Scott Eyman


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You enjoy not just watching movie aachen about a and hearing about them from friends and reading about that and that involves reading books. I know this may be an antiquated pursuit. But i still pursue. It is a. It's not going to that too. Deep but on the surface of a book is something you take off of a shelf. Let's show from which then returned to the shelf when and if it's a really good in be taken off the shelf more than once you you'll be even consulted mir up lou when you try to look something up anyway. This is a long winded way of introducing our guest today old friends scott island who has written a what a number of wonderful books. I don't use that term in advisedly. He writes great books and his latest. It's call cary. Grant's a perfect and it is a biography of cary grant surprise surprise. Scott welcome thanks. Lot of good to see it. Bill aim here. We are talking to you from your home in palm beach. Florida westbound voyage palm beach. We don't live with the swells. We live with the common people. I kept the common touch. It's the least i can do. This is the latest in a fairly long line of biographies. You've written. And i wanna talk not just about the new one grant which is getting a lot of great press and deservedly so but about the the art and craft of writing a biography in general and Is there generalizations to be made very apparatus events about robot by writing a. I've never done that. I've written a number of books. But never you have. And i've never tackled a solo biography focusing on one person birth-to-grave. They'll you collect them. Many many many. I could tell you that it's gotten a little harder than it was thirty years ago when i started doing it and i've gotten a little softer now. The head what. I started out writing books There were still people above ground. Opt about period. I wanted to write about the twenties thirties forties fifties Most of them now are below ground to be on so it's become less a matter of figuring out how to get in touch with the person that you wanna talk to than it is a figure it's more of a library issue. An oral history issue a A primary research tools. letters Things like that then. It was thirty years ago. And that's that's there's an upside to that and there's a downside to that i mean. People are still writing books. About abraham lincoln. He's been dead for quite some time and they come up with different angles and different ways to sift sift the material and occasionally there's actually a new approach or some new documents that show so soul myself With the idea that. I it may come down to the point in a few years where i feel like i'm ready folks about abraham lincoln. It's strictly the document rather than the people but In my experience the best part of it was the people the best part of it was generally not stars on an equivalent level or or directors. I was writing about the best stuff would come from cameron Or or people or people whose egos were not invested necessarily in in their daily experience. If you know what i mean. They saw things with more clarity than than actors usually do not to slam actors. But not i'm speaking about And those are the people that i always found the most valuable. So in terms of cary grant the stuff that really prove most valuable Were some letters from people. Like betsy. Drake that i founded other collections who actors. Who was at one time. Marriage is third wife is third wife and and A surprisingly enough some actual life people especially a waldo debts the son of clifford debts. Who knew a grand as an adolescent young man And became a psychologist in in later life so he was able to look at grant from two perspectives. That of a kid whose father was close friends with gary ran and that of a professional looking back on on an interesting psychological case. Well let let's talk just a little about psychology carey grant you chose. I think particularly intriguing and act a title for this book. Cary grant a perfect disguise early. Explain the scots even better than perfect. Brilliant well because In the era in which he became a star and continue to start him the the the construction of persona was essentially crucial for us maintaining a starring career Clark gable essentially played the same part for thirty years katcher. Women wanted to be with him. Men wanted to be like him and that there weren't a lot of variations within he stayed within a certain framework That was the norm Grant did something of the same but he had a wider skill set and would occasionally display it. You know there was more there and he was never he was never just one thing as an actor. You can see instant darkness in comet when he was playing comedy and you could see often instant humor when he was playing drama so he was able to incorporate different colors in zoo performances in a way that made him stand out from the run of the mill leading man of the period at the same time Carey grant was performance. Cary grant was not who was one on one one to what There were certain characteristics but it was more of a performance. For instance that i think clark gable screen persona was formed i think that was more than a projection of who was But granted the navigate the difference between considerable it grew closer over time but there was still a gap because people always expected to see cary grant flip it on and off. It will But there was a constant struggle because he realized that people expected cary grant. They didn't want to see archie leach in a couple of times in his course of his career. He basically gave them archie leach and a couple times. Nobody was particularly interested also so he understood the expectations of the public's expectations were one thing and he needed the public. Because success was very important in terms of escaping from from childhood fairly german miserable so there was a intrinsic tension between the internal cary grant and the external carry the internal cary grant wanted things that the external carey grant already had including the approval of his mother. Exactly the ex-military grandpa audience knew it. The the creature in the movies a didn't seem to have any problems with women whatsoever. Mother's wives girlfriends. That really doesn't come into the real. Cary grant offscreen had terrible problems with with with his mother and his watch. Most of i. I do love just a little bit. That kari grant is all of us and could never make his mother happy. There is something very human in that knowing that we are universally the same. But i think he would rate it a lot of success for the ability to make a real human contact with his father. Sure so i mean