When David Permut got involved with me and my Stevie Williams (Interview) story, we looked about for an actress who might play the lead role. A production company interested in the project put forward the name of a female rock & roll singer who would have given a sharp edge to the character of Stevie as a feature film. Unfortunately, her first film was released during these talks and it wasn't doing well. Her name fell off the list and thus a Hollywood lesson was learned.
Other names were considered but the only one I can recall was Jennifer Aniston. Whether the project was ever submitted to her or received a decline I couldn't say. What did happen is that we got excited about a particular actress whose beauty and vulnerability combined with her popularity amongst television audiences made her a perfect candidate to play Stevie Williams as a movie for TV. David sent a cassette of the Stevie Williams interview to Connie Sellecca in the hopes that it would interest her. It did.
Upon their first viewing of the show, both Connie and Chuck Binder (Connie's representative) thought that Stevie Williams was a real person with a true story. David set them straight explaining that it was an original story told in an unusual format--a fictional, Charlie Rose-style interview. A meeting was arranged and David and I met with Connie and Chuck to discuss the project and how it might be presented. The role went against Connie's established brand but in such a way as to expand her definition rather than subvert it. We all seemed to agree that Connie would be perfect in the part and it was difficult to imagine that anyone could disagree.
In the coming weeks, the project was presented with Connie attached in the title role. During that period, an odd phenomenon began to manifest. I would run into Connie almost everywhere I went. Whether it was at 'dog park' up on Mulholland above Laurel Canyon where I would run my black Afghan hound, in a store shopping or pulling alongside her at a traffic light, it seemed that fate was steering us in the same direction. I began to wonder if destiny was pulling the strings and if our project would benefit from whatever was directing these encounters.
One day, I get a call from David Permut. We have a meeting regarding Stevie Williams with ABC who had a special interest in Connie Sellecca. When David and I arrived at the appointed hour, Connie was already in chambers with the executive in question. Perhaps they had other business or maybe Connie was setting up our pitch. In any case, an assistant came to beckon us to the inner sanctum. There we had a very enjoyable meeting with Connie, the executive and her assistant. Before we got to the Stevie Williams story, the executive wanted to know more about (Interview) and how it had come about. She was particularly interested to hear about the call I'd received from Marlon Brando about the show a few weeks earlier.
The meeting ended with good feelings and an expectation that the project would be taken on by ABC. Alas, it never happened. The reason given was that they only wanted true stories. My thought was that Stevie's story was as true as anything we'll ever see on television--including the six o'clock news--and that so-called "true stories" that are the basis for so many TV movies and feature films have been so re-worked and homogenized that they must be labeled "Based on a true story", which in the English language means fiction.
Though the Stevie Williams story was ultimately picked up by Rob Cohen for Taft-Barish Entertainment, I wonder if Shakespeare ever ran into this problem to hold as 'twere the mirror up to nature.
How to Shoot a Feature Film in 15 Days (And Survive to See Profits)
Click to buy on Amazon
Click to view on Amazon
Examples of Responsive Reactions
Click photo to see example 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
Kindle or Paperback versions
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)
Click on poster to buy the poster and DVD
Ferrari GTO 3987
Elysée Wednesday: Drive!
Click photo to watch on Amazon Direct Video
“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...