Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Languid Visions of the Mind's Eye
In September of 1985, I got the idea to do a rather unusual type of television show. The idea was to present original story ideas I would create in the form of fictional interviews with fictional authors recounting their fictional adventures. I would use the same thoughtful and probing style I admired in Keith Berwick, the Charlie Rose of that time. The idea was to make Hollywood come calling for my stories while offering a program that would be engaging, provocative and believable--something you might tell your friends to watch.
Before I shot the first show, I knew what it would look like. Three cameras would be trained on the actor or actress playing the role of author. The show would play mostly in a tight close-up--forehead to chin--with a regular and medium close-up serving to create rhythm and pacing. I would interview from off-camera; the viewers would hear my voice but not see me.
I needed an actor to play my first author and though I found her, I did not know her. We lived in the same apartment building. She was an unassuming blond--beautiful though unaware or perhaps put off by it and most likely a tomboy. It's possible she preferred women to men but that was no concern of mine. She was just the sort of enigma I was seeking; someone who could make you wonder what she was thinking and what her desires might be. I introduced myself one day in the lobby. I want to do two shows with you, I told her. In the first, I interview you. In the second, you interview me. She agreed.
She did a wonderful job. I forget the name of the author she played just as I have forgotten her name, I'm sorry to say. I do remember the title of her book, however. It was Languid Visions of the Mind's Eye. I wanted something that sounded very literary. It told of her affair with a character reminiscent of Porfirio Rubirosa in the last days of his life. She was the only of his mistresses that was not rich. Perhaps the only to actually love him.
When the show aired, it provoked an avalanche of phone calls. One of them was from a very nice fellow who told me he thought it was the most innovative show on television. He also said he was interested in the actress. I asked him in what manner was he interested--I assumed her long blond hair and captivating eyes she seemed to disown had the same effect on him as they had had on me. "I'm a director," he told me, "and I would like to meet her." I asked if there was anything he had directed I might have seen. He said, "Flashdance." And thus, I met Adrian Lyne.
Adrian Lyne did meet the actress. He had her up to his house where he and his wife were very hospitable. A week or so later, she and I taped the second of the two shows we did together--the one in which she interviewed me playing an author. She did a very good job as the interviewer. After that, I lost track of her. I knew something special had occurred and that I would continue doing the show. I did not know that I would go on to do 500 half-hour interviews nor did I foresee that today I would be producing the show in French. The show did bring Hollywood to my door. It brought calls from Marlon Brando, T-Bone Burnett, Sammy & Tita Cahn, Charlie Evans, Ron Shelton and some extraordinary calls from a female rock star who shall go un-named here.
Suffice it to say that (Interview), as the show is called, was and is the best electric train set a kid ever had.