been written. was notably critical that the movie part went to the more ‘classically beautiful' Michelle). the scene is just one token of the Hollywoodizing that has rounded off Frankie ant/Johnny‘s tougher edges in much the same way that Pretty Woman turned a story about at Sunset Strip hooker into a latter-day Cinderella fable.
Reminding me that it was playwright McNally who wrote the screenplay himself. Marshall stands by his set ofartistic choices. for as Pretty Woman surely demonstrated. he does have a finely-honed sense ofwhat will play with the public. 'On Frankie and Johnny. the studio said to Marvin Hamlish. the composer. "Look. it‘s a cook and a waitress. two common people. so don‘t bring all those slushy strings in there." And Marvin said. "Wait a minute. now only rich people hear strings and the poor hear a harmonica? When you‘re in love. everybody hears violins." I don‘t know ifit‘s the same in your bathroom. but I liked it that they were brushing their teeth and in comes that 85-piece orchestra. I guess I just like a big finish. In Beaches. Bette Midler sang Wind Beneath My Wings. with Pretty Woman you had Verdi wailing in the wind. so I always try to make it a moment that will take you out. I have mostly positive endings in my work because I like to leave you to come out feeling good.~
Coming from many another moviemaker. such sentiments would invariably leave me reaching for the sickbag. but Marshall comes across as a genuinely amiable fellow who truly likes people. You can sense it perhaps in the way he‘s so good at doing ensemble
scenes — Frankie and Johnny’s bustling diner being just one instance ofthe care he takes to make sure even the bit players are doing something worthwhile and often very funny in the background. Of all current Hollywood directors. he‘s also known for something of a sense ofmischief. and in interview he certainly seems to enjoy dishing out the hot poop on the various pranks he’s tried on his stars.
‘But what’s great about [Pacino] is that he truly wants to get right into his part. He loves to use the props. Most of all, he likes to show off with the chopping kniie.’
‘Ifan actor's not comfortable. I‘ll often mess up the scene on purpose just to throw them so they won‘t be sure what's going to happen. It tends to take their mind off what they‘re worrying about. like with Pretty Woman Julia Roberts was worried about being nude in the bubble bath so the first time she went under the water I had everybody clear the set. The whole crew disappeared. Richard Gere disappeared. so when she came up the place was deserted. So after that. she’d come out ofthe water wondering who was gonna be there and she had a really interesting expression on her face. The great irony of how we don‘t have any idea ofwhat we‘re doing when we make movies is that Julia‘s trademark is now that scene.‘
Marshall. whose personable skills as a
raconteur have led to screen roles as the casino owner in Albert Brooks‘s Lost In America and the wisecracking TV chief in the recent comedy Soapdish. obviously relished the opportunity of working with Al Pacino on Frankie andJohnny and his attitude towards the actor‘s notoriously painstaking approach sits somewhere between admiration and ironic bemusement. ‘Al is much further away from Johnny than Michelle is from Frankie. Her performance is magnificent. I think. and she seems to know the pain of relationships very well, but Al had to reach for Johnny because he's not a bouncy outgoing guy like that character. Al likes a lot of takes because he‘s a little bit shy. Michelle‘s a three-to-fiver. but Al's a ten-to-fourteener. so you have to find a way of combining the two.
‘But what‘s great about him is that he truly wants to get right into his part. He loves to use the props. So here he‘s got a short order cook and he loves to have three orders of fries on the go and he has his eggs and his burgers. Most ofall. he likes to show offwith the chopping knife. He‘s trying to chop away very quickly in the background of a lot ofthe scenes we were shooting. And he‘s cutting his hand to pieces. We have to put all these band aids on his hands. Eventually. enough was enough. so I switched around knives and gave him a rubber one instead. We set up to go. he started chopping and the knife bounced out ofhis hand. I think he had a problem with that.‘
Frankie and Johnny (/5) opens widely across Scotland on Friday 1 7January.
and POLA JONES present
s H AND RIFF Rl-l\ s JONES
GLASGOW ROYAL CONCERT HALL
WEDNESDAY 4th MARCH 8pm Box Office 041-227 5511
FRIDAY 6th MARCH 8pm Box Office 031-557 2590
l 7 #30 January 199215