The Thriller Zone

In this 167th episode of The Thriller Zone, host Dave Temple interviews John Lindstrom, a movie & television star turned debut author.

Lindstrom discusses his journey from acting to writing, including his experience writing screenplays and the lessons he learned about storytelling. He also shares the challenges he faced in writing his first book and the importance of authenticity in storytelling.

As we get going, Lindstrom reflects on his career in soap operas and the attrition rate in Hollywood, and discusses his wife's involvement in theater and the impact and evolution of indie films.

The conversation concludes with a discussion on the dark side of Hollywood and the cautionary tale in Lindstrom's book, 'Hollywood Hustle,' a book that reflects, in part, some of his experiences in the entertainment industry. In this engaging conversation, Jon shares his passion for supporting orphanages and helping foster kids tell their stories through film.

Dave and Jon also discuss the contrasting characters in his book and the dark side of Hollywood. Perhaps most of the fun involves an "acting  conversation" which has the two personalities reading from the book, playing two characters. And sure, there are potential film adaptations and casting choices, but that remains to be seen.

As we close, Lindstrom shares his writing process and the therapeutic nature of writing, and as always, Dave concludes the show with much-loved "Rapid-Fire Questions." It's fun for everyone.

To learn more about Jon visit: JonLindstrom.com, and as always, connect with TheThrillerZone.com & watch our podcast at YouTube.com/thethrillerzone.

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Takeaways

Writing screenplays can teach valuable lessons about storytelling, structure, and character development.
  • Authenticity is crucial in writing, and it is important to draw from personal experiences and knowledge.
  • The attrition rate in Hollywood is high, and maintaining a successful career requires perseverance and gratitude.
  • Indie filmmaking remains a challenging endeavor, despite advancements in technology and accessibility.
  • 'Hollywood Hustle' explores the dark side of Hollywood and serves as a cautionary tale about the pursuit of fame and success.
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Chapters

00:00 - Introduction and Background
03:00 - Writing Screenplays and Learning Storytelling
06:19 - Attending Book Conferences and Working with an Editor
08:44 - Writing What You Know and the Importance of Authenticity
11:36 - The Challenges of Writing a Book
13:28 - The Importance of Research and Authenticity in Writing
15:16 - The Challenges and Benefits of Writing What You Know
17:45 - The High Lonesome Band and the Music Industry
19:40 - The Beginnings of John's Acting Career in Soap Operas
24:37 - The Difference Between Soap Operas and Episodic Shows
26:34 - The Attrition Rate in Hollywood and John's Career
28:00 - John's Wife, Katie McClain, and Her Involvement in Theater
30:01 - The Impact and Evolution of Indie Films
34:01 - Stylistic Influences from Books and Films
42:23 - Product Placement and Movie References in 'Hollywood Hustle'
45:16 - The Dark Side of Hollywood and the Cautionary Tale in the Book
49:33 - Investing in Orphanages
50:30 - Kids in the Spotlight
50:58 - Contrasting Characters
51:28 - Dark Side of Hollywood
52:16 - If This Scene Could Talk
52:46 - Chapter 31: Hollywood Hustle
53:43 - Phone Call with the Kidnappers
56:10 - Potential Film Adaptation
57:08 - Casting the Characters
58:36 - Tough Casting Choices
59:35 - Recommendation: Your Honor
01:00:03 - Writing as Therapy
01:03:54 - Enjoyment of the Book
01:04:52 - Rapid Fire Questions
01:08:15 - Top of TBR Stack
01:09:10 - Dream Dinner Guests
01:20:48 - Writing Advice: Trust Your Desire
01:25:14 - Memorizing Lines
01:27:34 - Realistic Acting

The Thriller Zone with David Temple is sponsored in part by Blackstone Publishing.

What is The Thriller Zone?

Join podcast host and thriller author David Temple as he gives you a front-row seat to the best thriller writers in the world. If you like thriller fiction in Books, Movies, and TV Shows, you’ll love The Thriller Zone Podcast.

The Thriller Zone with David Temple (00:00.11)
Hello and welcome to The Thriller Zone. I'm your host, Dave Temple. On today's 167th episode of the TZ, here in season six, I welcome movie and television star and now debut author, John Lindstrom, for an in-studio and face-to-face conversation from Los Angeles. So pour yourself a drink, kick up your feet, and relax, as John and I discuss, among other things, his new breakout thriller, Hollywood Hustle. First of all, welcome to The Thriller Zone.

John Lindstrom. Thank you very much. Thanks for having me on this rainy Southern California day. I don't think I've seen rain like this in the whole time I've been in Southern California. I haven't seen rain like this since last year, when the atmospheric rivers just wouldn't stop. And they just kept coming and coming and coming and coming. Well, it's crazy. Flooded my, where I do my audio books.

Big pain in the ass. With the zip-up audio book. The zip-up audio book tent. We're going to talk about that in a little bit, because I love that. Any way you can build an audio studio in your house is a fun thing, because who wants to leave the house anymore? No, I don't. The older I get, the less I leave. So for folks who don't know John, John's a four-time Emmy nominee, dozens of studio movies, handful of indie films, and

I think I wrote down in italics, thousands of hours in television. Yeah.

And when you showed up, it was funny, we're joking about, when you look at you and you're like, well, how could you have done this huge body of a work? Where did you start? When you were like in grade school? No, I'm dead. This is my hologram here now. You know, I just, the way you get thousands of hours of work is really doing daytime television and being at the front of a story. So you're working every day. So that's five hours a week.

The Thriller Zone with David Temple (02:00.266)
And 52 weeks out of the year, that's how you end up doing thousands of hours. I don't think in prime time, unless you're James Garner or Carol O'Connor, who are both gone now, that you can actually get to thousands of hours of television. It's only hundreds. Yeah. Well, the cool thing about this show is that we feature, of course, the best thriller writers in the world.

right here with Hollywood hustle. Now, I'm gonna dig deep on this later, but I will say out of the gate, when you read this, and I've said this before, but I don't say it very often, it's hard to believe this was your first book. Thank you. Yeah. The character building, the story arcs, the process, the mechanics. I mean, I read a lot of books for this show.

And I can tell within, it used to be a couple of chapters, then it became a few pages. Now I can tell in the first page, if someone's really got the goods and this is, I could not believe this was your first book. You had to have been toying with this for a while. Well, I had been and I had the blessing of a couple of good editors, but I really started writing when I started writing screenplays. And though I had always wanted

a book. I wanted to write books and I wish I'd started this 40 years ago. I might actually have a few now, but, um, but being in Hollywood and being an actor, I mean, everybody's got a screenplay. Everybody in their dog has a screenplay, but I started learning that, which was in many ways, indispensable. It taught me structure. It taught me character development. It taught me how to keep a story moving, how to, how to work with economy. And mainly at

taught me how to deal with dialogue, which I think is probably one of my strongest points. And it taught me the difference, as Stephen King says, the difference between plot and story, two different things. I think of it as plot is how you get there, story is what happens. So we should probably say story and plot. Story is what happens, plot is how you get there. And then character, which is just...

The Thriller Zone with David Temple (04:26.786)
really, really important to any story because that's what makes it relatable, you know, is what goes on with that person. So I mean, having had that advantage of working in a storytelling medium already and learning how to write screenplays, how to make films, which makes, helps you dive even deeper into it. And then you're talking about motivations and intentions and you're working with other actors and you're thinking more and more about how to build a story.

So by the time I got to this, I was fairly prepared. I wasn't prepared for how long it can take. And how awful it is when you have to put it down. I worked on it for probably about a year and a half and then I got stuck in a really heavy storyline on General Hospital playing twins again. They brought back a character they.

had decided was dead 25 years ago. And suddenly I was working so much, I didn't have time to sit down and write. So I had to put it down for about a year and a half. Then COVID hit. So once COVID hit, I was able to pick it up, but then six months later, Soaps were the first shows to start up again. Which if you ask me, just means we're expendable. But.

I know, let's get the soap guys in, let's try it out, see how they do. Yeah. If they start dropping like flies, well, we'll just cancel the show. Yeah. But so once that started up, I picked up right where I left off on the show. So I had to put down the book again. And it took me another six months before I could start writing. So in total, it was probably four years to get my first real draft out.

But in actual writing, it probably took me about two years. And then I met, thanks to the author Alex Finlay, who's just become a great friend. He pointed me in the direction of two things that were really important. Book conferences. He said, man, if you're serious about this, you have to do this. You've gotta go to the conferences. He told me that the first one I should sign up for is Thriller Fest. 100%. I was gonna meet him.

