Laker Jim's

"Irwin M. Fletcher"
Chevy Chase (4/19/04)

After a year of is the interview we've all been waiting for...

"Hey!  You won't believe this, but Chevy has FINALLY answered all of your questions!  Unfortunately, we  printed them out, gave them directly to Chevy who "lost" them in a pile, a huge pile, of papers next to our bed.  I've been spring cleaning and found it a couple of weeks ago.  He felt so bad!  He finally had some time yesterday to sit down and write out answers.  He's not real good on the computer, so he still writes things out longhand.   So, please respond and we'll go from there!                Jayni Chase"

"Sorry this took so long! My e-mail is defunct. Stuff also got lost in the shuffle." -Chevy

Laker Jim: In our interview with Tim Matheson, he said that he succeeded several times in trying to break you up on your close ups...any great behind the scenes stories that stand out?

Chevy Chase: Basically, the "script," which was written by Andrew Bergman, and re-written by Phil Alden Robinson, was a "guide" (of sorts) for me, which covered plot and action. As I recollect, the voice over narrative throughout was a post-production aid to keep the audience informed of the story, because the movie (like all movies) was too long and had to be edited down to 90 minutes or so. Therefore, I pretty much "winged" most of Fletch, including the voice over:" Jelly Finger" I made up  in the post production voice over..."Ted Nugent" and "Sierra del Fuego" were on the spot improv, i.e., during production (shooting). One example of extemporaneous methodology that stands out is the scene where Fletch has to pretend to be a doctor to get into medical records at the hospital. When I came in to shoot that morning I went right to the set where the set-decorators, carpenters, and various painters, etc., were readying with last second touches. I noticed a set decorator actually putting letter-by-letter the names of various M.D.'s on a board with their  room numbers or other pertinent information. I asked for Mike (Ritchie) to come to the set and said "just make all the names of the doctors, 'Rosen...'" He asked "why?" I said "with all the possible variations: Rosenstien, Rosenburg, Rosenhurst, and so on, I'll come down the stairs where the watch nurse is, and i'll carry a lot of files and documents and pretend to lose hold of them, dropping them over on the floor (thereby keeping my face somewhat hidden from her and her inquiries as to who I am. ) and keep saying Rosensomething all the while throwing her off. Mike agreed, since it had been working all along anyway: "Moonriver"...etc and we shot the scene. What made this my favorite picture was that I winged just about everything in it - particularly dialogue. Some scenes such as the "Michael, Fredo, Godfather; kick in the crotch" one were written and changed very little. But most of the time, when I wanted to do something funny, or made it up while the camera was rolling ("steak sandwich and a steak sandwich") or ("using the whole fist doc") etc, etc, Mike just let the camera role, leaving us with such anomalies as "John Cocktoatohh...").

Laker Jim: Can you give me a few words on each of the following people...
Michael Ritchie, Chick Hearn, and Phil Hartman:

Chevy Chase:
Michael Ritchie: Very intelligent. Very Tall (6'7"?) Trusting; allowing me so much freedom. Fine Filmmaker!

Chick Hearn: Greatest play-by-play guy in the biz!

Phil Hartman: Probably the best fully rounded character actor/comedian SNL ever had! A real pleasant and nice man. Tragedy and a huge loss for the world (was only in Fletch Lives," I believe, which stunk - for a myriad of reasons).

Laker Jim: I've found pictures of what I believe to be cut scenes from Fletch...they are...

Chevy Chase:
Fletch in LA Kings Jersey: Never in the Movie. haven't the foggiest idea where from

Fletch in Dodgers uniform with Tommy Lasorta: We had room, after the first edit, from only one of Fletch's "day dreams," which turned out to be the Lakers scene. (Incidentally, I made the shot on the first take). The other dream sequence we shot was me at Dodger Stadium, pitching in a game to "little people," or "midgets" if you like. Because of the "tight" strike zone, (the hitters being no more than 3 feet tall), the Dodgers were losing badly. Lasorta comes to the mound and asks Fletch for the ball. He wont give it to Tommy. They end up wrestling for it, rolling in the dirt...Ultimately not as funny as the Lakers dream sequence.

Laker Jim: Did you read any of the books before production started, just to get the attitude of the character...if not, did you read any of the books after making the film just out of curiosity?

Chevy Chase: Yes to the first part. No to the second part of your question.

