Wednesday, November 22, 2006

ONE LAST LOOK: TOMLIN AND STREEP INTRODUCE ROBERT ALTMAN AT THE 2005 ACADEMY AWARDS


“Since you’ve gone/My heart is broken/Another time…”
-- Keith Carradine, Allan Nichols, Cristina Raines, Tom, Bill and Mary reunited singing Gary Busey’s ballad “Since You’ve Gone”, from Nashville


(Thanks to David Hudson.)

"Mr. Altman loved making movies. He loved the chaos of shooting and the sociability of the crew and actors — he adored actors — and he loved the editing room and he especially loved sitting in a screening room and watching the thing over and over with other people. He didn't care for the money end of things, he didn't mind doing publicity, but when he was working he was in heaven.

He and I once talked about making a movie about a man coming back to Lake Wobegon to bury his father, and Mr. Altman said, 'The death of an old man is not a tragedy.' I used that line in the movie we wound up making — the Angel of Death says it to the Lunch Lady, comforting her on the death of her lover Chuck Akers in his dressing room, 'The death of an old man is not a tragedy.' Mr. Altman's death seems so honorable and righteous — to go in full-flight, doing what you love — like his comrades in the Army Air Force in WWII who got shot out of the sky and simply vanished into blue air — and all of us who worked with him had the great privilege of seeing an 81-year-old guy doing what he loved to do. I'm sorry that our movie turned out to be his last, but I do know that he loved making it. It's a great thing to be 81 and in love."

- Garrison Keillor, from today's Prairie Home Companion newsletter
(Thanks, Jen.)

2 comments:

Jen said...

I actually met Robert Altman about 12 years ago when I was working at Hearst Entertainment. He was meeting with my boss (pitching a completely unsellable TV series, of course), and got an urgent phone call. I pointed him to the desk next to mine where he could take it, and, while he was on hold, he noticed a catalog on the desk-- Victoria's Secret. He was FASCINATED; he'd never seen one before. "What is this?" "That's a lingerie catalog." After his phone call was over, he stayed at the desk, paging through it, asking all kinds of questions-- "You can order this through the mail?" "Well, yes... the underwear, not the models." He'd lost all interest in the meeting going on in the office behind him. Finally, my boss stuck his head out, gave me an inscrutable look, and Mr. Altman quickly got up to rejoin the execs.

As he and his group were leaving, I handed him the catalog and told him he was welcome to take it with him... which he did.

Ross Ruediger said...

Wow, Jen.

That must be the coolest - and most revealing - Altman anecdote I've read in the past two days. Thanks for sharing.