Lights! Camera! Fishing Book!

By Scott Richmond

"MGM called," I said to my wife, Barbara.

"Emma who?" she replied.

"MGM. The Hollywood movie people. They left a message on the answering machine. They want to use one of my books for a film. You know, like they did with A River Runs Through It."

"They want to make a movie out of one of your books?" Barbara looked confused and more than a little skeptical. "All you write are fly fishing guide books. There's no plot and no characters. Half the book is road directions."

"All I know is that they want to use Fishing in Oregon's Cascade Lakes in a Bruce Willis movie." I looked out the kitchen window and pondered the onset of stardom. Would I have to move to Hollywood? Could I remain humble despite the adulation of fans?

"Frankly," I said, "I always thought they'd use Robert Redford to make a movie about me. Bruce Willis doesn't have enough hair."

"Have you looked in a mirror lately?"

I ignored her. "Well, if it's a Bruce Willis movie, maybe they'll get Demi Moore to play the role of my wife. They're married in real life, you know."

"Not any more. If you did more grocery shopping you'd know these things."

"Huh?" It took a moment to get the connection: checkout lines; tabloid headlines. Well, the price of stardom includes nosy reporters from the National Enquirer. I'd better get used to it.

Dashed Hopes

I got in touch with MGM the next day. The conversation wasn't quite what I'd hoped. They wanted to use the book as a prop in the movie Bandits, part of which was being filmed in Oregon. My chances for fame and fortune appeared to be considerably diminished. Still, having my book in a major Hollywood production was something to look forward to.

Bandits was released Friday, October 12--about a year after MGM called. Barbara and I went to the Tigard Cinema for the opening night. I was eager to see Fishing in Oregon's Cascade Lakes get its 15 seconds of fame.

The movie features Bruce Willis and Billy Bob Thornton. In the opening scene they break out of the Oregon State Penitentiary. During their escape they hide in a home that is occupied by a lusty teenage girl and her equally lusty but more pimpled boy friend.

"Where's your father?" Bruce Willis asks the girl. "He's gone fishing," the girl replies.

Gone fishing! This is the scene!. She'll pick up my book. The camera will zoom to the cover. She'll say something like, "He went to Crane Prairie to catch big rainbow trout. He's using a long leader of 12-15 feet, as recommended in this great guidebook by Scott Richmond. Since it's fall and the water is cool, the trout will be scattered and not concentrated in the channels."

But she said nothing.

There was a coffee table in front of the couch. Somewhere on that coffee table, I was sure, lay Fishing in Oregon's Cascade Lakes. But the table was in shadow at the bottom of the shot. "Bring up the lights! Lower the camera angle!" I muttered. But it wasn't to be. My shoulders sagged. I sighed and looked at the floor, where ittle bits of popcorn were stuck to spilled Coca-Cola.

Bandits never mentioned fishing again. Bruce and Billy Bob left the house in a stolen 1988 Land Cruiser, just like the one I drove when I wrote Fishing in Oregon's Cascade Lakes. Then they became bank robbers. Their first target was a bank in Oregon City. I have a safe deposit box in that bank, and I wriggled uncomfortably when the robbers filled a gunnysack with the contents of the vault.

After that, they met Cate Blanchett. There was romance. There was action. There was humor. But there were no pictures of my book. My dreams of stardom lay on the cutting room floor. Hollywood is such a cruel place.

The movie ended, the credits rolled--sans my name--and lights came up. "That was a good movie!" Barbara said as we walked into the parking lot. "I really liked it."

"Hmmm." I kicked at a puddle. "I guess it was okay."

Barbara took my hand and squeezed gently. "Hey," she said softly, "you'd have hated living in Hollywood. The fishing's lousy there."

Scott Richmond is Westfly's creator and Executive Director. He is the author of eight books on Oregon fly fishing, including Fishing Oregon's Deschutes River (second edition).