Ask Alexandra – May 2001

Question #1:

Dear Alexandra,

Was was it like filming Death Train and Nightwatch? They are my favorite movies! Working with Pierce Brosnan must have been a blast. It is such a shame that you guys were not able to do another sequel again. My question is: In the first Death Train movie, you spoke what appears to be Italian. Was that really your voice? Do you speak other languages?

I can’t wait for your next film!

Thomas Caine

Dear Thomas,

That was I speaking Italian (and, in another part of the movie, Croatian). I remember that no one was positive how to say “pig” – we settled on “porco”. How was my accent, because I dont speak Italian (although I speak French because my family and I lived in Paris when I was a kid) but I have been there many times and I have read a book in Italian (when you speak French, Italian and Spanish are much easier to understand). I also speak a bit of Spanish because I took classes a couple years ago (with my publicist Jerry, so we speak our very limited Spanish to each other sometimes). I would like to speak more fluently, however!

There were three books in the Alistair Mclean series, and Pierce and I shot two of them in Yugoslavia. Death Train was shot in Croatia and Slovenia in the mid-90’s just after the wars had been there (although we still had armed escorts and could not venture into the fields in case of mines), but the fighting was beginning in Bosnia. For the sequel, NightWatch, we were the first production company back in the war zone a couple years later (the former Yugoslavia was a popular place to film American independent movies in the 80’s because it was inexpensive but with experienced crews and the country could look like anywhere in Europe). By that time, Pierce had become Bond, so there was no way he was going to reprise his role a third time, even though a script was ready and waiting.

I really enjoyed doing those two movies and I am happy that they are still being seen on cable here in the United States! They can also be rented from video stores under the titles Detonator and Detonator 2.

Thank you for your letter.


Question #2:

Hey Alexandra,

Congratulations on your success! Maybe you remember my family from your days at CCS. Anyway…my question: I do long distance biking and want to start to do bi or tri work. What is the best way to approach the swimming and running for starters?


E. Orrell

Dear E,

How are you related to James (who was in my class when I was at Cornwall Consolidated School grades 6-8) and Mr. Orrell (who was my art teacher at that time)???? Please give them a big hello!

The best thing to do to train for swimming is to join a masters’ swimming program. Call your local pools (YMCA’s, college or high school pools etc) and see if they have one. There might be a Masters’ Association of America or something, too, which you could locate through the internet. Masters ( I dont know if there is an apostrophe at the end or not) is like being on a swim team except everyone is a grownup and there are varying degrees of ability and competitiveness. The first few times might be a little hard, but hang in there and you will improve dramatically and meet alot of nice people.

If you are a really inexperienced, I suggest a few lessons with a private instructor (call those same pools to find one or ask a parent with a 7 year old – I would imagine that is the age kids are put in classes) first, but to really improve your times and endurance you will eventually need to get into a masters’ program.

For running, see if there are any running clubs in your area. A local high school or college coach might know, or even the yellow pages. Or go to a running store and ask (or a bike store and find a triathlete). Join a triathon club, if there is one in your area (I dont know where you live, so I cant be more specific). Subscribe to Runner’s World magazine to get in the groove and for some good tips (the best one I ever heard was to try and run 180 steps a minute. Not easy, but very helpful for my form and my speed).

My husband Ian is the coach for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training program for triathletes here in LA. You raise money for the organization and they provide you with a training regimen and regular coached group workouts to prepare you for a certain race. For alot of these folks, it is the first time they have trained for anything, so you might see if something like that is going on in your area, because there is alot of group support and comraderie.

Take care and enjoy your biathlons and triathlons!


Question #3:

Dear Alexandra,

I saw your PBS documentary on overpopulation a few years ago and was very impressed. I read on your site that you are currently working on another documentary. Could you please tell us more about it, and how the progress is coming?

Thank you for being such a neat role model for all of us!

Karen D.

Dear Karen,

We just finished The Cost of Cool this week, and it is being premiered at Princeton University next month. This educational video is 28 minutes long and discusses the materialism and high standard of living we have in the US, the pressure we feel to buy stuff, and how it damages the planet and ultimately does not give us the happiness the tv commercials promise us. The film is aimed at teenagers, will be distributed to schools and libraries, and serves as a companion piece to our 28 minute video Jampacked which is about global human overpopulation. (The reason they go together is that although the population of the United States is not growing as fast as developing countries, the way we live is so wasteful that we are damaging the earth like a country that does have a rapidly growing population).

If you are interested in Jampacked or The Cost of Cool, you may contact:

Population Communications International
4400 Coldwater Canyon Drive
Studio City, CA 91604
(818) 487-1955

Thank you for your kind words about Jampacked. It was done on a shoestring and was my partners’ (Geoff Holland and Greg Molina, who are the most dedicated, hardworking people you could ever meet) and my first foray into writing and producing.

Best wishes and (since I am writing this on April 22) Happy Earth Day!


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