Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Joe McGinness, the famous crime writer, acted in my home made movie aboard a cruise ship.

Joe appears in a scene of one-liners at a round table right about 5:00.

8 years ago, we got our first digital video consumer grade camera and, because Jim Brochu, the most famous actor in the world, had a gig on one of the legs of a world cruise -- Sydney to Hong Kong -- we knew we wanted to document the trip, but find that most vacation movies are really boring. Here we are at Bla Bla. And here we are standing in front of the Bla Bla.

I mean we have all this location! That would cost a zillion dollars if you were doing a Hollywood film.

So, a friend suggested we think up a premise.

We thought glamorous Famous Actress from the 30s is on board and is hiding out.

It started with the flight attendants in their suite overlooking Sydney harbor. Then we start involving friends, then other passengers, and members of the crew. All in on the joke from the start.

But as we made it to the various ports, we ran into the most unexpected guest stars. For instance, touring a hotel in Brunei, we run into a public appearance by the Crown Prince of Brunei just as he was breaking off from a photo op.

The other entertainers and speakers on board were targets. Broadway star Tommy Tune makes an appearance. Alvin Shuster, former New York Times London Bureau Chief and longtime LA Times Executive Editor. He and his wife join in.

And Joe McGinniss, who passed away yesterday at 71. He was famous for having written about a famous crime, Fatal Vision. It was made into a movie. We were at lunch with him, former Ambassador to Iraq, Edward Peck and Robert Verdi, and the old famous Hollywood make-up artist.

We told them the premise, that we were looking for this famous actress, and they improvised their lines, building up the image and character of this movie star. No matter what anyone said about her, it became part of her mythology.

The whole thing may only be only funny to us, because it's a vacation video with a lot of friends, but when I heard he died, it made me very sad.

We tried making a follow-up movie, but it got bogged down in special effects.

The old British couple at the top of the film, we gave them that line to say and they were so adorable, it became the title slate of the film. He died on board several years later. They loved the sea, and they stayed together till the end. She even finished the cruise.

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