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Overview for Robert Towne
Robert Towne

Robert Towne


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Also Known As: Died:
Born: November 23, 1934 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Los Angeles, California, USA Profession: Writer ...


"The movies started changing with 'Superman'. The stars became Sly Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Indiana Jones. It's a need for heroes. When we feel we can't do much of anything right, build a car or a TV set, we want someone who can change events, who can do it for us. The characters I write about are men who control events far, far less than events control them. My characters get caught, they try even though they don't prevail or even significiantly influence events. These guys muddle through." --Robert Towne quoted in The New York Times, November 27, 1990

"There are no novels or plays I'm itching to write and there never have been. I love movies. I think movies best communicate whatever I have to say and show; or to put it another way, when what you want to show is what you have to say, you are pretty much stuck with movies as a way of saying it." --Towne in Esquire, July 1991

"Working on 'Personal Best' was a great experience for me. And though the film was not a commercial success, it certainly got a lot of good critical attention and has had a long and honorable life in terms of being a sort of reference point in films. As for 'Tequila Sunrise', it was doomed from the beginning, when I was prevented from doing a script in which the hero is killed. That just twisted everything. Had that movie ended with Mel Gibson's death, the way it had been written, I think it would have been better reviewed and more commercially successful." --Robert Towne to Premiere, April 1998

On giving the scene he wrote to Marlon Brando in "The Godfather": "He was in his makeup chair and he said, 'Read it to me.' 'Read it to you?' 'Yeah.' 'Both parts?' 'Yeah.' That immediately pissed me off, because I thought, 'Well, this fucker's got to know that's an intimidating thing to do to anybody.' I made up my mind about one thing: I ain't gonna read this well. Acting for Brando is one mistake I'm not gonna make. I read it and he said, 'Read it again.' Then he did something that only Tom Cruise has ever done since--he took that scene apart, line by line, pause by pause, word by word. He wanted to know absolutely everything in my head that I could tell him about." --From Movieline, October 1998

About his differences with director Roman Polanski regarding the ending of "Chinatown": "Roman and I have been much misunderstood about this. We both agreed that it ended darkly. The only difference was I felt it was too melodramatic to end it his way. The way I had it figured was just about as dark, but Roman felt he needed that finale. I was wrong and he was right. Roman is one of the most gifted filmmakers of all time. As the years have gone by, I see that he taught me more than anybody. The best working relationship I ever had was with him. By far. He's a giant." --From Movieline, October 1998

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