He starred alongside John Wayne (Red River), Marlon Brando (The Young Lions), Burt Lancaster (From Here to Eternity), and, perhaps most infamously, Elizabeth Taylor (Raintree County, Suddenly, Last Summer and A Place in the Sun), not to mention for directors as diverse as Alfred Hitchcock (I Confess), Elia Kazan (Wild River) and John Huston (The Misfits and Freud). He lived fast, died (relatively) young, and left a tortured corpse, but not before raising the bar higher than almost anyone could reach (then or since). He was Montgomery Clift and this weekend at Miami Beach Cinematheque Omar Prince channels his legendary life. The show? A one-man wonder entitled The Rarest of Birds.
Wanna tell us a quick bit about The Rarest of Birds? The Rarest of Birds is about the battle Montgomery Clift had with his personal demons as transcended in his art. He is filming Freud while being directed by John Huston. Monty is completely out of control trying to realize his role as Freud and locked in his own dressing room to sober up and ruminate about his life.
How'd you two come to Clift? I read Patricia Bosworth's biography on Montgomery Clift when I was a teenager. I was very moody as a kid (only child). I felt a complete affinity with Monty - over protective parents, a sense of loss identity (being a Cuban immigrant) and also the battle with my sexuality and identity as a new American citizen. Becoming an actor was not part of the American dream my parents had for me.
Later on, my friend John Lisbon Wood had written a play; Monty Clift, The Rarest of Birds and needed an actor. No one showed up. No one was interested. No one remembered Montgomery Clift - Brando, Dean - definitely! I called John after he had posted an ad in Backstage. It had been up for a week and he gave me the role right there and then.
What is it about the man that makes him such an enduring character? Performing Montgomery Clift is so cathartic and freeing because I get to address my own issues and come up triumphant every time! This man had such courage despite all his crutches to show up and do the work that gave him a purpose and integrity and this is what I resonate with completely!
How'd Miami Beach Cinematheque get in on the action? Harvey Burstein came to see a performance of the play in Ft. Lauderdale and he recommended the play to Dana Keith, who wanted to do a live performance at Cinematheque. So it was perfect, synchronicity - a Cuban playing a famous American movie star in a theater in Miami Beach that does great cinema!
Anything else we need o know about Omar Prince (and/or The Rarest) before you go-go? The Rarest of Birds is one man's and my own struggle for authenticity! We have to be ourselves and not apologize for our hopes and dreams and character. In the end we have to answer to our own personal direction telling us what right or wrong - follow your heart and don't be afraid to be caught with your pants down! Surrender, release, BREATHE!
The Rarest of Birds runs Friday through Sunday, May 4-6, 8:30pm at Miami Beach Cinematheque. For more information log on here.