life that had not been thought through. Her early career had been planned meticulously and she knew exactly how she would spend her old age, but this part of her life had been neglected. With hindsight this was not very impressive as it was likely to be the longest stretch of time in her life. If she didn’t decide what she wanted to do she was in danger of grabbing any role which came her way or leaving the profession totally without really considering the consequences that may hold for her. This was not an easy thing to resolve but at least she had realised this was an issue. It was also notable that when she took some advice it made her think that ideas she had held several years ago were perhaps right after all and that recently her purpose had been a bit misplaced.

It was around this time too that Dorothy started having difficulty with the owners of the studio. She felt overlooked but was contractually bound to stay so used the time to try and improve on the skills she felt she were lacking. She had previously looked after less experienced actors and it was this direction Dorothy was to take again, first in informal coaching then taking a more official role as a Drama Instructor. She wanted also to be more aware of other elements of her profession and how it was developing. Eventually she decided she had learnt all she could from the crew at CCE Studios and left to see if she could build on her skills elsewhere. JFDI Studios had a vacancy for a director; Dorothy got the job and moved to the next phase of her career (see director).

Producer

1990s In 1999 Dorothy’s life took on a different direction when she took the job of producer for the first time in “2 Funerals and a Wedding”. This was a long term project; eventually becoming the prequel to two other films she was involved with also as producer. The credentials needed for this job were different from her acting roles but would be useful for other areas of her life. She learnt more about people and how to exist with and get the best from them over a period of time. Tolerance and negotiation skills were also sometimes required, but her love of change and ability to “add a different flavour” to everyday tasks stood her in good stead. It had been rumoured that until her experience as a producer Dorothy could be rather stubborn. It is known that she received a great deal of advice and life coaching from a close friendship forged on the set (although was still known to throw the occasional celebrity tantrum). She was also later to credit this time in her life for teaching her how she wasn’t always at the mercy of her emotions and that she could make a conscious choice to affect them. Her acting experience helped here as she found she could often act confident even if she wasn’t feeling it. She thought often about impression management and was reminded of her early days of Graham technique where she learnt that the way she moved her body would affect how she felt.

2000s Dorothy produced two more movies, “The First Born” (2002) and its sequel “It’s a Girl!” (2004) these were to test her more than any other roles in her career to date. She had to acknowledge that her actions had a direct effect on other people and maybe most crucially, accept that there were areas in this role that she couldn’t always control, some of her cast for example. This was difficult for her and something she battled with on and off for years to come. A fellow Producer gave her the following advice that stuck with her, “Dorothy, you really need to learn to say F*ck it”. Crucially this part of Dorothy’s career backstage showed her that a life treading the boards was not the only meaningful existence. She began to see herself with a different frame of reference, not as the prima donna actress at the centre of her world but as a part of a whole within it. This role forced Dorothy to make important decisions by herself. In previous acting roles she had been able to take the advice of those around her, but now she was where the buck stopped. This was liberating, she would take this new found attitude to the rest of her life and work, empowering herself to make decisions and facing up to the consequences if necessary.

Director

2010s 2010 saw Dorothy direct her first movie for JFDI Studios, “Callow” was a low budget movie but Dorothy showed excellent directorial potential and it was to be the first of several exciting and unusual films to come from JFDI after Dorothy joined. None were mainstream but all were unique with many becoming cult favourites. The odd flop went largely unnoticed in the name of experimentation.

Dorothy stayed with the role of director for several years with various different production companies and even set up a small one of her own as a side project. As she aged she took a less hands on approach, and eventually she was delighted to find herself in a position where she was able to just work occasionally on projects she found appealing as was the Hollywood model.

Advertisements

2 Comments »

  1. […] post by A Pair Of Ruby Slippers and software by Elliott Back Share and Enjoy:These icons link to social bookmarking sites where […]

    Pingback by Dorothy Gale Biog at Malaysia Today and Beyond — February 25, 2007 @ 9:26 pm | Reply

  2. Well Dorothy sounds like a very successfull character. I’ve missed her early films, but sometimes it’s good to pick up once an actor and director has found their style. The really good ones are able to put something from real life into the role which gives a really compelling performance.

    I guess the nice thing about being an actor is that once one reaches dotage (before tragic and untimely demise) one is able to sit back and rewatch old films with a certain satisfaction that they’ve been able to reach out and touch others in the world with their vision and grace.

    The big question is whether the Producer ever intended “First Born” and “It’s a girl” to simply be the first parts of a trilogy…

    Like Alien, but without Sigourney Weaver…

    Comment by '062 — February 26, 2007 @ 11:35 am | Reply


RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: