Driis Music


A Tale of Two Mr. Browns

"Knowing Me, Knowing You"

Going on a tip I received that morning that Quentin would be shooting at the Del Amo Fashion Center in Torrance (the second-largest mall in the USA), at around 10:45AM I, wearing my official A Band Apart Commercials T-shirt, arrived at the International Cafe food court where filming was taking place, and there he was, wrapping up a shot with extras walking around the dining area. I had seen Q in person a few times before, but he looked different than the last time I saw him (which was over a year ago). He was clearly heavier; his hairline had receded more; his hair appeared lighter in color and was longer--shaggy, even, with graying sideburns. He was decked out in baggy blue jeans and a white button-down shirt with a black stripe along each sleeve. Once he was finished, he took a seat at a table not too far from one where Lawrence Bender, his producing partner, was seated, talking on his cell phone (which, it seemed, was attached to his head). On Q's table was one of those TV/VCR combos, and taking a seat next to him was his assistant, Vicki Lucai. I sat at a table not too far from him. What was he watching--dailies? A movie? No. He was watching a tape of the telenovela (read: Spanish-language soap opera) Dos Mujeres, Un Camino--or, rather one shot, of Erik Estrada, with a woman behind him, riding a motorcycle, over and over again, laughing each time. Eventually, his assistant left him, and he watched alone. A couple of girls stood a few feet away, staring at him. He looked up at them and waved. Feeling a certain surge of courage, I called his name. He looked over and waved, then continued to rewind that clip. After a few more cycles, he tore himself away from the TV, and got up.

At this point, I stood up and called his name again and extended my hand. He came over and shook it. I introduced myself as the other Mr. Brown, the one with the website... It didn't quite click. He said that he wasn't online and thus didn't see the site. I then handed him one of my business cards (a number of which I had sent him over the past 2 1/2 years), and as soon as he looked at it, it clicked--"I know you! You write movie reviews," and he mentioned the name of one of our mutual friends. He told me that he had heard about the site but hadn't seen it. He put the card in his pocket, and I recounted our past--the phone call, the letter--and he remembered. He said "that's right" in reference to the latter subject, and wished me luck, and I told him that I wouldn't get this year's verdict until later in the month. After a minute or two of, to quote Pulp Fiction's Mia Wallace, "yakking about bullshit in order to be comfortable," including a comment about my ABA shirt ("It looks cool"), I told him it was great to finally meet him after all this time, and asked if maybe we could talk more later on, but he said that he is generally busy during his breaks, to which I replied, "busy watching telenovelas?" He laughed and posed for a pic, flashing the peace sign. After that, I asked if he was shooting all day, and if it was OK if I hung out for the day. He said that it was perfectly fine...

...so hang out I did, staying out of everyone's way. Most of the day's shooting consisted of walking shots--shots of Pam Grier, dressed in a blue flight attendant uniform as the title character, Jackie Brown, walking in the mall (and her sitting down and eating), but mostly of character actor Robert Forster walking. What struck me about the shoot was how laid back it was, not to mention how cozy everyone was; between shots Q would often hug Grier, and at one point he forced her into an impromptu tango. Every now and again Q would pass by me, and we'd exchange hellos.

Shooting wore on, crowds gathered then dispersed, and at around 2PM I was relieved by the appearance of one of our mutual acquaintances--Jerry Martinez, one of Q's former co-workers at Archives and current publicity head at Q's Rolling Thunder division of Miramax, whom I hadn't seen nor spoke to since June 1996. We hung out and talked for a while, and in time Jerry, an officially designated VIP who had lent me some legitimacy by letting him hang out with him for a spell, had to go, but not before doing me a huge favor--he introduced me to one of the production assistants, and told him that I was going to hang out and that I was "cool" and "not a stalker." The PA suggested I walk through a couple shots, but I didn't think that was such a good idea since I did, after all, have a production company shirt on.

So I now had a vouch person, not that I really needed one. Even though I had no headset, walkie talkie, or crew pass, a number of passersby, and perhaps crew members, thought I was working on the film--likely due to my ABA shirt. At one point, I saw Forster walking around, bored and alone, and I said hello. His first question to me was, "Are you one of us?"--meaning, of course, if I was one of the production crew. I set him straight, and we talked for a little while, and he signed an autograph and posed for a picture.

At one point Q shot some scenes with Forster in an area away from the food court, where Grier remained, sitting in her official chair, signing autographs and talking to fans. I was one of these fortunate people, and I must say she is still every bit the Foxy lady she was back in the '70s. She signed:
"To Michael
with [heart] + $
Pam Grier
'Jackie Brown'
It was July 1, and I told her that it was no longer June. She thanked me because, as many autographs as she signed, no one had told her it was July. We then had this brief discussion about how no one really paying attention to months during the summer. She also posed for a picture before I went on my way.

After more walking shots of Forster, at around 8:40 Q and Bender called it a wrap. Q was obviously in a hurry, but he posed for a couple of pix with fans. I managed to catch him after the pix, shaking his hand and thanking him for letting me hang out for the day. He said, "No problem; come back and hang out with us anytime..." So you can guess where I was the next day...

July 1 In Pictures

July 2
July 3
Jackie Brown: The Review

(written July 3, 1997)


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3 Days on the Set of Jackie Brown/text and photographs © Michael Dequina
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