Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Famous Interactions 1: Mainly Embarrassing

Well, I've had nincompoopery since 2004 - that was documented. I had an earlier version starting in 1998 that is lost. Along with about 5 years of emails between me and Gareth and John sent when we were single before the internet. This were also lost although Gareth, John and I all think, thank goodness, But is a round up of life, isn't it? So let's go.

Scott and Michael Cristofer

One year at the Men's finals of the US Open, I meet Michael Cristofer (yes, that is he spelling). Now I did ask Ed if I could talk to him (because of the Lleyton Hewitt Rule (c) )*. Once I got the go-ahead, I walked over and we spoke of Mr. Robot. He had a small but pivotal part. 

And we discussed the show, his role - and how great he was. We also discussed the cinematography, because they consistently shot from low to high, making bringing an artificial limit and claustrophobia to the shots, without tight rooms. We laughed had fun, and Ed finally exhaled.

I love how the characters are only in the lower 1/3 of the shot.

Then I went and looked him up online to see if I did anything stupid. Which I did not. But I didn't know how talented he was. I will put his biography below the Mr. Robot shots, but let's say he is amazing. He has written a ton of Broadway shows and movies. He has won Tonys for his work as a writer. He WON a Director's Guild award for Gia.

Okay this is not a tight shot, but the discussion later is.

And so, I went back and said, "Oh my goodness I had no idea what a big deal you are, my apologies."

He said, "What do you mean?"

And I said, "A Tony, a DGA? All those plays you've written and directed!"

And he replied, which I thought was hilarious, "And a Pulitzer. Don't forget the Pulitzer." And we laughed. One of the nicest people I have ever met.


Michael Cristofer was awarded a Pulitzer Prize and an Antoinette Perry "Tony" Award for the Broadway production of his play, The Shadow Box. Other plays include Breaking Up (Primary Stages), ICE, (Manhattan Theatre Club); Black Angel, (Circle Repertory Company); The Lady and the Clarinet starring Stockard Channing, Amazing Grace starring Marsha Mason and Man in the Ring, the story of prize fighter Emile Griffith, which received the American Theater Critics Award for best American play in 2017.

Mr. Cristofer's film work includes the screenplays for The Shadow Box (1980) directed by Paul Newman (Golden Globe Award, Emmy nomination), Falling in Love (1984), with Meryl Streep and Robert DeNiro, The Witches of Eastwick (1987) with Jack Nicholson, The Bonfire of the Vanities (1990) directed by Brian De PalmaBreaking Up (1997) starring Russell Crowe and Salma Hayek, Georgia O'Keeffe (2009) (Writers Guild Award) with Joan Allen and Jeremy Irons, Casanova (2005) starring Heath Ledger, and Chuck (2016) starring Liev Schreiber. His directing credits include Gia (1998), for HBO Pictures starring Angelina Jolie, Mercedes Ruehl, and Faye Dunaway, which was nominated for 5 Emmys and for which he won a Director's Guild Award. He next directed Body Shots (1999) for New Line Cinema and Original Sin (2001) starring Antonio Banderas.

For eight years he worked as co-artistic director of River Arts Repertory in Woodstock, N.Y., where he wrote stage adaptations of the films Love Me Or Leave Me and the legendary Casablanca, directed Joanne Woodward in his own adaptation of Ibsen's Ghosts and produced the American premier of Edward Albee's Three Tall Women - a production which later moved to Off-Broadway. His most recent works for the theater are in workshop at the Actor's Studio where he is a member. After a fifteen year hiatus, Mr. Cristofer has returned to his acting career appearing in Romeo and Juliet (NY Shakespeare Festival), Trumpery by Peter Parnell, Three Sisters (Williamstown Theater), Body of Water with Christine Lahti, and the acclaimed Broadway revival of A View from the Bridge with Liev Schreiber and Scarlett Johansson.

His film work includes The Girl in the Book (2015), The Other Woman (2009) with Natalie Portman and Michel Franco's Chronic with Tim Roth. He created the role of Gus in Tony Kushner's The Intelligent Homosexual... at the Public Theater and starred in Stephen Belber's Don't Go Gentle at MCC Theater. He appeared as the infamous Truxton Spangler in the AMC series Rubicon (2010) and was recently seen in the NBC series, Smash (2012), American Horror Story (2011), Showtime's Ray Donovan (2013). On the USA Network series, Mr. Robot (2015), he plays Evil Corp CEO, Philip Price.

*The Lleyton Hewitt rule says that at the US Open I am (1) not to talk to players and (2) must ask Ed before I talk to people in the suite, lest I embarrass him.


  1. Replies
    1. I know! He was super nice and a great guy to talk to. And I loved that he could give as good as he took it.

  2. I think Ed probably wishes he had invoked the "Lleyton Hewitt" rule before I was allowed to talk to anyone back stage at a show (Billy Porter) or after any Olympic Finals (Evan Lysacek). My infractions were egregious; including rubbing somebody's back and telling someone else that I thought he did a great job. Some people....

  3. Well, to be honest, you thought Billy Porter was originally a backup dancer, so your backrub was entirely well intended. Dizzy. But well intended :-)

  4. I rubbed Evan's back and what a back it was. Woof! Billy (or the backup dancer who was posing as him) gave me a very intense hug after I assured him the performance had gone well because they got a standing O. But I didn't stop there, I said "I think there were a bunch of drag queens up in the balcony because there was a a lot of", and I shit you not, I said "a hootin' and a hollarin' coming from up there. While held in Billy's brief but surprisingly strong embrace I whispered in his ear, "God Bless You". I don't apologize for that part. Watch back Billy's Tony acceptance speech that year. I think it was what he wanted to hear.


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