Monday, December 05, 2005

I met Jonathan Lethem, briefly

by Ryland Walker Knight

Yes, I did talk with Mr Lethem. He told me my name was cool and liked those 70s records by Mr Cooder, as well. We also talked about Edward Norton and his 'Motherless Brooklyn' adaptation:
me - So is Edward Norton ever gonna make that movie?
jl - Who knows? Your guess is as good as mine. I think the problem is he keeps taking acting jobs.
me - Oh well.
jl - Yeah, but I feel, well, lucky, because the project is kinda out of my hands at this point; it's at a stage where I don't have to worry about it. But I have to say it would be fun to see up there on the big screen.
me - Yeah, he'd probably be a great Lionel.
jl - For sure.
me - Are there any of your other novels you would like, or, uh, have a desire to see on the big screen?
jl - Well, I always thought 'As She Climbed Across The Table' would be a fun movie and it was actually just optioned by some people at DreamWorks so maybe we'll see that in the near future.
me - Oh, great. That was the second book of yours I read, and I really enjoyed it. It was fun to see that 'Pure Fiction' strain at work with how you cast Berkeley because I went there, for a time.
jl - Yeah, it's funny. I never went to Berkeley--I lived there, but never attended--so the exteriors are all pretty much Sather Gate, you know, but the interiors are Bennington.
me - I was wondering if they were Lawrence Berkeley Labs or what because I never went into the science buildings. Anyways, I think those blind men are hilarious and could be funny in a film.
jl - [while I'm finishing] Uh-huh. Sure. Well, thanks.
me - Yeah, well, I don't want to bother you any more. Thanks again.
jl - Sure, have a great night.
me - Thanks, you too.

I didn't foist a short story on him, just my copy of 'The Disappointment Artist' which he scribbled 'For Ryland - All best wishes - Jonathan Lethem' in which looks more like 'For Ryland - All belt wirl- *mountain top* *swoop up, looped-t, troublesome fizzling out EKG*'

It was still cool. Maybe if I come across him again I can engage him for longer than that brief exchange. I'd love to talk movies in general with him. See what he thought of 'Syriana' or if he's a Criterion junkie, too. Hope so.