The Thriller Zone with David Temple (06:48.778)
at BoucherCon, because we had just been virtual and online. And he was going to BoucherCon in New Orleans to be a panelist. And I bought my tickets, and everything was ready. And then COVID hit. So I didn't actually meet him face to face until Thriller Fest 2022. He said, listen, you need to talk to an editor. And he had read some of my manuscript. And he said, you really should, before you even submit this anywhere, hire a good editor.

And I ultimately wound up with a guy named Nathaniel Marounis who used to open his own publishing house and he gave it up because he wanted to spend time with his children. So he and his wife are both now independent editors. And we cut it down from almost 100,000 words down to about 70,000 words. That was kind of brutal. But I realized that no matter how much I feel that these secondary stories are interesting and

diversionary and all that, to a reader, they're probably just boring. Well, that's an- Especially when we're talking about a thriller. Right, exactly. But here's an interesting point, and I thought about, and I wanted to make sure I pointed this out to you. I am so, and this is gonna sound funny to some of my listeners, at 257, I'm like, oh, here's a guy who gets it. That's one of the first things I thought. I'm like, cause generally, first novels,

390. As you get close to 400, you're like, man, it's got to be really, really good, because you want the turning to happen. So I saw this 250. I'm like, OK, I'm in. Well, again, that's part of the training that I got through writing screenplays. First lesson in screenplay, if it doesn't expose character or move the plot, cut it.

and see where you're at. And I believe it was Joan Didion who said, a screenplay is basically just a big ass outline for a book. So if you've written a screenplay, you could probably write a book. You just gotta fill it in, you know? But you have to do it in a way that it either exposes character or moves the plot. So there's a dance in there. And Nathaniel was just brilliant at showing me how to do that. He said, I don't think

The Thriller Zone with David Temple (09:13.474)
that this character, this character that you have, actually you had, John, you have like four other characters that are involved in this plot, this conspiracy against Winston Green, my main character. He said, I think they could and probably should go. I said, but then we lose all those, he says, see, I have this idea of a metaphor of all the people standing around a successful actor with their hands out, which is what it feels like sometimes.

and people who just kind of invent jobs to be on the payroll. They're really not necessary. And I realized they weren't necessary in the book either. So that's how I got down to 257 pages. One of my favorite authors who I have been able to create kind of an email pen pal thing with is Kessel Freeman Jr. He had written a fantastic book called Go With Me. He's based up in Vermont.

All of his books take place in rural Vermont. I found his book in a little, tiny little independent bookstore in Washington, Connecticut, and contacted him in the hopes of optioning it as a movie. And somebody else had gotten to it beforehand, but we developed a friendship. And I said, hey, listen, can you, would you read my first manuscript? And...

Jeep Castle, it only comes in at 400 pages. And Castle goes, I'm 80 years old. I'm not going to read 400 pages, Joe. I might not live that long. And he said, but then I realized it was only 400 pages because I had formatted it incorrectly. That's how green I was with writing a book. I had used some template from my computer, and here it was 400 pages. And somebody else said, hey, you know, really, your margin should be a little.

Yeah. Little narrower and your book. You know, so once I figured out how to do it, it dropped down to under 300 pages. And from under 300 pages is what I submitted to Nate. And that's what we got down to 257. But even Castle was like, dude, you got way too much here, man. Yeah. You know? And he writes thrillers. So he knew what he was talking about. Well, you know, this is interesting because what's the one phrase?

The Thriller Zone with David Temple (11:36.138)
as writers we always hear. You've heard, if you haven't heard it yet, you will and you're gonna hear it over and over again, write what you know, right? Now, I've always taken that to task because I think a good creative can write whatever they want. I've always had that thing, well, I have an imagination, I can write whatever I want. However, having done a lot of pitches now, as you have as well, and...

you meet people who are in the know and can make your career go, we'll say, and I'm going to use an example in this cause this dials it in really quickly. I'm at Thriller Fest 2019. I approach a very, very well known producer and I'm pitching a book that I'd written a couple of years prior about a female detective in Hollywood.

And I'm sitting there and I'm three sentences in, my listeners may have heard this before. I'm three sentences in and he does this. He's like, and I'm like, Tony, you okay? Yeah, yeah. What, go ahead. You have to finish. And I finish and he go, and I go, and it's a speed dating kind of a pitch, right? Yeah. I'm like, what do you think? He goes, no, would never pick this up in a New York minute.

And I'm discouraged, but I'm trying to be cool. Like it doesn't bother me, but I'm like, okay, well, why is that? He goes, well, have you ever been a cop? No. Ever been a detective? No. Anybody in your family, a cop? No. A detective? No. And you're clearly not a woman. This is really not bony well for you. Yeah. He goes, if I want a detective in Hollywood, I'm going to go talk to Michael Connolly. And that's when I went, Oh, yeah. And I walked away going.

There you go. Yeah. Write what you know, have something to back it up so that as I'm reading Hollywood Hustle with you, I'm like, well, John's nailing it here because he's writing what he knows. This is an actor and he's in Hollywood. And so it works so well. Well, thank you. And I do believe that it's true. And yes, I could take it to task to a degree. Yeah.

The Thriller Zone with David Temple (13:56.258)
But I'm a creative. You know, the only way you're going to get around probably the most important aspect, which is authenticity, is with a lot of research. And I mean sitting in the back of cop cars and really making friends with police, you know, if you want to write that kind of a book, if you don't have that background. I mean, Connolly was the crime reporter for the LA Times for many years before he even wrote a book. Right.

And he's one of the, he's really one of the best ones around. I had the privilege of working on his series Bosch for a season and worked, spent some time around Michael. He's a great guy. Michael. Michael, calm me. Nice to meet you. Great to see you. And I'm just going, you wrote Bosch, man. You know, Bosch is one of the things. It got me hooked on LA crime and LA noir and all those things that led me to reading a lot of books like that. But

I think the writing what you know almost has a double benefit. One is the authenticity factor. Yes, you're going to be able to write about stuff that nobody can argue with. The other part of it is it makes it a lot easier to write it. True. Why push a boulder uphill if you don't have to? True, true. Good point. Yeah.

I mean, as an independent filmmaker, you know, the making and releasing an independent film is like pushing a boulder uphill by yourself. There's nobody to help you do it. And if you're writing a book about a subject, and I've found this even with my second book, which I'm about halfway through now, I switched it up considerably because I realized, I don't know who this guy is. I decided on a main character from a world that I don't know. And even if I,

even if I delved into that world as deeply as I should, I still wouldn't understand it on a cellular level the way another person would. So this is clearly- So I switched it up so it would become something more relevant to what I understand. Got it. And so this is clearly a standalone, Winston's not coming back. No, no, I think there's nothing sillier than a crime fighting actor. Yeah. You know, I don't think that would be-

The Thriller Zone with David Temple (16:16.486)
I think that would be pretty silly to go, but my agent did ask me that. Yeah. Well. But I love Winston Green. Is he coming back? I said, my series is, and this is how I pitched the book. I do envision Hollywood Hustle as the first in a series of novels about Hollywood. Got it. Or LA-based crime fiction thrillers where the characters might enter

intertwine here and there. Like, you know, I introduce a character in Hollywood Hustle just by mentioning him. And that's the person I'm gonna use for my second novel. But the character that really is, that the series is about is Hollywood. Right. You know, and Hollywood, anybody who's spent time here, as you know, Hollywood is a, it's a tough nut. And it's a hard friend to make. Yeah. But it is a character. And there's a great,

a way to bounce off of this. I mean, besides being an actor and working with A-list directors and huge stars, and I'm reading that you in your spare time, if you want to call it that, you've dabbled in indie films and also as a drummer, which I love. So that took me down this road. And I'm thinking to myself, because it's all backstory to who you are and what you bring to the story. And then I run across the high lonesome.

Which is your band. Yeah. Still around or no? No. No, we, you know, we, uh, in fact, our lead singer, Larry Poindexter, he was our chief songwriter and lead singer. He has one of those fluid voices that I just hate him for. No. Because he has it, and I don't. Yeah. But, um, he just recently rebuilt our entire website. I'm not really sure why. He just wanted to do it. But, um, we were, we were a group of.

unemployed actors mainly, looking for something creative to do between gigs. You know, because if you're an actor out of work, what do you do? Right. You know, and none of us wanted to drive cabs. So we took our, oh, you play the drum strut? Yeah, I got a kit. You got a guitar, you got some mics, you know? And so we started playing actor parties and things like that. And then Larry started bringing in songs and then other people started bringing them in. And then we all started working them up to the point where they were almost group.

The Thriller Zone with David Temple (18:42.626)
compositions. And then we, you know, like I say, I think everything you do prepares you in some way, whether you know it or not, for what comes next. And we were playing, I think we played somebody's birthday party way out in the valley where they called the police and everything. And the police liked the sound, so they sat out on the street for about a half an hour before they came in and broke up the party. That's what they told us. I'm going to go with that.

