John Boorman remembers Spalding Gray |


John Boorman remembers Spalding Gray

June 5, 1941 - March 7, 2004

I met Spalding when I was producing Beyond Rangoon in 1995. I was looking for someone rather special for the role of tour guide Jeremy Watt and had seen Spalding’s work and thought of him. He was very capable of playing versions of himself. He wasn’t like an actor — he felt like someone you might meet in the jungle, which was where we were. He was eccentric. We were living in this hotel in Malaysia with these little huts, and there was this male monkey who kept screaming at him from a tree, and he said the monkey could sense his virile sexuality and was jealous. And he believed it. Then he announced he was going to swim a mile down this river we were shooting on, and I said, ”Aren’t you worried about the crocodiles?” and he said, ”No, no, crocodiles don’t have any sexual jealousy.” He was a great joy to be with — he had such a quirky view of the world. (Missing since Jan. 10, Gray was found in the East River in New York City, after an apparent suicide.)