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David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

My Follow-Up Questions For Andrew Jarecki & Marc Smerling about The Jinx

After looking at the footage of the doc again, I believe the second interview—including the Times Square walk and trips to family real estate—was shot in early April 2012. I also believe that the interview they say in the film that they had “leverage” to get was a third interview, not the second one.

Anyway… lots of questions and followups to ask…

Question: When, specifically, did you realize that the non-interview ramblings of Durst in the first interview might have editorial value? Were you aware he had a propensity to talk to himself at that time and did you hope he would?

Question: How long was the second interview? Was it, as it was shown, almost exclusively about building to the moment of showing him the two signatures? Did oh do the Times Square walk before that? When you ended the interview, as seen on TV, did you actually end the interview or was there any expectation that you might continue?

Question: Why would you leave Durst confessing to have faked his alibi in his wife’s murder case out of the film? Was this about maintaining tension until the end?

Question: Why is there surveillance footage of Saraf and Durst in Los Angeles? When was it taken? Why were you filming Durst without his knowledge at that point? Was it before or after the incriminating letter? Was it before or after the second interview?

Question: Were you trying for a third interview for a year or longer without success, under the assumption that Bob Durst might still think you were on his side? When exactly did the call in which Durst seems to abruptly hang up on Andrew take place?

Question: What triggered your first contact with police? Was there ongoing communication? Did you have anything to add, aside from the incriminating envelope and the bathroom audio?

Question: What happened in 2014? Why didn’t the film come out that year? What would the film have looked like without the bathroom audio?

4 Responses to “My Follow-Up Questions For Andrew Jarecki & Marc Smerling about The Jinx”

  1. Breedlove says:

    DP, been enjoying your thoughts on this on Twitter & glad you wrote a bit more. With regards to your third question, Durst’s alibi, I’m a little confused…are you talking about him saying he had a drink with the neighbor after he took her to the train station? Because that was in the film, pretty early on I thought.

  2. David Poland says:

    Jarecki indicated in the NYT interview that Durst admitted on tape that he lied about his alibi regarding his wife. Did I forget them using that footage?

  3. Breedlove says:

    Yeah I’m pretty sure they used that…he describes telling the cops some made-up story about having a drink with his neighbor in the hopes that they (the cops) will “leave him alone” and they get the neighbor’s take on it as well.

  4. arisp says:

    How and why does any of this matter? It’s a documentary narrative. Durst said and did what we saw. The order doesn’t matter. What matters is creating a gripping narrative. It’s not a Wikipedia entry.

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“I suddenly couldn’t say anything about some of the movies. They were just so terrible, and I’d already written about so many terrible movies. I love writing about movies when I can discover something in them – when I can get something out of them that I can share with people. The week I quit, I hadn’t planned on it. But I wrote up a couple of movies, and I read what I’d written, and it was just incredibly depressing. I thought, I’ve got nothing to share from this. One of them was of that movie with Woody Allen and Bette Midler, Scenes From a Mall. I couldn’t write another bad review of Bette Midler. I thought she was so brilliant, and when I saw her in that terrible production of ‘Gypsy’ on television, my heart sank. And I’d already panned her in Beaches. How can you go on panning people in picture after picture when you know they were great just a few years before? You have so much emotional investment in praising people that when you have to pan the same people a few years later, it tears your spirits apart.”
~ Pauline Kael On Quitting

“My father was a Jerome. My daughter’s middle name is Jerome. But my most vexing and vexed relationship with a Jerome was with Jerome Levitch, the subject of my first book under his stage and screen name, Jerry Lewis.

I have a lot of strong and complex feelings about the man, who passed away today in Las Vegas at age 91. Suffice to say he was a brilliant talent, an immense humanitarian, a difficult boss/interview, and a quixotic sort of genius, as often inspired as insipid, as often tender as caustic.

I wrote all about it in my 1996 book, “King of Comedy,” which is available on Kindle. With all due humility, it’s kinda definitive — the good and the bad — even though it’s two decades old. My favorite review, and one I begged St. Martin’s (unsuccessfully) to put on the paperback jacket, came from “Screw” magazine, which called it “A remarkably fair portrait of a great American asshole.”

Jerry and I met twice while I was working on the book and spoke/wrote to each other perhaps a dozen times. Like many of his relationships with the press and his partners/subordinates, it ended badly, with Jerry hollering profanities at me in the cabin of his yacht in San Diego. I wrote about it in the epilogue to my book, and over the years I’ve had the scene quoted back to me by Steve Martin, Harry Shearer, Paul Provenza and Penn Jillette. Tom Hanks once told me that he had a dinner with Paul Reiser and Martin Short at which Short spent the night imitating Jerry throwing me off the boat.

Jerry was a lot of things: father, husband, chum, businessman, philanthropist, artist, innovator, clown, tyrant. He was at various times in his life the highest-ever-paid performer on TV, in movies, and on Broadway. He raised BILLIONS for charity, invented filmmaking techniques, made perhaps a dozen classic comedies, turned in a terrific dramatic performance in Martin Scorsese’s “The King of Comedy,” and left the world altered and even enhanced with his time and his work in it.

That’s an estimable achievement and one worth pausing to commemorate.

#RIP to Le Roi du Crazy

~ Biographer Shawn Levy on Jerry Lewis on Facebook