The red carpet awaits.
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The Steve McQueen Affair: Steve McQueen begged for the role. “I want to play Thomas Crown,” he said to producer-director Norman Jewison.

“No way,” said Jewison, who was casting the 1967 bank heist caper The Thomas Crown Affair. Jewison was recalling it all at a Santa Barbara International Film Festival Q&A this past Sunday. “This guy (Crown) is a Phi Beta Kappa, a brilliant banker.”

McQueen, he knew, was a rough and tumble guy, a car racer. “You’re not right for the part,” he told the actor. But McQueen went to Jewison’s home to plead for the role. “I can play this part.” “He talked me into casting him,” Jewison told the audience. “We bought him a $2,500 suit and he became Thomas Crown. He was brilliant.”

Rainy day crowds
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So was the film, which I watched Monday during the Film Festival. McQueen, Jewison said, was “a movie star” as opposed to a stage-trained actor. “He was very introverted. He was so cool that somehow he wasn’t acting. He didn’t care about lines. He knew where the camera was. He’s real. There is a big difference between film acting and stage acting.

“Steve was very quick,” Jewison recalled. “Street smart. If you were [an insecure director] he could make you miserable. He was affected by the moon and would just take off for days. He was very strange.”

UCSB and Hillary: After I published John Peale’s bitter complaint about not getting in to Sen. Hillary Clinton’s recent visit to UCSB, I heard from Susan Rose, former county supervisor and co-chair of Santa Barbarans for Hillary:

“The Hillary Clinton for President Campaign decided on an event at UCSB 48 hours before she arrived. Currently, most of the candidates are campaigning in many states before the February 5 primary, and staff was given very little notice beforehand as to Senator Clinton’s schedule. Her goal was to have a town hall style meeting that would be smaller in size and would give students an opportunity to ask questions.

“Once the venue was chosen (Pavilion Gym) it was ultimately the fire marshal’s decision as to how many could enter. The capacity was 1,000. The campaign and the university’s staff worked together, but we were not prepared for the huge turnout. Students started lining up at 10 a.m. We regret the confusion that occurred outside the Rec Center and would have preferred that everyone could have heard Senator Clinton. It is our hope that she will return to Santa Barbara and a larger venue that will be available to many who wish to see her.”

Short Films: Here are some of the shorter movies people are talking about at the Film Festival:

Santa Barbaran Jody Nelson wrote, directed, and produced Iron Boy, about a 9-year-old boy with a winning spirit wanting to compete in 45 triathlons. It’ll be shown Tuesday at Center Stage Theater at 9:30 p.m.

Armed for the Challenge, directed by Patricia Thio, tells the story of the one-armed Willie Stewart and how he trained for the physically challenged USA Triathlon Championships. It’s 21 minutes long and will show Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Marjorie Luke Theater. In the same program, Body and Soul, directed by Alice Elliott, will be screened. It’s a 40-minute film about two women who met in a group home three decades ago and vowed to live independent lives despite their illnesses.

<em>A Plumm Summer</em>'s cast
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Kids + Money, directed by Lauren Greenfield, is about L.A. kids getting money, spending it, or learning to live without it. It screens Thursday at 1:30 p.m. and Sunday at 11 a.m. at the Lobero Theater and is 24 minutes long. The Replacement Child, directed by Justin Lerner, runs for 25 minutes and is about a troubled boy returning to his backwoods hometown. It will screen Thursday and Sunday at the Lobero at 1:30 p.m. and 11 a.m., respectively. A group of UCSB film studies students, including Michael Weinreidt, Max Schmige, Max Littman, and Lisa Shapiro, created Timon’s Friendship Adventure, a short to be screened Tuesday at Victoria Hall at 9 p.m. It’s about “a jovial, plump, rich man who discovers that friendship can sometimes be a one-way street.” Another Santa Barbara offering is the kid’s movie, The Wheels on the Bus, for ages 2-4. Roger Daltrey of The Who provides the voice of Argon. It screened Saturday and Tim Armstrong directed. Tiffany Foster of Santa Barbara is the CEO of Our Happy Child Productions.

One film I missed was the 99-minute A Plumm Summer, where first-time director Caroline Zelder managed to cast some big name actors, like William Baldwin, Henry Winkler, and Jeff Daniels.

Barney Brantingham can be reached at or (805) 965-5205. He writes online columns on Tuesdays and Fridays and a print column on Thursdays


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