"I am just the sort of guy,” actor Terence Stamp says, “who could become a transsexual.” That remarkable conclusion is the result of a good deal of soul-searching that the actor undertook before his latest role: a transsexual singer and dancer in Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, a fast, funny Australian road movie. At first, the London-based Stamp recalls, “I had this fear of making an absolute fool of myself—and never working again.” But his friend, actress Caroline Bliss, convinced him otherwise: “She said, “What are you going to do? Are you going to be
an Englishman in Hollywood movies all your life?’ ” Stamp, best known for his work in The Collector (1965) and Wall Street (1987), took the job— which meant confronting not only “fearfully uncomfortable” high heels, false breasts and body-hair removal, but also some realities about his own personality. “Ultimately, what I was encountering was a feminine aspect of myself, in the sense that sensitivity and intuition are feminine,” says Stamp. But that is clearly as far as his identification with transsexuals goes. “I have always felt,” Stamp adds, “that I am in exactly the right body.”
ALL THE WORLD’S A RINK
On the ice, former world-champion figure skater Kurt Browning is renowned for his artistic impressions—the emotion he conveys by blending grace and physicality. But last week in Toronto, Browning put his sense of artistry to work in a different forum—in front of a TV camera for a segment of the teen drama series Ready or Not. In the show, which will air this fall on the CanWest Global network, the 28-year-old from Caroline, Alta., plays—of all things—a figure skater who demonstrates the value of perseverance to two
teenage girls (Laura Bertram and Lani Billard). For the part, he had to fall on cue. “It’s one of those really unnatural things to get your body to do,” Browning says. “It’s like "Wait a minute, I’m actually trying to fall?’ ” Now a professional skater, after his retirement from the amateur ranks in February, Browning acknowledges that “it would be fun to do some more acting.” And he even offers a fantasy movie role: “Yeah, the city ices over, and me and Bruce Willis skate around killing bad guys.” Sure, maybe in Die Hard 8.
If the Commonwealth Games have too often lived up to their reputation as the Olympics’ poor second cousin, this week in Victoria could prove to be an exception. At least, it will if the international lineup of entertainers playing at the Games’ 10-day Harbour Festival have anything do with it The Canadian contingent represents a cross-section of the country’s regions. From the East comes The Rankin Family, who are fast making Celtic-influenced tunes a staple of Canadian musical life. The five-member group’s harmonies, which garnered them four Juno Awards earlier this year, reflect their Nova Scotia roots. But singer John Morris Rankin says that “as much as we represent Cape Breton, we also view ourselves as typifying many aspects of Canadian living.” On the other hand, Quebec duo Kashtin, comprising Claude McKenzie and Florent Voilant will present a less familiar cultural experience: they sing in the Innu dialect of eastern Quebec. “I am a native,” says McKenzie. “It’s very important to be proud of that.”
Meanwhile, Nashville-based country sensation Michelle Wright who was bom in Chatham, Ont., is looking forward to fun. “We’re going to have a blast at the Games,” says Wright, who claims to be a “huge” track-and-field fan. “If there’s time, I would just love to go and watch some of the events.” At the festival, Wright will be performing songs from her soon-to-be-released new album, The Reasons Why. That points to another Games benefit for Canadian performers: international exposure. “It’s a great opportunity for this Canadian gal to get her music spread around the world a little bit,” says Wright. And no harm in that.
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