Tuesday, May 20, 2014
On staff we had a medical adviser, a technical adviser, and a military adviser. We had no fashion consultant for Klinger however. The budget was only so large.
But my partner, David Isaacs and I continued to do our homework on future projects. Hey, Paddy Chayefsky used to do extensive research and so does James L. Brooks (although Brooks got it from Gene Reynolds as did we) so you know there's value in it.
Over the last 8 ½ years of this blog I might have mentioned once, twice at the most, that we wrote the Tom Hanks/John Candy movie VOLUNTEERS. If I didn’t mention it, now you know. The bulk of the film was set in Thailand in 1962. Tom’s character joins the Peace Corps to avoid a gambling debt. So we wanted to know about the Thai culture – what their lives were like, their food, their homes, customs, religion, concerns, etc.
Our producer, Walter, said he knew someone from Thailand who was living out here now. We arranged a dinner with him.
The gentleman, whose name was At (that’s a name we used in the movie) selected the meeting place – the most expensive Thai restaurant in Los Angeles if not the world.
At apparently was a relative of the royal family. He ordered for us. Every dish was scrumptious, but hugely rich. Lobster sauce, and filet mignon, and exotic noodle dishes. We asked what the common folks ate. “This,” At ansswered. “Really?” I said, “Jungle Curry Pork Ribs, Ginger Whole Seabass, and Crab Meat Noodles?” Yep, he insisted. That’s how the peasants ate.
Except, according to At, there were no peasants. Everyone in Thailand lived in nice homes. I guess the real unfortunate ones didn’t have a view.
We asked how the general population in outlying areas filled their days. Working in rice fields? Taking shelter from the monsoons? Oh no. They played a lot of sports.
We of course used none of this nonsense in the film but stayed late into the evening asking more questions because we were highly entertained. Had we used his stuff our movie would have become REAL HOUSEWIVES OF THAILAND.
Research is great… as long as its valid. I don’t know whatever happened to At. I do hope he wrote the Thailand page on Wikipedia.
By Ken Levine at 6:00 AM