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Personal Best: Shooting runners

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Personal Best: The subculture of women athletes
Michael Chapman Film-maker
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It was... Robert Towne, a writer whom I knew, because I'd done [The] Last Detail, and he wrote a... a script which he wanted to direct, and... I think it's fair to say that Robert was, perhaps, more of a writer than a director, and he hired some – I didn't have anything to do with it – and he hired some guy, and they shot for a little while, and then there was a writer's strike, and they had to shut down, and I think it was felt that, perhaps, they needed a guiding hand. I'm trying to say this... And so they let the other guy go, and I came and I shot the rest of the movie. It was fun, you know. It was... Has anyone... have you seen it? It's about women athletes. And what was interesting about it was being around these women athletes who were the first generation of... kind of... professional... just about first generation of really professional athletes who are women, you know, but who are athletes more importantly than being women, and who counted up their... the number of semesters of eligibility they had at this college, and then they would transfer to another college, and they were... they were jocks. They were... they happened to be women, and I don't mean that they were all lesbians or anything like that. I mean, they were women, perfectly ordinary women. A certain number were whatever... but they were... their real defining principle was that they were jocks. And that was fascinating. And, I think Robert got some of that... that sort of jock society into the movie. Maybe not as much as... no, he did get some of it. But the interesting thing to me was being around them and seeing them, and seeing that they were... that they were so unusual as women because they certainly were women, but that they were jocks, you know. That was the thing about them. And one of... it's an example, really, of one of the very nice things the movies do is that they take you to places and introduce you to situations that you wouldn't otherwise be in. And they not only do that, but that they don't do that for you as a tourist, but as a participant, in that you go to some foreign country, or you go to some subculture of some kind, like porno or women jocks, or whatever.

Michael Chapman, an American cinematographer, has had a huge influence on contemporary film-making, working on an impressive array of classic films including 'Taxi Driver', 'Raging Bull', 'The Lost Boys' and 'The Fugitive'.

Listeners: Glen Ade Brown

British Director of Photography and Camera Operator Glen Ade Brown settled in Los Angeles 10 years ago.

He has been working on features, commercials and reality TV. He played an instrumental role in the award-winning ABC Family series "Switched" and is also a recipient of the Telly and the Cine Golden Eagle awards for Best Cinematography. He was recently signed by the Judy Marks Agency and is now listed in her commercial roster.

Tags: Robert Towne

Duration: 2 minutes, 24 seconds

Date story recorded: May 2004

Date story went live: 24 January 2008