Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Writing For Kinski: L.M. Kit Carson

While PARIS, TEXAS is typically thought of as a collaboration between Sam Shepard and Wim Wenders, one should not underestimate the contributions of the fabulous Texas born writer L.M. Kit Carson. Carson's adaptation of Shepard's script is a work of art in itself and it stands as one of the best things the inventive Texan has ever delivered.
Carson was born in 1941 in Irving, Texas and he first came into the public eye with his work as an actor in DAVID HOLZMAN'S DIARY, an influential 1967 production in which he starred as the title character.
He would continue working sporadically throughout the seventies and eighties as an actor, but it was scriptwriting abilities that really began to garner attention. After some little seen early works, including a documentary on Dennis Hopper's strange and monumental THE LAST MOVIE (1971), Carson finally began to break through with the Richard Harris film THE LAST WORD (1980). The film would garner some critical acclaim for Carson's script, and it also starred his wife at the time Karen Black.
After THE LAST WORD, Carson hooked up with an old friend from the seventies named Jim Mcbride and they began concocting one of the most audacious movies of the eighties, a remake of Jean-Luc Godard's BREATHLESS. I am very fond of this film and wrote an appreciation for it a while back at Moon In The Gutter that can be read at this link for those interested.
After the underrated BREATHLESS, Carson got the call from Wim Wenders to adapt Shepard's original screenplay for PARIS, TEXAS. It is my understanding that Carson's main contributions come during the final confrontation between Stanton and Kinski, arguably the most important section of the film. Much of the sharp dialogue of the film feels like Carson as well and it is probably a safe bet to assume that the final product is an interesting mixture of Wenders, Shepard and Carson. It is also worth noting that it was Carson's young son, Hunter who would give one of the great performances in the film as Travis' and Jane's son.
After PARIS, TEXAS Carson joined up with another friend, fellow Texan Tobe Hooper, and they delivered one of the definitive films of the eighties, THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 2, a work that has continued to grow in statue in the twenty plus years since its first release.
Since THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE sequel, Carson has worked only sporadically but he continues to be one of the most distinctive American screenwriters around. One hopes that he will soon delivery another script as resonate, clever and haunting as his best works from the mid eighties.