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Even before the success of The Sound of Music, Director Robert Wise began thinking about his next project with Julie Andrews, what would become Star!
The musical was an adaption of Gertrude Lawrence’s life, but before purchasing the rights, Wise first made sure Andrews wanted to star.
Andrews said, “When I got into the role, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on all the things she had done. She was an incredibly multitalented lady.”
1. It was expensive.
The budget was $12 million dollars, which included $3 million for Julie Andrews' wardrobe and jewels from Cartier. She described the process as “the most stimulating thing I’ve ever done—and the most exhausting—though it put me off rhinestones forever.” They tested almost three thousand wardrobe designs, thirty six make-up designs, and twenty wigs. The film also set a record for the most number of movie sets built – 185.
2. Ian McKellan auditioned.
McKellan tested for the role of Noel Coward and even sang “Parisian Pierrot.” Recalling the audition, he said, “When I finished there was a spontaneous applause. I thought, and my agent though, that was that: I had it.” The role eventually went to Noel Coward’s godson, Dan Massey.
3. Julie was the star.
And it was hard work. The shoot was scheduled for 149 days, and Andrews worked 132 of them. Andrews also had to work hard at the dance routines, as she appeared in all twenty one numbers. Considering the size of her role, Richard Crenna joked, “The rest of us are window dressing.” A normal day for Andrews was 9am to 6pm with a lunch that normally consisted of a costume fitting or publicity.