Berenson in a Vogue fashion shoot in Capri, 1968. Photograph: Arnaud de Rosnay/ Conde Nast via Getty Images
Kubrick was, she echoes,” entirely kind and respected, and exceedingly amusing. He never elevated his voice, he was always very gentle, but he required what he missed, so if he wanted a scene shot 50 experiences then it would be hit 50 epoches. Yes, he was a perfectionist and he required you to give the best of yourself, and he expected parties to be available .” She said he understood that, she includes.” Every great person I’ve worked with, whether board of directors or photographer, they have this exceptional kind of rarity. You have to be demanding, you have to be a perfectionist, you have to know what you want, and you have to have the best of what you can have because otherwise you don’t do amazing things .”
Her acting career had got off to an electrify start, but Berenson walked away.” I got married shortly after that, so my vocation sort of …” She pauses, then says crisply,” I set everything on hold for a period of time, which was a choice .” Her marriage to rivet financier Jim Randall didn’t last.” And then I went through a series of very challenging things in “peoples lives”, so I had to kind of move through all of that and come out the other side. I had a marriage, a divorce, a car accident”- she was injured, but the two beings in the other car were killed- “and another marriage and another divorce.”
She started working again, in theater and European films, but none of her characters have had the same impact as her first three. Does she regret not pushing her career?” I can’t regret anything because I had a great, beautiful daughter ,” she says.” And now I have a granddaughter, so I’m stimulated. With Hollywood, I don’t know what would have happened if I had stood. It’s true that Barry Lyndon was such an amazing thing for me, that had I continued on that road, perhaps, I don’t know … But one induces alternatives and I prepared that option at the time so I can’t regret it .”
There doesn’t seem much room in Berenson’s life for negativity. She takes her spiritual rehearse very seriously, and it has viewed her through the most severe seasons, she says, among them the death of her sister Berry, a talented photographer who was a passenger on one of the planes that hitting the World Trade Center on 9/11.
Berenson was also in the air that day, flying to New York, when her plane was diverted to Newfoundland, where she was stuck for several days.” We were put into this big stadium place, and there were tables they had organised with fruit and a toothbrush and a piece of soap, and medical whatever, and then a whole position of telephones on another counter .” She called her daughter, who had frantically been trying to track her down, and learned what had happened to Berry. She remembers accompanying a priest, a fellow fare, to a tiny church on a slope where “theyre saying” devotions and sang songs.
It must be a particularly distressing loss because those personas are so vivid, and are still used in reports and documentaries all the time. She nods.” To see that tower forever, it’s awful. It’s so huge and so beyond anything imaginable .”
She has been able to deal with it, she says, because of her spirituality.” I try and look at things on a different level of consciousness, and I connect with my sister all the time. So that helps a lot .” She contributes, very sincerely:” I believe that so strongly that I never feel alone and I ever known better I’m accompanied by higher powers .”
When she seems back, does she really have no sadness?” Sometimes I feel perhaps I wasted too much time on things. But in the end, I talk myself out of it- nothing is a waste of time, because everything is a ripening process .”
Berenson isn’t slacking. She spent much of last year in Paris doing a musical, realising her dream to sing and dance. Three years ago, she took on Shakespeare for the first time, play-act in London’s West Purpose in Kenneth Branagh’s production of Romeo and Juliet.” I don’t let age get in the way of my life. I continue to do the things I was intended to do and thank God I’m able to do it .” Nobody likes going age-old, she says,” but it can also be splendid. I feel right about a lot of things now than I did when I was younger, and creatively I imagine I’m much better now. I’m more secure within myself .”
By now it’s late afternoon, and a far-off call to prayer comes shimmering through the warm air. She likes this time of day- she’ll watch cinemas, or read books. Perhaps have a swim. A duration for consideration, and contriving. What does she are trying to achieve?” Lots of things. I’m not finished yet .”