About The Production
In 1996, writer Michael Gerbosi was working at Jerry's Deli. While he was out
making deliveries one day, a customer named Todd Rosken mentioned that he needed
to find a writer for a feature project based on the book The Murder of Bob
Together Rosken and Gerbosi bought the option, and began to flesh out the story
in a treatment that had as its centerpiece Crane's involvement with Carpenter.
"It's really a cautionary tale about celebrity and fame, because I think
what got Bob into trouble was his ability to attract women just by virtue of
being who he was," says Gerbosi.
Of course, as Gerbosi soon discovered, there's a world of difference between
writing a treatment and actually getting someone in Hollywood to read it.
"I pitched the idea for the movie around town and received the kind of
response that crazy people get." Undeterred, Gerbosi decided to approach
Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski, the creative team behind "Ed
Wood," "The People vs. Larry Flint" and "Man on the
Despite their predilection for "making biopics about people living on the
fringe of pop culture," Alexander and Karaszewski initially were
underwhelmed by Crane's story. Explains Alexander, "When our agent called
to say that Michael and Todd had purchased the rights to The Murder of Bob
Crane, we just started laughing. But then we went back and forth with
Michael on some treatments and found that we were inadvertently getting sucked
into this weird world."
Having agreed to come on board as producers, Alexander and Karaszewski worked
with Gerbosi over the next year and a half to create a polished screenplay.
"Our philosophy," says Alexander, "is that you take these stories
about these fairly marginal, obsessive characters who are running totally
counter to the grain of society, and you make a case for them."
As he and Karaszewski went about trying to secure financing for the project,
Alexander happened to read an interview with Greg Kinnear in the "Los
Angeles Times" accompanied by a photo of the actor that looked for all the
world like . . . Bob Crane. "Greg was talking about how he'd been cast in a
lot of these light parts and how he wished people would look at him as a more
serious actor capable of more challenging material, which is essentially the
same thing that Bob says in the script."
Not that the producers were indifferent to Kinnear's proven talent as a comedic
leading man. Explains Karaszewski, "There's a very dark theme running
through this film, but it's also quite humorous, and I think a lot of that is
what Greg brings to it. He's got a great, light tone that makes the story not as
scary as you might think it would be."
That interplay of humor and darkness ultimately proved decisive for Kinnear, who
leapt at the chance to portray one of his childhood idols. "Growing up, I
watched 'Hogan's Heroes' religiously - Hogan was so cool because he knew how to
deal with the Germans in such a funny and heroic way. But Bob Crane was like
most people-complex, full of contradictions. And at some point, when his libido
met up with his passion for photography, he had a difficult time keeping his
appetites in check."
As intriguing to Kinnear as Crane's obsessions was his symbiotic relationship
with John Carpenter. "John's that person in your life that you may be much
better off never having met. Had Bob not come across John when he did, he might
have avoided slipping into that lifestyle. I think their union was the thing
that powered Bob and at the same time was very hurtful to him."
In addition to dyeing his hair black and wearing tinted contact lenses, Kinnear
also poured through boxes of background material to get into character,
including audio tape
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