Pete Postlethwaite (1946-2011)

Published by Iris in Inspired by, Memory Lane, People, Photography, R.I.P.,
Published on 01/27/11 at 07:02:35 pm using 591 words.

I see similarities where most people would find none. When I share my findings, I often elicit a squinty, eyebrow-distorting WTF!? reaction.

Benicio Del Toro and Leonardo DiCaprio, lookalikes?

Well, I see it. They could be brothers as far as I’m concerned. But then again, I’m weird.

In high school, I took an elective class that produced a little piece I deeply, deeply love. Can’t explain or pinpoint why exactly. Maybe the simple fact that I made it with my own two hands. Maybe that’s a good enough reason for love. Fact is, I’m damn proud of it. I love the way it feels in my hands - cool, seemingly moist, easy to grasp with an almost soft hardness to it. A hardness, betrayed by the illusion that it might turn soft any second.

But did I make it from scratch, I often find myself wondering…

I’ve always wondered whether we are doomed to rely on things already in existence in order to quote-unquote, create. Or whether we have a gift for actually creating from scratch. Fifty-one percent of me is of the opinion that creating from scratch might be too tall an order. There’s always a precedent. Always an inspiration. We’re better at being led by inspiration, adding nuances, changing things here and there… sculpting.

No easy task that was… sculpting that little guy.

Fifty minutes a day of being dared into a corner by hurdles, cut down to size by shortcomings, pressured into consenting to compromises all the way through. Actively compromising all the way through.

Don’t have the skills to sculpt open eyes? Let them be closed. Let the dude enjoy his slumber…
Don’t have the skills to sculpt hair? Let him be bald.
Can’t sculpt a realistic bald head? It’ll look weird? Give’im a sleeping cap (pom-pom and all.) And so it went. Hurdle, a couple of steps back, momentum and… jump!

I remember loving sitting in that room oblivious to the chattering girls hard at work on their colorful beads and their chatter. I wasn’t there for beads. I’ve never been anywhere… for beads.

Right around that time (circa 1993, I think it was) I saw a movie called In the Name of the Father. It made quite an impact. I remember going back to see it a second time. I remember writing about it for the school literary magazine. I have screencaps imbedded in my brain of Daniel Day-Lewis’ gift for incontestable truth under imaginary circumstances (in this case adapted from life.)

And I remember a man I had never seen before. An Irish gentleman (or so I thought at the time) who was there for support. Amazing support.

That man made his mark in my film-embedded brain. So much so that I’m positively convinced and have been for years that he inspired my little high school project. Or rather, I was inspired by that great, great face and everything it could and did show. Something about the eyebrows and the cheekbones. Not the humility and the dignity. I didn’t have the skill for that. But I did see a resemblance the moment it was finished and I see it to this day. Maybe it’s there, maybe it’s me being weird. I can already feel the squinty eyes on me, the distorted eyebrows, the WTFs…

I see it. I like to think I was inspired by him.

Enjoy your slumber, Pete Postlethwaite.


Comment from: chris [Visitor]  

A wonderfully illuminating piece, a brilliant actor, a face as expressive, unique and unconventionally handsome as any to ever grace the big screen. You could never forget Pete’s face, it was otherworldly, when you align that with a depth of talent and craft unrivaled by the soulless vacuous droids churned out by Hollywood. You have someone truly sublime. I see Pete in your work, and I salute the validity of your influence. In the name of the father was such a powerful piece of cinema. That some label the gargantuan Postlethwaite as ugly is symbolic of their deep deep spiritual void.

04/03/13 @ 11:51 am
Comment from: Iris [Member]

After so much “fastidious” and “auspicious” spam (a dig at how frequently those words show up in their content), I can’t tell you what a pleasure it is to read your comment. Intelligent, well-meaning, pertaining to the content of the actual post (just as I’ve always hoped) and much, MUCH appreciated!

It’s truly invigorating and heartening to know that people like you are reading this blog. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment, Chris!

04/04/13 @ 12:15 pm