The actress was one of the queens of Hollywood cinema in the late 1990s.
Warning the eyes ! Tonight, Chéris 25 invites its viewers to dive into the fascinating world of spectacular burglaries of works of art with High-flying, break-out and spy film orchestrated by Jon Amiel and released in theaters in 1999. for his sixth feature, the filmmaker delivers a caper movie pure juice in which he makes ex James Bond Sean Connery a virtuoso gentleman burglar who is about to make one of the most resounding blows of his career.
Yes High-flying remains one of the last roles in the cinema of Sean Connery (which will hang up two years later following the failure of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen), the latter is not spared on the screen with the sculptural by his side Catherine Zeta-Jones, forming an unexpected but most effective film duo. Him in the role of the larceny master discreetly, she in that of the double agent who wishes to prove himself so as not to be exposed. A game of seduction in every sense of the word that drew audiences into dark rooms and helped propel its main actress to the top of Hollywood in the late 1990s.
The role of consecration
When the role of Virginia Baker, aka Gin, reaches him, Catherine Zeta-Jones is still at the very beginning of his celebrity. Spotted in the adaptation of the drama of Titanic in the eponymous miniseries of CBS by a certain Steven Spielberg, who recommends it to the director Martin Campbell, she knows her first big role in cinema in 1998. And not just any role since it is that of Elena Montero in The mask of Zorro. AlongsideAntonio Banderas, she reveals herself as an action heroine in this physically intense role for which she learns to ride a horse and wield the sword.
Riding on the success of the film and her new image of rising actress, she goes directly with this High-flying who plays the action duo card again. Except that this time, it is above all she who provides most of the aerobatics on her shoulders. All while playing with its image of sex symbol, like the famous image of training in the crossing of lasers, where the beautiful Welsh argues the flexibility of its curves for a sequence that gave some warmth in the dark rooms while remaining a true athletic feat. A repeated and worked sequence with the choreographer Paul Harris (who will become responsible a few years later for the magic wand fights on the saga Harry potter) that the actress herself insisted on ensuring
Traveling between Scotland so dear to Sean Connery and Malaysia, the scene of the spectacular finale on the ledges of the famous Petronas towers, High-flying was a commercial success on both sides of the Atlantic. In France, more than 2.6 million spectators crowded in theaters while worldwide the film brought in more than 212 million dollars in revenue. What confirm the status of actress bankable of Catherine Zeta-Jones, which will follow with other public successes, with Haunt the same year, to which will be added critical recognition from Traffic the next year.
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Story of the Film That Retired Sean Connery
A physical and praised performance
On set, Catherine Zeta-Jones does not struggle once again to make his physical training speak, as this extract from the making of of the film (from 9:58). We can see the young woman discuss some of the most impressive feats she accomplishes in the film, like this rear wheel performed a few meters above the ground under the eyes of Sean Connery. “I had to climb on a beam almost ten meters above the ground and do a rear wheel on it. I usually never think about this kind of footage before I shot it, but this time I really thought, “I can’t believe I did it.” Jon came up to me and said, “You’re the only actress who can do this!”, And I said, “No Jon, I’m the only crazy person who can do this!“.
The famous crossing sequence between the two Petronas towers is also entitled to its small passage, while we can see there Catherine Zeta-Jones stand itself on the ropes high alongside a Sean Connery who hadn’t lost any of his taste for action at the time either. “As long as I feel that I am well attached, I have no problem with the height, I don’t have a problem“, can we hear it. Although filmed in the studio, the sequence remains quite impressive, if only by the logistical efforts it required (shots of one to two seconds in the film required up to two or three hours of preparation in the words of Jon Amiel)
It is in the end Sean Connery which best summarizes the range of talents deployed by her comrade in the film, a versatility that will make her one of the most famous and appreciated Hollywood actresses in those years. At the time of the film’s release, he said in an interview with the Australian site Urban Cinefile : “Catherine is up for anything you can ask her. She is an incredible professional, who always asks to do as many stunts as possible herself, while being wise enough to know when to let go. She sings and dances admirably well. My only regret is that we could not see these talents in the film!” Chicago, who brought him the Oscar for best supporting actress two years later, will be responsible for making them known.
The story of High-flying : New York. A Rembrandt is stolen from a collector’s living room. Suspicion immediately fell on the most illustrious thief of paintings, Robert Mac Dougal. Waverly Insurance is concerned that it will have to pay its holder a multi-million dollar premium. The best house agent, the young and beautiful Virginia “Gin” Baker, who has studied MacDougal’s personality and methods for a long time, then submits a daring project to director Hector Cruz: she will lure the elusive gentleman into pretending to be a thief, will seduce him and bring him down by offering him an irresistible break …
When Catherine Zeta-Jones, 20, replied to Gérard Jugnot