I’m finally up to 50,000 followers on Twitter. That took forever …
Nitpick but they could have cut 20 mins at least. Rip Taylor was miscast I thought.
— Narrative – Asset Builder (@BobBurnatt) September 22, 2022
Julie Salomon’s celebrated book The Angel’s Dog Food attributes The Steve Sailer Story’s failure at the box office to various high-level poor decisions, such as:
- The tonal incongruities resulting from Paul Schrader’s somber screenplay being subjected to a last minute uncredited punching up by the script doctor team of Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker.
- The casting as the socially maladroit engineer Ernie Sailer of, in his final screen performance, the imperious John Huston.
- My mother’s insistence that she be played by Nancy Reagan (which worked out better than I had expected).
- And Sir David Lean’s adamant refusal to cut its epic 236 minute running length.
But I’ve since concluded that the fundamental problem was always going to be that the movie’s climax — my winning the 1984 L.A. Olympic gold medal in the Plunge for Distance — would turn out to be less cinematically galvanizing than the studio had assumed it would be.
When I mentioned my concern to Lew Wasserman in 1985 that 103 seconds of me floating face down might not thrill audiences enough to pay off the \$110 million budget, he replied, “They made jogging cool in Chariots of Fire, didn’t they? We’ll just have Harold Faltermeyer play synthesizers over you floating. People love synths.”