Saturday, March 31, 2007

Running in the Family

Seeing Michael Douglas in an almost-new movie last night made me feel very, very old.

In “The Sentinel” (2006), he plays a Secret Service Agent who is bedding the First Lady and is framed in a plot to kill her husband blah blah blah...too ridiculous to go on. Maybe Michael at 62 is trying to keep up with Clint Eastwood who played a Secret Service Agent at 63 in a much better movie, “In the Line of Fire.”

As a contemporary of his father Kirk, it made me feel ancient, recalling a moment we shared almost half a century ago.

We were in a Park Avenue duplex at one of those gatherings where the privileged babble away with no human connection whatever. To keep the conversation going, I suggested a game: Name the actor you would want to star in a movie of your life. “As for me,” I said, nodding at Kirk Douglas across the table, “I see Kirk in the part.”

He smiled the familiar dazzling smile that never quite reaches his eyes, a flash of the amused anger that fueled his movie-star charm. I smiled back in what I took to be a moment of shared irony between boys of dirt-poor immigrant parents being wined, dined and bored by the very rich.

That was in another world. Now Kirk’s son, who is eligible for Social Security, is waving a gun and running alongside an actress 30 years younger than he is.

Michael, be careful, you could hurt yourself.

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