Like his famously enigmatic landscapes, the performances that anchor Michelangelo Antonioni’s films are integral to his vision of existentialist ennui. Among the most iconic is David Hemmings’s turn in the Italian master’s first English-language feature, Blow-Up, a psychological mystery that centers on a rakish young fashion photographer who becomes obsessed with a murder he has unwittingly captured on film. Though Antonioni had been interested in Terence Stamp playing the lead, the director ultimately enlisted the then twenty-four-year-old Hemmings after seeing him in a theatrical production of Dylan Thomas’s Adventures in the Skin Trade. The actor catapulted to stardom after the film’s release, his boyishly weary face reflecting both the glamour and the menacing undercurrents of swinging London.
In this excerpt from an August 1977 interview on the Canadian television program City Lights, featured in full on our new release of the film, Hemmings recounts his experience auditioning for Antonioni and his reaction upon watching the film for the first time in Hollywood.