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Recent Headlines
a la Mod:

Domino is
a "disarmingly
straight-forward"
work that "pushes
us to reexamine our
relationship to images
and their consumption,
not only ethically
but metaphysically"
-Collin Brinkman

De Palma on Domino
"It was not recut.
I was not involved
in the ADR, the
musical recording
sessions, the final
mix or the color
timing of the
final print."

Listen to
Donaggio's full score
for Domino online

De Palma/Lehman
rapport at work
in Snakes

De Palma/Lehman
next novel is Terry

De Palma developing
Catch And Kill,
"a horror movie
based on real things
that have happened
in the news"

Supercut video
of De Palma's films
edited by Carl Rodrigue

Washington Post
review of Keesey book

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Exclusive Passion
Interviews:

Brian De Palma
Karoline Herfurth
Leila Rozario

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AV Club Review
of Dumas book

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A note about topics: Some blog posts have more than one topic, in which case only one main topic can be chosen to represent that post. This means that some topics may have been discussed in posts labeled otherwise. For instance, a post that discusses both The Boston Stranglers and The Demolished Man may only be labeled one or the other. Please keep this in mind as you navigate this list.
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Tuesday, March 22, 2022
NAYMAN'S 'SYLLABUS' FOR 'ATLANTA' INCLUDES 'HI, MOM!'
"ONE POSSIBLE PRIMER FOR THE SHOW'S GUTSY SATIRE IS BRIAN DE PALMA'S 1970 COMEDY HI, MOM!"
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/jonposters.jpg

"Few shows are so obviously designed to be talked about," states The Ringer's Adam Nayman of the TV series Atlanta. "Or annotated: Over the years, Donald Glover and the rest of the show’s creative team have told anybody who will listen about an extensive list of influences—some obvious, some arcane, some more convincing than others. Consider the list below a kind of Atlanta syllabus, including a few key stated reference points, and some that may be more unconscious or incidental but resonate all the same." A few paragraphs down from there, Nayman writes about Hi, Mom!:

Early reviews of Season 3 hint that Atlanta will extend its queasy fascination with racial masquerade even further than the dark conceptual jokes in “Helen”—in which Earn is mistaken by a partygoer for a white man made up as a Moor—or “Teddy Perkins,” with its disturbing, dessicated spectacle of whiteface. One possible primer for the show’s gutsy satire is Brian De Palma’s 1970 comedy Hi, Mom!, whose immortal centerpiece sequence depicts a group of bougie New York theatergoers attending an experimental performance in which they’re roughed up, slathered in grease paint, and subjected to racist abuse by Black performers hiding behind artificially pale complexions. The title—and devastatingly double-edged thrust—of the show is “Be Black, Baby!” and like all of De Palma’s finest provocations, the scene is designed to push characters and audience alike outside of their comfort zones and into the line of fire. The brilliant punch line: After being hectored, harassed, and threatened with arrest by real-looking cops, the patrons express gratitude for their fleeting glimpse at how the other half lives … before heading back to their brownstones.

Posted by Geoff at 11:20 PM CDT
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Monday, March 21, 2022
'COULD HAVE INVENTED THE EROTIC THRILLER ON HIS OWN'
EW'S JOSHUA ROTHKOPF ON DE PALMA'S 'BODY DOUBLE', AND OTHER EROTIC THRILLERS
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/realhot1.jpg

Between The Voyeurs last year and Deep Water this past weekend, the erotic thriller isn't as dead as all that. Today, however, Entertainment Weekly's Joshua Rothkopf posted an article with the headline, "The 5 best erotic thrillers to remind you of what Deep Water could have been." With no mention of Michael Mohan's The Voyeurs, Rothkopf explains that "when we heard that director Adrian Lyne (9½ Weeks, Fatal Attraction, Indecent Proposal) was returning to make another movie after a 20-year hiatus, our hopes soared. Deep Water doesn't quite justify the excitement — it's neither sexy nor trashy enough — but it's as good a moment as any to return to the subgenre's high points, each paired with a suggestion for deeper exploration."

