Phone Message Transcript: June 3, 1997
[appearing on Anne's fan phone line]
"Okay, this is very early, the morning of June 3rd, 1997. If the machine cuts me off abruptly you can still leave a message. It just means the machine has decided to cut me off. There's still room for your one minute message, and I hear everything you're sending me. And thank you, thank you for all your calls reminding me that you did tell me all about Leonardo DiCaprio, and I didn't listen to you. I'm still absolutely enthralled by this actor. I just finished watching BASKETBALL DIARIES, one of the most painful films I've ever watched, and this actor is incredible. I mean, right now, I know I've said this over and over again, we have extraordinary talent in Tim Holt and Gary Oldman and Kenneth Branagh and just all kinds of young geniuses and now this Leonardo DiCaprio is one of them, to me. He's right in there. And when you add to that our senior actors, I mean, Jeremy Irons, Harvey Keitel and Robert diNiro and Danny Aiello, I mean, my God, this is the richest time in film in ages. But anyway, if you haven't discovered this actor, I strongly recommend him. This actor, Leonardo DiCaprio, is the one who can fulfill the promise of James Dean that died in the 1950's, when James Dean's Porsche Spider crashed into the truck of farmer from Indiana. And maybe you don't, are not old enough to remember that, but this actor can do it. This actor has the genius of James Dean, and he's got the full ability to just give of himself in a movie.
Of course, it frustrates me terribly that I can't immediately make a movie with him out of one of my books, but I'm going to give you a quick report on that. SERVANT OF THE BONES is being done as a mini-series by Showtime and they are hiring a wonderful writer. They're also doing THE FEAST OF ALL SAINTS as a mini-series, and again they've hired a wonderful writer. I'm very happy working with them. The president of SHOWTIME, Jerry Offsay, is brilliant. I'm very, very happy there.
Okay, books. VIOLIN is, was an agony to write but I'm very proud of it and it comes out in October. Our first signing will be down here October 31st in New Orleans. We may do other signings but I don't know. It all depends on how I'm doing on the book that I'm writing now, which is ARMAND. And right now I am so deep into ARMAND and so deep, for the first time I really understand this character. You know, I created Armand from a certain distance and he walks in pain, he breathes pain, he emanates pain, and now I understand it. And I have delved back into what his life was before he appears in THE VAMPIRE LESTAT and it's taken me an odyssey into Kiev Russe, whatever you want to call that land that surrounds the City of Kiev, that we for a long time called Russia. Anyway, ARMAND is very deeply under way and that book will be published in the fall of '98.
I did get my wish about the short vampire novels. My publisher did give into me graciously and I have finished PANDORA, the first one, 325 pages in manuscript, which is a record low for me. And that was turned it, I mean that will be turned in as soon as I proofread it and get it out of here. That will be published in the spring. That's the update of publications.
With movies, I remain in this heartbreaking purgatory. I wish I could forget about them, you know. But I just love movies so much that, you know, watching TOTAL ECLIPSE with DiCaprio and then watching BASKETBALL DIARIES, I mean it's seeing that fine things like that get made. I just, it makes me feel wonderful that that kind of art is coming out of film. Film and novels today are our most powerful social arts, our most powerful popular arts and our most powerful moral arts, really. Oh, and by the way, I caught on T.V. last night that Jeremy Irons, the great Jeremy Irons, and Leonardo DiCaprio are both in a new version of THE MAN IN THE IRON MASK, which is under production. Well, I nearly lost my mind over that. I mean, I remember my mother when I was a little girl telling me the whole story of Alexandre Dumas' MAN IN THE IRON MASK, and of course I saw the Richard Chamberlain T.V. version years ago, and I just, the fact, to think of Irons and DiCaprio in the same movie is almost more than I can take.
