interviewing columbo

Let’s say, hypothetically, that someone you know had an opportunity to interview Peter Falk in a couple of days… Are there questions that you’d like to have answered?

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  1. Doug Skinner
    Posted October 18, 2005 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

    Did you enjoy working with George Kuchar in “Three Days of Rain”?

  2. mark
    Posted October 18, 2005 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

    If I were interviewing him, I’d run the risk of falling into the Patrick McGoohan trap and not being able to talk about anything other than their friendship and the episodes of Columbo they worked on together.

  3. mark
    Posted October 18, 2005 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

    Hmmm…. I have not seen “Three Days of Rain.” I will look into it… I also have to rent “Wings of Desire.” So much to do.

    … But, it’s not even certain that it’s going to happen, so I don’t want to get my hopes up too much.

  4. Doug Skinner
    Posted October 18, 2005 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

    I got an e-mail from George alerting me to a screening, but didn’t make it. I don’t even know if they had a scene together, or if any nudity was involved.

  5. chris
    Posted October 18, 2005 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

    Wait, are you telling me that you have yet to see “Wings of Desire”?

    Of course, you may have been in Jr. High when it came out rather than the alienated, angst ridden, outsider that I was in college when I saw it.

  6. Andrew
    Posted October 18, 2005 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

    So, Mr Falk, what’s the deal with your right eye?

  7. mark
    Posted October 18, 2005 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

    If I saw Wings of Desire I’ve forgotten it by now. Either way, I need to see if I can get a copy tomorrow after work… As for the movie Doug was talking about, I thought that it was out on video already, but I guess it was released in theaters on September 30 of this year. (It was filmed in ’02.) Here’s a short review from the NY Daily News:

    Writer and first-time director Michael Meredith entwines adaptations of six Chekhov short stories, updated to modern-day Cleveland during a raging, cleansing storm that settles a bunch of scores in unusual ways. The acting and stories are uneven, but Erick Avari, as a man who wakes up to his humanitarian obligations, provides the movie’s affecting center, and Peter Falk gives a harrowing performance as a hopeless drunk trying to manipulate his grown son. The ends of each story work beautifully, but getting there requires traveling some washed-out roads, despite the imprimatur of executive producer Wim Wenders.

    As for Kuchar, Doug, if you should talk with him, ask him if he has any suggestions as to what to ask Falk. It would be neat to go in there with some good intelligence.

  8. mark
    Posted October 18, 2005 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

    As for the eye, he lost it to cancer when he was three, and I don’t think I’ll be bringing it up. I suspect he’s been asked about it before.

  9. Brian
    Posted October 18, 2005 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

    Ask him about working with Cassavetes on A Woman Under the Influence.

  10. Doug Skinner
    Posted October 18, 2005 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

    There’s a website: It looks like Kuchar and Falk are in different sections.

  11. terry
    Posted October 19, 2005 at 1:07 am | Permalink

    Ask him why he always wears that rumpled old trench coat and if he would try on a nice sports jacket possibly as part of a Queer Eye makeover?

  12. Shanster
    Posted October 19, 2005 at 5:10 am | Permalink

    I imagine you’ve read his bio on the imdb. I would ask about his sketching. I also wonder about his old ensemble movies: Madmadmadmad World, the Great Race and Murder by Death… was there a big clash of egos with all those big stars together or were they a happy little commune of Bohemian thespians?

  13. Posted October 19, 2005 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    Falk was only in ‘wings of desire’ very briefly, but had much more of a role playing himself in Wenders’ sequel ‘Faraway, so close’. As I recall he wrote all his own dialogue and it also features many of his drawings.

    I thought the series “Mrs. Columbo” was really bad, and always wondered what his opinion was, but i probably wouldn’t ask him that.

    Really, most of my curiousity has to do with how much input he had in developing columbo’s character, whether he went off script, if the raincoat was professionally wrinkled by the wardrobe dept or if he actually slept in it, etc.

    and yes, i’d ask something about his drawings- I personally wonder if he’s influenced by Egon Schiele, based upon the few things featured on this page. If you don’t want to appear snobbish you can say you have an artst fartsy friend named brett that is a big fan and asked about it.

    The eye would be a tough thing to address, yes, but keep in mind he is primarily a ‘character actor’, and his face wouldn’t be nearly as memorable without it, so i’m sure he’s given some thought to the fact he owes some of his success to the childhood trauma.

    Anyway, falk always seemed infinitely more pleasant and likable than most celebrities, so I would think he’d be a real joy to interview, regardless of what you talk about. I’d probably just say “How’s your day been?” and let him talk about that the whole time.

  14. Posted October 19, 2005 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    Thanks for the link, Brett. I notice a little bit of possible influence from Hokusai, although my artsy fartsy background is severely limited.

    I would also ask him about angels. Since he has repeated the role of Max as well as being in Wenders’ Films, I wonder if he has some strong belief in them.

  15. Posted October 19, 2005 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps ask him if it bothers him to be so strongly associated with the character of Columbo. I’m thinking, much like “what’s up with your eye”, that has been asked often however.

  16. chris
    Posted October 19, 2005 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

    Oh my God! That’s right! “Woman Under the Influence” was absolutely amazing. His acting was so great that you never once thought about Columbo.

    Yeah! Ask him about working with Cassavetes. I would lve to know his comments.

  17. mark
    Posted October 19, 2005 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

    I’m watching “Wings of Desire” right now… Then comes “Made.” It’s a Peter Falk film festival. Tomorrow’s a vacation day from work, so I’ll be able to sleep in a bit before driving off to meet Mr. Falk. He’s apparently giving me 15 minutes, so I’ll have to be judicious with my time.

    Thanks for your thoughts. I’ll try to incorporate as much of it as possible. (I too dislike the Mrs. Columbo mysteries, Brett, and whether or not he was consulted was going to be one of my first questions.)

    … Hey there’s a Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds song in “Wings of Desire.” I didn’t know that… What a nice surprise.

  18. mark
    Posted October 19, 2005 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

    I have a whole line of questioning where I just mention people he’s worked with and ask for his thoughts… Cassavetes is certainly one. As is Tim Carey. As are Myrna Loy, Jack Cassidy, Steven Spielberg (directed one of the first episodes of Columbo), Wim Wender, Alan Arkin, Ida Lupino, Steven Bochco and Jamie Lee Curtis (her first acting credit was Columbo).

  19. Posted October 20, 2005 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    When you finish the interview, definitely shake his hand and start walking out, then just as you reach the door raise a finger to your temple and slowly turn around saying, “Oh- and there’s just one more thing…”

  20. chris
    Posted October 20, 2005 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    Belly laughter

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