The Night I Slept with a Movie Star | Nut (Hardware) | Leisure

The Night I Slept With a Movie Star I slept with a movie star once.

Actually it went on for a number of months. It was one of the highlights of my life at the time. I still look back on those days with fondness. When I say “slept with,” I suppose I should more accurately say “slept near,” or perhaps “slept not far from.” The two of us shared a large two room trailer. !es, we did have separate rooms with separate entrances, but I didn"t feel separate and I don"t think the star did either. Actually that made me a little nervous at times. #ut I"m getting ahead of myself. $ne of the trailer rooms was far more spacious than the other. %aturally, the star got the bigger room, but I had no problem with that. I"d &ust been brought out from 'ancouver to Alberta to be a screenwriter and was new to the business. The star had been around. The star was bigger than I, and when I say bigger I don"t meant &ust bigger. I mean larger. And I don"t mean like larger than life. I mean like larger in life. I"ll never forget my first night. !ou know those corny signs that couples put on their ('s saying) “If the van"s rocking, don"t come knocking*” Well, we rocked. I mean rocked. I"d never e+perienced anything like it before. All night long it was rock...rock...rock. That first night I never even got to sleep. ,ome of the -ollywood tabloids had gossiped that the star was an “animal” in bed, and often even on the set. I"m here to tell you that star was an animal twenty four hours a day. 'oracious, demanding, never willing to take no for an answer. ,oft to the touch but tough underneath. Awesome. !ou may have seen the star in a film yourself. If you"ve ever seen the movie Jeremiah Johnson, you definitely did. In fact, you might remember the star more than any of the others in the film. ,ure, some guy called (obert (edford was also in it. And his name"s all over the movie. That"s -ollywood. ,adly, in those backward days when the film was made, -ollywood still had a lot of pre&udice toward non .aucasian actors. And the star I shared a trailer with was about as non .aucasian as you can get. /ven today, the star is not given credit by name as a cast member on the Internet 0ovie 1ata#ase, which is about as unmentioned as one can be. -owever, there is a reference to the star in the 2uotes section. -ere"s how the script describes a “walk on” by the star. 3I put that in 4uotes because the star didn"t e+actly “walk.”5 #ear .law .hris 6app was an old mountain man7 8eremiah 8ohnson was played by that (edford guy.

because he had had the #ig (ole in a high grossing -ollywood film. As I mentioned earlier. I was a bit reluctant to accept the housing assignment. @nslept=but also uneaten.kin that one. paws and claws. and I"ll get you another< !es. and I arose. We were in the wilderness compound of a wildlife film company in the . I knew he was fantasi9ing this because he didn"t sleep either. The animal handlers also assured me that there was a latch on Willie"s cage and a bear wasn"t smart enough to figure out how to open the latch with his clumsy bear fingers>er. open my . . even a famous runs into and through the cabin with a huge gri99ly bear close behind and &umps out the back window. I was sure that Willie would break out of his cage. I said fine. :#ear . I lay in bed. Willie was one of more than one hundred animals at the compound7 everything from bears. #ear . %ot wanting to look like a greenhorn. When I found out I was going to be rooming with a gri99ly bear. Willie had been my favorite actor in the movie Jeremiah Johnson. I wasn"t reassured. pilgrim. and they were trained professionals.hris 6app) Are you sure you can skin gri99* 8eremiah 8ohnson) 8ust as fast as you can catch" em. And still the trailer rocked. Willie"s cage was where horses would have been. for ?od"s sake. #ut everyone > particularly the animal handlers.rew members at the camp"s breakfast table asked how I"d slept. and eat me. The windows were too small to crawl through. enter my room. was the movie star with whom I shared so many very long and memorable nights. -ow could an actor do anything stupid*” What* -ad they never been to -ollywood* The trailer we shared was actually a large horse trailer. and wolves to badgers. whose name was Willie. unable to sleep. What was he thinking* Worse yet. no. skunks and porcupines. Willie spent the night pacing. with a small room for humans in the front. that very same half ton gri99ly bear. #ut Willie stood out. rocking the trailer back and . “-e"s an actor. come around to my door. %ot e+actly. I wondered how I could escape when he came into my room. . And here I was working alongside=and rooming with=this ursine star. weren"t they* > assured me that Willie was safe. and a big area in the back for horses. I didn"t have a weapon.#ear . . And rocked.hris 6app) :as the fight rages inside the cabin.anadian (ockies. cougars. Was I starstruck by Willie* Well. what was he plotting* 0orning came. open his trailer door to freedom.

