NEW YORK, March 18, 2009 (BlogTalkRadio) – Talk about art imitating life, or vice-versa – or something like that.
Here’s the story: In 1981, Jon Voight signed on to star in a comedy called Lookin’ To Get Out, which he’d co-written.
Co-starring would be Burt Young of Rocky fame, and the stunning Ann-Margret.
Directing would be Hal Ashby, a maverick who’d made such hit flicks as Harold and Maude (1971), Shampoo (1975) and Being There (1979), and who would die of cancer 1988.
Jon had been pals with Hal since 1977, when Hal directed the golden boy opposite Jane Fonda in Coming Home, for which Jon won his first and only Oscar (just as Jane won hers).
Cut to 2007. “A young Scottish writer by the name of Nick Dawson, who’d fallen in love with Hal’s work. . .called me up and said, ‘I’d like to interview you. I’m doing a book on Hal Ashby,’” Jon tells Movie Geeks United host Jamey DuVall.
A few months later, Nick called again, to arrange a meeting with Jon.
“May I bring Hal’s daughter with me?” said Nick.
“I didn’t know he had a daughter,” said Jon.
“She was trying to get in touch with [Hal] during his lifetime,” Jon tells Jamey. “But they never met. . .I’m sorry I didn’t know about this, because I was close enough to Hal that I definitely would have been able to get them together.”
A few days later, Jon met with Hal’s daughter, Lee Ashby McManus, and Nick.
“They started to talk about how much they loved Lookin’ to Get Out. And I asked Lee, ‘Why is it your favorite film?’” says Jon.
“She said, ‘Because I think the girl in it’ – the little girl at the end, played by Angelina Jolie as a little baby – ‘was me,’” adds Jon of his daughter, to whom he has barely spoken since 2002, when he said in a TV interview that she had “severe emotional problems.”
“And I thought about it and I said, ‘Yes, it’s very possible that it was you,’” he continues.
“I remember the discussions [Hal and I] had. We were thinking of going with a little boy. But Hal wanted it to be a girl.”
Tonight, March 18, at 10 p.m. ET, Jamey unspools his full 20-minute chat with Jon, in which the actor also dis- cusses how he discovered the lost director’s cut of Lookin’ To Get Out; working with Hal on Coming Home; making the film that made him a superstar, Midnight Cowboy; and why his brother, who wrote the rock anthem Wild Thing, changed his name from James Lesley Voight to Chip Taylor.
And if that were not enough, Burt (as in the aforemen- tioned Burt Young) will be joining Jamey live to offer his on-set recollections of Lookin’ To Get Out.
Also on the show will be Nick Dawson, whose new bio is titled Being Hal Ashby: Life of a Hollywood Rebel.
The director’s cut of Lookin’ To Get Out makes its world debut April 3 at the Sarasota Film Festival. For more information on the event, click here.
To hear Jon’s full interview, click here.