The Actors' Last Supper by Alistair Morrison Limited Edition print
Left to right: John Alderton, Sir Richard Eyre, Steven Berkoff, Tim Pigott-Smith, Sir Antony Sher, Julie Walters, Robert Powell, Colin Firth, Tom Conti, Sir Michael Gambon, Simon Callow, Peter Eyre and Anthony Andrews.
By Alistair Morrison
with Andy Teare and Dean Mitchell
Digital C-type print, 2011
Members price: £10012.50
"The Actor's Last Supper was conceived by photographer Alistair Morrison who holds over 80 photographs of iconic British public figures in the National Portrait Gallery Collections.
Over a period of a year he asked a select group of Actors and Directors if they would sit for this iconic image.
His first two choices were obvious - Robert Powell had to be Jesus, recreating the famous role played in Franco Zeffirelli's 'Jesus of Nazareth' and Julie Walters, who was asked to play Mary Magdalene (There has been speculation about whether it was Mary Magdalene or John the Apostle who was seated next to Jesus) and they both readily agreed. Their enthusiasm and influence helped to bring together this outstanding group of Actors.
Morrison understood that availability would be dependant on film, TV and theatre commitments. His initial wish was to bring everybody together at the same time but soon realised that elements of the image would need to be merged together digitally. He immediately asked photographer Andy Teare, one of UK's foremost advertising photographer and Dean Mitchell, master of this process, to work with him to create the final image.
Tim Pigott-Smith was photographed in Leeds, as he was playing King Lear and could not attend the final shoot which was held over a period of 24 hours at the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel. Eight of the Actors appeared together and four others were able to come at separate times. The Actor's Last Supper was photographed by Morrison/Teare/Mitchell with a fixed camera position and was created in sections as the shoot developed.
Under Morrison's direction everybody was asked to react to Jesus' proclamation that one of the disciples would betray him, with Leonardo da Vinci's painting as the inspiration.
The table was styled on the morning of the hoot with a selection of 'Biblical' food (fish, fruit and bread), red wine and water being bought from the local supermarket. As a tribute to great Actors of the past, Morrison also placed small prints of his photographs of Sir Laurence Olivier, Sir Peter Ustinov, Sir Alec Guiness, Sir John Gielgud and Oliver Reed on the table.
The Actor's Last Supper by Morrson/Teare/Mitchell was first published in the book "Hidden Gems" in support of variety, The Children's charity and acquired by the National Portrait Gallery in 2012."
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