Marc Scott Zicree

Celebrity Corner

It really is true – here in L.A. you bump into practically everybody. Thought you might enjoy seeing photos of me with some of the cool folks I’ve run into and get to spend time with.

(photos forthcoming via Flickr)

By the way, there are two Hollywoods – the creepy superficial one you see on tabloid TV and in the press, and the other Hollywood made up of well-balanced, ethical, wonderfully creative people who are good friends and family members, whose goal is to create lasting work that comes directly from their hearts and enthusiasms.

The latter is the Hollywood that I try to live in and encourage. Ray Bradbury, J.J. Abrams, Guillermo del Toro, Damon Lindelof, David Simkins, Rockne O’Bannon, Michael Nankin and so many other of my friends and acquaintances are part of that good Hollywood too – so have faith that you can come out here and be part of it too.

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marc_and_ray_bradburyRay Bradbury and Me

Ray Bradbury has been a friend and mentor for some years now, and an inspiration pretty much from when I could first read.  I remember seeing him speak at a library when I was ten and thinking it would be great to become a writer someday.

The way we became friends is quite fun – Back in the early 1950s, Ray wrote the screenplay of MOBY DICK, which John Huston directed starring Gregory Peck.

I’d read that even Gregory Peck felt he was miscast, suggesting at one point during filming that John Huston would be better suited to play the role (now that would have been something!).

In the late 1990s, I was writing and producing SLIDERS at Universal for the Sci-Fi Channel and was invited to a studio screening of a new MOBY DICK miniseries starring Patrick Stewart as Ahab and Gregory Peck as Father Mapple, the role played by Orson Welles in the Huston film.  Gregory Peck was sitting several rows behind me during the screening, and afterwards I struck up a conversation with him, telling him how impressed I was with his performance and that I far preferred his reading of the role to that of Welles (an opinion no doubt shared by the Television Academy when, a few months later, they awarded Peck an Emmy for the role).

At about the same time, I came across an LP from the Fifties that was an audio adaptation of MOBY DICK starring the great Charles Laughton as Ahab in a superb, Shakespearian performance (Laughton also played King Lear around that time and had all the power and eloquence for both roles).  I was blown away by the performance, and came up with a wild idea.  All three versions of MOBY DICK were adapted from Melville’s novel and essentially followed the same text.  Why not take the best performances of all three – Laughton as Ahab, Peck as Father Mapple and Richard Basehart as Ishmael the narrator – and weave them together into an audio play that would be the Ultimate Moby Dick.

moby_front

Marc Zicree's Moby-Dick Mash-Up

So that’s what I did, and at Christmas a few years back I gave out CDs of this work to my friends, just for the fun of it.  One day not long after, I came home and found a message on my answering machine – “Hello, Mr. Zicree, this is Ray Bradbury.  I’ve just heard your MOBY DICK and wanted to talk to you about it.”  My heart sank – after all, I’d messed with Ray’s version of MOBY DICK. 

Fearing the worst, I dialed Ray’s number… and was stunned to learn that Ray loved my CD!  A friend had given it to him and he’d been delighted by it.  It turned out that Laughton had been one of his dearest friends and he thought the reworking of the material was inspired.  He invited me to come visit him at his home.

This led to my visiting Ray every few months over a period of years, to his mentoring and advising me, to my dedicating STAR TREK “World Enough and Time” and my new book LOVE, GLORIA to him, to my writing an introduction for the forthcoming COMPLETE MARTIAN CHRONICLES and now starting to put together the RAY BRADBURY’S LOST MARS miniseries.

What a wonderful ride it’s been.  I am so blessed.

Thought you might want to hear where it all started, with MOBY DICK…

Click to Play.

Download the mp3
Note: Right-Click in Windows or Control-Click in OS X.

Also: An Evening With Ray Bradbury – Interview Recorded in 2001.

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