star search is like rush the the word disguise. It's it's so real and obviously if you're somebody who if you're somebody like me where you've grown up watching him because your parents all of their friends love him. They're they're almost not human. Who is cary grant. He's beautiful graceful man who appears onscreen and he's funny. He's charismatic. he's everything you know if you ask if you ask them to describe orbs the perfect it's like there is in know he's everything you want there. But he's a person and that is what makes these biographies so vital because it brings the rest of them to life but it's also just asking to learn a thing of the burden Urban of being someone on a cary grant. Of course they expect you to be outfitted like year into catch the issue to behave like you're north by northwest where he never breaks a sweat on the point at which a crop dusting blend comes down to ask. Job gains the coda But think of having to to play that part twenty four hours a day to an audience that expected you to play that part twenty five hundred in a way that a modern audience don't think does though they'll even now i mean that's the reality is even now. There are certain people that we feel are perfect and And i i will say the only good thing social media and internet general are you know they have their good points in there terrible points but i think it does help people to see someone without makeup to see someone in pajamas to see someone doing something very normal Just because it reminds you that that that they don't look like they do on a red carpet twenty four now. What i want to know scott us how you got into doing all this carey grant or the whole thing the whole thing. How did you start writing. Well started writing in junior high school. But i mean i. i was a journalist mutt. I realized at a certain point. I was in my twenty s at this late late twenties at this point that if i didn't raise the bar for myself and make more demands on myself and get the level of my game. I was going to be an alcoholic and for five years because i was bored basing lease. So what's what's the next step up. Well okay books the next step up. That's that's logical. And i was a movie that was crazy about movies. Okay so i decided. I wanted to write a book about silent films some so i made a shortlist of six or seven names in the list of silent movie. People that i thought Needed a book that nobody had written and Let's see there was william art. There was john renoir. There was mary pickford. There were a few other names. You know thomas inside was on the list. And i went with pickford because The films were more accessible than you could go to the library of congress and see an awful lot of stuff. the The in stuff was harder to find. Renoir you'd have to go to the of course period we're talking about you had to travel. Yes you have to go. You got to go to the library of congress exam washington. Dc made the trip. When i wrote my book lubitsch ernst lubitsch. I spent two weeks in Munich watching luby's german films today. If i wanted to write the exact same book i don't have to leave my house readily single film. I went to germany to see is available on disc or streaming or one avenue another each and every one now best eight. That's in twani twenty odd years. That changes occurred. So it's easier now on one zero one sense to do research But the flipside of course is that. There's nobody to talk to her grief. You people talking. So i i did a proposal for bickford I had an agent She couldn't sell the book. A six months went by nine months went by. She couldn't every publisher in terms of now. So i'm still board and still restless. Why decide to go ahead and write the book anyway and just finance it myself so i did it. I took a week and i went to l. a. I took another week with the library of congress and watch movies And i was halfway through the book writing the book when she sold the book to a character named donald. I find who was famous in the publishing world for two things For being credited temperamental in sheep and for discovering elmore leonard and. He told me. I went to new york to talk to him and he was. I went in his office and he was screaming at the top of his lungs to somebody in the telephone using a dialogue. that would only be. I repeated in a full metal jacket and it was. It was quite impressive from a verbal point of view. I mean he read in repeat himself once and he was going on or not And finally the phone slams down and secretary leans over distance. You'll see you now. And so i win and he proceeded me the only reason he bought. The book was because the first movie ever saw was spero's with mary. Pickford as mother take and okay. So i finished the book. He published it. It earned out in about two months because he only pay me. I d amount of money but it got a great review people magazine and that's all it took off and running so that's basically The the cliff's notes version but it was out of a shortage ambition and desire to to stretch my downs for hours ago. And before you know it. I act out a niche for myself. That's how old were you when you publish your book Thirty two one thirty two. And when did you guys need eighteen yet in our team at the same age. We're the same age. He was with two men. I admired herb graph and albert. I believe it was rochester. Was the rochester sinica. Well then you might have been syracuse or one of And i had already read of a film fan monthly and i to me he was. I felt like i was a kid looking lou garrick. You know 'cause he was publishing and he was hanging out with adults and he's wing. He was interviewing movie stars. And we're the same age. And i still have mental and and he was already wandered ball because he's never changed. That's the funny thing. He's precisely the same guy now but he was fifty years ago. Nobody believes that but he's the same guy is head never got any bigger in never got any smaller. He's leonard is that. I love that about why we keep him around. Do keep a gap keep morale. Now have you just mentioned her graph and we do have to buffer a moment. Yup thank him because without him. I would not exist really. Oh he was. He was introduced my parents. So herb is the reason. That i'm a person and i'm very grateful to him for that as you should be as and it was off very very funny he. There's a handful of names that when they come up. I always feel like we need to pay just a bit of a mosh to them and and herb is one of them. Herb was such an incredibly special man and he He gathered up the sinophile who otherwise would probably have been alone in their basements and put them together in a pretty officer so the to make friends. You're right but the thing. I