‘My Lunches with Orson: Conversations between Henry Jaglom and Orson Welles’, edited by Peter Biskind
Here’s a way to put it: I do not mind seeing the artist naked, but I hate to see him undressing. Show me your cock. That’s all right with me. But don’t striptease. (pp. 107-8)From the description, Always does sound like a bit of a striptease, so there is generosity in overlooking that, too.
The three projects that fail to get off the ground over the course of the lunches are King Lear, The Dreamers and The Big Brass Ring, the latter an original screenplay that Jaglom encourages Welles to write, an exposé of the capitalist greed inherent in politics which Jaglom sees as the book-end to Citizen Kane in Welles’ career. It’s at once a powerful idea, and a shameless pitch at re-igniting both his interest in film-making, and others’ interest in funding it. Various stars turn it down, and Jack Nicholson eventually agrees (after several years thinking about it), but won’t take a pay cut to do it, meaning that it can’t happen. Towards the end of the book, Welles makes an embarrassingly insecure pitch for a TV series to HBO, and complains that he can’t even get work in adverts any more. It’s a sad end to a life dedicated to intellectual curiosity and artistic integrity. But still, it is Orson talking, and it’s good that there is more of that on record.