Fred Astaire and Stanley Kramer, 1959

My first Fred, and something tells me it's not gonna be my last. Here he is with director Stanley Kramer during the making of On the Beach. This was Astaire's first dramatic role, the first time he wasn't gonna dance. He was actually nominated for an Oscar for his performance, but of course he doesn't know that yet. I love how intently he's listening to Kramer, and I adore how he's sat there. Maybe my favorite thing about Astaire is that even when he was old, his body language always remained that of a young boy—in fact the older he got the more evident it became. I sometimes call him 'the eternal boy'. He's sixty years old here, but he's sitting there like a teenager. He wasn't a man of words, but his body was constantly expressing itself, constantly communicating with the world. The way his one hand is fumbling around on his foot, the way his other hand is by his face. There's always that vulnerability, and always that strength. It's so profoundly attractive how his body spoke. He loved spending time in Australia where this film was shot, and he could walk around fairly unrecognized. His co-star Gregory Peck said that he'd spend hours going through five-and-dime stores and get a kick out of buying random things like pencil sharpeners.