Thursday, March 29, 2007

Reel People: Richard Gere is Clifford Irving

The film is the Hoax, directed by Lasse Hallstrom.

Clifford Irving was an author, who initially survived off of a low level job at the New York Times while he was working on his work. Not so lucky in love, he and his first wife split up after two years of marriage, his second wife died in an auto accident, the relationship with the third didn't last long either. His relationship with his forth wife, Edith seemed to stick.

After writing a few novels, as well as Fake! (1969), the autobiograph of art forger Elmyr de Hory, Irving had begun to establish an image, especially with his publisher McGraw-Hill. Irving and spanish author Richard Suskind created a plan to fake an autobiography of Howard Hughes, since Hughes' had bought off everyone who wrote an unautorized biography and had completly withdrawn from public life. Irving and friends went to a lot of work to fake letters and create an image that Irving truly had authorized an autobiography. McGraw-Hill paid Irving and Hughes huge advances for the autobiography. The checks to Hughes though were deposited in a Swiss bank account by Irving and his wife.

Irving and Suskind were busted months before the books was too be published when Howard Hughes himself came forward and claimed the book was a fake. Although Irving tried to claim the Howard Hughes coming forward was fake, it was unsucsessful when Swiss authorities got involved and identified Edith as the one who was making the deposits. Irving served 14 months in jail and returned over $700,000 in advances to the publisher. Suskind served 5 months in jail.

Irving went on to continue to write books after his release. Portions of Hughes autobiography can be downloaded at Irving's website. Irving on his website claims that there are many hoaxes to his own life portrayed in the move, especially in it's portrayl of Dick Suskind.

Hallstrom has as usual gathered a great cast. Suskind is played by Alfred Molina, Edith Irving is played by Marcia Gay Harden. Other stars include Stanley Tucci, Hope Davis, Eli Wallach, and Julie Deply. (As a side note Michael J. Burge in a minor role will another film version of Truman Capote in this picture).

This portrayl of a real person could earn Gere some critical awards attention this year for his portrayal of this Real (Reel) Person.

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Out Of Jersey said...

Now this sounds interesting, it's amazing how many stories of fake books and fake authors there are out there. A friend of mine told me how a man as an experiment sent chapters from a Jerzy Kaplinsky's pulitzer prize winning novel out to different agents and publishers. Each and every one of them turned it down.

Southern (in)Sanity said...

This definitely does sound interesting. I look forward to seeing it.

Bookfool said...

I just saw a preview of this one and it looked interesting. I'd never have guessed the author was still alive; it was quite interesting visiting his website and finding out that he's getting ready to sell a book pay-by-demand, like start-up authors.

Thanks for visiting my photo blog!

Anonymous said...

I knew nothing about Irving before I saw this trailer but after seeing it, I did a bit of reading and wow, what an interesting little story.

I think this looks great and Gere looks great in it. Definitely one I'm looking forward to.

Brian Erickson said...

This is such a great blog.

ePastor James said...

Well, technically Dench was in it for 8, or so reports claim ;D.

I'm curious. How did you find me? (Quite glad you did though.)

Red said...

I didn't know the first thing about this, but it sounds pretty interesting, actually. I do like Lasse Hallstrom and I also rate Al Molina very highly. Might have to keep an eye out for it...