Ever since the fillip provided by A River Runs Through It, flyfishing has awaited its next dalliance with Hollywood.
In the aptly-named Backseat, however, I suspect it will have to settle for a supporting role, roughly on a par with that of the studio accountant.
Pictures that look like they were taken by someone not supposed to be present adorn the Daily Mail today, showing Christian Bale being put through his paces as a flyfisherman, in readiness for his role as Dick Cheney (caricatured left) one of the American triumvirate who led us into the Iraq war.
Such was the former Vice-President’s love of fishing that his Secret Service code name was ‘Angler’, although other names by which he was known outside the White House weren’t quite so complimentary. There may well be staff at the American Museum of Flyfishing still undergoing counselling after the reaction to Cheney’s invitation as guest speaker for the Museum’s fund-raising dinner in 2009.
The upcoming film is said to be about “The story of…the most powerful Vice President in history, and how his policies changed the world as we know it”
It could be that it brings us lines of the calibre of
‘In our family, there was no clear line between religion and fly fishing’
‘To him, all good things – trout as well as eternal salvation – came by grace; and grace comes by art; and art does not come easy.’
Given director and writer Adam McKay’s Tweet on presidential election night last November, however – ‘I can’t believe after W Bush and Cheney you [elected Donald Trump] America. I’m truly sickened and frightened’ – something tells me his film may have slightly bigger fish to fry.
I used to keep a tally of Headlines I Never Expected to Write in a Million Years. I stopped at 22.
A film director takes his parents to what is labelled a ‘secret feature’ screening at a film festival in the States. He anticipates some harmlessly entertaining movie that at least approximates to family viewing. What he gets is Nymphomaniac: Volume 1.
“That’s the movie with real sex and penetration.” His words, not mine.
Cruelly delighting in his discomfiture, entertainment magazine Vulture collars the embarrassed director’s mother afterwards, to get her verdict on Nymphomaniac‘s finer points.
And the money quote – “My husband Steve was pretty reluctant to stay for the movie. But when we got to the part where the older gentleman [Skarsgård] pulls out the Izaak Walton book and they start comparing graphic sex to fly-fishing, Steve leans over and says, ‘This looks interesting. I’ll stay awhile.”
I sense that Robert Redford had nothing to do with this one.
From a review of the 1998 film Primary Colors:
“Our hero, Henry Burton (Adrian Lester), is the grandson of a civil rights leader who is drawn into Stanton’s presidential campaign. His role equates more or less to that of George Stephanopoulos in real life. “Your grandfather was a great man,” Susan says to him when he arrives with her husband, who has just missed a golden opportunity to secure the votes of some fly-fishing enthusiasts.”
Jim Hardy will no doubt have been remembered for many remarkable things since his death at 85, earlier this month. The one I will remember him for is that his epitaph was up and running a full four years before he died.
If you haven’t seen The Lost World of Mr Hardy yet, I urge you to do so. Nothing like the corporate puffery I expected, it is rather a moving tribute to an era lost forever, played out against a musical score that tugs at every nostalgic fibre in your body.
In a modern era bloated with self-aggrandisement, there are many who witter on about their ‘legacy’, far fewer who genuinely leave one. Jim Hardy – the moustachioed gentleman last seen poignantly disappearing round a corner in the following clip – takes his place firmly in the latter category.
So busy is the genre these days that making a standout fishing documentary can make catching fish on cue look like child’s play in comparison.
Credit, then, to the makers of GEOFISH (Volume 1: MEXICO – The Expedition Begins) who have at least got off on the right foot by making an eye-catching trailer, ahead of the film’s autumn release.
“The plan is simple: bridge the language gap, convince the Federales that you’re not trying to smuggle cooking oil into the country to corner the market on cheap fish tacos and at the same time, spend little money, sponge off the local delicacies and see if you can kill stomach cramps with a combination of tequila and lack of sleep. Trying their best to avoid break-ins, break-downs, break-ups and broken rods, join four fish bums as they cover 8,000 miles of Mexican dirt in hopes of finding out-of-the-way locations—with fish, and escaping with captured memories.”
Having Mexico as your backdrop undoubtedly helps. There is some dark stuff going on there at present and the merest threat to life and limb will always be box office. Beyond this, however, there is a nicely-balanced blend of danger, challenge and the unknown that suggests the movie in its entirety could be something special.