Part two of three
(Nov. 12-Dec. 9)
Screenwriter-producer-actor L.M. Kit Carson tackles his first season as an Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences voter, having recently been inducted into the writers branch. Click here to read part one.
This rookie writer-member of the Academy questions a lot. I enjoy the lift of finding out what I don’t know. So it’s easy for me to ask about anything. Q-Man — my son says it’s always been my ID. Do it all the time — even if it’s only throwing the slang: What’s up/what’s hot/what’s not?
Going to the L.A. pre-Oscar buzz-battle parties, Q-Man enjoys the kick of asking the too-obvious Oscar question No. 1: Who’s got the score to win?
Because here I’m also enjoying finding a shock: At most pre-Oscar buzz-battle parties, the too-obvious “Oscar” question No. 2 slams back at you fast: Who the f*ck’re you to know the score?
(Ah: Who the f*ck’re you? — the favorite Hollywood game — want to play? No one wins.)
Recently, I ran into Robert Redford, hosting a “Motorcycle Diaries” party. And Redford (a long friend, back to the Sundance Kidder) double-takes to see me in the group — but right away grabs me sideways into a bear hug. Swings around joking on me “This is Kit, one of the craziest writer-guys I know — who let him in?” to “Motorcycle Diaries” director Walter Salles — who keeps the joking going — “Guess we always want to know more crazy writers. Kit meet Che,” to his star Gael Garcia Bernal, who caps the me-as-joke: “Hey I acted once in a movie the role of a crazy guy named Kit!”
And funny, now I suddenly remember an old, bad meeting at Paramount. “Maybe you don’t get it,” tipped semilegendary studio boss Dawn Steel to me, “the ‘story’ is anybody, but what clicks here is ‘what’s your pitch?’ Meaning you make that real simple.” Dawn Steel’s advice didn’t click me on that project — make myself “simple” — somehow never could figure me that simple.
Exiting Europe from the raw newcomer movies at the Mannheim Festival – an early Euro-Sundance event, I plunge off the plane that same night into the New York buzz-battle screening/party for Wes Anderson’s “The Life Aquatic.” Wes (after four movies) still feels newcomer to me – my partner Cynthia Hargrave and I launched his career with his first-timer short-and-feature “Bottle Rocket.”
At NYC Roseland tweaked into corny “Fishland” by Disney for Wes’s mock Cousteau scenes – right away New York Times gossip-maven Joyce Wadler (she edits the Boldface column) catches me and cracks a question: “Crazy writers race this year. Rumor’s out that the writers on the Kevin Spacey/Bobby Darin biopic “Beyond The Sea” is fighting to get his name off the screenwriting credits. Is this morality? Or just Hollywood irony?”
Hopefully breaking through tonight’s Hollywood irony, I pull Wes into a few questions about Sex in his movies – such as, why does he write all women (Angelica Huston, Cate Blanchett) to play so… unreachable. “Maybe it’s me,” Wes confesses, “Maybe I’m unreachable.”
Then leaving, I tag Wes with a small surprise: pre-Christmas we’re shooting a short in Vegas by our latest first-time director discovery, Columbia student Gary Graham – with a character in the short who tries to pick up Casino-Babes by claiming that he’s…”Wes Anderson.” Wes double-takes real curious: “He’s — Wes? But his ploy — it doesn’t work does it?” “What d’you think?” I question back. “No way!!” he laughs — unprepared for the first time tonight, grabbing my hand. “What d’you think?” I question back again. “No — I don’t want to know,” Wes nods. “I just gotta see this!”
Questions are sometimes the way to exit a scene.
Part three of this diary will appear Feb. 16 in the issue “Eye on the Oscars: Oscar Wrap.”