Um, but somebody said, Hey, you know, I, uh, I booked bands into the central, which is now the Viper room. Right. Sunset. You know, I know they got an open slot on Tuesday. You want to, you guys want to play? That sure. So we went over and played the S the old central club on sunset Boulevard as the opener for Chuckie Weiss. Now Chuckie, you might recall.

Ricky Lee Jones had a song called Chuckie's in Love. That was Chuckie. Oh my gosh. Yeah, and he played every Tuesday night at 9 o'clock or something at the Central. That was his LA gig. And we opened for Chuckie. And Chuckie's band was a kick-ass, killer, bluesy rock band. Chuck was this guy who would walk through the audience as an intro with these round, dark glasses on, his hair down to his ass.

and this long face. He had like this long chin and a small mouth, but then he opened it and this gigantic voice would come out. But they realized that a lot of the people who showed up came to see us because all of our friends showed up. And we were friends with all of the young talent of Hollywood. We were like the princes of the city, but the princesses showed up.

And I mean, it was Apollonia, Nicolette Sheridan, and Mariska Hargitay, and Jennifer Aniston, and Lisa Kudrow, all before they were famous. Wow. And they would all show up in their hot pants and dance in front of the stage, and all the guys would show up and buy drinks for them. Sure. And that's where they made their money, was at the bar. So they said, by the end of our set, they said, you guys wanna come back next week? Yeah.

The Thriller Zone with David Temple (21:02.386)
And we wound up becoming one of the regular house bands at the central. And that led us to a little record label called spark records. And they signed us to a record deal. Hi. And it's on the billboard hot 100 back when that was a thing. No, and dude, this is why I want to drill down on this because Mike Rivers radio, that song came out or the thing, uh, feel free to do. So it was a song I'm thinking about. That was the album. Yeah. That was 95.

Did you get any, you got major airplay if you hit 100. All right, so I'm landing in New York in 95 at the number one country station. And I'm thinking to myself, when I heard, when I'm reading this, I'm like, our pads in some way, shape or form had to have, if not met, crossed somehow. They probably did. We were on the, you know, kind of the Americana.

charts, I guess, you know, but that also, there was a lot of crossover with country. Yeah. So yeah, I, I wouldn't doubt it. If, if you guys played one of our songs from the album, at least once. And, and what's, here's, what's interesting. The high lonesome, the phrase high lonesome pops up time and time and time again, with all these different country music stars as their song or a reference or the title. Yeah. Anyway. And that was, it was really a, it was a mandatory name change.

that we had to do, we had been known as Johnny Saco with an exclamation point because the keyboard player, Phil, he was a fan of this live action Japanese kids show called Johnny Saco and his giant robot. You can actually find it on YouTube, it's hysterical. Little Japanese kids running around, Johnny Saco! You know, it's hilarious. I'm getting laughs from the gallery here. I think he's seen it.

You had to lose that name? We got signed under that name. And then another band from, I think, Indianapolis filed an injunction against us because they were called Johnny Sacco. Where Johnny Sacco? You're not Johnny Sacco. So it turned out they had signed a label deal before ours. And so they had been able to grab that name. So

The Thriller Zone with David Temple (23:21.962)
We all got together with the two ladies who ran the record company and the band. And we said, well, what are we going to do? How are we going to figure this out? And it was Larry Poindexter who just kind of off-handedly said, the high lonesome. And we all went, that's it. Let's grab it right now. Just out of nowhere.

I mean, we were coming up with The Need, The Actors, The Hiatus, you know? I mean, we'd had so many names along the way before we even settled on Johnny Sacco that we were just like, let's just get it over with. Yeah. Jethro Tull came up with their name almost the same way. They kept coming up with names and somebody else would have it. So they just started, and then people didn't wanna book them anymore. So they started changing names just to have a new name so people would think it was a new band.

And then they'd show up and play, it's you guys again. Yeah. You Aqualung guys again. Let's circle back to something because was your real big first foray into acting strictly soap operas? It was my first break. OK. Yeah. Yeah, it was a syndicated show called Rituals. OK. First syndicated drama ever. Yeah. After that, there were a plethora of them. You know.

all these Western shows and things like cop shows and things that came out. But it was the first syndicated drama. It was produced by a company called Tell the Pictures. And they took a chance on the space, as it were. Now, I know what draws. I've dabbled in acting, not even close to what you do. So I understand the creative pull. But was Soaps, was that genre something that you went, oh, you know what? That would really be great fun.

because it's its own world separate from movie acting. Yeah, it's a very separate kind of subculture and medium. No, I never really even considered it. To me, it was just a way in. It was a way to get me out of the restaurant business, really, and it did. Waiting tables, you mean? At that point, I was bartending at a place called Morton's, which was kind of a big star hangout. And you'd see studio heads.

The Thriller Zone with David Temple (25:35.586)
doing lines of Coke on the bar and stuff. It was crazy, it was the early 80s. But I just, if you're an actor, you have to work. And if you don't have work, then what you're doing is looking for work. Because the first question anybody asks you is what are you working on? Oh, I'm not doing anything. Well, aren't you trying to do something? Aren't you doing a play? Aren't you doing something? Nowadays, everybody's taking their phones and making short films. So at least you can say that, but.

Um, I, I just saw it as a way to get in to be in a professional actor in Hollywood. And that's what it became for me. And how many years in soaps? Well, off and on, I guess that one was only about six months, but I mean, in a year, you know, but cumulative cumulatively, I mean, off and on in and out, it's been, you know, it's been a part of my life for 40 years. Yeah. That's huge.

Yeah, yeah, it is. I mean, it's a, you know, there's a statistic in Hollywood hustle where Winston Green in some downtime talks about how he had looked up the attrition rates in Hollywood. Yeah. And this is true. More than 70% of the people on IMDb can claim exactly one credit. One credit. Your average lifespan of a star's career

It's 20 years, and it's shorter for the women. So the attrition rate is really high. So when I look back and see that I've been working steadily since February of 1985 and haven't had to go back and wait tables, haven't had to drive an Uber, haven't had to do anything to make ends meet since then, man, I just consider that a stunning success.

pretty much start the day by dropping to my knees and saying, thank you for letting me have another day here. This would be a good place for those who may not be familiar with John Lindstrom's work. Let's take a look at his, what is called his speed reel on your website, John Lindstrom.com. John Lindstrom in two minutes or less. Yeah. Let's take a look right now. It should be in a property envelope with a voucher attached.

The Thriller Zone with David Temple (28:00.278)
Mar-des investigatory evidence in order to, you know, ensure the chain of evidence. I mean, you could have bought that on the way over here. Since Casper's remaining interests have been voided, I can provide you the same parcel, same price, 7 million. The same? You recorded 10? Not by me. Believe me, I get it. And I want you to know that we're going to cover everything. It's the least we can do for your husband's sacrifice.

then I am going to have a full-blown nervous breakdown. Is that the same nervous breakdown you've been working on for 25 years? Bosch has no say in this proceeding. Yeah, well he sure doesn't act like it. Law's clear, no seat at the table. He's a helpless spectator watching his career crash and burn. Just tried you an hour ago, some strange woman answered. My sister. Well, I've been a little worried.

Rachel and I read about the heart attack and we hadn't heard from you in such a long time. And how long did it take you and your team to write and test that answer to your attorney's question about whether or not any money you illegally rest from my client will improve your life? The attorney is... You think you know a person after 20 years of marriage and then she comes up with this cockamamie scheme? What I don't understand is why loving a man means you have to wiggle when you walk.

You know, I think I've detected a little wiggle in your walk lately. Bullshit.

The Thriller Zone with David Temple (29:32.846)
for a man with one ear. Can't you see we all have ears on our heads? I just want to make this country great again. Now that is, I don't know which one I was attracted to more. Now, my wife and I sat down and watched this. I'm going to bring her up in a second. She's a big soap fan. I was drawn to True Detective because that whole series has just been. I mean, it started off with Matthew McConaughey and.

Woody Harrelson. Then it came along, wasn't Vince Vaughn and your? Season two. Yes, Vince Vaughn and Colin Farrell. Yeah. Which is where you showed up. And then three is? Season three was like a multi-generational thing. It followed two detectives over about 30 years. So Steven Dorff and I forget the other actor right now. And now we just started watching it is Jodie Foster. Jodie Foster. Yeah.

