paul kyriazi, author, feature film director, motivational speaker.

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Directing Kevin McCarthy

Actor Kevin McCarthy

Most people have seen the original Invasion of the Body Snatchers more than once. Kevin McCarthy running onto the highway and yelling, "There coming. You're next." is a memorable scene. Often the movie is ranked with The Thing as the top two science fiction films of all time. I had listened to an audio-book of Kevin reading Psycho many times over the years. It was recorded 20 years ago and hard to find.

At a photo signing show, I mentioned it to Kevin. He said that he had never heard it. I told him what a great review it got in a catalogue of audio-books. I picked up two copies of the Psycho audio-book for Kevin for the next time he came to the signing show, but that was four years ago and he hadn't been scheduled to appear there. Then my production of Rock Star Rising started and I wanted to have Kevin do a part in it. And wouldn't it be great to give him his Psycho tapes when he walked in to record? Well, before we could set things up with Kevin's agent, my agent Larry calls me to go to an Academy of Motion Pictures' screening of Body Snatchers hosted by Clint Eastwood on stage.

So we go and who walks in, but Kevin. Larry recognizes a casting director that is personal friends with Kevin and after the show he get's him to introduce us to Kevin. We explain about giving him the Psycho tapes, but not about working on RSR. We wanted to do that professionally through his agent. So we said we'll get the tapes to his casting friend and then say goodnight. A few days later we arrange Kevin to come in when James Darren and Robert Culp are recording their parts in RSR. When Kevin walks in, I presented him with the Psycho tapes. "Wow", he said. "So you two are the guys on this project. I haven't heard this recording of mine. Am I any good?"

I say," You are great in it and so was the review. James Darren advised Kevin to get it transferred to CD as soon as possible for a protection copy. Then Kevin recorded his scene with Robert Culp. It was great to hear Kevin as a pushy lawyer push Culp, playing an unscrupulous music agent, into a corner. His laughed and used sarcastic tones in the right places, really making the scene work. It was all his scene and he took it.

A few days later, Kevin gave me a surprise call and thanked me again for the tapes. For me, a kid that grew up on Body Snatchers and other of Kevin's movies, the whole thing was a dream. And, oh yeah, Clint Eastwood talking about Don Siegel (Body Snatchers director) was great, too. He showed clips of Siegel's movies, including Dirty Harry. But I wish he had mentioned Siegel's Elvis movie Flaming Star where Elvis played a half breed Indian in a western drama. Oh well, you can't have everything in one week. But I almost did.

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