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There was great excitement in a small Yorkshire village when a film company arrived to shoot a remake of ‘Wuthering Heights’ on location. It was a major production, mainly financed with Hollywood money, thus an internationally famous American star was required to play Cathy. The rest of the cast were British, including a darkly handsome Heathcliff.
It all began when the owner of the cottage, Julia Cooper, opened the door to two men almost identically dressed in parkas and jeans, though there was a great difference in height and girth.
“Hi.” The younger, taller and slimmer man beamed at her.
“We work for a film company and we’re scouting locations.”
“Oh, how exciting..”
“Ninety per cent boredom, ten per cent excitement.”
“Are you making a film round here?”
“A remake of ‘Wuthering Heights’.”
“You’ve come to the right place.”
“Bronte country.” He smiled. Rather a nice smile. “My name’s Jonty Trevalyan.”
“Pleased to meet you.”
They rather formally shook hands. The smaller man pushed his way inside.
“Are you the owner of this house?”
Julia had taken an instant dislike to this intruder. Jonty was still standing outside. She looked at him; he shrugged.
“I am Mark Selbie,” the small man declared. “Art Director for Focus Productions and the new version of ‘Wuthering Heights’.”
“Oh. I see. Except I don’t. Why are you here?”
“I was looking around a few days ago,” Jonty explained. “I saw this cottage and thought it would be perfect for a scene in the film. I knocked on the door, but apparently you were out.”
“You should have left a note.”
“I agree, but it was absolutely pouring with rain and I was soaking wet. Been tramping around the district and got caught in a sudden downpour.”
Julia laughs. “It happens on the moors.”
“So, anyway, I thought I’d bring Mark see the place for himself before making a final decision.”
“Wasn’t your recommendation good enough?”
Jonty shrugged and gave her a small smile. “I’m only the Assistant Director.”
“Nothing more than a gofer.”
He stepped inside and Julia closed the door. She confronted the Art Director, who was poking around, looking through various doors.
“Can I help you?” Her voice was icily cold.
“Hope so. Splendid cottage you’ve got.”
“I’m glad you think so.”
“Late 18th century.”
“Not modernised structurally.”
“Is that a condemnation?”
“On the contrary. You’re to be congratulated on leaving well alone. Too many people buy splendid old property then ‘restore’ it. I use the word advisedly. As far as I’m concerned, they’re nothing better than vandals. But this….” he gestured with his arm. “….splendid. Good for our purpose, too.”
Julia frowned. “Your purpose?”
“18th century, retaining its original appearance and set apart from all the other property.”
Julia smiled. “Yes, my parents loved it. I haven’t lived here for a number of years.”
“My father died a month ago and I inherited the property. I’m putting it on the market.”
“Um.” Selbie vaguely nodded, his thoughts elsewhere. “It’s perfect for an interior scene we have when we see Cathy and Heathcliff having sex for the first and only time.”
Trying to remember the story of ‘Wuthering Heights’, Julia frowned. “Does that happen?”
“It does in this movie,” the Assistant Director cheerfully replied. “That’s Hollywood for you.”
“Anyway, we wanted your permission to use this cottage. A few exterior shots, a couple of interiors. We’ll refurnish completely for the filming. Period stuff, of course. Wall decoration; it all has to look right. Most of the action will take place in the master bedroom.” Selbie opened another door. It was a cupboard. “Can I see it?”
“Oh, I don’t….”
Jonty smiled. “Don’t worry, Mrs….?” He raised his eye-brows, interrogatively.
“Cooper. Julia Cooper. I’m not married.”
“Don’t worry. When we’re finished everything will be re-instated. You won’t notice anything. We’re pretty good at that kind of thing.”
“Would I have to move out?”
“Not at all, as long as you don’t mind living with a film crew and a lot of equipment for a few days. Some areas will be out of bounds, of course.”
Julia grinned. “Such as the master bedroom.”
Jonty smiled back. “Exactly.”
“How long will you be?”
“Five days are scheduled.”
“For one love scene?”
“It’s a pretty hot one. No holds barred. Totally nude, very intimate. There’s a couple of days rehearsal with clothes on so they know exactly what they’re doing, then another with very little clothing, so they get the feel of each other….”
“A good way of putting it.”
“…..then a couple shooting it.”
“I thought the director would call ‘action’ and they’d simply go through the motions of making love. After all, most of us frequently do it in real life.”