But back to your, how did you like True Detective? And what did you take away? What is that world like for those of us who don't get a chance to work in a soap and then, for instance, an episodic like that? What is the difference in that, those two different worlds? You know, from the most simplistic standpoint, it's downtime. You know, there's not a lot of downtime on a soap. You're pretty much running from the moment you get to the building. But.

any kind of single camera show, like True Detective, like Bosch, any film, there's always gonna be a certain amount of downtime because they just have to switch up the lights and they have to shoot coverage, closeups of everybody and make allowances for the fancy camera move that follows you into the room, things like that. That was one of my favorite moments, actually, because of downtime on True Detective, because we were shooting all day in...

they call the cave house. It's not a Frank Lloyd Wright, but the Lloyd Wright house in Los Feliz. And it looks from the outside like a tri- or a diagonal diamond-shaped cave entrance, right? It's a beautiful home. We were there all day. It was me, Colin, and Ronnie Cox. And ultimately, it was cut entirely from the season.

The Thriller Zone with David Temple (31:53.902)
because Nick Pizzolato, the creator, he's a very instinctual writer, and he just decided to shift gears and take it from where it began, which left some clues about the beginnings of California and black magic and things like that, and took it in more of a grounded L.A. noir kind of approach. But we spent all day shooting this one scene in this house, and we're waiting.

between setups and it's me and Colin and some other people. And one of the crew guys comes over and he says, did you know that this house is apparently where the black dog was murdered?

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I said, excuse me? And he goes, yeah, down in the basement, the doctor who apparently killed me, this was his house. Oh, wow. I said, really? It's down in the basement? He goes, yeah, it's right down through there. And I look over at Colin, who is already looking at me, and I go, you wanna go look? And he goes, oh yeah, I wanna go look. And Colin's a very...

He's just a very friendly, kind of, you know, loquacious guy. And so we go downstairs, and we're walking around in this basement. And as I recall, there was kind of an open space down there, and everything's dirt, and cobwebs, and exposed beams, and everything. And I looked over at him, and the look in both of our eyes was...

I just gotta chill. And he's like, let's get the fuck out of here. Yeah. But that's a memory that I'll take from that show with me forever. Yeah. And just to be a part of something that really was such a groundbreaking, powerful, genre-bending piece of entertainment. Absolutely. Yeah, it really made an impact, and it's still doing it today.

That's a great phrase, and that is so true. They are bending the genre. Because you started off thinking, oh, it's just another detective story. But boy, does it bend and twist. And the new season is just wagga-doo. I'm waiting for them all to drop, because that's when I want to binge. Oh, you're doing that, right? Yeah, I'm going to wait for all of them to drop. But season two, at the time, it was met with a little bit of kind of a lukewarm critical reception.

And I think a lot of people felt like, oh, well, it's not the first season. It wasn't like the first season, nor was it meant to be. It is an anthology series. But since then, and I know because of the residuals I get, people have begun to revisit that over the last couple of years. And I see this online, people reaching out going, we underestimated this show when it first aired. And that's true. If you watch season two again,

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It's a completely different experience than the one you had when you first watch it. It's so layered and so full of symbolism and strange character motivations that are mysterious the first time, but make a different kind of sense this time around. You know, I encourage anybody to go back and take another look at that. And it's really quite a...

extraordinary piece of television. Well, I will do that. And not just because you're sitting here saying that, because I remember when the first one came out, it was so unique in and of itself that you thought, and every once in a while you run across this with a show, you can't, you guys, no, you can't get close to that. Yeah. And yet they do. Yeah. Somebody somewhere comes along with something that goes, and to your point,

You and Tammy, my wife is forever saying, oh, that's right, you gave it one shot and you didn't like it. Well, I went ahead and I devoured it. I'm like, yeah, well, good on you. And then we'll come back and she goes, you wanna give it another shot? And then nine times out of 10, I'll step back into it to your point. And I go, wow, yeah, I missed something. I wasn't paying attention. I was, here it is, I was expecting that feeling, that mindset from the first one, for instance.

And you can't do that because it's a whole, it's, yeah, it's got the same title and it's got some similarities, but it's its own world. It's its own thing, you know? But good architecture does that. You find new things in a building you never saw before, or in a good city you've never seen before. It's like a trip into New York. Wow, I never noticed that building half a block from my house before. It's stunning. Yeah, it's the same thing.

Before I get back, I want to go back into the book a second, but I want to make sure I mentioned your wife, because your wife is also Katie McClain. She's also quite the soap actress. And is she still doing that now today? Here and there, yeah. Yeah, she's, you know, Katie, I call her the dynamo genius. And she is some sort of a genius. I don't know what kind yet, but I just know she's far and above anything that I can do.

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She's very involved in live theater. She has always loved the theater. That's really what got her started and why she moved to New York to begin with, which is where we met. But she's now running a theater company called Axial Theater. It's based just outside of New York City. So there's a lot of commuting going on in our lives. But she took it over during COVID. It was founded 20 some years ago by...

playwright friend of hers from the old Michael Howard acting studios named Howard Meyer, who is a playwright. And she, you know, he was ready to kind of walk away from it and, but he wanted to leave it in good hands. And he thought of her and asked her and she worked up a pitch for herself to go and take over this theater company and pitch the board with her ideas. And they said, you're just what we need. And they've already had their first

post-COVID production, which was John Logan's Never the Sinner, which is all about the Leopold and Loeb case, which she cast in a multidiverse way. And I'm not quite sure what they're going to do for their second production yet, but she's turned the thing around. And yeah, it's really, really great. Does she, and I don't know this, that's why I'm asking, did you guys, have you ever appeared in a

show or a movie together? Well, that's how we met. We met on As the World Turns. Okay, gotcha. In New York, shot out in Brooklyn. How about something completely different like a movie? And since you have an indie film. We tried, but we haven't been able to pull it off. But you'd love to do that with me. Oh sure, yeah. Like I say, the Dynamo Genius any day. Let's think, I'd love to do this, cause I'm a indie filmmaker, closet indie filmmaker. Do you?

How do you see that machine now? Indie films? Yeah, versus the way, when we were start dabbling in it back in the day, you had to go find your own money and get all your own people and this, that, and the other. With social media being the way it is, with AI being the way it is, with accessibility, do you see it easier or harder now? I see it as,

The Thriller Zone with David Temple (39:34.63)
monumentally difficult as it's always been. That was one of the pluses, again, of working on True Detective because I did a lot of scenes with Vince. And Vince and his friend, John Favreau, are two of the guys of a very small crowd who pretty much reinvigorated and reinvented American independent cinema. They did it with swingers, and which is still just a hysterical movie.

And he is hilarious in that film. Nobody really does what Vince does. No. You know, he brings a thing with him. But we talked a little bit about that, you know? And we talked about some of the other films that he had done. But, you know, specifically, I had to say, hey, man, I got to give you props here, you know? Because I don't think the American independent scene would be anything like it is without contributions like Swingers, you know? And he was very good.

He was very appreciative to hear that. But he also said he would never go back to it because it's just too hard. It's too hard. He's doing a lot of smaller films now, but they're films that he can do. His name lends the money, and so you can get some support. But independent film, to me, it seems real independent cinema. The only thing that's changed is the delivery system. But it's still up to the filmmaker to go out.

and raise the money and get the people and the equipment and put it all together and push that boulder uphill. And it is a hell of a boulder. It's a hell of a boulder. It's the biggest boulder. It's the size of a big, like a motor home. I mean, it's huge. And people always come into it going, how hard can it be? I did the same thing.

And I've talked to other filmmakers and say, do you have any advice? And I'm like, yeah, don't. Don't do it, yeah. Oh, well, and they say, yeah, how hard can it be? You know what? There's nothing I can say which is exactly what you need to be able to go out and do it. If you're going to do it anyway, then you have to do it. And I mean, that's advice that I would give to anybody. If you got to go make a movie, if you got to write a book, if you have to write a play, if you got to swim across the Atlantic,

The Thriller Zone with David Temple (41:53.154)
Do it. Yeah. For all we know, this is the only time around this spinning little globe we have. So make it count. It's so funny you should say that. I say that all the time. As far as we know. This is the only chance we get. You know, I think that there's something after this. I just don't know what the hell it is. Right. All right, now let's dig back into Hollywood hustle because now I wanna tell you a few things that I really loved about it. Okay.

First of all, easy one right off the top. Thank you. Great product placement. Love all the movie references. Thanks. And it's so interesting. And I've had some fun with mine. I make my notes to myself and I'm going, there's so many different movies that I've got. Holy shit, too close to home and this, that and the other. And oh my God, there's one of my favorite. You made some copious notes in there. Oh yeah, I'm like, oh, here's one of my favorite movies. I didn't want that book back.

When I saw Steve McQueen, and this was on page 16, so I'm very, very heartily into it. I'm like, oh, Steve McQueen, okay. This guy's a guy after my own heart, Steve McQueen. And I said to myself, oh, I literally said this, John. What would the chances be if he were to have like the car from Bullet? No, that'd be too close. No, that's not gonna happen.