admired about your dad and leonard. I mean your dad and al and herbs and that's that group is all men in full they handle it even at that early stage of my life. I knew i didn't want to spend my life in dark room. And and know who was the stunt man on a richard talents serial from nineteen thirty one. Why but not have but not have any relationships that went deeper that you know i wanted. I wanted to ask the whole thing and and like herb did like al did like your dad does. And that's that was always a goal of always will you you like have been happily married for a long long time for her forever at thirty four long art years. How did you lend me. Where do we meet We met at a newspaper. We met at the fort lauderdale sun-sentinel news sun-sentinel in nineteen eighty three. When i moved down there to take a job. Because i needed gig and my book my first book was either just about i was just about to get out and I just stopped saw her walking across the city. That is the cutest thing. I've seen a year so i asked her out and she said no and i said okay well. Let's fine So i started writing stories and she started sending me compliments about the stories. I was writing. And i ignore them because i asked her out. And she said no You know. I'm i can take no for an answer. So she continued sending me a accomplishments and stopping by and saying hi. And i knew i add her. But you know. I was gonna little humiliation ever heard anybody so i you know finally She she agreed to. She said she have lunch with me. And i said i don't do watch. I was going to go out to dinner with you. Know so finally she. She actually. What i said was if i promise not to leave. Any bruises or visible indentations. Would you go out with mates and for some reason. She seems startled alarm by that Eventually she'll go out with me. And i closed the deal shortly thereafter the wrists and they say and so then you continue to work side by side as fellow and i i. I just kept writing books on the side as i told people. A journalism was my wife and mistress and sometimes in all honesty. I put a little bit more emphasis on the mistress apart that i did underway but not when it came to win right right right right yes dear yes dear see you know people who know us will say everybody needs an alice like you have a lynn. Everybody needs an exactly what you're saying because it gives you that full life and as at lovely it is. We were talking about for exert recording. your mentioned in parade magazine. This book is mentioned there. And that's lovely but if you don't have someone special to celebrate these things with you know it's it's tough that's the joy of it is getting to go to someone. My dad always says Perch and watch movies with mom. I think it's a lie but it's nice that he says it and You know at the time. He says he's very sincere. Beat owen deed envy and most importantly. I'm sure or something that you know. It's it's not just my that is wrong but it backwards now. It's not just you are wrong. It's that my mother is right. Exactly what it is but your mother be right. She has to be extremely right accurate. So you've met my mother. Utah feuds is. i'm writing. I'd i'd write about our caller my most unforgettable character but i think it's been done and alice mom. She is a tiny tiny ball of fury and magic so i love her so scott. I heard years and years ago. That i won't use names here to protect guilty About an a very well-known writer on some subjects who decided to do major of a very important figure from from old hollywood and And he did and by the time. He completed researching writing the book. He absolutely hated the man and regretted that he devoted so many years. So this pursue. He was glad he completed but But it gave him no pleasure and that goes along with that old saying no massacre blues foul right And i have you found yourself in that situation. Ever not really. The closest i ever got was spending six years with john ford to write the book six years because to me he he was the is was the white whale of america moby. Dick of american movies. And i fancied myself is Without the harp them And i told my wife said spending six years with ford is being like being locked in a in a phone booth with the worst irish drunk. You can imagine That said when it got to claustrophobic in that phone booth. I watched the movies now or a gap or it is one of those artists. Who's the who put his best life into his work and there wasn't much left over for wives and children in france. You know it all went into his work all all the compassion and the the affection in the love kind of went into his work. And i would when got when it got to claustrophobic. I would watch ford movies. That got me back on tracks. Because that was i had to had include both sides of the thing but what kept me going was the beauty of the art. And but i'm not one of those people that would right to spend fifteen years running two volumes about joseph girls. I just wouldn't do it. There are people to do that. I'm glad for them. I i don't wanna do it. And i don't particularly want to read that book either But i tend to circle someone a little while and do some preliminary research before it commits doing a book. Because especially now when it's a different transaction because i'm older now and i don me more books have got in me because things can go south so I always ask myself. Is this worth three or four years of my fast. Ebbing life to spend three or four of those years doing this book And sometimes the answer's yes. There have been a couple times. When i thought that really not really i don't i didn't feel it wasn't feeling leering. Wise you move on to something else or you wait a couple months for some to suggest something that you haven't actually thought. Ns happen to. And that's not the. I've had people say why not do that and two weeks later. I'm i'm working on an outline of so i take my ideas in at work could get basically and yet you tackled forward. I thought very fairly and very thoroughly he. It must have been tough. It must make us who to to deal with that because he was so ridiculously. Contrary he was a contrarian you if nothing else a great artist but the dirty as contrary into perversity sexually but but like a logically. And i never dealt with anybody like that before real or since or since most most of the people have written about at great clarity of character like lubich or john wayne. Namik relieve him. He was consistent specs throughout his life and he didn't really alter that much or success. Didn't alter You couldn't say about and grant grant had his own issues you know. Because the the the grant that people saw on strain was not the grant that the crew saw when they were