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.

     Currently, 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 it.

     His relationships 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:

     "I couldn't agree with you more: given my opportunities, I haven't done all that well at the business of writing. My fault."

     "First, 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 of editors.

     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, not to.

     Writing is 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.

     Too, understand 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.)

Running Scared, 1972
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.

Fletch, 1985
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.

Fletch Lives, 1988
Not based on a novel by Gregory Mcdonald, again, directed by Michael Ritchie, starring Chevy Chase.

The Brave, 1997
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 cannot comment.

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