Ron Bass: My dad was a victim of what happens when industry changes in a factory. The automobile seat covers something people need to know that existed. And I would travel up the up to the 99 with him to go up north and see all of his customers and learn how to be a salesman by watching my dad sell. And then in one year, automobile manufacturers decided to put a fine seat covering on their seat covers. My father was out of business in one year. It was like making horse and buggy, you know, the year that the car came out to be like that. And so he became a stockbroker and sold bonds. And it was a struggle and a lovely, lovely, lovely guy.

Interviewer: Well, so you didn’t as far as I know, you didn’t start out and tell me about when well, when did you develop an interest in telling stories? Because I know that for a while that wasn’t your.

Ron Bass: Well, I was I was I was six years old as bed ridden pretty much from 4 to 10, pretty much. And it’s a3i taught myself to read. And at six, I started writing short stories.

Interviewer: I’m sorry. Could you stop? What have you said? We.

Ron Bass: We never knew. We went to the Mayo Clinic. I would run 104 fever with no activity. Just weird stuff. Stomach stuff. Head stuff was crazy. I quote, grew out of it. Thank God that was writing short stories when I was six and when I was growing up, what I wanted to be was a novelist. I wanted to be I never thought of writing for screen. I wanted to be like, Here’s a disc jockey and Fitzgerald and Faulkner. And when I was in high school, so I went to was an often told story. I went to UCLA for six months so that I could get out of Stanford in three years and save my dad two years. Tuition. When I was in UCLA, I took an English freshman English course and I fell in love with my English teacher. Who was this? I mean, all of those having a crush on who was this beautiful woman from from Columbia University. So intellectually, I’d never seen anybody like that before in my life. And so beautiful and so smart. And so I had written a novel and I hadn’t shown it to anyone that my girlfriend, that my parents, nobody. And I showed it to Arlie and she read it and she her reaction was my first introduction to it. It’s like when you get notes. She looked at me and she said, You really have have ability. You should write more like that. That was about 1% of what I was hoping for. And I said, Yes, we can we get this published. And she said, Oh my God, no, it’s a personal fantasy of yours. No, no, no, no. I went home that night and I burned the only copy of it that ever existed in a metal bowl. I can still see in my mind the embers just floating up because it was the voice of God. A beautiful woman that you’re in love with does you’re no good, you’re no good. Didn’t write again. I was married once for seven years. I married my present wife for 42 years and never wrote again until my present wife and I got together and she encouraged me to go back and I revisited the novel that I burned. And guess what? I sold it. She was wrong. So many years later we realized that and then wrote novels for a few years. Well, I was I was practicing law as a legal to what you’re alluding to from for 17 years I was a lawyer in our business and your father was a client, as a matter of fact, of the office for quite some time.

Interviewer: I’m starting.

Ron Bass: And unless. Gary Hendler Yes, I was on Hitler and Hirsch. That’s right. And I did lots of contracts for your dad as a contract guy because she had some deals that are driving a hard bargain for, you know, wasn’t that hard to do those it’s what?

Interviewer: So if you were a lawyer. Yes. You were writing your book.