making a movie the grand cru saw was nervous and anxious and something of pain. actual you know Worried about the sound worried about the lights. Worried about the script especially the script every time he signed to do on that every time but a lot of the sued signed into a movie and immediately read signing them for the movie and want to get out of it because whatever seen in the script of the first or second time he read advantage after he signed the contract. You know and you said all these doubts he was full of doubts. In doubts tended to rule this initial suzy azam for project. The projects all during north by northwest. He was complaining that there was nothing there to script the there was no there there in the script and a stroke on the age. I can see why north by northwest wouldn't look like much you know on the other hand hitchcock standing there directing a picture. You've got to be an end. They'd worked together before and he'd seen the ishak could spend a gold from straw really But he's still would have is franson. Cary grant victory would states. David niven picture. Which is kind of interesting backhanded back. Handed way i get it. I get it meaning. I get meaning. It's not true David niven got never got lucky enough to work for You know but he had his doubts he could be And demanding and On one day and then he'd be perfectly fine and you know almost apologetic and then the next day he'd be demanding and fetish again. Just the way was not what. I wonder again. I have experienced this when if ever do you feel in the process doing research and writing. When do you feel okay. i've got it. I figured this person out. I've got it. I just read again. No names i just read a. Why would call a workmanlike biography of a fairly well known actor and A lot Day which is significant. Say and this author did a who. I'm familiar with a workmanlike. Yup got all the fact was able to talk to some close relatives And some colleagues know largely research research job done from things in libraries. You know but but he did the best. He could And i never felt that. I got to know the god. I never got that feeling. Which is what you want from a good biography right which you do provide your books. When is there a turning point. Is there a is it predictable. The turning point will occur. I know it when i get it. Lie goal my goal. The thing in the back of my head that i try to do with all of my books is to make the dead lover walk again. Goal is if you read one of my biographies or one of my books and that person rose from forest lawn and came to your house and sat down with your room. You could have a conversation with them because you know what they aid. What kind of aftershave. They used what they thought of their second wife and possibly third wife how they voted liberal democrat conservative. Whatever all these incremental qualities to go into personality and that you would understand that person. Etta working now is enough to have a conversation with if they walked into your room. That's the image. I have in my edit. What i'm trying to accomplish and they're usually a point when i feel. Sometimes it's just something somebody tells me like talking to wallow debts about grant And when i looked at the transcript i got. That's the heart of the ban. That's that's him. That's the guy that's the guy the could flip the switch and become carey grant will but had terrible insecurities when he stopped living the switch and he was just sitting in the room law. That's the guy other times incremental and it's it comes out of a like a biographies a movie in a sense that it's the mosaic. You got all can composed of hundreds of shots there. Are spliced together. And you add music than you. Add postproduction and hopefully blends together into one into one overriding image picture emotion. Books like that. Except it's more obviously a montage collage of hundreds hundreds fragments of factories of newspaper. Clippings interview transcripts watching movies of going over financial records contracts all these things but the have to be blended together in a narrative and i pride myself press foolishly on my ability to great narrative that were pages turn themselves and you're not necessarily conscious of the effort that's being expended on my guard or the effort that's being spent on the reader's part that if there's a flow it flows so i think of it in the same way that i think of a a director making it successful movie. You're not conscious of the minutes. Flooding buys you're watching a good movie. You just conscious the story. And that's what i try to but to answer the question. Yeah generally speaking i. I'm conscious of when i get that picture in my own mind and i'm also conscious for instance. It came to the point where it hit a rough draft of the grant book. And i didn't think i add them in. The book is the debt point. Was like four hundred sixty pages long for eighty. Maybe i just. I wasn't happy with. I just didn't have it. I knew i didn't have it. And i didn't know what to do so i started making phone calls. I started making phone calls. And i got a couple of interviews of from people that i did know rely and that gave me a sense of feeling of security that i had that i have because there was more density there. There was more. There was more a depth of field if you will or definitely and that and maybe maybe. I talked myself in neurotic. State of doubt but Those couple of extra interviews. I did very close to to Finishing the book gave me more see feeling the securities that i had before interesting one of the things i admire about your john wayne john wayne the life and legend a is that you are very fair minded like i said that more in dealing with them. He's come up in the news recently because people have yet again happens periodically every every five. He have discovered and And blammed about this interview playboy. Yeah some decades ago where he seems Really put it. Mildly unenlightened yet. Yeah about whistle. Skin color is not the same is how and But that wasn't him what it's not that he didn't say that and he said no question said no. The he was one of those people. I grew up with people like him. I grew up with people who were born in. Nineteen hundred nineteen zero three. My grandfather was born at around the same time journalists and he was. He was not much like john wayne accepted. Certain aspects but wayne would talk about people in generalities in anytime you talk about a races and religions in generalities you could hear ice cracking under your the thing of it was. He didn't treat individuals like that he was. He was bloviating about blacks and indians. And as if he'd never actually met any in the his theoretical Theater