The final cut of Abbott Mead Vickers’ Henry Kissinger commercial for the
Economist may well have looked like 30 seconds of simply crafted,
effortlessly filmed advertising. Only Dr Kissinger, our sources tell us,
was evidently a bit of a handful during the shoot.
First, the former US Secretary of State arrived at the studio 20 minutes
late, having promised the crew only 60 minutes of his precious time
As he swept on set, he made no apology for his lateness, merely uttering
the grand statement: ‘I’ll give you two takes,’ claiming that otherwise
Peter Levelle, the director from Beechurst Films, would ‘go on forever
and anyway, I’m told you always use the first take.’
Kissinger then began rehearsing his moves, causing a little
consternation over his varying speed of entry which kept jostling the
Shooting soon began, but the Nobel Peace Prize-winner seemed more
interested in nicking the peanuts and admiring the make-up girl than
concentrating on his role.
‘He kept eating the nuts and was getting them all over his face and in
his lap,’ Levelle says.
Further trouble ensued when the director asked for a close-up. Kissinger
refused because his time was officially up, but Levelle won the day by
quietly persuading him that the close-up is what all actors save their
best performances for.
‘I’ll do it,’ the statesman declared, won round by the appeal to his
Supermodels, footballers, former US secretaries of state - who needs