Wednesday, March 08, 2006

March 8, 2006
It’s raining! (3:20 pm). Staffers are cheering as others run out to roll up car windows. This is the first rain we’ve had in a long time (I think I read 141 days).

Samantha took a call from Paramount Pictures this morning asking if she knew of a Western kind of guy, close to sixty, quite religious and stern, who could pass for Daniel-Day-Lewis’ father. Naturally, Sam patched the call through to my office.

The casting agent’s assistant, Andrea, informed me she had Googled several Old West words and immediately got to us (this made me happy). The name of the movie is “There Will Be Blood,” and yes, this is the movie I reported on last week when I was in Alpine, Texas. It’s going to be filmed down there and I met the location guy at my book signing. Incredibly, in my office at the time of the phone call were two Hollywood pros, Jeb Rosebrook (screenwriter for Junior Bonner) and Roger Pearsall (drummer for Tony Bennett and Superbowl Halftime Booking Legend). Both jags began to mouth questions for me to ask her. “What is my per diem?” and “What is the window of shooting?” and “How big will my trailer be?” Andrea seemed impressed with my photo, above (she was looking at this blog as we talked). She encouraged me to send more photos of myself to the casting agent and I hate to admit it, but I actually entertained the ridiculous notion of me beating out Harry Dean Stanton and Jon Voight for the part, and pictured myself exuding a dark, menacing presence on the big screen as I dueled with Daniel Day Lewis, chiding him, crying and laughing with some professional ease. After all, I was in the Mohave County Union High School Junior Class production of, “Arsenic & Old Lace.” I played the doctor (“No Johnny! No!”), in a period flattop (1963).

Speaking of Mucous, Penny Becker (Executive Director, Sheridan, Wyoming Travel & Tourism) and her husband Mont came in about 10:30 with her sister and her husband and her father, who sat in my office with a cane. When one of them asked me if I grew up in Cave Creek, I said no, I grew up in Kingman. Penny turned to her father and said, “One of your friends from South Dakota moved to Kingman Dad. What was his name?”

He thought for some time and finally said, “His name was Maurice, but I’m having trouble remembering his last name.” I didn’t think much of it because I haven’t lived there since 1965 and assumed it was probably some retiree who moved there long after I had left. “He was in the gas station business,” he said, still rubbing his brow and trying to recall the name.

“Gas station” triggered my ancient memory banks. I turned to him and asked, “His name wasn’t Maurice Burnham, was it?” “Yes, that's him,” he said. “He died changing a truck tire and it blew up on him.” Well, Maurice Burnham was my father’s partner. They bought two Phillips 66 stations. My father ran the Hilltop station and Maurice ran the truck stop, down by the south inspection station on old Route 66 (near McConnico). Small world, no?

“Consistency requires you to be as ignorant today as you were a year ago.”
—Bernard Berenson

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