Z cyklu: ciekawostki. Zbierając materiały do artykułu nt. Terrence’a Malicka, natrafiłem na niezwykle interesujący tekst opublikowany w 1999 roku w „Vanity Fair”. Jego autor, Peter Biskind, przytacza w swoim reportażu m.in. moment, w którym amerykański reżyser zetknął się z Andrzejem Wajdą. Sytuacja ta pośrednio doprowadziła związanych z Malickiem producentów do bankructwa, a jego samego wpędziła w ciężką frustrację. Poniżej, w wersji oryginalnej, zamieszczam odpowiedni fragment; jego wymowę pozostawiam Waszej ocenie.
„Sansho the Bailif”, o którym mowa w tekście, to napisana przez Terrence’a Malicka, sceniczna wersja dramatu Kenjiego Mizoguchiego pt. „Zarządca Sansho”; jego producenci usiłowali zainteresować nią któregoś ze znanych zagranicznych filmowców.
„(…) In August 1992, Geisler and Roberdeau, along with the Malicks—who by that time were estranged and living separately—met up at the music festival in Salzburg. They were impressed by the great Andrzej Wajda’s staging of the Polish classic Wesele and were familiar with Wajda’s celebrated trilogy—A Generation, Kanal, and Ashes and Diamonds—a masterpiece of world cinema.
Wajda had never heard of Malick, but flew to New York in October to screen Badlands and Days of Heaven at the Tribeca Film Center. Afterward, at a nearby restaurant, he agreed to direct Sansho the Bailiff. The tables were covered with butcher paper, and Wajda drew a picture with crayons. He inscribed it, “For Terry from Andrzej Wajda.” Geisler was so excited, he called Malick in Austin, saying: “Next stop, Warsaw!”
On a cold and wintry December evening of the same year, the Malicks and the producers converged on Wajda’s family home in Warsaw. Faded photographs of ancestors and war heroes illuminated by flickering candles in sconces peered down at them from the green enameled walls as they shared a traditional dinner with Wajda and his wife, actress Krystyna Zachwatowicz, two enormous dogs, and various friends and relatives who dropped by.
Malick, who detests beets and fish with bones—or even the appearance of bones—seemed ill at ease as the guests hungrily attacked the three beet dishes (pickled and roasted beets, as well as borscht), four varieties of herring, along with kasha, duck, and 10 or so other delicacies. The meal was washed down with generous quantities of Polish vodka, which Malick drank sparingly.
Wajda felt that the play required substantial revision. He expected Malick to roll up his shirtsleeves and do more, do better. Sitting by the roaring fire after the sumptuous meal, Wajda turned to Malick and said, “Terry, what you need to do to Sansh¯o the Bailiff is make it more like Shakespeare.”
Recalls Geisler, “That was the beginning of the end.”
The workshop was budgeted at $600,000. As the first day approached, the producers’ long-suffering backers abruptly pulled out. Still, the show went on. True to their word, Geisler and Roberdeau did manage to gather some remarkable international talents, including lighting designer Jennifer Tipton, sound designer Hans Peter Kuhn, and a collection of fine Asian-American actors. But the six-week workshop, held at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (bam) in November of 1993, was a bust.
The relationship between Malick and Wajda quickly deteriorated. A few days into the workshop, Michèle arrived from Paris to see her husband. To her, it seemed that Wajda was threatened by Malick’s presence. Malick thought Wajda didn’t understand his play; he was frustrated by how little the director was bringing to it. He was angered by what he regarded as Wajda’s condescending attitude—“You, boy, go do your rewrites.”
Wajda spoke English to Geisler and Roberdeau, but never a word to Malick, with whom he conversed through translators. He was annoyed that Malick had not done the work he wanted. Malick insisted on doing it his way, but he wasn’t the director. Says Kuhn, “Terry didn’t know anything about theater, and he was not interested in learning. He was very stubborn.”
The workshop cost $800,000, alienated Malick, and left the producers devastated, although it was a disaster of their own making. The play just wasn’t ready. Geisler and Roberdeau were besieged by angry creditors—bam, caterers, travel agents, publicists, restaurants. The partners were dead broke. They sold their furniture to meet their payroll; Roberdeau sold CDs and books so they could eat. One creditor managed to have Geisler arrested. He was led from his town house in handcuffs, marched down West Ninth Street in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village, and thrown in jail overnight for grand larceny, a charge that was later dismissed. (In April 1996, Geisler and Roberdeau were evicted from the home they shared.)”
Zachęcam też do przeczytania wspomnianego na początku, krótkiego artykułu nt. reżysera, który opublikowany został na łamach wirtualnego „Zwierciadła” (tutaj).