Who else read the Farrah Fawcett "Long Goodbye" piece in the Sunday New York Time's Style Section, May 29th, 2011? I want to hear from you...
Craig Nevius, Fawcett's long time friend and production partner did everything to retain Farrah's vision of her final work (a video diary of her illness) as she valiantly challenged end stage cancer.
Conceived as an Art House release, the two had long-ago decided that this film would be about the lack of American cancer research, both via innovation and dollars spent. A good part of the original film examined this but was cut to show Farrah in her happier, healthier days, clearly not what she had intended
Though the final version of the film does show her many attempts at experimental drugs only available in Germany, we will never know if this "re-editing" was what she had in mind. Simply, sadly-- she was ultimately outmaneuvered by the Powers That B-List.
Enter Ryan O'Neal and a host of characters you wouldn't invite to the de-licing of a dog. They have other ideas and NBC has $1.5M burning a hole in their Italian-made pants. Worst of all, sweep weeks fast approaches. A no brainer, right?
Listen, while Farrah's still alive-- Jeepers, financial creepers, just think of all that fan mail. She can accept all that adoration... even before our check clears. It's win/win. Right? Right?
Contracts and assorted legal documents are hastily assembled, Farrah scrawls out a barely legible signature (and she was known for the precision of her penmanship!) These new powers of attorney or otherwise are witnessed by those same people who've asked about your dog's de-licing. You tell them to go away. But with witnesses like this, it's a crime not to commit one.
Farrah & Nevius' original title, "A Wing and a Prayer" became "Farrah's Story." (We can only ponder who had that bright idea?)
So what is this then ? A franchise? DVD releases, streaming content, more merchandising on mediums and platforms; Farrah the future collectible. Her swimsuit pic is now a screensaver Today the internet makes most dead celebrities, from James Dean, Elvis, the Beatles, Michael Jackson... the greatest money-making instruments of the 21st century. There have been millions of internet impressions of the late Marilyn Monroe-- and tens of millions of $$ more made than when she was living.
Farrah's estate now walks in the same iconic heels that came before her.
And isn't there a way for Farrah to be a ring tone? She was often on the phone with some Charlie guy who was always hiding behind his AT&T statements.
What happened to Orson Welles with his film "The Magnificant Ambersons" eerily echoes to the work of Farrah & Nevius. They lost control. Worse yet, it was a personal corporate image-taker of the worst sort.
Deathbed transactions can be a rather lowly art. Just ask Ali MacGraw. Apparently she was the "dry run" on what would later become Farrah's reality.
Please read the entire NY Time's article. It will make you think about your own Wing and a Prayer.
In the end this film IS a love story, given the behind-the-scenes genesis as these two loyal compatriots who took a cinema verite bow via Elizabeth Kubler Ross. It was a wonderful message to humanity... and to each of us.
It is also refreshing to see the original faux leading man be replaced by an actual, loving man; a man who loved Farrah Fawcett when she most needed to be loved.
Craig Nevius, you're my hero!
Danny Alias, Copyright WDMS, 2011.