David Gans (tnf) Mon 29 Jul 02 10:03
Linda, thank you for keeping the interview rolling while I was in the wilds of a biker country club in Rip Van Winkle country! I'm home now.
Carol Wolper (carol-wolper) Mon 29 Jul 02 10:53
Richard Gault is an actor/musician who had some success in Hollywood in the seventies. He was never a big celebrity because he never chased fame and was too honest to be embraced by the Hollywood establishment. But to a small group of artists and fans, he was the real deal. Secret Celebrity is the story of four characters in search of Gault, twenty years after he left town.
David Gans (tnf) Mon 29 Jul 02 11:00
And the four people who go in search of him are...
excessively heterosexual (saiyuk) Mon 29 Jul 02 11:09
And, to a large extent, as you read the book, it's hard not to embark on an analogous mental journey, trying to find (in your memory) someone real who *completely* fills the bill -- even if you know it's a composite.
Gerry Feeney (gerry) Mon 29 Jul 02 11:34
Hi, Carol. I'm curious to know if you're related to David Wolper (Wolper Productions).
Linda Castellani (castle) Mon 29 Jul 02 11:51
People in search of Richard Gault...hmmm. Evokes echoes of people looking for John Galt.
sporting an ironic t shirt (sd) Mon 29 Jul 02 12:09
who is that guy?
mother of my eyelid (frako) Mon 29 Jul 02 12:33
I was going to ask the same question about David Wolper, Carol.
Carol Wolper (carol-wolper) Mon 29 Jul 02 14:20
The four people who go on a search for Richard Gault are: an L.A. partygirl, a newsstand guy who is also an aspiring songwriter, a D.P. for commercials and videos, and the narrative voice of the book - Christine Chase, who is trying to jump start her heart and career by making a documentary about the elusive Gault. And Jennifer, you're right. The Gault/Galt connection was intentional. As for my connection to David Wolper, years ago I was married to his youngest son - who is not in the business. In fact the idea to make Christine a documentary filmmaker was, in part, inspired by DW. Back in the fifties and sixties he launched his career by producing some interesting documentaries. More recently - well - back in the late eighties - he produced "Imagine", the documentary about the life and death of John Lennon.
David Gans (tnf) Mon 29 Jul 02 14:24
When I was growing up, the name David L. Wolper was synonymous with documentary filmmaking.
Carol Wolper (carol-wolper) Mon 29 Jul 02 16:03
He would love to hear that. He's coming out with his own book next year. Non-fiction. Story of his life and career - especially the TV business which he was a part of from the early days. He came to my book signing at Book Soup in L.A. However I haven't spoken to him since. Hope he likes Secret Celebrity.
David Gans (tnf) Mon 29 Jul 02 16:35
Do your friends, colleagues and acquaintances look for (and find) themselves in your characters? Has this ever gotten you into trouble?
Carol Wolper (carol-wolper) Mon 29 Jul 02 17:01
Good question. I haven't exactly gotten into trouble but I might have a few secret enemies out there. My friends understand that writers draw from the world around them and most of them have no problem with that. In fact, they love it when I use bits and pieces of things we've experienced together. By the way, the secret enemies don't worry me. Besides, the girl the character "psycho girl" is based on doesn't read. Unless it's a magazine that she might be mentioned in.
David Gans (tnf) Mon 29 Jul 02 17:07
Tell us more about her, please. I have to confess that the bound galley I marked up in preparation for this interview isn't in hand -- I think my business manager "borrowed" it.
Linda Castellani (castle) Mon 29 Jul 02 17:14
She's looking to see if there's anything in there about her, no doubt!
Carol Wolper (carol-wolper) Mon 29 Jul 02 17:48
"psycho girl" is one of those L.A. types who believes you're nothing if you're not famous. It's facinating to watch someone who appears to have no inner life at all. And isn't looking for one. Fascinating in a kind of Diane Arbus freak show way.
David Gans (tnf) Mon 29 Jul 02 17:55
> It's facinating to watch someone who appears to have no inner life at all. Can you elaborate on that a little? In a town as oriented toward creativity, you'd expect to find lots of people who are pretty much engaged with reality...