Jonty shook his head. “I’m afraid it’s rather more controlled Pendik Escort and mechanical in the movies. But it still has to look good.”
Tired of the conversation, Selbie demanded a decision. “There’s other property we can view, though I must admit to liking this very much. But we have to get it fixed up today. I think…..eight hundred pounds would be the highest amount we could offer.”
Julia looked at him, wide-eyed. “Eight hundred pounds to use my house for a film?”
“A day,” Jonty interposed.
“For five days?”
“That’s…..” Julia did a quick mental calculation, but thought she must have got it wrong. “Four thousand pounds,” she gulped.”
“Please, Mrs……” Selbie snapped his fingers in irritation.
“Cooper,” Jonty reminded him.
“She’s not married.”
Selbie clucked in annoyance. “Please can we have your answer. Yes or no?”
Julia hesitated briefly, then nodded. “Yes.”
There was much activity at the cottage the day before rehearsals were due to start. An iron bedstead was installed with genuine looking 18th century furniture in the periphery of the camera’s eye. Three cameras were to be used, two in fixed positions and the third hand-held. Several large, powerful lamps provided a fair amount of illumination and even more heat. The set was closed to everyone except those essential to filming the scene and the window was blocked off to thwart peeping-toms.
The Oscar winning American actress remained aloof from everyone, spending all her spare time ensconced in a vast, centrally heated caravan. She was accompanied by a somewhat butch secretary and minder, the two of them seemingly inseparable. Rumour had it that they were lesbians; rumour was probably right.
The actor playing Heathcliff was completely the opposite, always finding a friendly word, and even managing to remember the name of the most humble technician. Alan Drury was born and bred in Warwickshire, but ironically, as he ruefully admitted, had never been asked to play in Stratford. He was in his early thirties, dark-haired, blue-eyed and with finely handsome features. For his part as Heathcliff he had grown a light beard. In company with most of the other women on the set, Julia was completely smitten by the handsome actor.
The kitchen seemed to be a natural rendezvous for people not actively engaged in the immediate proceedings and Julia was on permanent call to make tea.
“I hope we’re not abusing you and your hospitality,” Alan said as she filled his cup.
“I enjoy it. I wouldn’t do it otherwise. How’s it going?”
Julia was at the epicentre of all gossip as she dished out tea and biscuits. The first two days, clothed rehearsals, apparently went with few hitches or arguments. Kisses, caresses and general body movements were discussed and agreed with vague gestures and pretence of the action. By the end of day two the Oscar winning actress had permitted some fumbling and had obediently spread herself on the bed with Alan on top.
Storm clouds began showing themselves on the morning of day three. Julia saw Alan Drury enter her bedroom wearing a ruffled cotton shirt and breeches. A few minutes later the leading lady, clad in a flimsy, pale-coloured full length dress with plunging neckline, rushed in surrounded by helpers, who seemed to be hiding, and/or, protecting her from prying eyes. She was probably a few years younger than Julia, but had much the same build and colouring.
The Oscar-winning actress was ushered into the bedroom for her big love scene. No-one, absolutely no-one, was permitted to be in there except Alan and the Director. No matter that the cameraman protested he must align his equipment and do some dummy shots in preparation for the Big Event. Miss Oscar Winner was naked….well, almost. In truth she wore a bikini which successfully hid all of her most intimate parts.
The rehearsal went badly. This was supposed to be as near the real thing as they could get with her in a bikini and Alan in shorts. Cathy flinched every time Heathcliff, the love of her life, got anywhere near her. She went into hysterics when he mounted her in simulation of the love act and she felt his hardness against her thigh. Alan went flying off the bed as his co-star threw him off her.
Almost immediately an altercation started, loud enough to be heard in most parts of the house.
“This is so ridiculous.” That was the actress.
“What’s wrong now?” The Director sounded peeved.
“I can’t play this scene.”
“But, lovey, it’s all arranged.”
“Don’t give me any of that lovey crap. I’ve fucking had you limeys up to here.”
“I’m sorry, Ms Dawson, but you agreed to play this scene as written. It’s in your contract.”
“This fucking scene isn’t in the book. I’ve read the book and there’s nothing like this. Cathy Earnshaw doesn’t bare her boobs and ass in front of Heathcliff – or anyone else.”
“She does in this movie.”
“Not this gal.”
“If you don’t do Pendik Escort Bayan this scene as written the whole dramatic thrust of the piece is lost.”
“I don’t do porno.”
