DAVID CARRADINE (1936 - 2009)

There is a huge gap left by David Carradine's departure from the planet. In the 16 months since he finished working on "Autumn" we have been collaborating on a character for him in our next film “Over the Edge”. We developed an incredible part for him: Duncan. A character who turned out being an anarchic mix of Irish/American descent who is a compelling mixture of Shaman, concert pianist, poet and crime boss. He understood the Shakespeare, the Bukowski and the Beckett in the script. Same way he understood the Bergman in “Autumn”. How we find someone else with that kind of understanding, with that kind of range is daunting.

His performance of Philip in “Autumn” is a devastating 12 minutes in a style you have never seen him deliver before. It proved to me what I suspected, which was that he had an amazing range. As a result he was in the works for at least another four roles in Renegade productions: Duncan in “Over the Edge”, a vaudevillian performer, Laughing Leslie Pockets, in “Café X”, Father Mapple in “Moby Dick” and the senile Ivanovich in “Obsessions”. We also even put together a plan to finish Orson Welle's last film together. A man who has an understanding of those roles and the ability to fit them into my slightly surreal landscapes is almost irreplaceable. Replacing David for his acting capabilities is going to be very difficult but even more difficult is replacing David the kid. The kid that I and the other kids in my company get to kick around with on set and off. The kid that everyone loved.

I don't know what his family and Annie must be going through, but these stories around his death sound so wrong and it must be horrible for them to hear. I dropped an email to Annie, his wife, and to Chuck, his manager, affirming my support for their beliefs regarding David's untimely death. I don't think that it is respectful to give the auto erotic idea any energy...unless it is to laugh at the idea. The suicide idea is all wrong. It could not be. There is no way David took that way out. He was too alive. We were talking just two Saturdays ago… he was excited about the script and all the work he had coming up. He was in great shape enjoying his drive… loving the weather…. top down… coastal road…. late for an event, as usual. Smile. He was happy and full of life. There is no way he hung himself. He was way too much of a rebel to take that way out. He was way too much of a Buddhist to take that way out. It is going to be very hard to determine much forensic truth in an environment like Bangkok but I do hope they can figure out what happened. My suspicion is foul play.

I really hope people get to see his performance in “Autumn”… everyone talks about how good he was in it… including at the theatrical sneak preview last Saturday night. It was his last Canadian film and it showed what an incredible range he had when juxtaposed with his performances of stature: Bill, Woody and Caine.

We talked about making Orson Welles' last film in 2010. That would have been a creative riot. We were going to have so much fun. We were supposed to do Christmas together this year. I miss him. He was like another kid in the schoolyard. I'm really, really sad. We sorta recognized the rebel brat in each other the first time we met. There was definitely that recognition… he took one look, put his hands on his hips and said, “Uh-oh this is going to be good, Orson.” I miss him. It's like a light just went off in the world.

-Steven Rumbelow




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