Leslie Nielsen now available for serious roles

Date: 31 November 2010
To: Studio heads, Hollywood
From: Chuck Bender, Evergreen Talent Agency

Guys, it’s been a hell of a week with Leslie passing away and I’d like to say we’ve all been real moved by your touching tributes over the past few days. It’s been mighty humbling to read of your esteem for Leslie and his work and I know I speak for him when I say it’s given us all wonderful encouragement for the future. My client sees no reason why recent events should hold him back and his take is we’d be crazy not to strike while the iron is hot, which is why he’s putting himself forward for any serious roles you’ve got in the pipeline.

He realizes a few of you will be scratching your heads and thinking why mess with a good thing, but a watershed moment like this tends to get an actor looking long and hard at his career. In Leslie’s case, he’s decided it’s high time he put the comedic stuff to bed for good. Let’s be honest, guys, he’s not getting any younger, and he’s seeing this as the perfect opportunity to change lanes and return to what he does best. You all know he started out as a leading man before the slapstick thing spiraled out of control and I think he never fully got over that. Poor guy had audiences unable to look at him with a straight face but he just rolled up his sleeves and got on with the job cause he’s a trooper like that. Hell, I think we can all agree he’s taken the dying thing pretty well too, however his feeling now is he’d be a sap to keep playing ball in his present circumstances.

Nobody’s trying to rock the boat here and tell you what’s what – he’s just pointing out there’s a chance to get people seeing him in a different light. And I gotta say, he might be on to something. There’s a lot of sympathy floating in the wind and I’m thinking even a little cameo (Scorsese?) would get the ball rolling. The action stuff, we’re not so sure about in his current condition, but maybe we can play that by ear. He thinks he’s got the running and general punching covered, but jumping out the way of explosions, that might be pushing it. As for parachute stunts, not even worth discussing. I haven’t got a clear answer on catering requirements, but I know he was allergic to nuts before so probably safer to assume he still is.

I remember a lot of you used to enjoy a round of golf with Leslie and, no, he hasn’t taken that up again. He just wanted me to say one of you needs serious professional help with your short game and you’d know who he meant. Always the kidder, right? But, no, just to repeat: he’s done with the comedic schtick. Oh, and that’s the other thing. He can now see what each of you is doing every single moment of the day, so the “we’ll call you” business just isn’t gonna cut it. That’s not a threat, guys. He’s not threatening anyone, he’s just acquired some pretty life-changing powers that take a little getting used to (an avenue to explore?).

In terms of what he has been doing, he says he’s mostly been catching up with his dad and exploring the whole Danish side of the family, pumping up his Scandi mojo. Says he’s better placed than ever for a part in Hamlet if you’ve got another of those in the offing, though he guessed you’d all be thinking “the ghost” and he’s going to have to pretend he never heard that. Which brings me to his list: no ghost roles, no ethereal beings, nothing involving “them dirty Swedes” (his words). I think you’ll join me in saying this leaves a lot of room for meaty assignments, and if you want to know his own leanings, he was pretty keen for me to nudge and wink re: teachers, crusading politicians, high-school heartthrobs and George Peppard (he says George is too close to the material to really nail it). He did put his foot down on one other thing, and that’s no roles where he has to die at the end as he says death was a living hell he never wants to revisit. Give it time, though, guys, and let’s see if we can’t get him to budge on that.

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