Favorite

Best of both worlds 

Arkansas screenwriter Graham Gordy is balancing commercial and indie projects.

LOCALIZED GURU: Conway native Graham Gordy co-wrote Mike Myers' latest film, 'The Love Guru.'
  • LOCALIZED GURU: Conway native Graham Gordy co-wrote Mike Myers' latest film, 'The Love Guru.'

Conway native Graham Gordy is on a roll. “War Eagle, Arkansas,” a feature film based on his debut screenplay, is currently racking up accolades on the festival circuit (it won the inaugural Charles B. Pierce Award at the Little Rock Film Festival in May). On Friday, he'll make a larger splash. “The Love Guru,” a film that he co-wrote with star Mike Meyers, opens nationwide.

During the Little Rock Film Festival, Gordy chatted about Myers, writing collaboratively and his future plans.

 

Congratulations on “War Eagle, Arkansas.” I've got to admit, when I initially saw the trailer for it and read the plot synopsis, I thought it was going to be like a Hallmark movie, but the dialogue you wrote never gets mired in sentimentality. 

Thanks very much. We were always walking a tight rope. The easiest thing would be for it to topple over into sentimentality. Part of the idea for moving it from Central Arkansas, where [producer] Vince [Insalaco] had initially imagined it, to Northwest Arkansas and a smaller town is just to capture something slightly more rugged and natural.

 

You've now written two collaborative screenplays, “War Eagle” and “The Love Guru.” How did the process differ?

The situation with Vincent was that he brought me the story. He had some ideas written down and some scenarios, and then we met up in Arkansas, going through it and figuring out where we would set it and scouting locations. Then, essentially, I went back to New York and wrote it by myself.

With “The Love Guru,” I was working with Mike [Myers]. He had this character, which was basically an impression of Deepak Chopra, and together we wrote a stage show surrounding the character and performed it at various theaters in New York for about two years.

Once he had the character and was really in the pocket and we had this glut of jokes we'd tested on stage, we knew we had to find a vehicle for it.

It was a good collaboration at every stage of the game. We got into a room together every day and hammered it out.

 

How'd you come to work with Mike Myers in the first place? Shared passion for midgets, hockey and Eastern mysticism?

(Laughs) Well, coming from Arkansas, my love for midgets and hockey, you can see where that would come from. No, Mike had written the Austin Powers movies with a guy named Michael McCullers, who just wrote and directed that movie “Baby Mama,” and he was sort of ready to move on, and Mike was looking for someone else to write with.

I'd written a screenplay that Mike's wife at the time had read. And so we met and really hit it off. Then sometime after that I'd written a short monologue play that I acted in, and he came and saw it. And after that he asked me to write the screenplay with him.

 

Well, is it time to move on commercially?

Mike and I have a great relationship and I think we'd gladly collaborate on something again. For the moment, though, there are a couple things I'm going out with on my own. You know Rob Riggle from “The Daily Show”? We're buddies and have been wanting to work on something for a few years. So in a few weeks, we're going to L.A. to pitch a project around town. Everything I write, I'm setting in Arkansas. At least I'm trying to. Whenever you pitch something set in Arkansas, because of the lack of tax breaks here and the tax breaks in Louisiana, they say, ‘Can you set it in Louisiana?' And I say, ‘I guess,' because I want to work, but I'm really hoping they're going to get tax breaks here.

 

There seems like a lot of force going into that lobby.

There are extraordinarily compelling arguments for it and I haven't heard a compelling argument against it. I know actors in L.A. who've gotten apartments in Shreveport because they spend so much time auditioning there. And it's the same way with New Mexico. Mike DeLuca, who was a producer on “The Love Guru,” was telling me about a movie he was shooting in New Mexico that was originally set in upstate New York. And I asked, ‘How does New Mexico double for upstate New York?' Obviously it doesn't, but that's where the best tax breaks are.

 

Read a fuller version of the interview with Gordy on Rock Candy.

Favorite

Tags:

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

Latest in A&E Feature

  • Blue smoke

    Since 1983, Little Rock's Nichols & Simpson Organbuilders has built a reputation for uncompromising excellence.
    • Mar 2, 2019
  • Perfectionism, patriarchy and paradox: A Q&A with Iris Dement

    Without her nomadic life’s timeline as accompaniment — the youngest of 14 kids, catapulted from Northeast Arkansas to coastal California at the age of 3 — you might hear Iris Dement’s inimitable voice and assume she never left the American South.
    • Feb 22, 2019
  • Not just a fluke: Wednesday Night Poetry celebrates 30 years

    Wednesday Night Poetry celebrated its 30th anniversary on Feb. 6, commemorating 1,567 consecutive Wednesdays of weekly poetry readings since it began as the first recurring art event in Hot Springs on Feb. 1, 1989.
    • Feb 19, 2019
  • More »

Most Viewed

  • Hogs flop in SEC tourney

    Arkansas has had a curious history in the SEC men’s basketball tournament. The 1994 national champs were ousted from it by a stellar Kentucky squad, and when that happened, it seemed to provide a spark as the Hogs spent the next three weeks wiping out their competitors to claim the ultimate crown.

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Time for Anderson to go

    • It cant still be said at the end of a 32 game season, that this…

    • on March 16, 2019
  • Re: Hogs flop in SEC tourney

    • Hmmm .. so uninteresting that this column generated no comments ...

    • on March 16, 2019
 

© 2019 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation