THE KID STAYS IN THE PICTURE
Robert Evans is the last of a dying breed. The kind of Hollywood mogul who calls women “broads” and hands out his phone number with the caveat “I’m only seven digits away, baby.” In other words, a real character. His life is the subject of a new documentary directed by Brett Morgan and Nanette Burstein, based on his autobiography. It’s an stirring story. Evans was offered his first movie role by Norma Shearer who liked the way he looked in a bathing suit as he lounged by the pool at the Beverly Hills Hotel. He rose from b-actor status to become head of production for Paramount Pictures, putting films like The Godfather, Love Story and Chinatown into production. He led a fairy-tale life – married to a movie star, living in a Beverly Hills mansion, hanging out with Jack Nicholson – until bit by bit his Hollywood dream turned into a nightmare. His films started losing money; he was kicked off his beloved Paramount’s lot; his wife left him for Steve McQueen, and he started using drugs. His high-rolling life unravelled and it seemed he’d never eat lunch in Hollywood again. But to paraphrase the title, the kid stayed in the picture, and has lived to tell the tale. Evans narrates the film without a hint of self consciousness, and entertainingly mimics everyone from Ali McGraw to Roman Polanski. It’s an absorbing look at a complicated, resilient man. Highly recommended.