On this week’s episode of 3rd and Fairfax, the official podcast of the Writers Guild of America, the guest is Screenwriter-director Paul Schrader, whose screenplay credits include Raging Bull, Taxi Driver, Mosquito Coast, The Last Temptation of Christ and many more. He’s both written and directed such films as American Gigolo, Cat People, and Dog Eat Dog. He talks about his new film, The Card Counter, as well as his career in movies..
This gives me the opportunity to mention one of the great snarky lines I heard in Hollywood. This isn't one of those legendary lines you read about, but one I heard said and is otherwise unknown. It deserves being in a book with those other classic Hollywood quips. I think of it periodically, most usually when Paul Schrader's name is mentioned.
At the time, in 1982, I was working in the Publicity Department at Universal Studios. And our upcoming movie was the aforementioned Cat People, that Paul Schader not only wrote but directed. It starred Nastassja Kinski and Malcom McDowell. As was generally the case, the Publicity Department had an advance screening of the film during the day, so that we'd have a better sense of the movie we'd be promoting. So, we all headed to the screening room to see the movie. The film was a remake of a 1942 black-and-white horror film. This new version added its own twists, which as I recall vaguely (it's been several decades, and it's a movie I haven't dwelled on over the years), the core of the story is a young woman who turns into a deadly black leopard when her full, repressed emotions come to the surface after she has sex. Until she later, eventually reverts to her human form.
After the film ended, we all headed up the aisle, largely in silence, until we made it to the small lobby area. At last, one of the people in the department spoke up. And what he said was, "The only thing Paul Schrader needs is an exorcism and a good lay."
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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