Only to find out later. Well, only to find out. Yeah. But I don't want to ruin anything. But boy, just, all right, so there you go. Stylistic influences from the books and the films. Well, from the book, for the book, I'm a big fan, especially of Elmore Leonard. Oh, got you. I love Elmore Leonard's books. Everybody knows Get Shorty. Everybody knows 52 Pickup, which was definitely an inspiration. My favorite Elmore Leonard book.

is Freaky Dicky. And it was made into a film at one point, when Danny DeVito and his partners, I think it was Barry Sonnenfeld, they bought the entire library. And so they were making Get Shorty and all those movies. They did produce that movie at some point. But to me, Freaky Dicky nails the Elmore Leonard thing better than anybody. But he also wrote about LA.

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a huge fan of Chandler and Dashiell Hammett and James N. Kane, the people that really invented LA Noir. There's something really specific and seductive about LA and noir together. And I fell in love with noir films. To me, the greatest noir film that the Hayes code period wanted to be is Body Heat.

Oh, yeah. With William Hurt and Kathleen Turner, where there's a real femme fatale, where there's a real guy who falls in love with the wrong person, and they both are driven by greed and avarice. It's all the things that people shouldn't be, but they are absolutely the very best examples of it. So, I mean, stylistically, that all feeds into what I like to write and what wound up in here.

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I like to say maybe I'm trying to kill Hollywood one book at a time. I do want to be honest about it. I think a lot of people tend to kind of skirt the issue a little bit, and I don't think we need to do that. I think we should call it for what it is. Hollywood is a dangerous place on a lot of levels simply because people come here wanting so much from it. And so they're willing to give a lot of themselves to it.

for not a whole lot in return. So, you know, I think, I hope I did that. I think I've done that, and I'm going to do it more in the next one, but I wanted Winston Green to be a character that is a bit of a cautionary tale. But he's also a redemptory tale. He's somebody who shows us all, no matter how far down the cliff you fall,

you can pull yourself back up and you can find a new way to a new life if you do it. And that is a great message that I took from this book. I mean, I love how you wove family throughout, even though good bits of it was dysfunctional, but then aren't we all? Which is true of the Hollywood family. The curse of the Hollywood baby is a real thing. If you come from a family with very famous parents.

It's hard on those kids. How do they find their own identity? Many of them fail. A lot of them just leave and find their identity that way, which is probably the healthiest way to do it. The cast of characters that surround Winston are about the time you think they're just pure, utter goofballs. They kind of shift on you a little bit, which I like.

And you think they're a band of brothers unto themselves until the seams start popping, and then you realize they all take their own motivations. And right about the time that I thought, and I'm being real careful that I don't give anything away, that I thought things were going to, oh, they're gonna go this way. You use the word redemptive and so forth. And then you see that little.

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reflection of the redemption or being able to, you're like, can this guy be that much of a cup? And then things shift. And so by the end of the story, you're like, yeah, it's a, you know, I have basically two groups, you know, I've got Winston and his friends, his band of brothers, right? Uh, you know, the, the stunt man Grover. Yeah. What a, what a great guy and his wife, Lauren. Yeah. Um,

and his buddy Teddy, Teddy Beauregard from New Orleans. I was hoping you'd do the accent. You know, to me, they are emblematic of the people who come to Hollywood or from LA who want to accomplish things for the right reasons. And they do. Those people exist here. I've got a group of friends here that I have more fingers than I have really tight.

close friends here. But that's for a reason. Now, our bad group, our group of villains, they have banded together to do something for all the wrong reasons. Both groups originally, at their heart, wanted the same things. They wanted to succeed. They wanted the riches. They wanted the great success of what Hollywood and LA can offer you. And it is a stunning example of.

overwhelming riches and glory in this city. And that's why a lot of people come here for the wrong reasons. And those people are often looking for shortcuts. Those people want to get a piece of it without really earning it. Basically, they just want to take it. And that's what this bad group is. Now, one of those people actually came from the same place that my foster son did, being Holly Grove Orphanage.

who has been with me since he was nine and is about to turn 40. Yes, I'm that old. I met him when he was in foster care at Hollygrove Orphanage. Yeah, it used to be an orphanage. It's since been converted basically to placement because they couldn't afford to keep the orphanage going. I think that's something this country should do. If I can digress for a moment, I think we should invest heavily.

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in orphanages because it does give kids who don't have a home a sense of a home. Which is one of the reasons I make films for Kids in the Spotlight, which is all about helping foster kids tell their stories through film. Oh, I love that. Yeah, it's a not-for-profit founded by a woman named Ty G. Charity. And every year or two, I either direct or produce one of their short films, starring kids from Kids in the Spotlight.

So yeah, I feel strongly about it. But it gave me a great basis from something I knew to give a character. Now, Paul has grown up to be a terrific man. But the character who comes out of Holy Grove doesn't grow up to be such a great guy. He grows up wanting everything that he gets a little taste of and never really understanding what it took to get it. So I tried hard to show both sides.

that there are great, wonderful people in this city and in this business who are the kinds of friends that you want, but there's also this very dark element of people who will rip you off every chance they get. Yeah, you know, one of them was just sent to prison. He produced a film that a friend of mine directed, actually. He scammed something like $600 million. Whoa. Pretending to be somebody who was setting up films at Netflix and Prime and.

and all these things and he's been locked away for the next 30 years or something. Yeah.

Wow. Wow, yeah, that's like the Bernie Madoff of Hollywood. Yeah. Yeah, I thought about putting him in the book at one point then I felt like, nah. Now he doesn't deserve the ink. Well, you know, this might be a great place for us to take a short break so our sponsors can pop in here. And when we come back, John and I are going to, you know that little thing I do on the show called If This Scene Could Talk, we're gonna do that. So we're gonna take a scene from Hollywood Hustle.

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Right here on the Thriller Zone, stay with us.

The Thriller Zone with David Temple (52:16.886)
Welcome back. It's the Thriller Zone. We're with John Lindstrom, and we're talking about Hollywood hustle. And so what I thought I'd do is grab a chapter. It's called, If This Scene Could Talk. This is chapter 31. It's taking place in Venice Beach, and we truncated it so we could just have some fun here, because this is just about goofing around. And it's in between these two guys. It's a phone call. Yeah, should I set it up a little bit? Okay, well this Winston, otherwise known as Win, has, he's,

desperately trying to raise money to get his daughter back from these kidnappers to find some amount that they might accept. And so he's just sold his car at one of these lots down on Lincoln Boulevard in Venice. There's all these used car lots. And it's the kind of place where you can drive onto the lot and say, give me cash. And they'll give you cash for your car.

And so that's what he's done. And he's with his friends, Grover Washington. No, not the musician. Grover Washington, the stuntman, and his friend Teddy Beauregard, the private detective by way of New Orleans. New Orleans. And he's been expecting a call from the kidnappers, and the one he calls the skinny prick calls. And that's where we pick up.

The call came in as he, Grover, and Teddy were walking across the lot to the sidewalk. When answered, Yeah?

Yeah, everything I could get my hands on since yesterday. I should be able to get more later. When glanced at Teddy and could practically see his heart drop, Teddy had admitted earlier that he'd started second guessing himself and that now he wished he had brought in a negotiator. Don't fuck with me. I'm not. I'll give you everything I have. I just need a little more time to get it all together. Come on, it hasn't even been 24 hours. How much you got so far? This minute? About 32 grand. Cash.

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I'm gonna sell my house, hopefully today, but tomorrow at the latest. Should be able to get another hundred thousand, maybe more. What about the rest? The rest? Of your money, Cabron. Don't give a shit about your freaking house. We want all that movie money that you got stashed away. I don't have anything stashed. I'm telling you what I've got, my house, what I got in my hand, that's it.

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No, wait, listen to me. I lost everything. Like a year ago, I had cancer. It all went to the hospital. Claire doesn't even know that, but she knows I was sick. Ask her.

Are you there? I'm here. This is all I've got. Jesus, I just sold my fucking car. Maybe I can borrow something, cash out my credit cards. I don't know, whatever I can get. Teddy stared at Winston and mouthed, proof of life. And I wanna talk to her. No, you can talk to her when you get the money. You have until midnight tonight. If you can't get it together by then, you'll be getting a bag a week.

each one with a different body part. Ever see that old movie, Frankenstein? You can put her back together like that. And scene. And scene, you're a natural. If this scene could talk. Now I could just see Kevin Bacon playing that part. Oh yeah. Yeah, people keep asking me, so you're gonna play the part, right? Listen, there's been some discussion about

a book to film situation. You know, but we're at the very, very beginning. And we know that happens really fast in Hollywood, right? Oh, yeah. Yeah, usually over a weekend. Yeah, if we're still talking at five years, we could still be talking about that. Yeah, things take a long time in Hollywood. And it's only because at every step of the process, there's a lot of people who finally have to agree to it. And by agree, I mean they have to agree to the money that's going to be spent. So it takes a while.

