John Huston called me, he was to be the director at first, and asked me on behalf of Katharine Hepburn to play the small part of the crazy Gabrielle in a cast full of great actors. To anyone else I would have said no because I can’t speak english so the task seemed impossible. But Hepburn had always been my idol, when I was a kid I traced out a picture of her from a violet cover of the magazine Novella up on my diary (I brought it along to show it to her, she was touched) and eventually I said: I’ll try.
We all stayed in a marvellous hotel, except Hepburn who rented a villa up on the hills and arrived on the set every morning by bike. She leads the health fanatic life, she wakes up at 6am and jumps in the freezing water: swimming-pool, sea, whatever. At 8pm, no matter what, she’s in bed. She’s on a strict diet but she has weird habits: towards 5pm she would go around with big pieces of chocolate and forced all of us to eat it. She wore pants and sweaters, like boys dress nowadays, most of which belonged to Spencer Tracy, of whom she spoke with immense sorrow, but in the present tense, as if he was still alive. Katharine is one of the most extraordinary persons I’ve ever met.
about working with Katharine Hepburn in The Madwoman of Chaillot