through the lens of theoretical conservatism. On the ground working as an actor in the business for almost fifty years. He didn't treat people like that he didn't he wouldn't have thought of treating people like that Because he met people as individuals. And you have to make that clear that there's a different twin. What people do talk in theory and how they actually act on the ground in action It was the same with people he met or encountered or even worked with didn't share his political out absolute. He took each one on. Its own terms. Well for take me for example i i spent ninety minutes with a middle room alone and i was twenty one years old and i had zero credentials. I had nothing to my name. I was just a kid who wanted to be a writer about the movies and as far as he was concerned i could have been with each good and treated me any better with the new york. Times is their manufacturing. Friday treated better than the new york times But he was he was. It was absolutely great Considered my questions cirque. I asked a couple of questions couple dumb questions but he took me seriously. He took the question seriously. He took his answer seriously. Now classes how you treat people when no one's looking you know and no looking. When he was in the room with me he could have blown me off or angry and throwing me out of the rumor but no we had. We actually had a conversation. We had a conversation about the movies on now. I was asked. I wasn't asking him about about the cancer. I wasn't asking him racial politics. I wasn't asking about those things that i was. I didn't i didn't bring up liberal politics. I didn't i never touched any of his lights We were talking about john. Ford ransack we were talking about entry. Answer way we were talking about bill wellman. We were talking about all these people that mentored and we talked about net levin. I'm sure nobody asked about net levin in thirty years the founder of mascot pinchot pitchers where he started out doing serials for seven hundred fifty dollars. Not seven hundred fifty dollars a week. Seven hundred fifty ir moving And and you know so. In a sense i was on safe ground but i didn't know i was unsafe brent. I was just curious to hear about these things shining. So he opened himself up completely and very specifically and very intelligently and he thought about his answers and he brought about the questions that we had an actual conversation. John wayne and a twenty one year old kid from ohio no credentials so got some points. And he gets the points. In retrospect to for that so i think there are too many modern stars or stars of any generation who would be that open to that level of detail. Exchange with a writer didn't mean a thing to them or to the mall yourself to give yourself some credit there and you knew the right questions to ask. Okay i'll do it for you. Thank you okay now. As in most. In most instances when you start on a subject The person you're going to devote to writing about You're looking for research. You're looking for a background information. You're looking for details all sorts when you took on sessile beat the mill for your book on him you had the opted situation you had a an archive was deposited at brigham young university Which took up an entire building where there was an avalanche. Soon novelty. Facts and details. How did you deal with that. How did you know through all well. I've been thinking about the mill for Ever since i was a kid. I saw the ten commandments. And i think he i always thought i mean he's completely out of style and will is. I don't think that's going to change. Because his best work was done the silent here and not enough people. See the silence the meal but i always thought he was a hugely talented Director in his early days. And i have great affection for one of the later stuff as well but i also thought he was a primary figure in the formation of the american movie industry. So demille being mill. He kept every piece of abor he ever scribbled out you can phone numbers get doodles every and all there is errands. Love letters. are there so go. She was very easy book to write for me. Because i've been thinking about it for decades. And i had a profusion of material and i thought you know this is due to buy a book here. I really good and i could have. But i couldn't have sold a two volume book. And i as obviously ask myself. Does the world want to williams and cecil. B demille dow even. I don't wanna read to violence. So i kept it to one volume. That book was fairly easy to end in all honesty because the thing about writing books. These kinds of books is that you often make sense of disappointment because the book in your ed never quite matches up with the book that you end up with for all sorts of reasons. Sometimes material sometimes She discovered things. You didn't know you were going to discover Usually but the demille book the what the book. I wanted to write matched up very nicely with the book that i actually wrote so i had a sense of kind of completion about that book that i don't often have but what i have to keep reminding myself. Is that whether it's a book or a movie or biography or a painting the price in the process. The work changes by doing that thing. The work takes on a life of its own a match ration- process of its own. So you often end up at different destination than you thought you would have to be able to roll with that except that you know but i a figure that out in the doing of it in into in writing fifteen books you come to that realization but the book is is a book that i actually ended up pretty much wanted and told well at the tel the book. I was waiting for for years. Because i have had a lifelong fascination with With djamil and other people did write books about him and they were never arab neighborhood and they all fell short of my expectations. My demands and And now i'm tempted. Though i'm compulsive i been tempted to take all those other books and just discard the your book. Does the job so thoroughly affects. That's nice to know as an entertainer really to because he was he was an editor man. Oh god never had a dull moment in his life. I don't think he was the straw that stirred the drink is fascinating guy. I'm starting never get a chance to meet him. to admit will that's the people always below ask him now is say you know who who have loved to have medicine. And there's obvious at walt disney. There's people that are obvious in that but it really mean the the thing the magic of a book is exactly what you're talking about and it's making someone three dimensional again and you know in in that you can't you need to tell both sides you can't make them perfect Because that is isn't real at