After that introduction, the first film Rothkopf chooses to highlight is Body Double:

Body Double (1984)

Brian De Palma could have invented the erotic thriller on his own, and come to think of it, pretty much did with this synthy Hitchcock-a-thon that struck the mold: a seductive female lure (Melanie Griffith's savvy pornstar, the role that later landed her Working Girl), a ridiculous kill or two, and a stellar use of a pop song (Frankie Goes to Hollywood's "Relax"). Don't question how believable any of this is — you'll spoil the fun.

Advanced studies: Femme Fatale (2002), in which De Palma topped himself


The other four movies in Rothkopf's article are Lyne's Fatal Attraction, Paul Verhoeven's Basic Instinct, Barbet Schroeder's Single White Female, and Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan.

See Also:
Den Of Geek - Deep Water: The Wildest Thriller Movies to Watch Next
HungerTV.com - ‘Deep Water’: 9 Erotic thrillers to watch next


Posted by Geoff at 10:11 PM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, March 22, 2022 10:55 PM CDT
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Sunday, March 20, 2022
VIDEO - 1978 SCORSESE DOC - 'MOVIES ARE MY LIFE'
FILMED IN 1977, FEATURING DE PALMA, DE NIRO, JAY COCKS, JOHN CASSAVETES, JODIE FOSTER, LIZA MINNELLI, MORE
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/moviesaremylife0.jpg

I think that every director worth anything - I mean, a man that makes films, vs. a man that takes a job to make a film, you know, who directs - I don't think Marty is a director. He really is a person that generates the energy behind everything that is accomplished in a film. And I would think that a director of his stature only makes one film. So that Who's That Knocking, Mean Streets, and Taxi Driver, and Alice, are all part and parcel of one film, of the way one man feels. - John Cassavetes

Well, I think all of his films are very musical, all of them. Film is like operas. - Liza Minnelli, talking about Martin Scorsese


Last July, Peter Hayden's rare 60-minute documentary from 1978, Movies Are My Life: A Profile on Martin Scorsese, was posted at rarefilmm, along with this description:
The very first full-length documentary on Scorsese offers an invaluable look at how he was perceived by his colleagues, and himself, in 1977. Catching Scorsese while while he was in post-production on New York, New York and editing The Last Waltz, British filmmaker Peter Hayden gets the manically hyper Scorsese to comment on his youth, his relation to his lead characters, and most importantly, his approach to direction. The doc doesn’t quite move at the pace of Scorsese’s revved-up speed-talking, but it does offer some real insight into his productivity in the 1970s, thanks to an impressive array of talking heads. Included are Scorsese’s collaborators Jay Cocks, Mardik Martin, Brian De Palma, Steven Prince (who co-produced this doc), and his mentor John Cassavetes. Also the performers, who discuss his working methods in detail — Jodie Foster, Liza Minnelli, and, of course, Robert De Niro.

Director: Peter Hayden.
Writers: Peter Hayden, Chris Ranger


The documentary includes montages of Scorsese on sets of his films, and a section showing him filming the opening prologue of Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore. A version of the documentary was also posted to YouYube (below), although for YouTube, "a couple of segments had to be cut out due to copyright," according to the description:

 


Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CDT
Updated: Wednesday, March 23, 2022 6:57 PM CDT
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Saturday, March 19, 2022
'I WANTED TO MAKE FILMS LIKE DE PALMA & ANTONIONI'
JOACHIM TRIER SAYS HE FORGOT ALL ABOUT MAKING FORMAL FILMS & "BECAME A HUMANIST FILMMAKER"
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/renateandtrier.jpg

Joachim Trier's latest film, The Worst Person In The World, is essentially a character study. Although he jokes to Tara Brady at The Irish Times that after film school, "I forgot all about making formal and experimental films," one of the things that makes the new film stand out are the daring formal flourishes, such as when the world around his main character, Julie (Renate Reinsve), seems to freeze for nearly an entire day -- long enough for her to make a bold decision during the split-second that her boyfriend moves to pour a cup of coffee. With a moment such as this one, and others, it seems that Trier long ago embedded formal experimentation into his intuitive cinematic mindscape. Here are the final few paragraphs of the Irish Times article:
“I don’t believe in genres really,” says the director. “But I do believe in them as playful guardrails or support wheels along the way. And yes, we did look at The Philadelphia Story by George Cukor. And I do love Notting Hill. And I do love the fact that even in these very light, romantic films, you can find some sort of existential pondering. And so I’m not against calling our film a romcom if that’s how one defines those films. But I do admit that we go somewhere slightly darker with this one after a while. Maybe dark is the wrong word, but perhaps more melancholic.”

