Two memories of Blake Edwards, with whom I worked on "Mickey & Maude," a wanker of a film that no one, especially the people working on it, including Edwards, liked very much.
>> Edwards ran the most easygoing set I've ever been on. We were shooting at Holmby Park in Holmby Hills. Call was 8 a.m. and maybe Blake would show up by 10. The P.A.s all had brand new bicycles. Every vehicle on the location looked as if it was being used for the first time.
The craft services table was basically all-day catering. A masseuse worked on the talent between takes. Dudley Moore had this little palm toy that made fart sounds and he'd go sneaking around and squeeze it behind Ann Reinking's ass and then run away giggling when she chased him, like they were at fourth grade recess or something.
Blake would finally come out of his trailer at around 11 and walk around with 20 crew people looking for the first shot while he was playing with a switchblade knife. When they finally got the set up lit, he'd shoot one master, a couple of takes, and the first A.D. would call lunch.
During lunch, two suits from the studio showed up at the location in a Jaguar. "Where's Blake?" one of them barked at a P.A. They were pissed off about something. The P.A. pointed to Blake's trailer. They went inside.
When they came out they were even angrier than before. When Blake came out a few minutes later, he could not have been happier. Like Warren Beatty, he enjoyed torturing the studio guys.
>> Later on the same shoot, Blake and I were sitting on the beach at his estate in Malibu (for which he charged the studio ridiculous location fees. He knew all the tricks.) We were talking about power in Hollywood, and I asked him, "How much power do you have?"
"What do you think?" he asked, gesturing up the hill to his house where Julie Andrews was waiting, to the Masereti in the driveway, and five acres of the most exclusive real estate in L.A.
"I have it all," he said. "Guaranteed greenlights, name above the title, final cut, final budget approval, approval over advertising and marketing, final approval on casting … all of it."
"And what has it cost you to get that?" I asked him.
"My health," he said. "Countless hours on the couch. Drug addiction and multiple times in rehab. Ulcers. My first marriage. My peace of mind."
"And has it been worth it?" I asked.
"You know," he said, "I ask myself that all the time. And I find, to my horror, that I cannot say yes."