But I mean, yes, I could play this part, but movies are expensive. And that's why movie stars are so important. So somebody asked me, who would you envision in that part? The first person that came to mind, I said, Kevin Bacon would be great. He's got the look, he's got the reminiscent of McQueen thing going on with his fiery blue eyes and his blondish gray hair. I think he'd make a great, great Winston Green.

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We'll see. See, I love- Are you out there, Kevin? You're listening? Yeah. Only six degrees to you, right? Right, right. One of our favorite things to do, right, is trying to figure out who would play whom, right? And who would play Grover? Oh gosh, I don't know. He's based on a stuntman that I worked with named Manny Perry. And Manny, I described this a little bit in the book, but Manny got his start as a weightlifter, bodybuilder down on.

Muscle Beach with Schwarzenegger, all those guys. And somebody came and talked to him about, would you be willing to paint yourself green and be stunt double for Lou Ferrigno for an upcoming TV series, which was, of course, The Incredible Hulk in the 1970s. And Manny has since become really one of the great legendary stuntmen, up there with Dara Robinson and Hal Needham.

Yakima Knute, you know, those people. But who would play that part? I don't know, I think it should go to an unknown. I think he and Lauren. I mean, Lauren is, you know, got Angela Bassett would be incredible. Sure, you know, and if money's no object. And if money's no object, sure. Yeah. You know, Denzel. Sure. It could be a great Grover Washington, but I honestly don't know. I think, you know, those are decisions that I would leave.

to the people who have the responsibility of actually making the movie. Yeah. Teddy Beauregard is the tough one to cast. Being half white, half chalked off, from New Orleans, stocky, formidable, that's a tough one to cast. Wow. I'll tell you who I saw in my head when I was reading this book was, did you ever see Your Honor? And who played Brian?

Uh, Brian... Cranston's. Cranston's buddy? No, I haven't seen it. But that was shot in New Orleans. Okay, well, that character who plays is... who is, um... Yeah. You have not seen Your Honor? No, but I'll check it out tonight. I need something new to watch. I'll watch that. All right, the first season is going to drop your jaw. Really? Because I've now watched pretty much everything on your reel.

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So I got a pretty good taste of what you like to be involved in. I think one of the best, and we had Joey heartstone who helped write the show on my show right after he dropped his first book. He's now working on his second. And I said, dude, this is probably some of the absolute best writing I've read and heard in years. So

I'd love, we're gonna keep in touch on this and you watch that first season and see if your jaw doesn't just spend the time on the floor. Oh, okay, great. It's so stunning. Brian Cranston. Brian is terrific. Brian and I started out basically at the same time. In fact, I remember he and I were both up for a commercial. Back in those days, you'd all gather in some casting office and that's how you knew each other. Oh yeah, exactly. Any casting office for movies or TV shows or whatever, commercials.

50 of you would be there and you all get to know each other. And I got offered this commercial. I got the commercial. I think it was like a Mazda spot or something. So this is 1992 and I couldn't do the commercial because I got General Hospital and they had all these dates for me to work on and it conflicted. So I said, I had to say no to the commercial. Brian got it. Oh, hilarious. And I only knew that because.

I saw the commercial, I went, oh, that guy that I keep running into at the commercial casting office got the commercial. And that year is the year he got Malcolm in the Middle. So he took off with Malcolm in the Middle, and I went away with General Hospital. I still run into him at the, you were both in the Directors Guild, so I see him every year, usually at the annual meeting. I haven't seen him for the last few, but probably because he was shooting Your Honor in New Orleans. But it's always kind of like, how you doing, John?

Yeah. Doing good, Brian. It's good to see you too, man. Yeah. You know, everyone, I, so many people remember him from, Oh, Breaking Bad. Breaking Bad. But I'll tell you what, when you see him in, because the phrase, he plays a judge, and the phrase, your honor, has its own double entendre throughout. And you're gonna really appreciate that when you start sinking your teeth into the story. I'm gonna stop, because this is about you. You know, I'm just thrilled for his,

The Thriller Zone with David Temple (01:01:59.646)
I think Brian's one of the best out there and he's a good guy. And I was gonna say, everyone says what I'm not. He really deserves it, yeah. All right, one question that's burning a hole in my mind about Hollywood hustle and it's kind of loaded. I don't think it's gonna be anything that you're not gonna expect, but this kept coming up to me and it's one of the biggest questions and I'm like, how much of this book do you feel, do you think, is some kind of a form of self therapy?

Oh, all of it. OK. Yeah. Yeah, that's really why I started writing to begin with. And that's why I still write. If this sold two copies, I would still continue writing. There were obviously things that I needed to examine about my life in Hollywood, my career, what that means to me, how I feel about it now. Earlier drafts of this were a little more contentious.

and cynical. And once I got into it, I realized, that's a little too much of maybe my bad attitude about certain things. I should leave it a little more non-judgmental, let's say. But absolutely, it was very therapeutic and even cathartic for me to write this book. Which is, but apparently I haven't gotten rid of all of it yet, which is why I'm writing another one.

about Hollywood with people dying. Yeah. Well, as I told you at the beginning of that, I would tell you, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Thank you. It happened so quickly. It was over in a blink. I mean, I read this thing in two sittings, easily. And what I loved about it is you really do think, oh, it's just a little bit of this thing you've heard before.

And then you get into it and you realize it's not what you've heard before. You've heard some of the setup before, but you haven't heard much of the resolution. And then to watch Winston's journey through it and what he became on the other end of it, really, I don't wanna say, eh, heartfelt. Yeah, I'm gonna stick with that. Thank you, thank you. I wanted to leave it on a good note. And it did. And yeah, with some hope, you know, cause I think that's one of the themes. Hope came back. Yeah, hope came back to us alive. Yeah.

The Thriller Zone with David Temple (01:04:23.722)
Yeah, it's, well, thank you. That's all I can say is thank you. Yeah, well, there's, I'm gonna finish as we start to wrap the show, cause we've taken plenty of your time, but there's one more, we did the, if this thing could talk, but I do this other thing called rapid fire questions, and it's just silly fun. And it's- Okay, I better take a sip here. There's no pressure to it. The first one has to do with preference, and there's only eight of them, it's gonna be over in a blink.

Writing instrument or keyboard? Keyboard. Beverage while writing, coffee or tea? Coffee. When celebrating, otherwise what would it be? Whiskey. Practicing your art form, acting in television, film or on stage, favorite? Television, yeah. Television, it's less boring. Okay, fair enough. Bigger passion, acting or music? Oh, equal.

Okay. Yeah. I'll let that one. Yeah. Music's still a big part of my life. Yeah. I do want to hear you play the drums though. I'll send you the album. Okay. One step further. If you could be the absolute best at it and be only one, would it be actor, musician or author? Probably author. Wow. Yeah. And there's a reason for that because everything else is so communal to get it done. It's harder to get it done.

And one of the reasons I started writing like this, writing a novel, was that it was just kind of a sacred space where I could just do what I wanted to do. Nobody's told me to absolutely change anything, which is not the experience you have in Hollywood. It's not even the experience you have in a rehearsal hall with a band, right Mark? Yeah. You have to change things. You have to adjust. You constantly compromise.

Now, my publishers and the editor and all this, they had made suggestions as what to do, but nobody ever said change it or else. They all just said, here's an idea, here's a suggestion, here's why I think so, but you can always tell me to go fuck myself. And that's a quote. So that's why, because that experience of being an author is just so powerful to me. And it's so.

The Thriller Zone with David Temple (01:06:48.842)
It's so satisfying on so many levels. And one of the first things, because I've written nine now, and I told myself that when I got to number 10, I would go regular published. These are all self-published. I wanted to make sure I had learned all the processes that I needed. But the thing I love is the fact that you know that when you're going about life, and your mind drifts to, man, I sure would like to be home at that keyboard, you know that you've found.

The drug. Yeah. Somebody said, if a day goes by and you feel bad for not writing, then you're a writer. Yeah. And every day that I don't write, I feel bad about not writing. Excellent. What's the best book that you've read lately? Something that just blew you away? Razor Blade Tears, S.A. Cosby. Yeah. I just started his new one. All the Centers Bleed. Yeah. I think he may be the best crime author writing today. I think.

