One day I received a phone call from someone at the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, a Hearst newspaper in competition with the Times. They asked if they could send someone to interview me about my series (Interview) which had come to their attention. Of course, I agreed. Arrangements were made and the Herald's television critic David Gritten arrived at my house in Laurel Canyon along with a photographer.
The Herald-Examiner was my favorite newspaper at the time featuring columns over the years from Bud Furillo, Melvin Durslag, Alan Malamud and Doug Krikorian--an All-Star line-up if ever there was one! Though I'd read the Style section, which was devoted to the arts, I was unfamiliar with David Gritten so I looked for his articles to see what he wrote. I wished I hadn't. The first article I came across was a piece he did on a media personality who was promoting her film career based on a personal relationship with a male box office star. David dissected her with surgical precision usually reserved for autopsy procedures implying, perhaps, that her career was dead. I was forewarned.
As David conducted the interview in my living-room, I had no idea of his personal reaction to what I was saying in response to his questions. His British reserve and equanimity served him well and left me to focus on his questions rather than his thoughts. Later, we went out onto the deck overlooking the canyon where we took the photo that accompanies the article. As David and the photographer left, I had no idea whether he liked (Interview) or intended to write its obituary. I would have to wait to find out.
A few days later, I received a call telling me the article would appear in the Sunday edition and so it did. It was on the front page of the Style section with two other articles--one about Bernardo Bertolucci receiving the Oscar for The Last Emperor and the other about the Getty Museum. At least I was in good company!
Reading the article, it immediately became clear that David liked (Interview) opening with, "Los Angeles devotees of superior TV talk shows have been keeping a closely guarded secret to themselves these last couple of years." He wrote a very complimentary and appreciative appraisal of the series and David was not someone to hand out idle compliments in print.
I had been intrigued by David's "poker face" during the interview betraying none of his reactions and, given what he had written about the show, I decided to invite him to play an author in front of my cameras. Happily, he accepted. We went into the studio where I created a persona and story for him in the few minutes before we taped. He would be a British spy and there would be some professionally and personally controversial issues in the story. He gave a great performance.
Days later, after I had delivered a copy of his episode on cassette to him, David called me. He said that, while watching his performance in the interview, he couldn't tell where his truth ended and my fiction began. It was, perhaps, the best compliment he could have paid to me.
How to Shoot a Feature Film in 15 Days (And Survive to See Profits)
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Examples of Responsive Reactions
Click photo to see clips from Stephen's movies
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...