Five months after going missing, actor Julian Sands' demise has been confirmed. He was a captivating presence on screen, whether he was playing romantic heroes in 1985's A Room With A View or villains in TV's 24. He also starred in offbeat roles in cult films.
As the handsome George Emerson in A Room With A View, Sands won over millions of hearts.
In the Merchant Ivory epic, George can be seen perched precariously among the branches of an olive tree on a hillside in Italy and shouting out the four most important aspects of life: beauty, liberty, joy, and love.
George was merely "declaring the 'eternal yes,'" according to his father, who was played by Denholm Elliott, who said this matter-of-factly. ".
Helena Bonham Carter, who played the role of 18-year-old Lucy Honeychurch, stumbled into a field to investigate the disturbance. He strode through the tall barley and silently embraced her in a passionate embrace.
It was the scene that made Sands the hero of a generation and contributed to the romance drama's Oscar-winning status as a classic.
Later, according to Bonham Carter, "that was totally improvised, right at the last minute.". They had waited "days" for the ideal weather and lighting to shoot the scene.
It was all of a sudden, 'You're on! Let's just do the kiss! Julian, stand there. Go for a stroll, Helena. '.
"Walking in high heels across a field that has been plowed is very difficult. Oh my God, it was exhausting. I just knew that I needed to reach him without tripping. and kept quiet while he kissed me.
Julian found it very off-putting when my mother later arrived. He had to kiss me again in the bushes somewhere, and his attention was diverted by his mother standing directly in front of him. ".
In that Italian valley, George Emerson discovered the "eternal yes," and in some ways, the actor had a similar quest throughout his own life.
Three Oscars and five Baftas went to the all-star EM Forster novel adaptation, A Room with a View. Since then, both Entertainment Weekly and The Guardian have cited it as one of cinema's most sappy movies.
One of those who fell for George Emerson was Laura Barton of the newspaper.
She described her feelings toward him in 2014 as having "lust in there, for sure.". But there was another kind of desire in me as well. "How not to blush before a man so dazzlingly handsome and so given to passionate kissing amid Italian fields?
"Part of it lay in his outlook on life, in his embrace of the 'eternal yes' - in his love of painting Thoreau quotations on wardrobe doors and question marks on picture frames, as well as climbing up into the trees and shouting at the sky: 'BEAUTY! JOY!' until he falls from the branches. ".
Sands said he could "connect to him without too much difficulty" when discussing his character in 2015.
The actor stated, "I liked the romance and I liked the character. "And George Emerson brought a certain kind of subversive intelligence and humor that I liked.
"He was a person who had this incredibly kind, forgiving father who gave him the freedom—if you like, the freedom of the hills—to be himself. ".
Sands stated in 2019 that the movie was nearly scrapped when a producer attempted to halt filming two days before it was scheduled to begin.
"They said, 'We can't do this, nobody will ever see it,'" he said to Decider. And I believe they added, "We're canceling it unless you give John Travolta the part of George Emerson!".
I love John Travolta a lot, but I just don't think he would have made the right decision, and I have no personal reasons for this. ".
Sands was undoubtedly the right choice for the part and admitted to Decider that it was "really a coming-of-age story, both for the character and - to some extent - for me, too.".
Following appearances in The Killing Fields and Oxford Blues, Sands' first movie was A Room With A View.
He then pursued passion projects in addition to jobs that helped him pay his rent, playing the romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley in Ken Russell's Gothic and making appearances in the spider-filled thriller Arachnophobia and the supernatural horror Warlock.
2018 interview with the Guardian: "I didn't want to become a Hollywood actor. I was looking for exotic things and experiences that would help me grow. I believe I came across as somewhat monotonous. " .
He starred as a centipede that could change its shape in David Cronenberg's 1991 adaptation of William Burroughs' surrealist masterpiece Naked Lunch. Unconventional and divisive, as one might expect, the film underperformed at the box office.
Boxing Helena was even more contentious two years later. Madonna and Kim Basinger both withdrew from the role of the female lead before Sherilyn Fenn took it. Sands played a surgeon who holds a crash victim captive.
In 2011, he told BBC Radio 2 that "in general, the movies that I find more interesting tend to be of the cult film variety.". "And doing what I do as an actor has always kept me interested and motivated.
"I consider it a great blessing that I've had the chance to collaborate with such odd and diverse independents. ".
On television, the former leading lothario was recognized for his roles as Jor-El, the biological father of Superman in Smallville, and terrorist Vladimir Bierko in the US action drama series 24.
Jor-El had only, I believe, been portrayed once before by Marlon Brando, so Sands said it was an honor to play him. Smallville was good to me. It was very moving to me. It's a domestic story about people growing up, after all. ".
People frequently ask actors, "What do you want to play?," but I really have no idea, he continued. I react to what other people think should be my character. ".
In the radio adaptations of Ian Fleming's James Bond books produced by BBC Radio 4, he played gadget master Q. He also appeared in the 2019 audio adaptation of A Room With a View, where he played George Emerson's father.
In the biographical movie Benediction, which is about the war poet Siegfried Sassoon, he starred alongside Peter Capaldi and Jack Lowden.
The things that interfere with your career—aspiration, narcissism, jealousy, vanity, and insecurity—are greatly let go of once you have been around for long enough and have gained some experience, confidence, and independence, he claimed in an interview with the Guardian. ".
A Celebration of Harold Pinter, which was directed by Sands's former coworker, friend, and roommate John Malkovich, featured Sands on stage at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2011.
Malkovich once remarked of his friend, "He is a Tarzan. " The two also collaborated on a radio play about a chimpanzee that appeared in the Tarzan films. He is a tangible member of a tangible force. ".
One of Sands' greatest passions, besides acting, was hiking, even though he was well aware of the dangers.
He was hiking in the Andes when he got caught in a storm in the 1990s. We were all in terrible shape. We were fortunate; some of the guys close to us died.
He still set out for additional summits despite that.
In response to a question about what gave him joy in 2020, Sands said, "Close to a mountain summit on a glorious cold morning. ".
He told Radio 2 that he had not entered the acting business for fame and fortune, but rather because it is "a lifestyle" and "a philosophy".
"You accept it for what it is and enjoy the freedom it grants you—the freedom of being an artist.
"I believe that the greatest thing in my life is to be a free spirit, so that is what I have attempted to be.