I like Norman. I mean, he’s okay. He’s bright and writes well. Sometimes he’s even great. As a writer. But why does he think he’s a filmmaker? And why do I sign on to make his picture called Maidstone? I may be as messed up as Norman but I’m an experienced professional actor and know an amateur director without a script is charging into an alley, especially when he films casting sessions and blabbers to sycophants who adore the director, or I guess he’s supposed to be the protagonist, a new presidential candidate from show business, who’s replacing leaders recently shot in 1968. I’m not sure and neither is Norman.
I’m unhappy within minutes and in a few days even the groupies tire of Norman Kingsley’s self-infatuation. Kingsley’s problem is that he’s Mailer and Mailer’s problem is his lousy film hasn’t gone anywhere and has nowhere to go. At least we’re finishing it this misty late afternoon on Long Island.
Something has to happen. What’s Norman thinking? He can see the hammer. It’s right here in my hand. That’s why Norman should’ve written a script but he wants improvisation and I’m offering that as I approach the shirtless, hairy-chested man in short pants. What does he expect? Something’s got to happen. With an actor’s dexterity I conk the top of his curly head, drawing some blood, yes, but hardly a mortal blow.
Norman rants and grabs me, biting my ear before we bound to the ground, wrestling, and I control him on the turf and to calm him I explain, “I don’t want to kill Mailer but I must kill Kingley in this picture.”
He accuses me of betrayal and brutality and I say, “No baby, no baby, you trust me, you trust me… I had to do that, you know I did… The picture doesn’t make sense without this.”
Norman’s current wife screams she’ll kill me and his kids are crying and it’s a year before anyone hears of Charles Manson but look into my eyes and see I might’ve been him if acting hadn’t worked out.