With that, the Oscar-winning actress slammed out of the bedroom and out of the cottage leaving behind her a thick fog of gloom. There was a long silence, then the Director and Alan came out of the bedroom, followed by the cameraman.
“What the hell do we do now?”
“I could try to persuade her that it would all be very tasteful,” the cameraman half-heartedly suggested.
“Is that necessarily true?” Alan enquired.
“I wanted it to be as raunchy as hell,” the Director admitted.
“Suzi Dawson and raunchy don’t go together,” the cameraman sighed. “She’s bible belt. They don’t do things like that.”
“But she agreed. She knew before we started that this scene was integral to the action and she was going to have to do it nude and roll around a bed with Alan here. We don’t expect her to do it for real, but she has to make it look convincing.”
“Maybe if we call head office they’ll bring some pressure to bear.”
“We don’t have time to play around. We’re all set to go. I’d replace the bitch if I had my way, but there’s too much in the can now. We’re behind schedule and over budget. We can’t afford to waste time.”
The Assistant Director coughed.
“What is it, Jonty?”
“If you don’t mind a suggestion, Michael.”
“Anything would be useful right now.”
“A body double.”
The cameraman nodded. “Possible. Yes, distinctly possible. I could shoot everything except the face and then splice in a few shots of our star’s wondrous features. You’d never see the join.”
“That’s all very well, but where are we going to get a body double fast enough to shoot this bloody scene here and now when we’re ready?”
There was a deep silence.
“I’ll do it.” Julia, sitting quietly in a corner, spoke in a small voice.
The Director looked round. “Who said that?”
Julia held up her hand. “Me.”
All the men looked at her.
“A good physical likeness.” Jonty nodded his approval.
“Hair’s similar,” said Alan.
The cameraman looked critically at her. “I’d say we could get away with it.”
“You realise what you’re offering to do, Mrs Cooper?”
Julia smiled at the Director. “Appear naked in my own bedroom.”
“More than that, Mrs Cooper.”
“I’m not married. Please call me Julia.”
“You’ve got to make love to Alan here.”
“That would be a great chore.”
“I’m not joking. This is an international movie; big budget, big stars. What’s up on that screen has to look like the genuine article. It isn’t, of course; it’s all fake, but that mustn’t show. The audience have to believe that what they’re seeing is true. That’s where acting comes in. A body double has to be as convincing as the star she’s impersonating.”
“I can do that.”
The Director looked at her for a few moments, then threw up his hands. “Okay, okay. I’ll go and tell our star what’s happening. Get yourself into a bikini and let’s go, go, go.”
Julia sped away, followed by a wardrobe assistant.
The Director turned to Jonty. “Get London. I want casting to round up a suitable body double pronto and have her stand by.”
“Don’t you think Julia can do it?”
“I don’t know what the hell she can do; and neither does she. It may be her own bedroom and she may be doing what comes naturally, but it’s a different ball game in a room full of people with cameras prying at you. We can’t afford to waste time and that’s why I’m going with this crazy idea, but I’d feel safer knowing there’s a professional waiting in the wings, even if we’re delayed till she gets here.”
“Right.” Jonty went off to phone.
Less than an hour later Julia and Alan stood facing each other in the bedroom. She was wearing the same décolleté dress as seen earlier on Suzi Dawson. Underneath she wore a rather plain pair of knickers and a brief bikini. Her hair had been released from its pins and tumbled down the sides of her face, looking slightly unkempt.
“Helps to hide your features,” the Director explained. “I intend to start by walking you through the moves we’ve been rehearsing for the last two days.” He sighed at the thought of so much wasted time. “Alan is familiar with the choreography of the scene, so relax and let him guide you.”
Julia nervously smiled. “It’ll be a pleasure.”
“There’s been some dialogue setting up the situation.” Alan put his arms round her; it was a strong, firm embrace. “Cathy has willingly come to Heathcliff in defiance of her brother. They kiss; long, passionate kiss.” He gave her cheek a light peck.
“Won’t my face be seen?” Julia asked.
“Not yours,” the Director replied. “Ms. Dawson’s sweet features will fill the screen. A kiss she’ll do. Anything more…..” he shook his head.
“Heathcliff unfastens her dress.” Alan suited the action to the word, pulling the flimsy garment forward, off her shoulder, then allowing it to fall to the ground.”
“At Escort Pendik this point you’ll be naked except for the knickers.” The Director looked at her critically. “All right?”