the same time. I do think it's really important and someone like you cares about this You know you want to you. Don't want to take away from achievements. Well no i mean. I remember when i was writing the wayne book. I came in entity playboy interview. It's what we're return. And i said well. How do i handle this. What do i do with this. You know i can't avoid it. I shouldn't avoid it but it took me a while to figure out how to deal with it. They dealt with it basically by excerpt ding the more outrageous parts of the interview and in pointing out. What is going to out to you. Guys 'love' aiding as if he's talking to a group of boys around the fireplace cigars and brandy you know. And they're going. Yeah you're right duke. Absolutely right duke. But he didn't treat like that he didn't treat. Woody strode that way or any other blacks or gays or indians that he worked with the treated them very well because he knew the individuals responded to them as individual. Anything person human. You're able to you know you don't want to pretend like certain things didn't happen so you can. You can also look at it in a human way and say all right. Here's what this was. But let's look at the reality of the situation which are feeling protective about. Of course you know. And i thought i had to pull back from that Not so much with the way but that has come up a couple where choirs douglas guy. I was gonna run him some slack. No because what wayne would have said is. Put it in what it would. That gesture imploded. Because he wasn't a chain of anything ever did or set while he was into some things he did. That's not true. But i don't think he ever ashamed of any any of his political or social He was ashamed of certain things he did. But but that wasn't republican such but but again it's human it you know it would be. It would be strange if you wrote a book about somebody and left out everything. Every time needed something for any number of things that it can even be the people who everyone loves. There's always gonna be a moment and if you don't include that then you're not really telling their story. Yeah but the problem is in in in modern culture. We often judge people by their worst moment. I know you know Some some stupid referenced on facebook or some sliding email or whatever but just any public slip and you get nailed to the cross so you often find yourself reading things two and three times for he could send probably not the worst idea in the world. Anyway ed's debts. That's strictly a product of digital culture. And the kind of reflexive censorious nece where everybody feels. They're on sort of a jury duty to declare other people guilty as charged. Well you've had experienced. A few people have had a few people that i know have had. Which is you also worked with a movie star. Robert wagner in writing three separate books which carry your joint byline. How did that come about off. Luke luke There was a guy. I knew it all basting ted. Bill ryder arrowed novels. And he's no longer beach but he's he's in california and He would spend time in aspen with his wife where they met. Rj jill you'll say john white and He was at a party With rj and Somehow another palm beach came up in. Rj mentioned my name. And ted did know him from reading a book of his About louis b. mayer. He said i knew mayors daughters. I knew easy. And i knew irene and usually he said ted when you read a book about people you know you don't recognize. He said he gets everybody right. The the people he's writes about are the same people i knew. And that's remarkable. And if i was going to get somebody to write a book with it would be because rj reads a lot. And so ted came back to palm beach and called me and he said. Would you integrate your doctor. Robert wagner about doing a book. And i never thought about doing a told to collaboration before. Because i'd i'd right i'd but that's unwritten seven or eight books. Maybe nine of my own at just never occurred to myself. Of course you know epi too so we talked on the phone and he came to palm beach and we went to lunch at charlie's crab now closed and the first thing he did was bought a picture of his german shepherd named larry. After and then i responded by bullying a picture of my german shepherd named cooper after gary cooper out of my wallet we we traded stories about our german shepherds and we knew we were going to work together very well after that. Because we're both passionate about dogs and animals and our wives and we we set to work on. The first book is memoir and It's very comfortable from the beginning. And i told him up front. I'd say in. How am i going to do this. And i thought about a lot about my told him. I said look. This is your book. I'm going to tell your story the way you want it. I will only argue with you if i think you are. Earning your book If i think you're hurting your book i will go to the mat to talk you out of it okay. You got to remember that. If i start throwing up flares. I'm not doing it out of my ego doing it because it's going to make the book worse and he said okay. I'll remember that and we never really had an argument over over a a nine or ten years of working together at Three books never. And i only really had to throw flares once or twice it was very it was very Very smooth process and we stay close. We ought to visit them at aspen. You know we were going to go this summer. But co had gotten away and we're still. We're still very close. We're still doing close. He's dear manages turned ninety earlier this year. Now that does not compute. What believe me if you spend time with him. We got him out to lone pine A year before was it. Nineteen nineteen fall nineteen and in october and he talked about a broken land and we showed true story jesse james western and and man when when the light system is on you know and you don't have to take you don't have to make allowances for his age He's in great. Shape are still working. Still he was supposed to do an ncis episode in the summer and then cova got really ugly and they shut down production so he's rarities. Ways is waiting for the callback. Now that they're shooting he's recurring character on that hasn't yeah absolutely absolutely And he was playing the father of michael weatherly. And i figured well when met weatherly went to do his own show will that would be no. They loved him so much. They keep writing arts for either. Weatherly is gone. And they referred to house out you know talks niggers aligned to explain you know that you back and then they go on having fun with rj. Because everybody's a joy bureau and he's a pro and he loves the work alone to work and they treat him. I mean but down a red carpet form as they should yes. It'd