Blacktop Wasteland is what turned me on to him. Yeah. And it turns out we have a mutual friend. I met him down at BoucherCon in San Diego. Lovely guy. Just such a nice man. But I think he's just got such a command of what he's doing right now that if you're interested in writing, you need to read. And if you're going to read, read S.A. Cosby. Yeah. He's stunning. What book is on the top of your TBR stack right now? You haven't gotten to it, but you can't wait to get to it. Which book?

Yeah. Oh God, I got to stack this up. It's a Cormac McCarthy and now I can't, it's one of the last two that he published and now I can't remember the name of it. It was an impulse by at Powells. I was in Powells up in Portland last November. That's okay. So it's latest Cormac. Yeah. It's one of the two last Cormac McCarthy books. And I can't impress you by pulling those up. I knew the-

I thought you were going to do that, but you know, I'm gonna look for it while we go to the next one so people know that I know what I'm talking about. All right, here's easy. This is the last one. So you and your wife are joining me and Tammy for dinner at our home in Del Mar. You can invite two people living or dead. Who would they be and why? Two people. Two people, we're gonna round it out for a nice little six-um. Two people living dead, anybody.

The Thriller Zone with David Temple (01:09:10.146)
with the B and Y. Chrissy Hind of The Pretenders, for sure. And.

Boy, living or dead, real or imagined? Does that ask how to be a real person? Should be a real person. Yeah, but no one's ever asked that on the show ever in two and a half years. So I'm gonna go with whatever it is percolating in that cranium of yours. Well, I would say James Bond, if it were imagined. But I think Ian Fleming. Ian Fleming. Yeah, would be the other one. Now that is a combo. All right, so why Chrissy Hyde? Gives you an idea of what the kinds of things that I like.

All right, you're finding a book? I'm looking for it. I think it might be The Passenger. Yeah. Okay, so that's sitting on your stack. Yeah, that's sitting on my stack waiting to be read. I'm a big cormac. I've read Blood Meridian and No Country and, you know, The Road. I've read a lot of his stuff. Yeah, let's take 20 seconds on No Country for Old Men.

Let's talk about the movie. Can we do that for a second? Yeah, I mean, it's one of those that I will stop and watch every time I see it, which has been lately a lot. It's been running on cable a lot. John, what is that thing that makes you when you stop, you're cleaning the house, you glance over, your wife's left the TV on, you've already watched the movie four times and you go, I can do this later. Go over and you sit down and you're complete. What is that?

It's the excellence, really. I mean, it's just so good. It's one of the few truly rare exceptional translations of a book to film. Yeah. And there's not many of them. Silence of the Lambs is one, the Godfather is another. But No Country for Old Men captures something about the West and the drug trade and the lawlessness and how evil.

The Thriller Zone with David Temple (01:11:12.102)
runs into us so randomly, Anton Shagur, with that Prince Valiant haircut. You know, I guess so, but you don't know if it's supposed to be funny or not. All you know is that it's really fucked up and he's really crazy to be walking through life with that haircut. But there's just something about the world that that, and that's.

part of what we do, whether you're writing books, you're making film, you're doing television, you're creating worlds that people don't live in. Right. But we're curious about it. That's one of the reasons I love crime. I want to read, I want to learn about these people that live in this world because I never could. I mean, I'm still looking both ways when I cross the street and waiting for the walk signal. I'll do that in New York City where nobody does it. But I think there's just something

how well that movie vividly takes us into this place that none of us know that is occurring all around us. That's the other thing about it. This is going on all around us. Like a parallel universe. Like a parallel universe, and we're virtually untouched by it until it hits us randomly. So that's the only way I can answer that. Last thing that I'm gonna go back and finish here, I'm thinking of, you know, I'm notorious for saying what's your favorite scene.

So I'm sitting here thinking of my favorite scene. And it's when he goes into that gas station and the guy gives him his change back and he says, heads or tails. And that whole dialogue between, well, you have to tell me what it's for. You have to choose. Yeah. You have to choose. And call it. Call it. Call it, friendo. Yeah. The metaphor, the nuance, the cluelessness of one, the determination to just sow evil in the other.

the randomness, like you said, the parallel universe, the guy's just, I gotta close up. And how that pays off in the final scene of the movie when he goes to kill Lou Ellens wife. Right. And he's trying to go, but call it, you have to call it, with this twisted pretzel logic that he's trying to apply to it. And she's the only one that says, but it makes no sense.

The Thriller Zone with David Temple (01:13:37.054)
You don't make any sense, which metaphorically is very true. This kind of evil doesn't make sense in the pantheon of humanity. That's not who we are as people. We don't like to see people killed. We don't wanna see people hurt. But this guy believes this is his mission to come, and the best I can, is to come and kill her, which he thinks her husband told him to do.

Yeah. Remember that? Oh, yeah, yeah. He's like, your husband told me to do it. And she's like, what are you talking about? He wouldn't do that. She knows he wouldn't do that. And yet, he's still sitting there demanding that she call it. Yeah. And she's the only one that can look at him and say, well, I guess Woody Harrelson did say, do you have any idea how crazy you are? Yeah. You mean in the sense of this conversation? No, I mean in the sense of you. Yeah, yeah. You're nuts. Yeah. You know.

And she's completely powerless in the face of this insanity of evil. That's why there is no clinical definition of the word evil. I mean, you know that, right? If you were to ask a psychiatrist, define evil, they would say there is no definition of evil. That's not a psychiatric term. It's a word that we have applied

to a kind of behavior that goes over the line. And I didn't realize that until I saw it on a talk show. I think it was Merv Griffin of all places. You're dating yourself. Yeah, or Phil Donahue maybe. It's a little more recent. But yeah, evil is not, it almost comes down to why do we explain a bad guy's behavior with what we call the rubber ducky scene? It's not necessary. We don't need it. What these people do,

whether in a story or in the world, does not make sense. It doesn't need justification. It's the behavior that counts. Well, I'm really going off on a thing now. Yeah. I like it. But we did finish. I do want to know why Chrissy Hine, I got a pretty good idea about Ian Fleming. We're back at the dinner, Joyce. Chrissy Hine, one of my all time favorite bands. Oh my God. She's.

The Thriller Zone with David Temple (01:16:00.77)
To me, she was just one of the most interesting people in rock and roll, and I love rock and roll. So I mean, yes, I'm retirement age and I still play hard rock at home. Yeah. I don't go to many concerts anymore unless I can put my feet up, but I will go. In your earplugs, yeah. I saw Bob Seeger a few years ago and he was just great, but he was also 75 and still rocking. Rock and roll has no age limit, but.

Chrissy Hind broke through as a woman rocker, unlike anybody else. She always had her own voice. She always had her own way of doing it. God damn, she looked sexy standing there with that guitar. She was just hot. Is it my imagination or did I read recently she's still touring? Oh yeah. Yeah. Yeah, she's with the, I think one surviving pretender, which is Martin Chambers, the drummer. Yeah.

The two other guys passed a long time ago. But yeah, she's still making real music and doing it for the people. And she's just interesting. Read her book. OK. Yeah, read her autobiography. It's really fascinating. And Ian Fleming. Ian Fleming, because he created the character, being James Bond, that gave me the impetus to do what I do.

It was when I was five years old, my parents took me to see from Russia with love at the drive-in in Medford, Oregon. And I slept through most of it, but I remember peeking over, especially over the back seat and seeing the, the fight between Robert Shaw and Sean Connery on the train and Robert Shaw has got that garrote wire in his watch and he gets it around him and all that. And I just remember.

saying to myself, that's what I want to do. I thought I meant, I want to be James Bond. But once I got older and realized, oh, it's a movie. That's what I want to do. I want to make something that is as involving and entertaining as that. So thank you, Ian Fleming, wherever you are. And I will say mission accomplished to you because you do that every day in your acting. Shall I tell you my Sean Connery story? Please do.

The Thriller Zone with David Temple (01:18:22.082)
So I'm a bartender at Morton's, right? And I see Sean Connery and his wife and Roger Moore and his wife. Oh, wow. And Michael Caine and his wife. Remember he played Harry Palmer in the Ipkrs file. So here's two of the James Bond's and the other great British spy played by Michael Caine and they're all having dinner together.

And they're laughing and they're having fun. And there's, you know, and I'm watching such envy. These guys, you know, and the whole restaurant, they put it right in the middle of the restaurant and the whole restaurant are all sneaking looks over at the great English stars. Right? Sure. Well, Sean Connery gets up and he hits the bathroom. So now's my chance. And I follow him into the bathroom. And by the time I get there, he's washing his hands in the sink and drying off. And I...

