“You have to have the darkness for the dawn to come.” Until his 30s, struggling actor Harrison Ford side-hustled as a carpenter to support his wife and two young sons. Ford’s relationship with George Lucas began when the future Star Wars director hired him to expand his office.
Until 31, J. K. Rowling was a single mum living on benefits. Her book about a wizard, as you’ll probably have already heard, was rejected by 12 publishers before it was picked up by Bloomsbury. Taiwan’s Ang Lee was unemployed until his early 30s. His movie career only really got going in his mid-40s. Now 67, Lee was the first Asian to win an Oscar, Golden Globe and BAFTA for his directing (Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Brokeback Mountain, Life of Pi).
Then there’s the one about Stallone. Who was so broke he sold his wife’s jewellery, and then his own dog, before ending up broke, dog-less and homeless. With his mouth-of-marbles turning off casting departments (Tom Hardy never copped the same sort of flak), the aspiring actor wrote his own screenplay. He called it Rocky and cast himself as the lead. Sly was reportedly offered $125,000, then $250,000, then $350,000, for the script. But no one would take a punt on the funny-talking Italian. So, he held out. And finally accepted a cut-rate fee, but, most importantly to him, achieved his dream of playing the main man in his own movie. Rocky grossed more at the box office than any other film in 1976. It also won the Oscar for Best Picture.
Never give up on your dreams, kids. Which became something of a recurring theme this issue.
Stefano Domenicali (p.42) spent his teenage weekends watching his F1 superheroes roaring around Italy’s legendary Imola racetrack. “I’ve been very lucky,” says Domenicali, who served as Ferrari Team Principal before becoming CEO of Formula One Group in March 2021. “I’ve done what every Italian boy can only dream of.” Down in the paddock, Christian Horner, Team Principal at Red Bull Racing, has made little effort to conceal the all-consuming dream that keeps him, err, awake – to wrestle back the constructors’ title from arch rival Mercedes-Benz (p.68).
Other dream-chasers in this issue: cover-star David Gandy, who, after 20 years of promoting other people’s clothes, finally brings out a collection of his own (p.106); self-taught Michelin-star chef Stephen Harris, who transformed a gnarled old boozer in Whitstable into (officially) the UK’s best gastropub (p.32); car-engineer-turned-hotelier Guido Coffa, who converted a dilapidated ancient farmstead into Sicily’s preeminent eco-resort (p.34); and photographer and art director John Waddell, who you’ll know as Rankin, who finally got round to renovating his Kentish Town penthouse into an art gallery in which you can pay to stay (p.136).
Enjoy the issue. Chase the dream.