David Atkins directed Novocaine, a new film starring Steve Martin. It's about a dentist who's lured into a life of crime. Atkins is also a drummer and songwriter, and participated in the creation of several songs on the movie soundtrack. He also wrote the screenplay for the film Arizona Dream, starring Johnny Depp, Faye Dunaway and Lili Taylor. It something of a cult classic in the U.S., although it was successful overseas. Novocaine is his feature film directorial debut.
Director Curtis Hanson and actor Russell Crowe from the film "L.A. Confidential." It's about corruption and retribution in L.A. in the 1950s and 60s and is adapted from the 1990 novel by James Ellroy. (James Ellroy is a previous Fresh Air guest whose memoir "My Dark Places" was about his mother's murder in L.A. in 1958) The film won best picture, best director and best screenplay awards from the New York Film critics circle and the LA film critics. It's also been nominated for 5 Golden Globe awards. (REBROADCAST from 9/18/97)
Film director Samuel Fuller died yesterday at the age of 86. Fuller's B-movies of the 50s and 60s have influenced many other directors. His 1982 movie, "White Dog," about a racist who trains a dog to attacks blacks, was considered too controversial to be released in this country. It was finally shown in a retrospective of his work in New York. Among his works: The Big Red One, Verboten, and I Shot Jesse James. (Originally aired 8/2/91).