We got Willie. The fourth night wasn"t. The animal handlers took new measures to ensure that Willie couldn"t get out of his cage. 'ery early in the morning. And the push of boredom is e4ually strong. . that was a relief. . /+cept for the part where he came to my door.tay inside. Willie broke out of the slammer.ages are very boring for anyone but are particularly so for wild animals. Animal handlers are busy people. the trailer stopped rocking. the same is not true for a bear in a cage. They have the need to do many things and they do them throughout the day. Imagine that you are a bear. Time is different for a bear in a cage. there was now a threaded bolt going through the latch. “All over. the call of the wild > or at least the world outside the cage > is very strong.ontrary to what everyone had said. maybe it wasn't a good thing. I was too sleepy to consider the possibility that if the trailer was no longer rocking. Therefore. /verything I had feared had happened. &ust after dawn.” I needed no further advice. Again. Affi+ed tightly around the bolt was a nut. Instead of &ust a latch. opened it. To get out. defecating.” Well. Their options are limited to sleeping. It is not a very stimulating life. as you may have seen with countless 9oo animals. .o was the ne+t. -e"s back in his cage. went inside and ate me. As you might guess. Willie could run around chasing anything and everything in his path. Willie really could get out of his cage. masturbating. What the animal handlers neglected to consider about Willie was time. Willie would need a wrench to turn the nut in order to loosen and remove the nut and then remove the bolt. /ver* I wasn"t safe during the previous ever. They are so busy that their available time to focus on any one thing in particular is limited. I was now safer than ever. At short time later there was a knock on the door.uddenly I heard a clamor outside my door. !ou are in a cage.The ne+t night was the same. The handlers pointed out to me that bears have neither opposable thumbs nor wrenches. I cautiously opened the door to see what was going on and someone shouted “. I also felt some satisfaction that my fears had been vindicated. A bear in a cage has a great deal of . It didn"t sound like the kind of knock a bear paw would make so I opened the door. !ou do not want to be in the cage. 0aybe it meant that Willie was no longer in the cage. That seemed like a good thing. eating. . I had been right. Willie"s loose. They have no such constraints. or walking back and forth while raising and lower their heads.

%o nut. it re4uired minimal bear intelligence > or perhaps &ust trial and error and a little luck > for Willie to also remove the bolt. I looked for the back door of the kitchen trailer. however. And to continue twanging and turning the nut. and the nut. moving the nut towards the end of the bolt. they caught him and returned him to the cage. 4uite likely even for the bolt the nut must have come. Willie focused.” In fact.. Twang. -e had the spare time.” said one of the handlers. because now Willie achieved his second escape. in the correct counter clockwise direction. 0y concern was brief. he focused on the nut. Willie did not seem to be bothered by obstructions. he was able to go twang many times. no bolt. I. The cage with the latch.. was not in my room at the time. and now the combination padlock. (egardless of how many twangs he performed or how long it took. as I was watching Willie happily run around loose in the compound. Willie never did. which Willie had easily overcome the first time that he had escaped from the cage. once again. Apparently. he was able to twang the nut enough times to loosen it. as I saw animal handlers again chasing Willie. the bolt. the bolt.time and can use that time to focus. making up for the lack of an opposable thumb > or fingers of any kind. Willie focused on the latch. I was in the kitchen trailer having coffee. go “twang. And then. and perhaps using one of his claws. “6et"s see him get out of that one. -owever. And then keep twanging many more times to cause it to turn. #ut no nut. however. he was still able to take one of his very powerful paws. That left only the latch. In particular. The result would have been a cage with a latch and a bolt. I say first time. And. I was safe if Willie tried to enter my room. it occurred to me that the door to the kitchen trailer was perhaps easier to get through than the door to my room. . the nut. -aving removed the nut.

and later that he had moved on to that great gri99ly wilderness in the sky..orry. individual initiative isn"t always rewarded in show bi9.ertainly the furriest. I heard that Willie remained in show bi9 for some time afterwards. Willie. %one. I continued to write film treatments and movie scripts. !ou were perhaps the most interesting roommate I ever had. 1espite the -ollywood mythology. actually. AAA . Willie. . and Willie continued to act. /ventually I went back to 'ancouver and a life with fewer bears. #e &oyful.

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