November 21, 2015
Blind is an indie movie with an original screenplay by John Buffalo Mailer and directed by his older brother Michael Mailer. It stars Alec Baldwin and Demi Moore, and the cast includes yours truly. Personal feelings aside, and from all reports and rushes, this is going to be a really good one. Alec Baldwin is an old pro at this game, and his advice has been immeasurable and very much appreciated. I’ve never seen a more contented cast, with a brilliant Polish cinematographer whose sensitivity shines through the drama.
Obviously I will not give the game away, but it’s a hell of a story: A writer who is planning to ask his wife for a divorce has a terrible car accident in which she’s killed while he goes blind. In a parallel story, a big-time hedgie, master of the universe, is finally nailed and sent to jail. His wife, Demi, is given community service. While performing it, she meets the blind Alec and the inevitable takes place. They fall in love. But the hedgie still has some tricks up his sleeve, and his team of slick lawyers discovers some irregularities during the discovery period of his conviction. The bad guy’s out and you will never guess what happens next.
My own scene was shot last night at the Boom Boom Room, a place I know well but had never seen sober. I use the word “uxorious” and spar with writer Gay Talese about who invented sex, the Greeks or the Romans. (The Greeks, but the Romans included women.) Three takes was all it took. The director, Erich von Mailer, yelled cut, and that was it. I then shot another scene with the beautiful Cristina Cuomo, sister-in-law of the governor of New York, who asks me on camera how old I am. “Younger than Socrates” is the answer.
But I’m giving away all the secrets. In the greatest movie ever made, Seduced and Abandoned, I got a great review from the great Deborah Ross. This time I predict the big shots will get an Oscar, as will the screenplay and Erich von Mailer as director. Last week, while on location in the Bronx, I felt that the place where we were shooting deserved an Oscar because of its uniqueness: A copy of a Renaissance Italian palazzo was built in the early part of the last century by a man called Andrew Freedman. It is located right smack in the middle of the Grand Concourse, a couple of hundred feet away from Yankee Stadium, and the purpose for it—now, just get this—was to provide for his well-to-do friends who had fallen on hard times.
Now, we’ve all heard stories of eccentric millionaires leaving their loot to beloved dogs and cats, even a parrot once in a while, but no one ever thinks of giving a helping hand to fellow millionaires who might one day need the root of all envy. Freedman did, and put his money where his mouth was. He built this enormous palazzo and decreed in his will that friends that were born to privilege and to lotsa moola, but lost it, should live there for free and on his dime.
Soon after his death, guess what? Black Tuesday hit Wall Street, and the palazzo filled up rather quickly. It must have been like a fraternity, with posh types comparing notes long into the night; they should make a movie of that alone. Needless to say, Andrew Freedman’s wishes were not followed to the letter. They never are, are they? The palazzo was turned over to the blind and to the poor, and who am I to argue with that, except if I were a Freedman? A will is a will, but governments ignore them and the moola rarely goes where it was intended to go.
Still, it was fun to be shooting in a building built for rich people who had gone broke. In fact, I think it must be the only building in the world constructed for that purpose. The day I visited, Demi and Alec were shooting a most tender scene, when she visits him and tells him her hubby’s coming out and… Talk about hard work. Precise work. I had brought some jodhpurs and riding boots for Erich von Mailer, but he wouldn’t put them on. He did keep the whip, however. Alec and Demi were simply terrific, and oh-so-professional. Alec would break everyone up after the final take by either demanding another million dollars or cracking a joke during the clinch. As I said, acting is not for the faint at heart. It’s a tough business. In fact, I’m taking back everything young Taki has ever written about the movie business and the people in it. (And I know I’ll regret it.)
Blind should wrap by Christmas—the crew is off to Europe next week to shoot on location, which has put a crimp in my plans for some holiday partying as my friends will be away—but I will somehow manage on my own. I sent some pictures of Demi Moore and myself during the filming to London friends, who doctored the pictures and sent them back to me, and now they’re in the hands of Epstein, Epstein & Goldfarb—my libel solicitors—and the joke’s on them. See ya in court.