THE RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT
THE RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT: (our Los Angeles Cast with Burt Reynolds and Loni Anderson and Showtime)
The Right To Remain Silent was a concept Brent Briscoe came up with so we didn’t have to do the same material that everyone else did in acting class. We both have a fascination with the complexity of social issues and enjoy comedy and drama. So I wrote a monologue loosely based on what happened to me in college when I was pulled over by the police. The police officer asked me why I was driving in the middle of the road and I told him to protect the animals. He laughed but I was sincere because it gave me more reaction time to avoid them. He asked if I was drinking and again I was honest and said I was. He gave me the sobriety test and everything was going great until we got to the alphabet. I couldn’t say it. I never said the alphabet before I only sang it … so once I sang it the police officer laughed and let me go. But I thought what if I do the same piece, made people laugh, but was really intoxicated and hit somebody. That would keep the audience off balance and truly say something. I did the piece for our Master acting teacher Charles Nelson Reilly and was able to make the class laugh, but made the turn at the end and shocked the class. He loved it and went on and on about it. Then Brent did a monologue based on his experience as a pizza delivery person in LA. Brent was actually robbed and realized how dangerous it was to deliver pizzas. Very powerful. Charles called Burt Reynolds up and told him he has to see our play. Burt called me up and said he wanted to do our play in Florida at his theatre. “I told him I was honored” and when I said, “When do you want to do it?” He said “Next week”. Not wanting to miss the opportunity I ignorantly agreed – the only problem was we only had two monologues and had to write, produce and direct an entire play in a week. Impossible! But because we took the opportunity, were blessed, lucky, had fellow actors with the same work ethic as us from Burt’s school and had some talent we pulled it off with great reviews. From there Mr. Reynolds hired us to rewrite his CBS movie The Man From Left Field with Reba Mcentire. He then hired us to write for his series Evening Shade and our career took off. The Right To Remain Silent was published into a play and later was made into a Showtime movie and was nominated for 2 cable Ace awards and won a cable Ace Award for best supporting actress Amanda Plummer. Seizing the opportunity, working hard and taking a leap of faith is the lesson I always try to pass down to young artists. What would have happened if we had not done those things? Life is about choices … seize the opportunity when it comes. The movie itself would have never happened if it were not for my sister in law’s significant other who was managing a horse farm in Colorado for a movie producer. She hooked us up and I told them that Showtime saw the play and wanted to do it. The producer’s husband was an editor who wanted to start directing … Hubert De La Bouillere and he really took to the piece. He was very visual and helped develop the script in a far more visual way and I appreciated that and him. Jana Sue Memel was key in getting the film made and I am still in touch with her to this day and will be forever grateful. What was disappointing to Brent and I was that we KNOW comedy and knew what worked and what didn’t based on testing the material. The cast was great, but we were never on the set and I think we could have helped greatly! There were so many funny moments that would have mixed it up and diversified the movie and made what was dramatic and sad really stand out more. I love the cast and have seen some of them since. LL cool Jay is so nice and kind. So is Judge Reinhold. Lea Thomson was adorable. Robert Loggia is a fellow Mizzou alum and I met him later at Burt Reynolds house. I was honored that Patrick Dempsey played my original drunk driving piece that was the catalyst for everything. As a writer it is magical when you have a vision in your head and it hits dead on. In this movie it happened twice. Once when Carl Reiner tells Lea Thompson “it’s okay you can take the picture”. Carl was so sweet but Lea Thomson’s look and the sadness in her eyes totally sold it. The second magical moment was when Laura San Giacomo was standing on the desk and Lea Thomson took her gloves off bravely and reaches for the scissors from Laura’s character that had aids. I can’t express to you how special it is to have an image in your head and see it come to life.