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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 Crane.

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 Moon."

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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