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Further Phoenix
at Rio's Attic:

Peter Bogdanovich

The Thing Called Love

Running on Empty

Sidney Lumet

Naomi Foner

New York

Sandra Bullock

Ludwig Van Beethoven

Who The Devil Made It

Jose Iturbi
Rio's Attic: Celebrating the Life and Times of a Dearly Missed River Phoenix
American EnglishEn Français

"That purity he had just outshone anything."

- Sidney Lumet

Who The Devil Made It

by Peter Bogdanovich.
First published in 1997.

ISBN 0-345-40457-2 (Paperback, 864 Pages)

Talking to a total of sixteen legendary film directors, author and director himself Peter Bogdanovich, undertakes a successful examination of the first one hundred years of filmmaking.

The author also briefly mentions a few of his own movies including The Thing Called Love which he describes as the first movie to introduce Sandra Bullock and also as River's last completed movie.

At well over eight hundred pages in length, this book is no quick read. When all said and done though, for most visitors to this web site, it will be the last chapter of the book that will be the most interesting. It is here that Bogdanovich talks to Running on Empty director Sidney Lumet.

The chapter is actually the result of two interviews Lumet gave to Bogdanovich, the first of which took place in New York City in January 1960. The other interview took place thirty-five years later in the form of a long coast to coast telephone call. During the time that had elapsed between those two conversations, the movie industry had witnessed many changes. It had also seen the arrival from nowhere of a significant contributor to American film culture. It had also witnessed his sudden departure.

How did you get along with River Phoenix on Running on Empty [1988]?

I loved him. It was just an extraordinary couple of months working with him. Naomi Foner, who I think is really a fine, wonderful screenwriter, had written one really fake scene in the film: River's character sits down at the piano at the girl's house and starts noodling a little Beethoven sonata; then he becomes aware of her behind him and he goes into some boogie-woogie. Before we began, I had said to Naomi, "You know, this is the old José Iturbi bit; we're not that square. We're not just classical music - it's so condescending - it's the only dopey thing you've written and let's get rid of it." During rehearsals, Naomi held out - she wanted it and so I said: "OK, I won't say anything. We'll try to rehearse it and see what it feels like then." Sure enough, as soon as I began to block it, River said, "Naomi, you know, this really is - this is very corny." The sight of that seventeen-year-old arguing with this first-rate writer, twice his age, was so entrancing. You know, that purity he had just outshone anything. Naomi couldn't resist him: she said, "OK."

With River, it was always about the scene or the whole movie; he always was thinking of the entire work. That was very unusual, don't you think, for a young actor - or any actor?

Absolutely. And talk about early takes. God, to have to go two takes with him would be surprising.

ISBN 0-679-44706-7 (Hardback, 832 Pages)

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