Lain's Log

I am Lobo - I hunt alone!

June 12/11

Today I've been thinking about Steve Guttenberg.

"You have??"

Not everybody is a fan, but I'm telling you, if you ever get the chance to watch a movie called Don't Tell Her It's Me (1990), (also known as The Boyfriend School), you will see a whole different side to him!


While at Global TV, I was assigned to interview him after a screening of this film. It's a romantic comedy, but I came away from it in tears. Steve plays the role of "Gus" - a young cartoonist, diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease. He's just come through a harrowing year of chemo and radiation, and as a result, has lost his hair and most of his eyebrows and is left seriously overweight by the treatment. Steve showed zero signs of vanity in this role, allowing himself to be seen bald and bloated.

While Gus is in this state, he meets Emily (Jamie Gertz), a girl he wants to ask out on a date, but she turns him down, based on his appearance, making all kinds of excuses to avoid him. Gus is crushed.

His romance novel writing sister, Lizzie, (Shelley Long) takes it upon herself to give Gus a "makeover", launching him into a fitness plan to lose weight, getting him a wig of long, flowing hair and creating a whole new romantic persona for him - a handsome, motorcycle-riding rogue from New Zealand whom she dubs "Lobo".

Lobo Marunga - "I hunt alone. I need no one."

All of sudden, Gus becomes appealing and Emily falls for him in a big way. I remember thinking, what does this say about us and superficiality? It was so sad. I always hoped I'd be the kind of woman to see past any physical flaws to the real person underneath.

Perhaps the scene I like best is the introduction of "Lobo" - Emily's first meeting with him at a self serve gas bar, where he rides up through blinding light and she is instantly smitten. Check it out.

The part I'm talking about starts at the 2:00 mark.



You may remember my story from a previous entry when I talked about Beau Bridges making me blush. Well it happened again with Steve, but in a very different way. (I'm an easy blush. What can I tell ya?) He turned out to be one of my favourite interviews ever.

I told Steve it really bothered me to know that people would ignore Gus when he was at his worst, but go crazy for him as "Lobo". I asked him what it was like on the set. Did cast and crew members treat him differently as these two characters?

His answer is what got me. He responded that the first time he walked on the set as poor, pathetic Gus, no one even realized it was him. Nobody looked at him, spoke to him or paid attention in any way. Then, when he appeared as "Lobo", he strutted in and all eyes turned his way. Steve told me, "Women were doing double takes and suddenly, it was like, 'HELLOOOOOOOOOOOO MR. GUTTENBERG!!!'" - Just the WAY he said it, I was laughing and blushing at the same time. Partly from the sexy inflection in his voice and partly, embarrassment over the whole female sex for being so shallow as to fall for the man, solely based on looks.

Steve said he learned a lot while making this movie.


Having spent considerable time at Princess Margaret Hospital over the past two months, I've thought about the message of that movie several times. When I see people at the clinics who have lost their hair, some wearing hats or scarves, others just walking bald and proud, I try to look right past the surface and think of the person, what they've been through, the strength, determination and courage, the love they're putting out there and the love they're receiving from those walking this journey with them.

I realize Don't Tell Her It's Me is just a little film, but it had a big message I've never forgotten. (and Steve sure gave me a memorable interview. I can still feel that blush when I think of him!)

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1 Comments:

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