“Altman” was released last December. The book features photographs personally taken by Kathryn Altman, wife of filmmaker Robert Altman. Also included in the book are essays from collaborators, archive materials, and a detailed timeline of Robert Altman’s life and career.
This week’s episode of The Road to Cinema Podcast features a conversation with Kathryn Altman, wife of filmmaker Robert Altman. Kathryn’s new book “Altman” features a photographic history of her husband’s life and career as well as a visual collage of artifacts from the personal archive of the late filmmaker who directed more than 30 films over the course of his career. This immersive book features an introduction by director Martin Scorsese as well as essays from Altman collaborators such as actors Michael Murphy, James Franco, “The Player” screenwriter Michael Tolkin, and Kathryn herself who gives context to her stunning photographs. The book also features reviews from The New Yorker film critic Pauline Kael as well as screenplay pages, notes, and even song lyrics from the famous opening song of “MASH”; “Suicide is Painless” written by Altman’s son Mike Altman. Kept in albums for decades, Kathryn decided to share these photographs in a gorgeous hardcover book in collaboration with author and Altman historian Giulia D’Agnolo Vallan. As a passionate Robert Altman fan, this book was pure joy from start to finish. Click here to purchase “Altman” from Amazon.com; it’s essential reading for every Altman fan.
In our conversation, Kathryn discusses the film Robert was developing before he passed away. The film was to be called “Hands on a Hard Body” and based on the acclaimed documentary of the same name. The film was to include actor James Franco as part of what would have been a brilliant ensemble cast. Franco discusses in his essay, featured in the book “Altman”, how Robert’s office had called Franco to check his availability for the film on a Friday and Robert passed away the following Monday. Watch the trailer below for the fascinating documentary “Hands on a Hard Body” which in Robert Altman’s narrative version would have starred James Franco, Meryl Streep, Hilary Swank, and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in a stellar “Altmanesque” ensemble cast.
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Check out the trailer for the documentary “Altman” directed by Ron Mann. It’s currently available to watch on Netflix. The documentary also features narration by Kathryn Altman. Highly recommend!