The wonderful Steve Cannell and My Dad on the set of THE ROCKFORD FILES
There are 17 things wrong with this headline. And number 1 is that anyone thinks that Vince Vaughn and James Garner belong in the same sentence.
Onyx reviews: The Garner Files by James Garner
People know James Garner mostly from his roles as Bret Maverick and Jim Rockford, the private detective who lived in a shabby old trailer on the beach, liked to hang out with his pop, and took cases for $200 a day plus expenses. His acting career began when he was placed under contract with Warner Bros, which meant he got paid a weekly salary. The upside was that it meant a steady income. The downside was that he had to be in whatever TV show or movie they wanted him to do, along with public appearances. He had no say in the matter whatsoever.
Garner’s memoir is not a tell-all expose, though he does dish on the people he met and worked with over the years. He has good things to say about most of his colleagues. He reserves his disdain for himself—he is perhaps his harshest critic—and for people who didn’t show up on the set on time and those who didn’t honor the script. He has no use for ad libbers, reasoning that actors weren’t writers, and that writers knew about the big picture of the script, whereas actors were focused on their individual characters. He takes pride in the fact that neither he nor anyone else ever changed a word from any of the scripts during The Rockford Files’ six year run.
He had no formal acting training and fell into the career instead of setting out to be an actor. One of his first parts was in a touring play where he had no lines. He spent his time on stage observing the other members of the cast, watching the choices they made and how they acted and reacted. His philosophy of acting is fairly simple: learn your lines, show up (on time) at the set, hit your marks and speak the truth. Though he denies that the characters he played were himself, he feels that he brought himself into every part he played so that he could deliver an honest performance.
Though best-known for his TV roles, Garner had a great deal of success on the big screen as well. He was part of the ensemble cast of The Great Escape, has an Oscar nomination for Murphy’s Romance, and shared the screen with the likes of Marlon Brando, Clint Eastwood, Doris Day, Henry Fonda, Lauren Bacall, Tab Hunter, and just about anyone else you’d care to mention over the past fifty years. He had no desire to direct (he directed one episode of The Rockford Files after the original director had to drop out at the last minute), but enjoyed producing later in his career. He never wanted to play bad guys or heavies and preferred parts that had a sense of humor. He claims that stage fright kept him from acting in plays, but Carol Burnett says he was a natural when he appeared on her show in front of a live audience.
He also had a lively life outside of acting. He has been married to the same woman for over fifty years, and has two children. He attended the 1963 March on Washington where Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his “I have a dream” speech. He raced Formula One cars and participated numerous times in the Baja 1000 cross country rally. Golf was one of his great loves, though he recognizes that the sport also brought out the worst in him: he was a great thrower of clubs. He played on many of the great courses around the world and competed in Pro-Am tournaments where he acquitted himself well. Arthritis now prevents him from playing. He says, somewhat wistfully, that if he’d know how long he was going to live, he might have taken better care of his body. Doing his own stunts wreaked many hardships on his body. He stopped counting at 200 stitches, has had his knees replaced more than once, and has broken half the bones in his body. (He also broke two of Doris Day’s ribs when he threw her over his shoulder while filming a scene. He didn’t find out about it until much later.)
Though he doesn’t feel that people who know him only through his roles really know him, it’s hard not to see him as Jim Rockford. He rarely went looking for a fight, but he didn’t shy away from using his fists to make a point when all other approaches failed. He didn’t drink much after his thirties, but he admits to a sixty-year addiction to cigarettes.
He is a Korean War veteran who was awarded the Purple Heart though, in typical Garner fashion, he minimizes his injury by turning it into a joke. He came from a simple background in Oklahoma around the time of the dust bowl and it appears that his simple upbringing stayed with him throughout his life. He was the kind of guy who would sacrifice some of his salary so that others on his crew could get more money. He always knew his crew’s names and the names of their children. He thought that it was important that people have fun while working and he encouraged a light atmosphere on sets. He has no interest in acting awards because he doesn’t take the job that seriously. He is unapologetic about his politics—he’s a lifelong Democrat—but has little use for actors who go into politics.
Though the book was written with the assistance of a co-author, the style is direct and unadorned. It sounds like Garner from beginning to end. The text is somewhat chronological, though it does jump around occasionally when he switches gears to discuss other topics. A nice addition to the book is a section where many of the people he mentions as being important in his life contribute short anecdotes about him. He annotates the filmography at the end, often scathingly, critiquing either the film itself, his performance or his experiences with other actors or directors.
He is a self-proclaimed curmudgeon and discusses some of the disadvantages of a life of celebrity, but he comes across as a charming man who stood up for others, had a wide circle of friends and enjoyed life to its fullest.
Web site and all contents © Copyright Bev Vincent 2012. All rights reserved.
The Rockford Files (film)
http://www.deadline.com/2012/04/univ…s-garner-role/Universal Pictures has set David Levien and Brian Koppelman to write The Rockford Files, a feature adaptation of the memorable series that ran on NBC from 1974-80 and featured James Garner as the down-and-out private eye. The studio will develop the film as a star vehicle for Vince Vaughn to play Rockford, and Vaughn and Victoria Vaughn will produce through their Universal-based Wild West Picture Show Productions banner.
The reason the Rockford Files was so great was not just the storylines but the countless hours and situtation where you got to know and love the characters!
So what do they hope to achieve in less that 2hrs with this?
Other than the titles and character names, how is this really going to be “The Rockford Files”?
Surely they could give it a new name and just make a ‘new’ film? Or maybe they’re just trying to cash in on the success of the TV series increase viewing figures!? Hmmm!
