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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Oscar-nominated director visits the loft cinema

    Sheldon Smith / Arizona Daily Wildcat

Bob Rafelson
    Sheldon Smith
    Sheldon Smith / Arizona Daily Wildcat Bob Rafelson

    Tucson was afforded a rare visit from a film making legend Saturday night. Oscar nominated director Bob Rafelson was at the Loft Cinema for a Q&A following a screening of “”Five Easy Pieces,”” the 1970 counterculture classic that launched Jack Nicholson’s career, which Rafelson co-wrote, produced and directed.

    Poised casually on-stage, Rafelson joked and gestured as he responded to questions about the film, his career and his views on the film industry. When asked about his tendency to work with up-and-coming stars Rafelson candidly explained the good and the bad.

    “”It’s a discovery. Sometimes (up-and-coming stars) get in the way. They are malleable, but it depends on the actor. Some come in well trained and have studied their entire lives.””

    Throughout the Q&A Rafelson joked about his relationship with Jack Nicholson and the challenges of working with him as an actor. “”He is a phenomenal person. He truly respects the work he does and the pieces he selects.””

    But Rafelson did note that fame brought changes to their relationship. “”In our first movie (Five Easy Pieces) we stayed in a motel together,”” he explained while gesturing and sipping wine from a paper cup on stage.

    “”When we filmed ‘The Postman Always Rings Twice’ Jack was staying in a house and I was still in a motel. He also had a trailer. I walked up and knocked on the trailer expecting immediate access, but he had a body guard and a driver who told me Mr. Nicholson was not prepared to see me.””

    Rafelson laughed upon recalling the event. He also noted that starring in “”The Postman Always Rings Twice”” Nicholson made three times what the director made over the entirety of his career. Even with that being said, it was clear that the respect and admiration Nicholson and Rafelson share is immense.

    There were solemn notes as well. Rafelson explained the four years in which he was black listed for a fabricated story about him attacking a studio head. Although an altercation had taken place, in court the executive claimed he “”cracked his skull open and threw chairs”” which was highly dramatized. As a result Rafelson went through a dark period on the black list, keeping him from making movies. Incidentally, the man whose career he was able to build into something amazing, Nicholson, came to his aid and suggested the remake “”The Postman Always Rings Twice”” which ended his time as a blacklisted director.

    From sex talk, like Nicholson’s intention of “”showing the first boner in a movie””, to reflection of his interest and magnetism to themes of class, Rafelson exposed a personal side of himself at the Loft’s special event. A legend in the film world, Bob Rafelson’s visions have helped shape Hollywood one movie at a time.

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