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Dear Mr. GK, I'm looking

March 31, 2005 |

Dear Mr. GK,
I'm looking forward to your upcoming movie with Robert Altman. Yet, I was disappointed not to see Tim, Tom, Fred, Rich, Pat and Sue listed in the update. Sure, we all like watching Meryl Streep and Lily Tomlin. But we'll get to see the APHC regulars, won't we?

Ehrick Long

I hope so, Ehrick, but who am I? Just the writer of the screenplay, an ink-stained wretch, and if Altman needs my advice, he hasn't asked for it yet. He's a hard-charging, cigar chomping, phones a-ringing, Take-A-Memo-Miss-Arthur type of movie tycoon who paces in his Manhattan aerie and snaps at subordinates and bends powerful men to do his bidding. Think of Jason Robards as played by Broderick Crawford and that's Altman. I met with him Thursday and he did the talking and I did the listening. I still have a bruise on my chest where he poked me with his right index finger as he said, "The whole second act is wrong, wrong, wrong. We're not paying you by the word, you know. Too much English major stuff. Kill the limpid small talk and the introspective anguish and give me a sleek man in a beautiful tan suit who pets a cat on his lap as he issues orders for dastardly deeds. And a scene where a blonde opens a door and yells, 'Where's the chow, baby? Mama needs a roast beef sandwich.'" And then he's taking a call from George Clooney who wants to play Buddy in a remake of "Intruder in the Dust". I'm standing there in my pink shirt and chinos and black dress shoes and Sears sportcoat, a little self-conscious about my socks (pink with seahorses) and my hair (should I have used the aloe gel?) and more than a little aware of the fact that I'm from Anoka, Minnesota, and the graduate of a land-grant university. So when exactly should I pluck up my courage and say, "Um, what would you think about maybe using some friends of mine in your movie?" — I'm waiting for the right moment. I am only the writer, I am not David O. Selznick. I do know for a fact that Kenneth Branagh will be playing me, so there's one PHC regular you won't be seeing on the silver screen.

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