Amsterdam, Staya Erusa, Ron + Ron
Kirk Douglas was a massive hero of mine as a teenager. I was a tall, rangy boy, and what I wanted more than anything was to be a mass of muscle. Kirk was my ideal, and he always picked movie roles which showed off not just his acting prowess but his fantastic physique.
I’ve just flown home from Amsterdam, and the launch of a movie about synchronicities and the cosmic brain.
Ronald Jan Heijn invited me over to Holland’s capital city for the premiere of Staya Erusa, an extraordinary film which I helped to produce.
Ronald and the Dutch visionary Harry Beckers had a hit with an earlier art-house film which introduced Holland to their mind-blowing theories about consciousness.
I can’t explain Ronald’s beliefs, but fortunately he can, in lucid language with brilliant visuals, gorgeous music and the astonishing theories of world-renowned scientists.
His new film is called Staya Erusa: Voyage to the Cosmic Brain, and he coined the phrase Ã¢â‚¬Ëœnotion picture’ to describe it. After the first screening at Amsterdam’s Museum Cinema, I talked to as many people as I could to hear their interpretations — and everybody had a different take on what the movie meant.
To me it’s about learning to think in new ways, to develop fresh solutions to global problems such as pollution and poverty. But Hanna found a much more personal interpretation, about life after death.
You can make up your own mind — the film is available from the www.StayaErusa.com website as a DVD. I don’t expect it to knock Pirates Of The Caribbean III out of the multiplexes when it hits the theatres, but I do believe this movie can make a difference in people’s lives.
Ronald asked me to get involved because, although he’d won outstanding reviews in Holland, he didn’t know how to break Staya Erusa around the world. I told him: “You need facts. Give the audience facts, and they’ll be able to believe in your spiritual message.”
In most other European countries, film-makers don’t understand that English-speaking audiences have to be able to trust their sources. Think of those talking-head documentaries, the ones that are all over the schedules like a rash at the moment.
They’re called Back To The Seventies or The Story Of Mods and Teds, and the opinions always come from people you can believe in. They’ve lived through everything they’re talking about.
TV execs love those shows, because they’re cheap to make and packed with nostalgia… and facts. If Ronald could learn from their success, he’d have a blockbuster on his hands, I told him.
We worked together for weeks, setting up interviews with some of the most respected scientists on the planet. We challenged them to talk about the science of the soul, and got incredible answers from Nobel prize-winner Brian Josephson, physicist Jack Sarfatti, writers Robert Temple, Colin Wilson and Neville Hodgkinson, ex US National Security officer John Alexander and scientist George Weissman.
Their reputations give massive credibility to the project. It’s been a new direction for me, to be a long way behind the cameras making a project come to life.
I won’t be making a career of it, though — just about every movie producer I know has a beard, and Hanna says she won’t be seen in public with me if I try that trick.
I don’t often lose my temper. A celebrity who starts swearing on air might generate quick headlines, but TV people are very wary of working with foul-mouthed types. Look at John Lydon — he was the nation’s favourite bad boy for a week when he did I’m A Celebrity, but have you seen him on your screen lately?
And Bob Geldof was knighted for staging Live Aid, despite his famous outburst (“Just give us yer flippin’ money,” he almost shouted) but for many years he terrified chat show hosts.
I don’t like to swear, on or off camera. I have fans of all ages, and I don’t want to let them down, even in private. But I’m not a saint, and sometimes I let my impatience get the better of me.
A couple of years ago, when Michael Jackson was at the centre of lurid and nasty allegations, I took a call from a Belfast DJ called Steve Nolan.
He was on the air, I was off my guard, and he proceeded to wind me up. He did it expertly, and his audience were supposed to be in on the joke — except with radio, you never know who’s listening. There could be children tuning in.
I lost my temper with Steve, said something I shouldn’t and slammed the phone down. I quickly apologised, but the episode taught me a valuable lesson — if you lose your temper, you can lose the lot. Just think of those celebs who end up sweeping the streets for a week, because they snapped and threw a mobile phone at somebody’s head.
If I’d been in the same room as Steve that day, I probably wouldn’t have had to chuck a phone at him — I would have seen he was laughing at me. He’s got a big, friendly face and he can’t hide his laughter.
I flew to Belfast last week, for a much calmer interview, and by the end of the show we were good friends.
I met up in an Amsterdam park with another of my friends called Ronald — the brilliant artist Ron Amir. A group of schoolchildren strolled past on an art lesson, and Ron grabbed the pad and pencil from one … and completed his drawing. There’s one student who’s going to get top marks for his work!
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