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Mike Worrall and Roman Polanski

Mike Worrall and Roman Polanski

I cannot recall what inspired me to do it as it was quite a gruesome subject …anyway it appealed to Roman enough to buy it, and, as it turns out more sales to come from it…So it was after the tragic brutal murder of his wife Sharon Tate that he was to have the idea of making his film version of Macbeth, he told me that my painting had been the inspiration for the  idea !  The work which had been dominating his apartment wall where he lived in Kensington just behind the Royal court theatre in Sloan square. He didn’t seem to be a big collector of art, I remember only seeing one other work on the walls at the time anyway.

He wanted to copy the painting exactly for one of the first scenes in the film asking me to adapt its vertical format into the horizontal Panavision. I would be working on this in his house and was present when various actors were being interviewed for major parts etc. I recall him saying he would like me to include more dead horses, dismissing my concerns about them using real dead horses, by telling me they would come from an abattoir!

He set the scene very closely to my painting even the actors were dead ringers! I was invited to the set at Sheperton studios and I was treated like a VIP, being picked up by his chauffeur driven 21 foot long Roller and often there would be the odd celebrity in the back next to me ,it was an exciting time for a down at heal artist always broke in those days , and I lived in an attic just off Tottenham Court Road. I would sometimes accompany Roman back from the studios in his car at the end of a shoot listening to Vivaldi’s 4seasons and he would plumb my imagination for ideas etc. During this time I was invited to the odd party and once witnessed Roman pushing Peter Sellars around in the famous painter William Hogarth’s strange totally wooden wheel chair to streaks of hilarious laughter by all. I remember being slightly appalled at this seemingly genuine antique being so mistreated …it should have been in a museum!”

-Mike Worrall

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