IS NO ONE GOING TO SAY that Robert Altman was a great pothead?


Six years before The Player (1992), I stopped smoking pot, for the typical reasons, but not the least of them was paranoia. And it was the ’80s, the parentheses of aerobics between the cocaine years and the advent of the age of caffeine. After Altman signed on to direct the film, I worried that I would break my abstention, which was private; I wasn’t in the program, but it held me well for that time. And Altman’s pot didn’t come out until we had been in the production offices for a week.

We were in his office, and as the joint was on its way to me I took it with a little rationalization, something like, “Altman has already told you he hates plot, so anything you can do to get closer to him will help the movie.” We were friendly but not familiar, and then, only as friendly as a writer can be with a director who hates plot, and says so. The carpet nap grew warm vines.

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