Being There

The making of a classic ending

The story behind Being There’s final scene is every bit as endearing as the movie itself (only “The Third Man” has a better denouement):

The script for Being There ends as both Peter Sellers and Shirley MacLaine take walks in the wood. They run into each other. She says “I was looking for you, Chance.” He says “I was looking for you too.” They take hands and walk off together.

But near the end of production, somebody went up to Hal and said “How’s it going?”

“Great,” Hal said. “Sellers has created this character that’s so amazing, I could have him walk on water and people would believe it.” Hal stopped and thought. “As a matter of fact, I will have him walk on water.” …

[Ashby] had to deal with keeping the shot a secret. There was this one, very well dressed kid around the set who was officially called a PA, but whom Hal suspected of being the studio spy. Hal called him into his office and read him the riot act.

“I’m going to ask you to make a decision right now that’s going to affect the rest of your life,” he told the kid. “I’m going to ask you to decided whose side you’re on. I know you’ve been watching me because you want to learn how to make movies. I also know you’re watching me to make reports to the studio behind my back. I’m about to change the end of this movie because I’ve come up with a better one. The studio can’t know about it or they’ll shut me down. This is it, kid. Decide. Are you on the side of art or commerce?”

The kid kept his mouth shut. The shot got made. The studio was pissed but they used the shot anyway. Hal didn’t give them a choice. He didn’t even shoot the ending in the script.

It goes without saying that would never happen today.


Is there a man in Rihanna’s life who is not a damn fool?

Rihanna’s father, who recently told his daughter she was looking fat, gives his blessing to her doomed reunion with domestic abuser Chris Brown.

He told Heat magazine: ”Chris is a nice guy and everybody’s entitled to make mistakes in their life – God knows how many I’ve made.”

I’m so sick of people pardoning Brown on the basis that we all make “mistakes”. True, none of us are infallible, but most of us don’t beat the shit out of women

Likewise, most fathers of abused women don’t pardon the guy who put their daughter in the hospital.

The WH’s false narrative on Simpson-Bowles

Just saw Peter Orszag, Obama’s former OMB director, claim the White House abandoned the Simpson-Bowles plan because it had no chance of passing Congress.

That may be, but that’s a bullshit answer. There was, believe it or not, growing bipartisan consensus about the Simpson-Bowles plan that, while imperfect, it was a sober and constructive road map to economic sanity.

Obama mentioned it only in passing. Had he pushed it I’d have little doubt he’d coast to a second term. It would’ve shown a seriousness that the president has lacked concerning the deficit.

You can’t blame everything on the “party of no.”