There was more going on than issues of length and shot selection. A story [John] Cassavetes told about how his friend Tim Carey had spent eight years editing a film [The World’s Greatest Sinner] describes his own feelings as well.
He probably doesn’t want to stop, because when he stops then he really is going to stop. When he stops he’ll face the bills that he has to pay. When he stops he’ll have to become a father again to seven [sic] children. When he stops he’ll have to pay attention to his wife. When he stops he’ll have to be a human being and to be an artist really is to be a freak, in the greatest sense of the word. You’re not interested in living but you’re interested in a substitute life, which is what it means to be an artist.
– Ray Carney, Cassavetes on Cassavetes (Faber and Faber Ltd., 2001)
Cassavetes directing Tim and Seymour Cassel, Minnie and Moskowitz (1971)
Since this book doesn’t have an index, and I haven’t read the whole thing (it’s quite the hefty tome), this quote has only recently come to my attention. I had not heard this story before, and I honestly can’t vouch for its veracity. Seymour Cassel mentioned nothing about this during our interview with him in June. I’ll just leave this here for now.
[John Cassavetes] also continued to help out friends in a variety of ways – for example, backing and acting in a brief production of one of Tim Carey’s plays, similar to what he had previously done for Meade Roberts and Everett Chambers. As evidence of Cassavetes’ fundamentally non-judgmental stance, it is worth mentioning that prior to this, needing money, Carey had stolen a Moviola from Cassavetes and sold it. To the people in Cassavetes’ circle, it was the lowest crime imaginable. In their view, Carey had taken not just a piece of equipment but the means to conduct their livelihood. Everyone turned on him, excommunicating him, refusing to have anything to do with him from that point on (in the end, even refusing to let him speak at Cassavetes’ memorial service). Everyone but one person. Cassavetes himself defended Carey and apparently never held the theft against him.
– Ray Carney, Cassavetes on Cassavetes (Faber and Faber, 2001)
Tim Carey and Seymour Cassel had a number of personal conflicts, and a few fights almost broke out between them. Carey was a notorious ham and scene-stealer, averse to direction, who more or less did whatever he felt like doing in his scenes; Cassel was similar, and the combination was volatile. (By the same virtue, both actors brought a lot of originality to their work. Carey’s shirt and white gloves in the restaurant scene and the way he eats his spinach were entirely his own invention. These were the sorts of things that made other directors shy away from using Carey but which Cassavetes adored.) […] Tim Carey told me about many other times Cassavetes gleefully spent hours filming something when he must have known that he wouldn’t be able to include more than a few seconds of it in the film. (One example was a long sequence in the garage in which Carey’s character sang ‘The Star Spangled Banner’ over and over to Cosmo.)
– Ray Carney, from “Chapter 8: The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (1975)”, Cassavetes on Cassavetes (Faber and Faber Ltd., 2001)
The Timothy Carey Experience wishes a very happy 82nd birthday anniversary to the lovely and supremely talented Gena Rowlands! She was married to John Cassavetes from 1954 until his death in 1989. It is safe to say that she was his muse. The following delightful photographs are from Cassavetes on Cassavetes by Ray Carney (Faber and Faber, 2001). When Rowlands was nominated for an Oscar for her terrific performance in Gloria (1980), Timothy threw her an “anti-Academy Awards party.” Cassavetes is examining a flier for The World’s Greatest Sinner (1962) in the bottom picture.
Happy birthday, Gena!