As the new #Dune premieres in London I’ll share a lil story. I’m the actor in this article whom James McAvoy quotes-pretty bonkers in and of itself. What tickles me about *his* story is that our respective recollections of our encounter are very different in sweet, powerful ways.
About 20 years ago, as a lead actor in a series on the then Sci-fi Channel, I was invited to a screening —with my co-star Ben Browder— of a Dune miniseries. Ben & I sat together. I fidgeted a lot; sorry Ben. Undiagnosed ADD and PTSD made screenings at the best of times torturous
This screening was looooong. I was struggling to stay focused until, I kid you not, in the last three seconds— ok maybe three minutes of this 2, 3 or 4 hour portion—a young man came on screen, walking through a door, chest heaving, eyes ablaze, not uttering a line of dialogue
and the credits rolled. I sat there frozen on the edge of my seat. Ben did too. We needed to know who that young actor was. It felt as though we were some of the first people to witness the rise of this prodigy. (We also knew how artists could be overlooked in science fiction).
This kid could not possibly suffer that fate. He was a supernova. And we needed to tell him; drum it in to him somehow before our beloved yet sometimes wretched and abusive business could wear him down and ever make him doubt his unquestionable talent, skill and abilities.
We’d had a rough ride ourselves. On the same network. On the not quite cool enough show that would not air in my home country despite being its most ambitious production to date, because the Australian network execs loathed & misunderstood sci-fi. We had become a tad despondent.
As luck would have it, this supernova was out in the lobby standing by himself. He was shuffling his worn boots along the carpet, his hands deeply shoved into leather jacket pockets to give their fidgeting refuge. We babbled. We fawned. We likely embarrassed ourselves, gushing.
He was humble & sweet, raw &real. His head bowed down to his boots as our effusiveness came in waves over him. I just needed him to know how damn good he was. I needed him to understand that he was about to become a huge star. His head shook. We parted ways. Never to meet again.
Twenty years later, driving through Studio City my son and I passed a billboard advertising tonight’s latest iteration of Dune. My lad said he was looking forward to seeing it. He’s a mid teen with great taste. I told him that Dune has quite an established cinematic history,
but that my personal connection to it involved James McEvoy. I now had his attention. “I LOVE James McEvoy!” ( a more animated version of teen than I’m used to) “Me too,” I replied — “ In fact I suspect everyone does. And I met him once. Right at the start of his career.”
He enjoyed my recounting of the story & the idea that someone could be that alive with zero dialogue. He also seemed pleased that his taste in actors had not betrayed him. Growing up as a set baby he is all too aware that most of us do not deserve to be unconditionally respected.
A few days later I received an email from a teacher & fellow c-ptsd survivor. We had bonded a few years ago over trauma and sci-fi. (as one does) The title of the email was something along the lines of, ‘You made an impact!’
I was confused. The article was not about me
until it suddenly, shockingly was. On the impending eve of the new Dune, a writer had decided to interview Mr McEvoy asking him about his experience working on it & what advice he would give Timothée Chalamet. Basically none, he said. Because Timothée was a cracking actor. But,
he then went on to say something that almost made me pass out. He volunteered, that the best advice *he’d* been given was from a chick on a sci-fi show from years ago…what was it?
Farscape. That someone named Claudia Black, had given him advice he’d remembered his whole career that he’d found helpful. My jaw dropped. And my arms tingled. I did not recall telling him anything of value. And…wait…this dude knows my name?!
When I picked my kids up from school that afternoon I uncommonly flexed a little as I pointed to the billboard. “Hey, remember that story I told you about James McEvoy? Turns out it has a new surprise twist that involves yer mum.” Again, I had their attention. They smiled proudly
What followed that evening was interesting and possibly coincidental. My son who usually keeps to himself in his room, finished his homework early and joined me in the kitchen, offering to help me make dinner. We chatted and danced to some music as we made curry -one of his faves
& I felt something I haven’t in a long time; Visible. Being a woman nearing 50 in entertainment, my stock has been plummeting since my late 30’s…Being dragged through family court for the better part of my 40’s in an unspeakably traumatizing divorce, led to social ostracism…
an inability to travel for much desired and needed work when most work is in fact out of state…surviving my fair share of #metoo and on the health side—and totally stress-related—a bunch of illnesses that left me somewhat at the mercy of a clueless western medical system…
I joke that it’s as if in my 40’s I fell out of the tree of life and hit every branch on the way down. I’ve been picking myself up ever since. ( no pity please, life is hard for most if not all)
Yet on this day, reading that I’d made an impact; somehow cut through the noise in a way that someone I respected had heard me, meant the world to me. It even feels pathetic to admit. But life gets very small for women who have kids. Smaller still for single mums.
Some of the focus on minutiae is adorable. And parenting is a privilege. But dreams become elusive luxuries under high allostatic loads, and loads of unassisted chores. Feminism becomes a prequel. Community wanes,the savings disappear & you look in the mirror and realize you
are not whom you want your kids to see. So thank you Mr McEvoy. After feeling for years that I’ve been standing behind & knocking on a thick plane of one-sided glass where no one could see nor hear me, for a moment, it was as if someone looked up and heard. Love that it was you.
I’m going to make more curries with the same spice mix though with way more pep, and while I don’t know what this next chapter holds for me, I loudly pray it’s more work. Great work. Juicy work that allows the world to see that I too have loads more to offer… & speaking of names
Think I’m going to
name this here longest Twitter thread I’ve ever written, ‘The Comeback Curry.’ Special shout out to everyone out there who has seen my work and supported it, and me over the years. You also mean the world to me. And I’m aiming to make you proud 👊🏼♥️
Holy crap! A photo I didn’t know existed. At least I remembered correctly that he was wearing a leather jacket 😂
Extra, extra special shoutout to @htranbui for magically midwifing this vulnerable yet powerful moment into being 🙏🏼🥺😘
And the context you might be missing c/o @tweetfromgeorge. I could have done this myself though I’d hoped Ppl would click on the article & in so doing support @htranbui ‘s work. George you’ve always been my favorite tech support when you’re not busy being a supernova yourself 😘
Sh*t balls *Mcavoy*

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