I love Audrey, but…

… there is this beatification of her happening that doesn’t sit so well with me. Let me start with a Netflix documentary on Audrey Hepburn that is not available yet in The Netherlands but that I do intend to watch.

When they say in the trailer that the biggest secret to Audrey is that she wanted to be loved, I roll my eyes because that is hardly a secret (and doesn’t everybody?). Also, those dramatized little interludes in the trailer of a little girl dancing already annoy me. And yet, I won’t be able to help myself and I will watch this, I just hope it won’t be too gushy.

Apparently, there’s also a TV series coming about her and I am already tensing up at the thought of that as well. There was a TV movie made in 2000 called The Audrey Hepburn Story that I watched at the time and remembered as cringe-worthy. I recently watched part of it again because I now realize that a young Gabriel Macht was in it, playing the actor William Holden whom Audrey had briefly been smitten with (and he with her).

I wasn’t able to actually watch the whole thing again as it still is cringe-worthy; it is really difficult to portray a good Audrey Hepburn after all. She had a unique way of moving and diction that Jennifer Love Hewitt tried to capture but she ended up giving her a really strange accent and a pinched way of speaking. Brave attempt but she doesn’t capture Audrey at all for me, she’s too focussed on getting looks and mannerisms down and the characterization (also due to the writing) is very flat. Audrey didn’t feel real in that and I really wonder whether they will be able to ‘capture’ her in this new planned TV series.

I also read that Robert Matzen has written another book about Audrey, this time about her final years working for Unicef. I am still annoyed by his embellishments and the holes in his research of the first book (Dutch Girl) that he wrote about Audrey’s childhood and I fear the second book won’t fare any better. Already the term ‘battle-hardened badass’ that is used for Audrey suggests something more mythical than real. I don’t think I will be spending any money on that.

Yes, Audrey was awesome and yes, I love her, but this hero-worship of her annoys me. She is this adored icon but somehow, despite of all the thousands of words written about her and almost as many images shown of her, she feels illusory. I’m not interested in a scandal or her being brought down or anything, I’m just interested in a realistic portrayal. I know her sons cooperate on these things and want to protect her image (rightly so) but I just wish all the things written and shown about her felt more real and less ethereal. Even her ‘faults’ and her hurt seem glorified. Someone once made a spoofy Audrey flipping the finger gif…

… and I think I want to see more of that.

I love my acting (and music) heroes such as Richard Armitage and Gregory Peck and Colin Firth and David Bowie and Audrey Hepburn and many more men and women but I don’t like the hero-worship for any of them. None of them are ‘perfection’, what would a perfect human being even be like? I feel that even Audrey herself in interviews resisted the idea of perfection, not seeing herself as that either. She was a woman of flesh and blood, like any one of us, I just wish for people who write about her and make films and documentaries about her to make her more real. I wonder if that will ever happen in my lifetime.