In writing about Languid Visions of the Mind's Eye, I noted that my offer to the actress in question was that I would interview her in our first taping and she would interview me as the author in our second taping. So it was that we went into the studio about two weeks after we taped her episode to do the Sean Miles (Interview) segment. The character I created to play was a former L.A.P.D. homicide detective who had retired amidst some controversy. He had been part of a task force that dealt with serial killers. His book, Look Into Darkness, was his recounting of his term of leadership on the task force, its impressive abatement statistics and an answer to critics' accusations about its methods and procedures.
Sean looked like anything other than a homicide detective and was well into a reflective part of his life at the time of the interview. He was a character who was resolved but playing in pain. He had seen too much and, by his estimation, had accomplished too little. Many of the cases he investigated advanced quickly until an arrest seemed imminent and the scent would grow cold. Arrest statistics began to trail off yet the killings stopped. This trend raised certain questions amongst critics and watchdog agencies. The underlying implication was very dark and nothing Sean offered into the record provided the clarity his critics were seeking. One could think that Dirty Harry was the inspiration for the character I created though he wasn't. Sean was a composite of people I met subsequent to the kidnapping of my girlfriend in the 70s by two members of the New World Liberation Front (NWLF), which was loosely linked to the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA). In the process, I met some very special people doing a very special job. It all ended well for my girlfriend and me. Not so well for others perhaps.
The Sean Miles interview aired about a month later. I was happy with the result and I'd gone on, in the meantime, to tape at least two more interviews with other actors. I wasn't really prepared for the reaction provoked by Sean Miles. The first was an inquiry from a producer with whom I later became friends and with whom I would go glider flying. She was Pippa Scott. As a young woman she had acted for John Ford in The Searchers and I remembered her well from Richard Lester's Petulia with George C Scott. She was a founding partner of Lorimar Productions, smart as a whip and elegance personified.
There were other developments that took another direction. I was working out in a gym several times a week and it is customary to find others there to spot you and they, in turn, come to you for a spot. One of my new-found spotters whose company I enjoyed was a semi-professional weightlifter. He might have been in entertainment--many were in that gym--but he knew what he was doing and he trusted me. One day, it became obvious that he was ignoring me. He wasn't saying hello let alone asking for spots. This was a radical change in his demeanor and it puzzled me. I approached him and asked what was up. "Man, you turned cop on me! You said you were a writer." He had seen the Sean Miles interview and, like most who watched the show, thought it was real. I explained what it was he had seen and he got the joke immediately. We were friends again.
On my way out of the gym that same day, I was stopped by a young couple. They, too, had seen the show on television and wanted to tell me they supported my (Sean's) handling of crime and wished me the best. At the Raiders game on Sunday, I came under further scrutiny with people pointing me out to their friends and staring. Walking into my favorite pizza joint in Brentwood, someone in a passing car called out, "Hey, Sean!"
It had been but a half-hour of screen time but Sean had made his mark. He drew reactions of all sorts from an extraordinary assortment of people challenging their perceptions and values in the process. Every time the segment aired, I saw a palpable reaction whenever I was in public. I wasn't an actor who had played a notorious character, I was that character in their minds. This phenomenon was to repeat over the years and I would hear stories from many of the actors who appeared on (Interview) about being taken for the characters they had played.
I love making movies but I don't know that any have been as fulfilling as any single segment of (Interview).
How to Shoot a Feature Film in 15 Days (And Survive to See Profits)
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Examples of Responsive Reactions
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Action/ReAction at Stella Adler
Point of Departure
A Series of ONE...
Stephen and Dragonuk
Stephen Mitchell webinar for Stage 32
Ferrari GTO 3987 at speed by Yan denes
Ray D. Shosay's Journal
Dispatches from a (junior) suite in Paris
Ray D. Shosay's Journal (excerpt)
"Saturday, January 27, 2007
They say you can fool some of the people all of the time. Accordingly, I think we should concentrate on this group initially. We can move on to the people you can only fool some of the time at a later date if we deem it necessary. I hope to hear back from my agent about this as soon as he's out of rehab, as I don't think my messages have been getting through."
Ignorance is Bliss by Stephen Mitchell
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Exerpt from Ignorance is Bliss
"Out of the corner of his eye, Martin saw Martha shift in her seat. She leaned forward, as though something was about to be decided. This caused her breasts to push up against the neckline of her dress in a way that couldn't be fully appreciated out of the corner of one’s eye. So, Martin turned his head to look directly into the abyss of her cleavage. He was vaguely aware that Murray was talking again."
Carrera Panamericana (1950-54)
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Ferrari GTO 3987
Elysée Wednesday: Drive!
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“You ought to meet Steve. The two of you have the same kind of Ferrari.”
Ferrari Berlinetta Lusso
One evening, I was enjoying a John le Carré novel and a glass of Bordeaux...
L'art de l'automobile
My first Lusso prior to restoration
It was only after Sinatra was gone...
Once upon a time...
Meeting Enzo Ferrari
I came across this on a late night stroll in Paris near the Louvre.
I bought Bentleys in England and Ferraris & Maseratis in Italy to re-sell in Los Angeles as a teenager. I met Enzo Ferrari, Juan Fangio and Steve McQueen. I 'grew up' on the set of Mission: Impossible and other episodic TV series of the era. For a few years, I owned a Ferrari GTO that is owned by Ralph Lauren today and valued at approximately $52M. I began my film career by writing, producing and directing Montmartre in Paris in French. I founded and ran a repertory company for film & TV for 20 years in Los Angeles. I created a TV series which had fans that included Marlon Brando. I authored the first new acting technique--Action/ReAction--that was not based on Stanislavski's Method. I am currently writing my third novel and shooting my spy thriller Exigence. If you can't make movies, live your life as though you were in one...