Laker Jim: After Kevin Smith's Jersey Girl (NOTE: and now Green Hornet) he is going to do "Fletch Won" (the first Fletch Novel) which will be the story of a young Fletch and his first big case. He's recently said "He (Chevy) was excellent. I mean Chevy is a comedy god. I want to work in Chevy Chase. Which would require a framing device where he's telling the story . So we'd start with him and segway to Jason Lee (NOTE: now who knows). But that's if he's willing to do it." Without agreeing to anything, would you at least consider it? Fletch fans everywhere want you to be a part of this.

Chevy Chase: For the record, Smith invited me to lunch about 5 or 6 years ago to talk to me about doing another Fletch movie: with me , obviously, playing Fletch. He was ebullient about it; about working with me; and said he was writing it as we spoke. After that lunch, he never took or returned a call from me. After 2 years, I was called by Alan Greisman, producer of the Fletch films, saying, "Kevin doesn't want to do it." PERIOD! So I waited for 3 friggin' years to hear from someone else that Mr. Kevin Smith was, for all practical purposes, lying to me to begin with - having written nothing - rudely deceiving me, and all with no apparent concern for how easily (facile) one can hurt another human being and his family...he can shove it up his hole. If this is the type of director he aspires to being (the type of person I've seen a million times in Hollywood), I hope he gets the Karma he's owed. As for me, he owes me one hell of an explanation. (But, with some, when you're "hot" the rest of the world owes you).

If I played any part in the Fletch remake, think about it: as soon as I appeared on the screen people would say, "Hey...There's Fletch, man!" Silly idea. Keep me out of it. Fletch is me.

Laker Jim: I know you said you can't see anyone else playing Fletch (cause they'd just be imitating Chevy Chase), but what do you think of Jason Lee as an actor (who might play a younger Fletch)? He is a huge fan of yours and loves Fletch. Would you consider taking him under your wing?

Chevy Chase: I don't know him or his humor. But, given how much "Fletch" was a personal product of my improvisation and the work closest to me as a person, I don't get it. $?? (Always). As for Lee, I'm flattered and would be happy to share what I can with him.

Laker Jim: Speaking of impressions of you....what did you think of Ryan Reynold's performance in Van Wilder?

Chevy Chase: Didn't see it.

Laker Jim: Back to Fletch and Fletch Lives, how often do you watch them?

Chevy Chase: Never. As with all my pictures, I've seen them so many times during post-production (editing, A.D.R. work, scoring, nixing...) that I sort of get tired of them, Same for many actors.

Laker Jim: We have a DVD petition on the site for a Fletch:SE DVD. Would you be interested in doing a Commentary if Universal chose to release a SE of Fletch?

Chevy Chase: Depends on specifics of concept.

Laker Jim: Do you have any updates on any upcoming projects (Unleashed, Rent-A-Husband, the NBC sitcom?)

Chevy Chase: "Unleashed" I've heard nothing about. I did a dog's voice for no money as a "favor" to Jon Voigt. "Rent-A-Husband" has been renamed "Our Italian Husband," I was paid nothing and know nothing. Sitcom pilot bit the shorts. Ultimately, "reality" TV was killing NBC and Jeff Zucker, who really wanted to do another with me, shared his dilemma with me. I understood. Not really hot to do a sitcom anyway.

Laker Jim: Are the rumors about Caddyshack 3 true?

Chevy Chase: No.

Laker Jim: Would you ever try writing or directing movies? Or even better, write an autobiography?

Chevy Chase: Yes.

Laker Jim: Where would you rank Fletch in the movies you've done? How about rank among the great comedies of all time?

Chevy Chase: My Favorite, because of the freedom it allowed me. I wouldn't rank it even close to any Chaplin, Fields, Marx Bros...(and many others).

Laker Jim: When you think of Fletch, what comes to mind?

Chevy Chase: Funny teeth.

Laker Jim: Fletch is so quotable, what is your favorite Fletch quote? What one do you find yourself saying the most?

Chevy Chase: "Uh, oh...the cops."

Laker Jim: Have you seen my Fletch website

Chevy Chase: No I haven't. But I'm really bad with computers! I'm quite flattered by your endeavor. Thank you.

Laker Jim: Is there anything else you'd like to say?

Chevy Chase: Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do

Check out his hand written answers...if you dare...