Linda Castellani (castle) Mon 29 Jul 02 18:00
I know that question wasn't addressed to me, but I have to say that LA is not a town oriented toward creativity, it's a town oriented toward the creation of appearances, and is absolutely unconcerned with reality. It's how things appear to be that counts.
David Gans (tnf) Mon 29 Jul 02 18:39
I was congratulating myself for having typed that with a straight face.
Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Mon 29 Jul 02 19:00
> it's a town oriented toward the > creation of appearances, and is absolutely unconcerned with reality. > It's how things appear to be that counts. That raises a question in my mind. Carol, is reality the 'secret'?
Kosher Swan (shmo) Mon 29 Jul 02 19:23
> LA is not a town oriented toward creativity, it's a town oriented toward > the creation of appearances, and is absolutely unconcerned with reality. > It's how things appear to be that counts. I'd say this comment is a reductive oversimplification of a diverse, rich, complex, fascinating, mysterious, puzzling, menacing, challenging, thrilling, profound city, where millions of people (several of whom are unconnected to the entertainment industry) lead very real lives, and fulfilling ones at that. At least that's been my experience here for the past 41 years. I can't think of another big city that gets dismissed with such glee in such broad generalized strokes by so many people Los Angeles does. And there is a vibrant community of creative people in and around Los Angeles (several of whom are unconnected to the entertainment industry) making art and poetry and theatre and music that rivals the output of any other major city's art-makers. I also think one can point accusations of superficiality at the outward aspects of just about any community, urban or otherwise. I consider it a tribute to Los Angeles that every attempt to define it defeats itself. I'm not living in denial of the glitzy overbelly of the town. I just know there's way more to Los Angeles than the accepted easy view of it. And I'm also in a snarky mood after a series of bad days, so my apologies if the tone is abrasive. No viciousness intended.
Carol Wolper (carol-wolper) Mon 29 Jul 02 20:03
Okay I screwed up one of my responses, so it didn't post. Let me try again. First of all Hollywood and L.A. intersect but certain observations about Hollywood do not apply to the bigger city. In Hollywood, reality is the weekly box office. That's one bottom line everyone is interested in. Other than that fact, there's not a big interest in truth. That said, there are some smart, talented, truth seeking filmmakers around; David Fincher. Alexander Payne. As for the earlier question/comment about the character "psycho girl" , let me put it this way. These kinds of girls are as weird tomme as someone who has had too much plastic surgery. In a way psycho girls have undergone a kind of emotional/psychological plastic surgery. Their obsession with fame has rendered them life-less. As for the remark about L.A. as a place that defies description, I agree. Which is why it's so much fun to try to describe it.
Linda Castellani (castle) Mon 29 Jul 02 22:56
I say that as a loving native Angelino. I wish it weren't true, but it sums up a lot of what I was exposed to in the 40 plus years I lived there, and the thing I miss the least about it. Like what I call "The LA Greeting" where you walk into a room and everyone's eyes slide up and down, checking out the hair, the shoes, the details that let them know whether you are up-to-the minute or happily oblivious to the fact that those are last year's jeans - this year those of us in the know are wearing rivets, and for god's sake no one's hair is piecy any more - and how you are received depends on whether or not the proper accoutrements are found. Suffice it to say that I love LA, but there are some things I don't miss, and all the things that Barry mentioned that I do. Especially this: > making art and poetry and theatre and music that rivals the output of > any other major city's art-makers. > But! Back to the book!
Carol Wolper (carol-wolper) Tue 30 Jul 02 08:06
I too love L.A. I can't imagine living anywhere else and hopefully that comes through in my book. One of the things I'm trying to do in my novel is shift the focus away from those people in Hollywood who chase fame to those people who are, as Sean MacPherson calls them, "secret celebrities" - people who are really good at what they do, have the respect of their peers but are not trying to land in People magazine and People magazine will never get what's so great about them.
David Gans (tnf) Tue 30 Jul 02 09:34
So you're saying it's possible to do good work in Hollywood, maybe even earn a decent living, and have the respect of your peers -- without having to dress just exactly so before you leave the house, be seen in only this or that important place, and choose your sex partners on the basis of what they can do for you professionally? Cool. I have to say, even the shallowest of your principal characters in "Secret Celebrity" shows a little depth before the story ends. Doesn't she?
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