Desert Sun, Number 244, 16 May 1986
Alan Alda is busy promoting ‘Sweet Liberty’
By Bob THOMAS – Associated Press Writer
BEVERLY HILLS (AP) – He’s actor, writer, director and – salesman. Alan Alda does it all. Having seen triple duty for his new Universal Pictures release, “Sweet Liberty,” Alda is now hustling to 22 U. S. cities to spread the news about the movie. It’s the culmination of two and a half years of pure devotion. In “Sweet Liberty,” Alda plays a Revolutionary War scholar whose best-selling book is being adapted miserably into a big-budget movie. The film company descends on his college town, and Alda tries to infuse integrity into the script, meanwhile dallying with the movie’s star, played by Michelle Pfeiffer. In his suite at the Beverly Hills Hotel.
Alda recently talked about the origins of the movie. “I’ve always been interested in the Colonial period, and I wanted to know more about it,” he said. “I know how people behave today, but how did they behave then? How did they flirt together, what did they argue about? “I also wondered what it’s like when a movie is made in a small town. I thought it would be fun for a guy who has written a book to watch it being made.
He would be an outsider to the movie making, and everything would have to be explained to him.” The protagonist, he said, sees history in his own way and not as the film company does. “The company uses history as a stepping-stone for entertainment; the main thing is to get a funny story. So each has his own uses of truth. As I began to write, the theme developed: Everyone has a different version of reality, and to get anything done, you have to give a little.”
Alda spent a year or so working on the script. “Everything had to be down on paper before shooting. I knew I was going to be very busy on the set, and I wanted to get everything out of the way so I wouldn’t have to be writing the final draft on the set. Every camera move, every dolly shot, every lens was planned beforehand, and the entire script was storyboarded. I ended up with a big book of drawings and instructions so that nobody would be confused.”
Alda and producer Martin Bregman chose Sag Harbor on New York’s Long Island to double for a North Carolina college town. The cast included Michael Caine, Michelle Pfeiffer, Bob Hoskins, Lise Hilboldt and Lillian Gish, also actors portraying the crew of the movie-within-a-movie “We had virtually two film crews one real and one actors,” Alda said.
Bob THOMAS – Associated Press Writer 1986