Vince Vaughn will star in a ‘Rockford Files’ movie
By Rick Porter; April 17, 2012 5:49 PM ET
Universal Pictures is developing a big-screen remake of “The Rockford Files,” with Vince Vaughn set to take the title role.
Vaughn will also be a producer on the project, which David Levien and Brian Koppelman (“Ocean’s Thirteen,” “Rounders”) will write, Deadline reports. Vaughn would step into the role of small-time private eye Jim Rockford, memorably played by James Garner in the 1974-80 TV series.
Universal sibling NBC tried its own “Rockford Files” remake a couple years ago, with Dermot Mulroney starring and “House” creator David Shore writing the script. It never got past the pilot stage, though.
The movie version was just given the go-ahead, so it’s not clear if it would be a straight remake set in the present, something that attempts to re-create the vibe of mid- to late-’70s Los Angeles or a “Brady Bunch”/”Three Stooges”-esque character-out-of-time hybrid. Inevitably, though, the project will be freighted with tons of comparisons between the easygoing character Garner played and Vaughn’s typically more live-wire persona.by: Anonymous replies 2104/17/2012 @ 06:19PM
What a bunch of horseshit. James Garner was good looking when he did Rockford Files. Vince however is a bloated ugly Republican pig.
Hollywood really is out of ideas, aren’t they?by: Anonymous reply 204/17/2012 @ 08:41PM
Why does that bloated, puffy, sweaty alcoholic Vaughn still get movie roles? He is gross. James Garner was fine as hell when he did The Rockford Files, and they’re going for Vaughn in the role? Please.by: Anonymous reply 404/17/2012 @ 08:56PM
No. Vaughn has grown flat and sloppy and he’s way too snarky for Rockford.
Give it to Josh Holloway (Sawyer on Lost). He’s much better looking and can play funny, tough and exasperated pretty well.
Second choice: Eric Bana. Sexy and, if you’ve ever seen his comedy work, very funny. I just don’t know whether he can hit the right note of seediness.by: Anonymous reply 504/17/2012 @ 08:58PM
There is no one like James Garner in TV/films now.by: Anonymous reply 604/17/2012 @ 09:02PM
What was his last hit? It’s amazing how some actors keep getting jobs. I am going out on a limb and calling this a bomb already.by: Anonymous reply 704/17/2012 @ 09:02PM
Sawyer as Rockford would be fun.by: Anonymous reply 804/17/2012 @ 09:03PM
I dont care if Bill Murray hates the script for Ghostbusters III. As long as they can get the Staypuff Marshmellow Man then who needs any of them. Might be tough though, I hear Mr. Staypuff has become a real ass. Demands only green M&Ms in his trailer, and rumor has it he shredded the script. Oh well…Maybe the Michelen Tire Guy is open. He’s supposed to be a lot nicer.by: Anonymous reply 904/18/2012 @ 01:07AM
Vaughn is a terrible choice. Garner was overwhelmingly, utterly likeable, while Vaughn always seems to be nasty under the surface. Under Garner’s surface was just more charm, it seemed to go all the way down.
Hugh Jackman is the only modern actor I can think of who has anything like that quality, more so than Bana. But neither has anything like Garner’s mellowness, but who does.by: Anonymous reply 1004/18/2012 @ 05:15AM
I wouldn’t mind seeing Cheyenne Jackson play Rockford. He comes close to capturing Garner’s easygoing charm. Maybe Channing Tatum as an alternate. Or even Ryan Reynolds.
But Vince Vaughn? Hell to the no.by: Anonymous reply 1104/18/2012 @ 06:14AM
Wasn’t this idea floated a year or two ago?by: Anonymous reply 1204/18/2012 @ 06:49AM
Replacing classy James Garner with that thing?by: Anonymous reply 1304/18/2012 @ 07:32AM
I dunno. Jon Hamm often reminds me of James Garner. He’s suave, self-deprecating and utterly handsome like Garner at his prime. Hamm would have been the perfect choice.by: Anonymous reply 1404/18/2012 @ 07:41AM
Why bother to remake it. I loved James Garner, but this isn’t one of those memorable, speical series or characters. I think Maverick tanked when Mel gibson did it, and he was popular back then. Unless they’re “reimagining” Rockford Files this is going to be a disaster. Next thing you know they’ll be talking about Ben Stiller & Owen Wilson for it too. Ugh. And Vince Vaughan’s sweaty bloat is from drugs AND alcohol, not just alcohol. Coke.by: Anonymous reply 1504/18/2012 @ 07:55AM
I find this trend of turning a TV series into a movie kind of stupid. I saw the original series, and I don’t want them to turn it into a comedy.
But it seems Hollywood is so averse to risk right now that all they’ll do is turn series into movies, and remake old films.
I have to wonder, the revenue stream must be drying up. Who the hell wants to see this crap?by: LuciferTheLightBringer (authenticated) reply 1604/18/2012 @ 09:23AM
[R14], you’re right - maybe Jon Hamm - but he’s the only one!by: R6 reply 1704/18/2012 @ 09:38AM
Even better, a naked Jon Hamm.by: Anonymous reply 1804/18/2012 @ 10:25AM
Mmmmmmm…by: Anonymous reply 1904/18/2012 @ 09:22PM
When asked what a fan thought of the TV show “THE ROCKFORD FILES” he said
The Files are televisual literature
“That Redford fellow is good. Brando. ‘Patton’ - George C. Scott. But the best of the bunch is Garner - James Garner. He can play anything. Comedy, westerns, drama - you name it. Yeah, I have to say Garner is the best around today. He doesn’t have to say anything - just make a face and you crack up.”—John Wayne