Replay the Ransom scene in which a thief gets arrested in a bodega: The detective with Gary Sinise is actually the film’s co-screenwriter Richard Price, who loves to do cameos in the films he scripts. But Price isn’t the only author to try acting. In fact, some scribes have gone Hollywood in more ways than one:
· MAYA ANGELOU The writer in Hollywood: As the head of How to Make an American Quilt’s sewing bee, Angelou’s Anna weaves serenity with sass. Hollywood in her writing: Angelou’s poetic homage to black athletes and entertainers, ”Ain’t That Bad?” pays tribute to ”Miss Pearlie Bailey,” the chanteuse who made good in ’50s films.
· ARTHUR C. CLARKE The writer in Hollywood: ”HAL” to the Chief? In an uncredited cameo, Clarke feeds presidential pigeons on the White House lawn in his space fable 2010. Hollywood in his writing: Thawed after almost a thousand years of frozen slumber, astronaut Frank Poole in 3001: The Final Odyssey reaffirms Star Trek’s enduring appeal by reminiscing over boyhood idols Patrick Stewart and Leonard Nimoy.
· JAMES DICKEY The writer in Hollywood: The scribe pops up in the Deliverance movie as skeptical, gum-smacking Sheriff Bullard. Hollywood in his writing: In the novel’s second most shocking moment, Deliverance’s narrator compares clambering over a corpse to pratfalling a la Harold Lloyd.
· TAMA JANOWITZ The writer in Hollywood: Janowitz plays Abby — big-hair recluse by day, big-hair party girl by night — in the film version of her trendy ’80s opus, Slaves of New York. Hollywood in her writing: Citizen Kane goes glam? Well, sort of, as Janowitz’s leading lady shares a few drinks, an awkward kiss, and a peep-show stall with an Orson Welles look-alike in The Male Cross-Dresser Support Group.
· STEPHEN KING The writer in Hollywood: King plays misery for laughs in the pulp horror landscape of Creepshow, in which, as doofus hillbilly Jordy Verrill, he takes a shining to a meteor that lands in his backyard. The result? A fatal case of space fungus. Hollywood in his writing: Fast cars, rock & roll — King’s Christine hums with an atmosphere as thick with American kitsch as it is with horror. No surprise, then, when the protagonist trots down to the local bijou for a Chuck Norris bone cruncher.