I said, Mr. Connery, I just want to let you know that you've inspired me to take this path in life. And thanks to you, everything I am now, I owe to you. And he looks at me in my bartender uniform and says, thank you very much. And he walks away. But I got to tell him. Yeah. Little did he know, just another year or so, I was out of the.

out of the restaurant business and on my way in Hollywood. Nicely done. Yeah. He could have told me to just, you know, get pissed off with him. He had the class enough to say thanks. Well, as I always close the show, I have this one stock question. And I know you're brand new into it because you're a debut author, but not for long, because it's clear that you've got a new path that you're going to crush. But I always ask.

What is your best piece of writing advice? So, however you started, however you got to where you today, what's that piece of advice that you'd say, you know, if I'm gonna speak to other writers who wanna make a go at it? Well, I mean, in a simple sense, it's trust your desire. Trust your instincts, believe in yourself, oh, that's true. But trust that desire to write. If you really wanna do it,

The Thriller Zone with David Temple (01:20:40.622)
Trust it because it's there for a reason. It's telling you that you want something from this.

having a side hustle doing audio books. I did a lot of them during the pandemic, including in those were seven of Isaac Asimov's books. Including his autobiography, I, Asimov. And there's a passage in that book that I hang on to, where he describes how all he ever wanted to do in life was go up in his New York apartment. He had this little room up a set of stairs to this tiny room. And he was a big guy.

but he would sit there at his typewriter, ultimately I think he used a computer, but for years, for decades for him, it was a typewriter. And he said all he wanted to experience was, and the quote was, "'Sit there at the keyboard "'as the words appear on the page like magic.'" That's the experience of really writing when you can barely keep up with your fingers because it's just coming from somewhere. It doesn't matter where it's coming from.

Could be the research or God or wherever, but it's flowing through you. And if you can find a place where you can get to that feeling, where you lose time, that's the one that you have to seek out. So I encourage any writer, whether you're beginning or you're on book 200, and I think Asimov wrote about 400, seek out that book.

where it's all yours and it's only you and wherever that inspiration is coming from. And guard it, zealously. There's a book by Mikhail Chiksetmihai called Flow, Being in the Flow, right? So when you find that place when you're completely engrossed in something that time no longer exists is that magical point. And I have found what you just said makes me think of that book.

The Thriller Zone with David Temple (01:22:46.998)
where you literally are just, you're trying to keep up with your fingers. And the moment that you stop and you go, oh, oh geez, I've got to make that appointment or I've got to do it. You've taken yourself out of the flow. You've kind of severed that lifeline to creativity. And so I'm with you. I think that if you have that heartbeat, we said it earlier, if you find yourself going, I can't wait to get back to that. Something feels like it's missing until I get back to that time.

Yeah. Stephen King talks about it. I recommend his book On Writing, and the audiobook version of it, because he's hysterical. He narrates it himself. He's a very funny man. But he talks about how it's so important to carve out that time during the day, pull down the shades, get the dog outside, do whatever you have to do to isolate yourself in kind of an isolation booth and so you can get to that place.

where it's just you and whatever's coming out of your fingers. So it's not easy and it takes practice, but every writer does it because every writer seeks it out. Yeah. And that point makes me think of something. And there's a lot of little random thoughts that came to me as I was preparing for this and I didn't make notes of it, but one has just popped into my mind because it made me think, I used to date this girl in grad school and she was on As World Turns. And I used to say to her,

She'd love the craft of acting. And she'd love being in the soaps because she had one place to go to and that place to concentrate on. I said, what's your least favorite thing? She goes, well, the hardest thing is learning volumes, pages of lines, especially if they call you the night before and said, oh, this scene's changed, we're emailing you or at that time was mailing you the new lines. And it makes me wonder, how do you, what's your...

method and it is just on my own personal thing, your method of being able to absorb those lines, especially when it's a volume of lines, be present. Cause you know that if you can do it in one take, you're everybody's hero. Yeah. If you keep going off page and then you're, I mean, what's. Well, you know, there's a couple of tricks, I guess. The trick is to not let it be a trick because a trick is always kind of shallow.

The Thriller Zone with David Temple (01:25:14.13)
Way back in college, I learned just, I think, from a psych class that memorization is always stronger if you look at something iconically, which is looking at it, and hear it iconically, iconic and iconic. So reading your lines out loud is just a really good way to kind of get familiar with them. But years ago, I studied with an acting coach named Jeff Corey.

Jeff is long gone now, but he really changed my life in that he taught me how to memorize, like this scene we just read about Winston on the phone. If I were to look at that as a script and try to memorize it, the last thing I would try to learn is the actual specific dialogue. What I would try to memorize is what happens in this scene. My phone rings. It's the skinny prick on the other side.

I don't want to talk to him, but he's the one I have to talk to. Because I saw him the day before at my house with my granddaughter. So those feelings come into play. Allow that to come in. And we talk about how I'm going to sell my house. And I've got some cash in my pocket. And I need proof of life. These are the things that happen in the scene. And that's how you memorize, especially volumes of stuff.

Because there's really no way to kind of cram that minutiae in. You need something to associate it to. So a lot of people, I mean, some people will sit there and go, I don't know, I got a picture of a gallows. And so when I think of the gallows, I remember that long speech. That works too. Free association is really powerful for that. But for me, and what Jeff taught back in the day at his house out in Malibu, which is where we drive on Saturday mornings,

That's how I learned to do it. And I still do it today. I still just kind of break down the bones of what happens in the scene, and that makes it a lot easier for me to remember it. Well, you know, having worked and grown up in the business on both sides of the camera, I watch actors differently having acted before, and I love to watch the technique or the gift that a particular...

The Thriller Zone with David Temple (01:27:34.142)
And this is all kind of in my overtime stuff that I'm gonna use later. But one of the things that I've learned watching you is, and you do it so stinkin' well. And if I use the word real, I don't mean it in a cliche way, but your performances are so real, almost as though you just thought of it at that moment. And I'm not meaning that in a flippant way, but it's like,

You know, when all of a sudden you think about something, oh, and then you just react. Yeah. Yeah, that's, it takes a lot of work to get there. Making it look easy takes a lot of hard work. Maybe that's what it is. You know, but I've gotten to a place now where, certainly what I'm often cast in, especially outside of general hospital, is what I call restrained evil in a suit.

I'm usually the bad guy who's really well dressed. Yeah. Which is fine with me. If that's a brand, I'll take it. Yeah. But you watch the old guys. McQueen's a great example. He would cut reams of dialogue out of scripts because he knew film was visual. You had to see what was going on with these people. Spencer Tracy is another one. He was just so economical at everything he did, but it was full.

It felt full. So all I can say is there's no easy way to get there. You have to spend a lot of time trying to break things down. And this is another way of figuring out what happens in the scene. This I have in common with this guy. As we say, the more personal, the more universal. I wouldn't like some whiny, skinny prick on the other end of the phone either.

That would really irritate the hell out of me, that I have in common with him. So you have to find all of those things. And it's a lot of breaking down. It's a lot of investigation. It's a lot of detective work. But once you do it, then you can lay back. And at least that's what I do. I lay back, and I've got all those thoughts and feelings in my being. And so I can just kind of react to Vince Vaughn.

The Thriller Zone with David Temple (01:30:00.882)
Yeah. You know. Hey, we were quoted 12. Not by me. Right. Yeah. I never said 12. You know. I think Tammy, she's going to love the fact that I remember this. I think she said, and I quote here, your character, I think it was in True Detective, he was a real asshole. He was. He was a bad guy. He was a very bad guy. She goes, he does that well. Yeah. I got it.

I played that kind of a character in Vosh too. Yeah, there's just something about me. Yeah. Well, I hope you are, and I feel like you will be as successful, if not more so, writing as you have been in acting. Oh boy, from your lips. From your lips to God's ears. To God's ears. And Hollywood Hustle is just the beginning, folks. Once again, it's Hollywood Hustle. And if you want to learn more, go to johnlinstrom.com. Thank you so much for being here. Thank you, man. This has been great.

It's a great way to spend a Tuesday morning. Yeah. All right, man. Thank you. Be good. Thank you, guys. Thanks again, John, for spending time with me. Now, folks, next week, Monday to be exact, I have yet another special guest. Remember the movie starring Robert Redford called Three Days of the Condor?

Well, its creator, James Grady, has a new thriller on his hands called The Smoke in Our Eyes, and he will be our special remote guest on Monday the 12th. Until then, I thank you in advance for two simple little requests. If you're enjoying this podcast, would you do me a small favor and go to thethrillerzone.com. Go up to the menu.

click on Rate Show. Just leave us a message. Tell us how you like the show. Give it a five star rating if you like. The second thing you can do for us is to subscribe to our YouTube channel. That address is youtube.com slash The Thriller Zone. Okay, that's it for the housekeeping notes and that's it for another episode. I'm your host, Dave Temple. I'll see you next time for another edition of The Thriller Zone.