Everything obviously wasn’t all fine for Spalding Gray.
AND EVERYTHING IS GOING FINE (Steven Soderbergh). 89 minutes. Opens today (Thursday, March 10) at the TIFF Bell Lightbox. See listings. Rating: NNNN
I had breakfast once with Spalding Gray. It was the summer of 1992, and he was in Toronto promoting his first novel, Impossible Vacation. I interviewed him over waffles. It was sweet and odd and maybe a hair too intimate - much like his confessional style as a stage performer. In other words, it was exactly what I'd hoped the experience would be.
Gray ended his life in January 2004, but director Steven Soderbergh and editor Susan Littenberg have resurrected the beloved actor and monologuist in a sort of performance collage.
Soderbergh cast Gray in King Of The Hill and directed the film version of Gray's Anatomy, so he knows his subject as well as anybody.
Relying on archival recordings of live performances - most heavily Sex And Death To The Age 14 and Monster In A Box, which detail Gray's childhood and adolescence and his struggles with his mother's suicide and his own darker moods - Soderbergh assembles a summary performance, punctuated by the odd clip from a TV interview or home video to place a story in context.
Gray's material remains as funny, honest and joyous as it ever was, though of course our melancholy knowledge of his death undercuts some of the high points.
But it's lovely to have him back, if only for a little while.