When The Worst Person in the World premiered in the Official Competition at the Cannes Film Festival last July, Trier was following in the footsteps of grandfather Erik Løchen, artistic director of Norsk Film from 1981 to 1983 and a filmmaker whose drama The Hunt was nominated for the Palme d’Or in 1959. His co-writer Vogt’s second feature as a director, The Innocents, premiered in the same line-up.

“My grandfather was in the Resistance during the second World War,” says the filmmaker. “And he was captured and barely survived. He was very traumatised. And he played jazz music, I think, to try to get it out of his mind and to live his life. And he started making movies around that notion, and reading experimental literature. And in 1959 they invited him to Cannes and said: Oh, this is New Wave. For him, it was a jazz movie. It was a great thing. And it mattered a lot to our family. And in a strange way, my grandfather helped make the support system that I’m now privileged enough to make movies through. So going to Cannes was a big deal for me.”

Trier has, accordingly, been around the film industry his entire life. His mother was a documentarian and his father was a sound technician; both, he notes, were anomalies in Norway, where the film industry was comparatively tiny. As a teenager, Trier became a skateboarding champion who shot and produced his own daredevil skateboarding videos. He was still surprised when he found himself enrolled in Denmark’s European Film College and then London’s National Film and Television School.

“It’s weird, because as a kid, you realise those kids who cannot shut up cannot be allowed on set,” recalls Trier. “So you learn this great respect for silence, especially around film, especially around my father, who was a sound recordist. My mom primarily did documentaries, but I was also on set sometimes with her and it was just like seeing grown-ups play.

“What’s even weirder is, when I was 18 I finally told my friends, you know what, I want to try and make a living as a film director. And I felt that it was like a coming out moment. And all my friends went, yeah, we knew that. Because I’d been filming all along, making weird super-eight movies. I guess I’m not as gifted as Julie. I didn’t have options. I had only one thing I could do.”

Trier cites the work of Robert Bresson, Alain Resnais, and Andrei Tarkovsky among his primary influences. Studying in London, however, proved equally impactful.

“The National Film and TV School was really, really important,” says Trier. “I was rebelling against it most of the time because I came from a formal background and I wanted to make films like Brian De Palma and Antonioni did. I wanted to have complete control and they wanted us to collaborate. I found that difficult. But we had such great teachers. Stephen Frears taught us and he’s brought so many great actors – like Daniel Day Lewis, and Uma Thurman and John Malkovich – to prominence. And he taught us that you can’t fake great casting. We had talks from Mike Leigh and from Robert Altman.”

He laughs: “And they must have all brainwashed me, because I forgot all about making formal and experimental films and became a humanist filmmaker who’s interested in observational drama and collaborating.”


Previously:
Joachim Trier on Louder Than Bombs - Fan of De Palma, Roeg - works intuitively "in what I call dirty formalism, or pop formalism"

Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CDT
Updated: Sunday, March 20, 2022 12:39 AM CDT
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Wednesday, March 16, 2022
DONAGGIO BROUGHT ON AS KEY ITALIAN CREW MEMBER
FOR JEFF BAENA'S 'SPIN ME ROUND' - "IT'S REMINISCENT OF HIS OLDER STUFF, BUT FEELS COMPLETELY NEW & FRESH"
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/spinmeround1.jpg

Jeff Baena's Spin Me Round stars co-writer Allison Brie as a manager of a California-based Italian eatery franchise who earns an all-expenses trip to Italy, where she participates in the franchise’s educational immersion program. The film had its premiere this past Saturday at SXSW. After filming The Little Hours in Italy with Brie and Aubrey Plaza about five years ago, Baena was eager to return. Plaza appears in the new film, as well.

