Mostly, Gregory Mcdonald's choice
of publishers, throughout
his career, has been appalling. Records of what decisions
were made by whom and when
unabashedly exist in the GM Collection at 20th C. Archives.
rumors are rife that there exists another novel in the genre
of "The Brave", i.e., concerning someone who sacrifices
uncommonly for the greater good. Descriptions of the book
vary too widely, from concerning a fat single mother of
three, to a physically gorgeous California family. Mcdonald
has said that while writing "The Brave" he thought
of it as "a posthumous novel." For whatever reason,
if this book exists he seems not personally active in presenting
with the film business have been little better.
We asked Mr.
Mcdonald to respond to some written questions regarding
all this. Bits of his response follow:
agree with you more: given my opportunities, I haven't done
all that well at the business of writing. My fault."
I am a trusting person: I believe in free enterprise, that
is that people in business ought to do what suits their
own best interests; I also believe in the social contract.
Too, to paraphrase what I read publisher Phyllis Grann said
a year or so ago, partly due to technology current and pending,
we in this country have lost one, maybe two generations
When I was
a kid, knowing I was to write, I firmly decided not to play
"the game", be neither a New Yorker nor a Californian
about whom I make the joke that such believe that what exists
between NY and LA is United Airlines. Not that I'm snotty
toward those who do play "the game;" I just think
it's better for the work, maybe demands more from oneself,
a business, in a few ways like any other. Please understand
that most of my writing life, 40 years or so, each morning
when I awake I ask myself the question, "Is this the
day I do the business of writing, or write?" Three
hundred and forty five days outs of 365 I have decided to
write. In fact, I have taken the more selfish course. Writing
is more fun and fulfilling than the business of writing.
that from maybe 1973 to maybe now I have been more clinically
exhausted than not. Disciplined exercise has allowed me
to conceal this fact, largely, except maybe from a few people
very close to me. When I am working on something, which
is almost always, I even lose track of the seasons. I think
I am keeping up with business, but then I find I haven't."
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(Mcdonald's comments appear in italics.)
This was produced by something
called Paramount-Universal C.I.C., which I understood at
the time was these two studios' joint European earnings
they wished to invest in Europe. David Hemmings directed.
I've only see the full film once, and thought it wonderful
and, possibly, important. It starred Robert Powell. Kim
Darby was to play the female lead. Belatedly, I was told
David had fired Ms. Darby and replaced her with his wife,
Gayle Hunnicutt, without telling either Paramount or Universal;
also without informing them, he opened the film in Piccadilly
Circus (again "Clockwork Orange", beating first
grosses 8 to 5). At first I was told that P-U, as a result
of this "punishable behavior", would never release
the film in the U.S. I know it was sent to Dublin and Geneva
Film fetes, and that it played on the BBC for 13-15 years
running. Then I was told by a Paramount executive, "The
American people aren't sophisticated enough for that film."
At some point The Village Voice listed "Running Scared"
as among "the top ten film with cult followings."
Lastly, I don't think it has ever been released in video.
Generally considered a comedy film classic, "Fletch"
was directed by Michael Ritchie, starring Chevy Chase. It
continues to be shown on American television, one way or
another, at least three times a week.
I was shown the film by friends
a month ago, in Kentucky, the first time I've looked at
it in well over a decade. It's a good movie. I didn't realize
Chevy is so attractive. Of course, what most motivated me
in writing the book was the character, Bobbi, who does not
appear in the film.
Not based on a novel by Gregory Mcdonald, again, directed
by Michael Ritchie, starring Chevy Chase.
Directed by Johnny Depp, staring Marlon Brando and Johnny
Depp, screenplay by Johnny and Ben Depp, opened at Cannes
Film Festival, 1997. Johnny's
first question to me when I arrived on location in the Sierra
Madre was, "Have you read the screenplay?" "No,
I haven't been offered one." "Good. Let
me make my movie, then if you don't like it you can come
beat me up." I have not read the screenplay, nor seen
the movie, as it has not been released in the U.S., so I
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