We’re thrilled to have here today Del Corwyn from John Herrick’s new romantic comedy, Beautiful Mess. Del is a 78-year-old Academy Award-nominated actor living in Hollywood.
It is a pleasure to have him with us today at Beyond the Books!
Thank you so much for this interview, Del. Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers?
Overall, I’d say the author did a fair job portraying me. That’s all I want: a fair shot. That said, he didn’t need to tell the whole world I sleep in the buff. TMI, as I think people still say these days. But to set the record straight, I’m not as shallow as I first come across. Yes, I’m a connoisseur of women. Yes, I prefer them half my age. But even a guy like me, who’s become so settled in his ways, can change where he least expects it.
And no matter what people might tell you, Marilyn Monroe and I were never intimately involved.
Do you feel the author did a good job colorizing your personality? If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently?
Colorize, my ass! I live in full color and I’m about to return to that beautiful, glowing spotlight! Destiny is yours to build. And if all goes as planned, that elusive Mr. Oscar might come trotting my way.
Don’t tell anyone, but as an actor, I haven’t been in demand since the 1970s, and I refuse to make that second-rate crap that would make the public label me a has-been. So I do wish the author would have put me on the set of a major film and given me the chance to prove I’ve still got it.
What do you believe is your strongest trait?
I’m young at heart. I believe you’re only as old as you allow yourself to behave. And I don’t give up. If the industry is gonna kill my career, I’m gonna go down fighting, maybe crack a few bigwigs in the balls along the way.
I have a tough time being honest with myself. If reality doesn’t suit me, I’m content to build my own fictional world until reality has a chance to catch up. Some consider that a weakness, but you only live this life once. I refuse to spend it bird watching, sitting on a park bench with my mouth hanging open. Forget it.
And the ladies—well, that’s another weakness for me. So many possibilities, and I’m afraid to tie myself down. But Felicia, my latest love interest in the book, seems to have made some inroads.
If you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part if your book was made into a movie, who would that be (and you can’t say yourself!)?
And give away my big comeback? Are you kidding? Forget the rules, I’d play the part myself. And Clint Eastwood could direct—badass! (Oops, that last remark won’t make sense unless you read the book.)
What’s that? You insist on picking another actor to play me? Well, then, I don’t know—Craig T. Nelson, does that work?
Do you have a love interest in the book?
Yes, but I didn’t see this one coming. And she’s only ten years younger than I am. Talk about a surprise. She’s also the unofficial psychologist I never asked for, but for some reason, she intrigues me and I think I’m in love. What she sees in me, I have no idea. But she understands me. We understand each other. And you know what? I don’t think she wants anything from me but love. But I push her buttons to just to make sure.
At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out?
When I started to allow my conscience to guide me. That irritated me. You see, Marilyn Monroe was a close friend of mine. When the book opens, I’m on the verge of bankruptcy, waiting for my second shot at the spotlight. One night, sifting through some personal memorabilia, I found a screenplay Marilyn had put it my care—a screenplay she had written herself. She instructed me to use it as I saw fit if anything should happen to her. She passed away later that year. In the book, this script blew the minds of everyone in Hollywood who read it. It was the biggest entertainment news in a generation—and I was the kingmaker, a role I’d never played in my life. So there I was, Hollywood’s hot property once again, and my damn conscience shows up. I realized people didn’t want to bring Marilyn’s vision to pass; they just wanted a piece of her all over again. Suddenly, Hollywood’s hot property once again, and my damn conscience shows up. I realized people didn’t want to bring Marilyn’s creative vision to pass; they just wanted a piece of her all over again. Suddenly, I had a choice: Do I honor my friend’s memory or do I seize my return to fame? Or can I accomplish both? You’ll need to read Beautiful Mess to find out. And as you do, I’ll show you a side to Marilyn Monroe that you might not know existed.
If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why?
I wouldn’t want to trade places with Marilyn Monroe. No, her spotlight never faded. And yes, she remains a legend. But she endured a lot of tragedy along the way. I watched her life unfold behind the scenes, and it wasn’t as glamorous as it looked.
So I’d trade places with Nora Jumelle. She’s a hot new actress. Her star has just begun to rise. People are breaking down her door to get a piece of her. She has the talent to do anything she want she wants and the vibrancy to match.
How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away?
Let’s just say the ending stays with me every day of my life. It was a bit drastic, but the right decision—I don’t trust myself. But I don’t think you’ll see the ending coming. The other characters literally look directly at it and they don’t even see it. Ha! Some secrets you’ve gotta take to the grave.
What words of wisdom would you give your author if he decided to write another book with you in it?
Never count me out. And please, Herrick, don’t send me to my grave before I’m 105 years old. Seriously. I plan to outlive George Burns and rack up 30 million Twitter followers.
Oh, and this is just a personal favor: next time around, could you please show a few fans snapping pictures of my star on Hollywood Boulevard? I can use all the good publicity I can get. No more punks rolling all over my star like you did in this book, okay?
Thank you for this interview, Del. Will we be seeing more of you in the future?
I’d tell you “no” and claim that I’m retired, but you never know. I’ve still got one more film in me … one day.