The Peter Sellers anecdotes flowed after Friday night’s screening of “I Love You, Alice B. Toklas” at the American Cinematheque.
Co-writer Paul Mazursky, plus star Leigh Taylor-Young and costume designer Theadora Van Runkle all shared stories about the thesp’s mercurial ways during a Q&A following the hippie classic about an uptight lawyer who loosens up after ingesting marijuana-laced brownies.
“I think I should have stopped with that movie,” said Mazursky, who was originally slated to direct the 1968 pic before a misunderstanding about Sellers’ then-wife, Britt Ekland, led to him being replaced by Hy Averback. “It’s very funny,” he added with a touch of wonderment.
The trio shared memories of studio efforts to have Taylor-Young lure Sellers out of his lodgings, and the times they baked their own “Alice B. Toklas” brownies for the film club they formed to entertain a homesick Sellers during production.
“I think the studio was a little afraid of the Jewishness and the drugs,” Mazursky said, then added, “they still are.”
The screening, part of a Taylor-Young double bill for the Mods & Rockers fest, drew Taylor-Young’s ex-husband, Ryan O’Neal, their son Patrick (a newborn during the production) and grandchildren, plus Freddie Fields, Lesley Ann Warren, Sally Kirkland and Ariana Huffington.
— Diane Garrett