"We had a blast shooting The Little Hours," Brie tells The Daily Beast's Marlow Stern. "It was especially fun for me to be there with my husband Dave [Franco], who’s in the movie, as well as Jeff [Baena] and Aubrey [Plaza]. And we have a lot of repeat offenders here, like Molly [Shannon] and Fred Armisen. But Jeff came up with the concept for this movie pretty much right after we finished The Little Hours, because he wanted to get back to Italy as soon as possible. There were some delays on that, and in the interim we made Horse Girl together. After that, Jeff brought it back around and said, “I’ve written a 10-page outline for this other Italy movie idea—do you want to write it with me?” The Little Hours and Horse Girl were unscripted—we worked off a 30-page outline—but for this movie, we fleshed it out into a 35-page outline and were gonna take it out like that, and then because of the pandemic and having so much time on our hands we ended up just writing the whole script. And then we had a fun time asking all our friends to be in it."

Plaza recently worked with Michael Caine on a movie called Best Sellers, and tells Collider's Perri Nemiroff that something Caine had told her carried over to the group dynamic in Italy for Spin Me Round:

Michael Caine put it into my head that when you’re shooting a movie, maybe that’s how it was in the old days, but he was like, ‘The way I do it is we shoot all day long and then every night we go to dinner. I put on my dinner jacket and we go to dinner and we have wine,' and we tried to adopt that kind of approach in Italy where, even though we were exhausted and all losing our minds, we just really kind of dove fully in and just tried to have that experience, and I think it’s the best version of filmmaking.

And thanks, apparently, to a tax credit scenario, Pino Donaggio was asked to compose the film's music - according to an article by Mark Olsen at the Los Angeles Times:
The film also surprises with its lush score by Pino Donaggio, the Italian composer best known for his collaborations with Brian De Palma on films including “Carrie,” “Dressed to Kill” and “Body Double.” For a tax credit, it was necessary to have a key Italian crew member, and Baena was a huge fan of what he called the “classiness and sleaziness” of Donaggio’s work, so he figured it was worth asking. When it turned out Donaggio was interested, Baena, Brie and Plaza drove to Venice after they finished shooting to meet the composer. He gave them a whirlwind view of the city, including a long evening at the famed Harry’s Bar.

Baena called the collaboration “a once in a lifetime thing” and returned to Italy for the scoring sessions. “I went to Rome to meet him at the studio where all the Italian greats worked, it’s basically this one studio that the legends recorded at,” Baena said. “And it was like my dream to basically spend a week with Pino Donaggio and just hang out with him. And he is like this cute, amazing old guy who is so on the level and is so sharp and funny and so down.

“And his music is incredible,” added Baena. “It’s hard to basically say, ‘I wanna do something like your old work,’ but I didn’t really wanna push that. I want him to go to a new place. And I think he found this middle ground where it’s reminiscent of some of his older stuff, but it feels completely new and fresh. So it has a familiar, but also unique feeling, which is what I want the movie to feel like.”


A review of Spin Me Round by The Wrap's Carlos Aguilar describes some of Donaggio's music:
Casting a wide casting net, Baena also folds in bit parts for name talent like Fred Armisen, Ego Nwodim and Lil Rel Howery. They’re responsible for most of the effective comedy, though in some cases with portrayals that border in “SNL”-style caricatures. While not always as funny as it wishes to be through the managerial team bickering dynamic, “Spin Me Round” is generally engaging thanks to the “what the hell is happening here?” doubt that Baena instills early.

An interesting comedic exercise, this is Baena’s least eccentric outing yet (considering there are no jealous zombies or foul-mouthed nuns), but it’s perhaps his most narratively ambitious, in terms of its genre playfulness and a clear objective of dismantling its protagonist’s false illusions. Both the score (by veteran composer Pino Donaggio) and Sean McElwee’s cinematography go along with variations in tone.

Just as the music goes from happy-go-lucky, jingle-like cheer to suspensefully ripe enough for a James Bond film, the lighting choices become more purposefully on the nose to reflect the terror Amber perceives all around her. There’s a thematic and practical synergy that’s far more impressive than some of the dry-humor gags that don’t amount to much.


Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CDT
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Tuesday, March 15, 2022
'AND THAT IS VERY IMPORTANT TO MY MOVIES'
VIDEO - ALCAINE RECALLS DE PALMA TELLING HIM HE NOTICED HIS SKILL FOR USING LIGHT
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/alcainevid.jpg

A video posted at Sony Pro features an edited interview with José Luis Alcaine at Camerimage 2021, in which the cinematographer recalls asking Brian De Palma a question as they began working on Passion together:
Well, I was born in Tangier, which is a Mediterranean city in Africa. I was a photographer and I studied all the time the light in Tangier. In Tangier, that is something which appealed to me a lot. And with time, something that appears in all my movies. In the year, there is plenty of sun. Sunny, sunny days. So the sun is always inside of the house through the windows. I studied that, and I remember very well the change of the light in the apartment that we lived in. Because in my movies, the sun is always getting inside of the house, through the windows or through anything which can convey some sunlight.

There was a question that happens to me… the American director Brian De Palma, calls me for making a movie – I’ve done three with him. On the first movie, I say to him, “But why do you think that I am good for your movie? Because I am not so well known in America.” And he said, “Well, I have seen a lot of your movies, and I noticed that you are always doing – always – very well light. And that is very important for my movies. So that’s why you are here with me.” And I say, “Well, that’s a good reason.”


Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CDT
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Monday, March 14, 2022
UNTOUCHABLES 4K BLU & STEELBOOK COVER ART, DETAILS
PARAMOUNT POSTED BOTH EDITIONS FOR PRE-ORDER ON AMAZON TODAY, RELEASE DATE 5/31
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/4ksteelbookuntouchables1.jpg

The cover above is for Paramount's upcoming 35th Anniversary Limited-Edition 4K UHD Steebook of Brian De Palma's The Untouchables. That, as well as the regular-edition 4K UHD with Digital Copy, will be released on May 31, 2022. Both are now available for pre-order at Amazon. As The Digital Bits' Bill Hunt mentions today, these editions "will include Dolby Vision HDR, Dolby Atmos audio, and the legacy special features."


Posted by Geoff at 7:15 PM CDT
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Sunday, March 13, 2022
'AESTHETICALLY, IT'S SUCH A BEAST'
UNCUT GEMS PODCAST KICKS OFF "DEPALMARCH" WITH PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE DISCUSSION
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/uncutgemspodcast65.jpg

"It’s such a weird film," says Jakub Flasz, co-host of the Uncut Gems Podcast, near the beginning of the latest episode. "But the more I think about it, the more I realize that it’s probably incredibly personal, as well." Flasz is speaking about Brian De Palma's Phantom Of The Paradise. "Aesthetically," he continues, "it’s such a beast. It’s such an art deco sort of screaming, jazzy sort of experience that’s super-hyper-stylized, and then narratively-speaking and thematically-speaking, this film has a shit-ton of things to say that are relevant for the time, that are relevant today, and I think we’re going to get some of it, because I have notes. And also, I feel like this film is kind of, against all odds (because it has been a failure that only has been reappraised after a long while), it’s incredibly influential, I would say. I will put it that way."

Here's the podcast page's description of the episode:

In this episode of the show we embark on our DEPALMARCH marathon also known as 4 DECADES OF DE PALMA where we will pick four films directed by Brian De Palma and give them a fair shake. We begin with a conversation about his 1974 absurdist horror rock opera Phantom of the Paradise. Over the course of our chat you will hear us talk about the multitude of references embedded in this film, both literary and cinematic, how it functions as a prescient commentary on the rotten culture of Hollywood, how it is above all an ode to storytellers and their artistic integrity, how it is a bona fide oddball in Brian De Palma’s filmography and much more!

Posted by Geoff at 6:26 PM CST
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Saturday, March 12, 2022
TWEETS - MID-'90s TECHNOLOGY IN 'MISSION IMPOSSIBLE'
@cypnk HAS "FUN FACTS" AND "alt.alien.vampire.flonk.flonk.flonk"
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/tweetusenet1.jpg


Posted by Geoff at 11:51 AM CST
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Thursday, March 10, 2022
PACINO REFLECTS ON INTROSPECTIVE 'GODFATHER' ROLE
AS FRANCIS FORD COPPOLA'S FILM TURNS 50 NEXT WEEK
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/pacinogodfather.jpg

Al Pacino recently spoke by phone to Dave Itzkoff of the New York Times about The Godfather, which was released 50 years ago, on March 15, 1972. At one point, Itzkoff brings up Pacino's role as Tony Montana in Brian De Palma's Scarface:
There is an intense quietness to how you play Michael in “The Godfather” that I don’t think I ever saw again in your other film performances, even the later times you played him. Was that a part of yourself that went away or was it just the nature of the character that called for it?