“Yes. Is this thin dress all they wore?”
“It was the fashion.”
“It’s more like a nightdress. They must have been frozen in a climate like ours.”
Alan grinned at her. “It’s very sexy, don’t you think?”
“Shivering from top to toe isn’t much of a turn-on.”
“Right. The dress is off, now he pulls down your knickers so you’re completely naked.”
“There’ll be a facial shot of our star,” the cameraman explained, “but the body will be yours.”
“Very nice, too,” Alan murmured.
He slowly sank to his knees, planting kisses all over her, including her breasts, still protected by the bikini. He removed her knickers and buried his head in her crotch. She felt embarrassed as a little vaginal juice escaped and trickled down her leg.
“You bend over him,” the Director instructed, “and pull the shirt out of his breeches, then off above his head.”
“You want me to do that?”
She did, but there was an awkward tangle of head and arms before the garment was free. They laughed.
“Don’t worry,” said the Director. “This is a first run-through and you learn by your mistakes. Right, shirt is off. He tongues your pussy while you are bent over his back, arms stretched and hands inside his breeches, cupping his buttocks. Now he’s going to put you on his shoulder, stand up, swing round and lay you on the bed.”
It was easier said than done. With a great many grunts and a deal of effort, Alan followed the directions, collapsing on top of Julia as soon as she was on the bed. His heavy breathing had nothing to do with sexual arousal.
She giggled. “Not much of a Tarzan.”
“All he had to do was swing from trees, not pick Jane up from a crouching position. I don’t want to do that too often.”
He turned over on his back, still breathing deeply, then heaved himself up.
“You could make a girl self-conscious about her weight,” Julia scolded.
“Yes, I know and I’m sorry. You’re not over-weight, I assure you, but lifting from that position is damned difficult. Especially when I’m supposed to make it look effortless. Right, I’m ready for the next step. Standing over the bed, Cathy is laid out naked. I undo my breeches, pull them off, go down on top of her.”
He did. The small amount of covering separating their most intimate parts did nothing to prevent Julia reacting to the firm, male body pressing her down into the mattress. She was conscious of his manhood, safely hidden beneath his shorts, and her own heart beating fast. She could feel the heat of sex rising in her.
“We kiss….long and passionate.” She longed for him to do that. “Then I take your breasts. Caress…kiss.” Oh, yes, please! “Work my way down to your thighs, then between them. Using my tongue….” Oh, God! Never mind rehearsing. “Then move back up, position myself for entry and….bingo!”
“That’ll do for starters.” The Director interrupted. “Clothes back on and we’ll run it again. I want it as smooth as clockwork – including lifting her onto the bed.”
“Yes, sir.” Alan made a mock salute.
They rehearsed the sequence several times until it was, indeed, smooth and seamless. By this time there was no embarrassment between them and it seemed as if their bodies really did belong to each other.
“Splendid!” cried the Director. “Ready for the moment of truth?”
“What do you mean?” Julia innocently enquired.
“Go through the routine again – naked.”
Julia smiled. “Oh, is that all?”
It was a good day’s work and everybody was pleased, especially with the amateur body double, who put more sparks into her work than the star herself. The following day it would be for real.
“I want you to play this scene as naturally as you can.” The Director was giving them last minute instructions. “Forget the cameras, forget we’re here. There’s just the two of you – Cathy and Heathcliff. You’re both wild and passionate, demanding sexual satisfaction, but you’re also tender and loving. The rehearsals yesterday were great. My intention is to let you two guys go; one take, no stopping. When we see the result we can go back and do anything extra if required. Okay?”
Alan nodded. “Fine.”
Julia felt herself shaking slightly in anticipation. “Yes. Great.”
The Director looked around at his camera positions. “All right. Let’s do it.”
“Rolling.” The cameraman was looking through his viewfinder.
Alan waited for three beats, then cupped Julia’s face in his hands. He gazed intently into her eyes for a long moment before tentatively kissing her lips. More kisses followed in quick succession, each one more ardent than its predecessor until, finally, he gave her a long, deep kiss rocking her back on her heels. Her body flushed with the heat of desire and there was a familiar dampness between her legs.
Alan unfastened her dress and slid his arms inside, kissing her once more as he held her close and ran his hands up and down her naked back. She was weak at the knees. With his hands on her shoulders he pulled the dress off. It cascaded to the floor behind her, leaving her naked, except for the knickers, and vulnerable.
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