Morocco shares many of the advantages that first drew filmmakers to California: year-round sunshine, diverse landscapes, great old architecture and abundant available extras. Just recently Morocco and Britain signed a treaty giving each other reciprocal tax subsidies for film and television production. And since the UK and Morocco are in the same time zone, they keep the same business hours.
My fascination with film was kindled in the New York editorial offices of a literary magazine, the Paris Review. My then boss, George Plimpton, recounted over lunch one day an adventure he had had long before — one of his stunts in participatory journalism — when he shipped off to Morocco to play a Bedouin extra on the set of David Lean’s Lawrence of Arabia.
He described Lean as a figure in the far distance, a speck at the end of a vast gorge, standing beside a camera and orchestrating the spectacle of a massive Bedouin army on horseback. ‘I’m on screen there somewhere,’ George insisted, ‘though I didn’t get a horse to ride on; mostly I stood around and ululated. Lucky that I was so far out of camera range because beneath those Bedouin robes I was wearing my own brown Bass Weejun loafers.’
The Spectator is the oldest continuously published magazine in the English language, and I was delighted to be included in that special issue. Read the whole thing HERE.