I’d like to think it was the nature of that particular person and that interpretation. I can’t think of any other characters that I did that could have used that kind of framework. I was a young actor — on “Part III,” I was no longer young, but that’s not my fault. [Laughs]

But compared to other characters you’re also closely associated with, like Tony Montana in “Scarface” ——

Well, that character, Tony Montana, was written by Oliver Stone and directed by Brian De Palma, who wanted the heightened reality. Brian wanted to do an opera. All I wanted to do was imitate Paul Muni. [Laughs] But if I put “Dog Day Afternoon” with “Godfather,” or “Serpico,” I don’t see a resemblance there. Would you call Michael more introspective? That’s what I would say. And I don’t know of any other introspective characters I played. But if I sit down with you and go to the almanac, we’ll find something.


Pacino mentions De Palma earlier in the article, while talking about meeting Francis Ford Coppola:
When you get a call asking you to talk about “The Godfather,” is there some part of you that thinks, oh God, not again? Does it ever become tedious?

Well, no. You expect it. You expect to talk about what things worked and what things didn’t. You get a sense that somebody’s going to come at you. You just go: OK, been here, done this. But it’s cool. It beats talking to myself about it.

How did the role of Michael Corleone first come up?

At that time in my life, I didn’t have a choice. Francis wanted me. I had made the one film. And I wasn’t as interested in film to the extent that I became interested. My head was in another space. I felt out of place in the early films that I made. I remember saying to my friend Charlie [his mentor, the acting teacher Charlie Laughton]: Wow, they talk about it being real, but meanwhile it’s not. Because there are wires all over you. And also, you’ve got to do it again! [Laughs] You do it and they say, well, go again, do it again. It’s real and not real at the same time. Which takes some getting used to.

When did you and Coppola meet?

To give a little history to it, Francis was this filmmaker who had Zoetrope [his production company, American Zoetrope], and people like Steven Spielberg and George Lucas and [Martin] Scorsese and [Brian] De Palma were all part of a group. And I remember seeing a few of them when Francis asked me to come to San Francisco after he had seen me in a play on Broadway. Do you know that story? I’m telling old stories now. [Laughs]

That’s OK. It’s why we’re here.

He saw me onstage [in the 1969 Broadway run of “Does a Tiger Wear a Necktie?”] but I never met him. He had written “Patton” by that time, and he sent me a script for a wonderful love story he had written [which was never produced]. He wanted to see me. That meant I had to get on a plane and go to San Francisco, which is something I was not used to. I thought, is there any other way to go? I can’t tell this guy to come all the way back here, can I? So I said I’ll bite the bullet and I went. I spent five days with him. It really was special, this film. But we were rejected, of course. I was an unknown actor and he had made a couple of films, “You’re a Big Boy Now” and “The Rain People.” So I went back home and never heard from him again.

But you did, eventually. When was that?

Panic in Needle Park” hadn’t come out yet. And I got a call from Francis Coppola — a name from the past. First, he says he’s going to be directing “The Godfather.” I thought, well, he might be going through a mini-breakdown or something. How did they give him “The Godfather”?

You didn’t think it was possible that he was making it?

I’ve got to tell you, it was a big deal already. It was a big book. When you’re an actor, you don’t even put your eyes on those things. They don’t exist for you. You’re in a certain place in your life where you’re not going to be accepted in those big films — not yet, at least. And he said, not only was he directing it, [breaking into laughter] but he wanted me to do it. I’m sorry, I don’t mean to laugh here. It just seemed so outrageous. Here I am, talking to somebody who I think is flipped out. I said, what train am I on? OK. Humor the guy. And he wanted me to do Michael. I thought, OK, I’ll go along with this. I said, yes, Francis, good. You know how they talk to you when you’re slipping? They say, “Yes! Of course! Yes!” But he wasn’t. It was the truth. And then I was given the part.


Posted by Geoff at 11:00 PM CST
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