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Alan Alda Paper Lion essay

Plimpton did not inLiuut: a girl in his book, but the movie producers have obligingly provided one. Played by fashion model Lauren Hutton, she is about to be thrown for a loss by guard John Gordy and tackle Alex Karras. playing Plimpton in the movie version of his book Paper Lion, and the one thing I seemed to be doing fine was looking like an amateur. In fact, before we started the picture, there had been some concern about how complete an amateur I was. Three months before the shooting began, I had been invited to the St. Regis Hotel in New York to meet a producer named Stuart Millar, an immense man of six feet six, who was thinking of hiring me for the part. "Now, George is an excellent amateur athlete," he began, looking down at me. "How good an athlete are you?" An actor is a person who says yes he can play the trumpet and is hired and then finds, to his utter amazement, that he can play the trumpet. "I love sports," I said. "I'm completely untrained, of course, so I have this very strange form." I said this lightly to make up with charm the ground I was losing with honesty. "How about touch football?" I smiled. "It's ironic that you should ask," I said. "Only three weeks ago I was playing a game with neighbors in the street in front of my house." My eyes went out of focus slightly as I recalled it. It was Sunday in Leonia, N.J. There was a group of happy, carefree men and children playing touch football in the street. "Hey, Al, join the game," they called. So I joined the game, and the first thing 1 did was to rush an eight-year-old quarterback. Unfortunately his father, who weighed about 250 pounds, was blocking for him. As I charged in, he lifted his left arm and effortlessly chopped me in the larynx. I was playing in a musical called The Apple Tree, and the next night they had to put my understudy on. "I was out of the show for two days," I told Millar. He leaned back in his chair. "Well, at least we know what league you play in," he said. Two nights later 1 was in my dressing room at the theater when the phone rang. It was my business manger. "Alan," he said, "I think they're going to make us an offer. United Artists is not worried about you as an actor. They're just concerned about whether you'll be convincing as an ama- teur athlete. They want to go to Central Park on Sunday and play touch football." "This Sunday?" "Right. I think we should do it." "What do you mean ire?" I said. "All you have to do is look like an athlete," he said. Continued on page 73 Plimpton (right) looks bemused as Old number zero sc,,tc., is Alda gets set to throw a pass. tackler mysteriously collapses. 57


Alan Alda Paper Lion essay
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