Of all the people I'd ever interviewed who seemed to have the potential for stardom, he was the person who seemed best equipped to handle it, because he seemed capable of getting along with pretty much anyone, and had what might be described as a sporting curiosity about fame. When he talked about the movie industry -- his knowledge based, at that point, mainly on secondhand reports from older filmmakers and the same faux-insider film monthlies that everyone else read -- he sounded like a kid excitedly summarizing the research he'd done for a paper on deep-sea diving or petrified wood. In 1995, after he'd moved to Los Angeles and started going on auditions and meeting with powerful people, he still seemed more or less the same guy -- observant, bemused, inquisitive and entertained by the unpredictability of life. When I did some follow-up interviews in late 1995 for my Bottle Rocket cover story -- which turned out to be my last Dallas Observer piece -- Wilson told me about a recent family reunion at which a young cousin asked his opinion of the budget overruns on Waterworld. "He asked, 'What do you think about the cost?'" Wilson said. "He sounded like a Los Angeles agent. I thought, 'What an odd question for an eight-year-old to be asking!' I told him, 'I don't know. It's not really my position to think about the cost.' Then his dad came up. He said, 'Oh, you're just protecting the industry. You're just a home-teamer.' That seemed kind of unfair to me, because I saw Waterworld, and I kind of liked it."
Read the whole thing. As Seitz remarks, "Wilson's a good-time shaman; when he appears, you smile, because know you're about to have fun. He makes good films better and bad films tolerable." He's also - or so one suspects - an immensely talented screenwriter. God willing, he'll be around, and happier than he is now, for many years to come.
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