be a movie star since nineteen forty eight for. And he's the only one on that from referred to david mccallum kid here or mark harmon. Yeah right you're right and that that's the thing you know the people that are still around from a certain time that's why you know treasure them. That's why you ask a million questions Because the people who will have those firsthand real firsthand experiences you know. At a certain point they're gone. And then what. And then you read which is great and there are a lot of people who make it your life's work to archive as much as possible. And that's that's all very important but nothing is like getting to go to someone and say. Tell me about this this this this this. Tell me what this was like. Tell me what it looked like when it sounded like you know they're precious is. I've been very lucky. I what i what i think. Now you don't when you're in the process of doing it when you're putting them both together then you go onto the next floor. The next book make movie and then you make another movie. Yeah but the to be able to maintain a continual of a writing career since one thousand nine hundred eighty blah blah and up and and you know there's fifteen books there and the one shelf doesn't hold a look at all those pages and i think really really. It just seems i don't. I don't understand how it will happen. You know i it. It all blends together. I don't remember all the effort in all the grunting and the lifting and the pushing the boulder of ill. But it's a nice feeling. You see a shelf of books with your name on a right. Leonard yes yeah well it it. It's certainly pleases my ego. Although i i sometimes look at. That shelf shows a Send anybody reading books anymore. You know it's funny. But yes they are yes they are it usually. It's odd generally sell a lot more books than i do. E books with the carey grant and selling books. I'm not sure why. But for instance of the john wayne a allot of books aren't cover and continues to sell paperback very well And the evoke sales were minor. Throw throw ins. Actually this for some reason. Cary grant book showing a lot more e books and i don't know if that has to do with with with the way people perceive individual stars the people who love john wayne want the bomb. You know because that's the book they're going to be on the shelf and they're gonna look at it when they watch north to alaska the searchers or whatever movies are gonna watch Whereas carry random. I don't know all i know. Is that. The publishing industry's not going anywhere. It looked dangerous there for a while but cova. It hasn't really impacted yeah. A people are buying books. I think i would may be responsible for some of those e book. Sales awesome possible possible. But it's generally I've never been very big any books at all. Most of my most of the book selling in imprint. But for some reason this will be allowed to be. I mean we're very much. I love holding something yummy to operate a book. A digital device never went up. We should mention it waft away. Yeah i'm saying one of the things you archer tangled Reviewing books or the palm. Beach co yeah. I still do occasionally -sually three or four reviews a year for the wall street journal booby movie but dot com got gotta column in the journal on saturday. Book runs on saturday. I don't know if it's it's late this month. I don't know if it's the twenty second of the twenty but it's the five best film looks refined best Out of mild. I add elite off. I'm an scott scotland books in there. But that's that was imbalanced will. Yeah yeah false modesty there. It's he makes he makes up for whatever you don't right for you i lost. I laugh because there are certain. It's it's a funny thing but there are certain people at i. I read their names more than i see. I don't know the last time. I saw you scott but but i'm because because i run his website and i post everything. I'm always reading your name. He's not these rights. And scott ireland's says scott says was nice. That's nice to hear. i'm glad. I'm glad i'm glad anytime anybody notice me at all. Because you know i i i have. I have a cottage on my property here. Like he used to have in luke elec. You know that that whole room that huge beautiful room Crammed with books in your desk and all that i have a smaller cottage is to be the coach cottage for the house and converted into my office. And it's it's i shudder to think of. How what percentage of my life has been spent in that small cottage you know. It's you know it's in a sense. It's very claustrophobic existence. You know but other fifteen bucks on a show. So i i'm not i'm not i've had a light. We travel a lot Got always animals. Got friends watching your cat behind you this entire time the. That's that's myrna named after myrna loy. Because the course betty on the other hand is is just a alien from the center of the earth. That's why we named after betty days now betty and myrna. There's there's a sisters bond sisters totally different personalities. I love it. But it's the trade off you make if you're if you're essentially define yourself by what you do is you know and i think probably define myself by what i do but i think i think that when every project takes as long as it takes that sort of it makes sense you know it's not it's not something insane way that a filmmaker you know people who are not in the industry may not understand how long a movie takes from the rating and the rewriting and the rewriting and the rewrite the selling to the making. It's a huge looking. They're looking for someone to give you the money to make every every single piece so when hear from filmmaker. It was ten years. That's normal. i mean it doesn't surprise me at all and so when you speak to having grown up with so many authors And i know that if if there's one book a year that fast own that's quick a good bosley do a book year. that's now. I don't think about that book The longest was four. That's six years mayor was five. That was on me. I should have done for but by first. Draft of the mayor book was twelve hundred pages. And then i it took me a year to edit it just just a cut you make. New connections and cut cut cut make new connections. It was a nightmare and it was my own fault. Because i lost sight of michael That's the only time i've ever that's ever happened to me. Though the only time. I go in having a rough idea along the votes going to a and and sometimes i miss it I go over But as long as the narrative works as long as the story holds. I don't worry about it. No that's where that's where your trusted readers come in. Which is lynn and my editor at simon and schuster bender is a writer when he right one of these books. It's three or