Andrew (perspectivism) wrote,

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Harvard Man

I just now experienced a fantastic film!!

Here's some charming background on it:

Toback is as notorious for the unproduced screenplays of this period as he is for his lifestyle. One, Harvard Man, is a project that could actually define Toback's whole career. He has talked about it forever. Leonardo DiCaprio was supposed to play the lead at one pre-Titanic time, but the interested studio didn't think the young actor was marketable. Toback's personal legend about the script recounts how he pitched it to producer Don Simpson in a marathon session by reading him the entire thing over the phone and finally securing approval, only to have Simpson drop dead of a cocaine overdose five minutes after hanging up.

The story of Harvard Man is a tale of the Sixties moved forward 30 years: a strung-out student athlete throws a basketball game. "The main character's involved in a deep sexual relationship with his philosophy professor and also with a Boston College cheerleader, who is the daughter of a mobster he owes money" [...]

[The LSD effects were autobiographical in that] "I was functioning, but I had learned more in those eight days than in any other period," he says. "I have not been high since that episode. I have literally not had even a single near-drug experience since I was 19. And yet that experience remains the seminal emotional, psychological, intellectual experience of my life."

Keeping the faith that Harvard Man will make it to the screen is his current obsession. It is, he says, why he went back to work in 1996, after a fallow period when he thought nobody would ever work with him again because he had been dormant for so long. He got inspired, he says, by watching TV coverage of Downey emerging from a jail cell after being held for a drug violation. Toback wanted to bring Downey back, just as he wanted to revive himself, so he wrote Two Girls and a Guy, a steamy, twisted love triangle that required more than a dozen reviews by the Motion Picture Association of America and various snips to get an R rating. The film made a hit in independent film circles in 1997, and Toback was back in business.

Now the director is trying again with Black and White and his next project, Love in Paris, a romance. But he says he does these so he can build up enough of a reputation to make Harvard Man. "If I can sneak in Harvard Man first, before my next movie, I will," he says. "There's a chance that I might be able to do it between projects." (strange article that gives good background but describes a very different movie than the one they're renting at your corner store!)
Some of the dialogue really made me think. And, overall it inspired. I highly recommend!

Also from Toback, Black & White is splendid. I saw it last year. More mainstream, more emotional than Harvard Man. Harvard Man is a lot more explicitly philosophical & more artificial plotwise.

It's a little maddening that these 2 films are only rated 5.something/10 on IMDB!
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