Marvin's Room Misfire | Letters | Chicago Reader

Marvin's Room Misfire 

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To the editors:

I share some of the misgivings that reviewer Lisa Alspector expresses in her movie capsule commentary on Marvin's Room. I do not, however, understand her attack on the play Marvin's Room or its Chicago author, the late Scott McPherson.

While Scott completed a first draft of a screenplay before his untimely death, other hands were recruited to cut (John Guare) and disfigure (Ron Nyswaner) Scott's work. As Scott was dying, the identity of the cast, the director, and even the producers was up in the air. While it was a gracious move by the team that made the film to credit Scott as the screenwriter, this act incorrectly implies that Scott signed off on the finished product, including Nyswaner's resolved, "happy" ending.

Anyone who wishes to see what Scott himself wrote can read the script of the play, including his now rather famous author's note, published by NAL/Dutton/Plume in 1992. A reading of the script will make clear that Scott knew just what he was doing when he wrote it. Ms. Alspector is full of beans when she posits the existence of "something dark and idiosyncratic that McPherson couldn't bear to be more literal about." Scott never shied away from anything, and, as his life and death made clear, there was little that he could not bear.

Andrew Patner

S. Hyde Park

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