But I have had some communication recently with Warner Brothers on the Vampire Chronicles, which they own and control. And I sincerely think that Billy Gerber, the president of Warner Brothers really wants to make THE VAMPIRE LESTAT. The picture's been held up by certain people who were involved in the first movie, INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE, who have gone on to make other movies and I think all of it's going to be solved. I think it's going to be solved and I think Warner Brothers is really going to hone in on Lestat and give us a movie. As for THE WITCHING HOUR, they own that, too. I don't know what they'll do with that.
But, listen guys, let me say goodnight before this machine, you know, gives me the chop, and just say check out this actor. Check him out, man, he is just, I saw him in ROMEO AND JULIET, he is fabulous. And thank you again, those of you who tried to tell me three years ago that he was wonderful, and I don't blame you for being a little bit disgusted or angry with me for not listening to you. Thank you for telling me today and yesterday what your favorite books were. I really appreciated that. It's amazing how many of you said THE WITCHING HOUR rather than any of the vampire books. I'm very intrigued, and I will continue the small novels in the spring for the next two years, three years. And I don't know who'll be next after PANDORA but I know ARMAND is no short book. ARMAND is a huge book. It's going to be the direct sequel to MEMNOCH and it picks up right on the very morning that MEMNOCH ends. Or actually not where MEMNOCH ends as a novel, but right on the very morning when Dora holds up the veil. That's all I should say, you know, it would ruin the book for anybody else if I said more. But it picks up at that point. I'm really finding a voice in ARMAND and it's a great experience. I mean, I, I, to be a writer is such a gift from God. I don't know what I did to deserve it. I mean, you get all the pain first and a lot of the frustrations and then suddenly there comes this awareness that you can convert agony into something coherent, that you had a chance to do that. And I can feel in the face of that is humility and gratitude.
And I'm going in now to say my night prayers. Now this is what I do for my night prayers. I listen to the second disc of EVITA. I let Antonio Banderas, my darling Antonio, my magnificent Antonio, and Madonna, my idol, sing me to sleep. And I do this every night. I've listen to the second half of EVITA, oh, probably a hundred times, and I know all the songs and all the words, and they all seem so meaningful. And they mean a lot to me as a writer. They mean a lot as a writer, to a writer who's made the best seller list and been number one and this kind of thing, this is the reality of my life. I love listening to them talk about the very question of fame and it's illusions and how briefly the lights shine and all of this. And I think they did a wonderful job.
As soon as the disc out of it and HAMLET, I'm going to be just immediately buying those films. Kenneth Branagh's HAMLET went through here, went through New Orleans, I think in three days. I'm going to get the disc. I recommend Kenneth Branagh. You know how much I love him. If you want to know Shakespeare, get Branagh to teach you. You just watch HENRY V, you will have an education in how to understand Shakespeare. Shakespeare is just fantastic. You'll have a totally different experience from the recent ROMEO AND JULIET, because as good as that was, you get with Branagh an articulation of the poetry of Shakespeare that is fantastic and it's for your ear. He is a real interpreter of Shakespeare. But the ROMEO AND JULIET was experimental and it was marvelous, and the director is the same one who did STRICTLY BALLROOM, and he's fantastic. He's innovative. He has the innovative skills of Oliver Stone and he has the huge vision of Oliver Stone.
Anyway, I'm going to go dream that I'm casting THE VAMPIRE LESTAT and the cameras are rolling and I'm directing, because that's what I am doing with ARMAND. I'm writing it, casting it, directing it, lighting it, and everything else. That's the joy of being a writer. And thank you all for calling and thank you for your love. And, Oh, please Walton and Johnson - let me tell you hello. I know you guys will be on in the morning, you wonderful guys. Hello from the fox of First Street. I send you my greetings. Tell the whole world, will you, about Leonardo DiCaprio, that we have James Dean back. You guys are old enough to remember James Dean, aren't you. I know you put your baby pictures up on the highway, but come on, you must be my age. Somebody must be left who's my age. Anyway, good night everybody. I love you. Leave me a message."