four years. You descend into a well and you don't really come up until you come up with the manuscript and at that point you're way too close to it because by the time you're through with it you're sick to death of it. It's like you on the road with the same script for three years. You know every laugh every pause. You know the audience reaction so it's funny to you. Jokes are the is moving. So the response of trust is crucial the end you can't erosion ego between between what you want to hear and what you actually do here so the response from readers that you know you could trust his is crucial. So i'm happy to be to have a an edit from robert gobber or bob better lynch our you know Because i trust they've never failed me yet exact ego that you talk about something. I always compliment my dad. He's really good about taking editing notes. And not taking it personally and i think that people about what it is to be Because i'm one of his readers you know it's it's understanding that it's not about you. It's nothing against you is. It's you know it's is this playing the way you mean for to is just coming across because you have all the context you know you the author no everything around it so you know what you're trying to say and sometimes it works. Sometimes it comes across perfectly another time. You need to to mess a little bit of. Would i find i do. This is intentional part. I want to create the ecosystem around much central character. I spend time with their friends to come wide. They relate to this person or that person you know. Why were they close with these people. Because that tells you a lot the kind of people you're characters have for intimate friends tells you a lot of their character of the so. I tend to kind of work in a concentric circles to bring other people in the story. Which allowed lotta writer still allowed riders. Don't do that. And and i have to be careful about that because there are times i think when i get to. There's too much of that. And i have to pull it back. I rarely have to hold back on stuff dealing with the actual subject. But i occasionally pull back on the peripheral people that there will ever relations with on carey grant book a friend of mine. Said you got too much in clifford. Oh debts i said how much should take trowel and i did. I got a good hunk out of livardo. Odette stuff but i found the relationship is fascinating because You wouldn't have thought they would anything to say to each other. There's such number debt. Odette was so literary so theatrical and and grant was not particularly theatrical or literary But they were very very close. And i think the bond was they woes fundamentally dissatisfied with themselves commonality in the coming out in and withdraws people and now deaths wrote a number of the lonely heart which was erected during last few totally serious films which i think is a seriously underrated movie. I think it's a great movie. I think it's a very good. Have a favorite of your books. Do you have a favorite of mobile's grant the grand. Why why because he's just so ugly. I get it. No when i read the book for some ice on his. I i read through. I told him and he doesn't let me read into leads dumb. It's going to be bigger than your john wayne And a big person but also it was just such a complete. You know a complete picture. And i didn't know most of that stuff about rant And and so. I just i like the best just stuck with me more. I think alexa speed of sound too about the talking revolution. Only very good book that gave me a a real nice balloon picture of what happened in. Why involved involved as interesting those questions. The people interesting the more hardcore the film person the more complex. I get the speed of sound book as yet to earn a dime that it's twenty five years old seriously. It's in the ritz. Still in a red. Although i think it's probably going to go into the black this year next but But that's the book i get. Actually the most compliments is speed. And i still. It's really funny because it's sold the lease of all my books but it's one that seems to appeal to hardcore. Well we'll give it another plug it's speed of sound is a is a wonderful book about the transition period from the silent era of the talkie era and it was written at a time at scott says when you could actually have conversations with people who were there who experienced it like our mutual friend. Edward burns at earliest mendes. Re great guy in a tremendous resource. He sent me assess he sent me. Cause s of of ed. Talking about coquette and mary pickford and and the problems. They had wiring the united artists studio for sound. You know three or four sixty minute cassettes and it was great. It was a lovely man. Was well scott again. Congratulations on the cary. Grant book a brilliant disguise of simon and schuster level. Ever books are so that's virtually or in real life. Yes i'm available. Wherever books are sold action. I'll go anywhere. And i recommend all got smokes. And they're all they're all great reading and and learn from and which isn't wonderful combination and a the We're talking resumes. We can see a cameo appearance by ready for cats jerry. Scary cat just air. Living her very best catelli is just the joy she's just a blissed out and not aggressive unpleasant in likes everybody whereas betty orders everybody around. Sounds like our two. Yeah yes exactly like our dogs. Yeah they have nothing in common but their sisters. What are you gonna thank you guys. This has been a lot of fun just the conversation between friends. It same here. Same here are you a social media. I tap in now on that people wanna follow us places. They do that. sure sure. Yeah yet twitter. It's at scott. I'm in numeral. One anna facebook. He has his own facebook. Page of national scarring effect you y. m. a. scott two ts results e. tubas infancy by alice. We will we will absolutely and jesse where two people find us. I am at jesse maltin. You are at leonard maltin on twitter and instagram and you can always go leonard. Maltin com for movie reviews round ups and all kinds of good stuff and we are also on ultra on where equal generously support but we do different levels and and we are grateful for every every one of those folks because they they keep us going very literal sense. So that's patriotic dot com slash maltin on movies patriot dot com slash malls. And on these folks thanks for listening. We'll see you next. Today's episode of maltin on movies is brought to you by legion m. the world's first fan owned entertainment company. If you love movies as much as we do why not own a piece of them find out more at. Www dot legion. M dot com.

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