Ron Bass: I was I was writing novels. I would get up very early in the morning, which is what I do now. And 1980, my older daughter was born. I would get up in the morning very early. My novel will be laid out there and I write. And then I would go down and play with the kid and I got to wear a suit and tie and go to the office and be a lawyer. And I did this for for a few years. And then the. Are you getting more of this than you need? Well, okay. So what happened was we we had a financial crisis brought on by the firm, a senior partner in the firm had as a client, a gentleman named Carl Pohlad, very wealthy gentleman from the Midwest who owned the Minnesota Twins and many other things. And he had a farm that was. Just be a fabulous investment. And we were all allowed in the investment, but it was a limited investment. So if you lose all the money, that’s fine. But when all the money was gone, the senior party said, No, we’ve got to be big boys. He’s an important client, we’ve got to step up. So we had to keep putting money into this thing that was failing. And I ran out of money and I sold my third novel to the Reader’s Digest because they want to do a story about D-Day and say what a story about Nazis in D-Day. And long story still on that T-shirt, I’m afraid I wind up needing money and selling the rights to do a film to a wonderful producer named Jonathan Sanger, who produced Elephant Man. And this was going to be Jonathan’s first directing assignment, and he bought it from me and the rights. And I said, Well, only if I write the screenplay. They needed the money. And they said, What? How much money do you want? And I said, $250,000. Just send it just like that. In those days, that was like, I don’t know, $2 million. And then we got it and we worked hard. And that was the beginning of then wrote. There was a day when a guy named Joe was in, who’s been the head of Fox in those days, came to me about two years later and said, How many things are you working on? So I got seven waiting and he said, How many more do you need? I said to foot four in order to quit. And so he said, okay, you got you got an office and you got two more. And then I quit practicing law.

Interviewer: Well.

Ron Bass: I had a brand new baby and a four year old. So brainwave.

Interviewer: How, you know, to have had that experience is to be working in legal, which put you right in the belly of the beast of Hollywood.

Ron Bass: Oh, boy.

Interviewer: How did that help you as a screenwriter?

Ron Bass: Well, it’s invaluable in two ways. First of all, I one of the gushing my own deals and understand the business and understand the interplay of negotiation and what people are saying to you and what notes means and what that it’s just I don’t know how a writer gets along without it. But the other thing that’s valuable is I would come into the office every morning and my assistant would have 48 files laid out the world’s hard files in those days and little tabs Dad’s name was among them. And Goldie Hawn and Jane Fonda and John Connery and Sydney Pollack and Frances Goebel and just every name in the world. I mean, I did the deals, but I didn’t get the clients and the phone would had five lights on it and it would light up and I would just be all day long going from one negotiation to the next punch button. And I’m talking to Warner Brothers about Barbra Streisand punch another button and I’m talking to Columbia about Goldie Hawn all day long from like seven or eight in the morning till 530. Is it a night when you do that? You become very capable of just mentally being where you are. And I work on ten or 12 projects at the same time now in various stages, and I think that’s what enabled me to do it. It was very valuable. Yeah, I recommend it.

Interviewer: So tell me about when you first when and how did the Joy Luck Club first come on your radar.

Ron Bass: So Mary Hirsch was my senior partner of one of the one of the most famous entertainment lawyers in town. And he was my senior partner. And he said, you know, we have a new client, the author of the Joy Luck Club. I wasn’t familiar with it. He said, Well, you’re just a philistine. What’s what’s your problem? This is like the greatest book in the world. And he shows me the book and I read the book and I go, Whoa, this is phenomenal. And so Amy flies down to L.A. with Wayne Wang, with the director who’s a wonderful guy, and we had breakfast at the Bailey Hotel. And the first thing that Amy now I said is to preface it, because in all the years of giving interviews about the early days of Amy Tan, she remembers things very differently. Please take her word for it. Just take mine as an old guy doesn’t really quite remember things well, or I’ve told the story so many times. It takes on a life of its own. But I will tell you the way I actually remember it. Wrong guy. Maybe the first thing she said to me after the pleasantries was How many of my characters do you want to put out? And I said, What a strange question. Well, everybody tells me I have to lose four, four women or eight women or whatever. I said, No, no, no, no, no, no. Oh, my God, no, don’t take anybody out. She said, Really? It was an answer she wanted to hear. I think. I said, Well, of course, the whole point of it is that because there are so many and so many different storylines, then it makes up a mosaic of all women and all mothers and daughters. So she thought. People were going to people, just the characters out because it would be too complicated. Too many characters, too many storylines to fit in to a two hour film. And I completely disagree. And you learn in my business when you’re a writer who wants a job. Never do what I did and just say something very definite and passionately because it’s the fastest way to not get the job. If what you’re saying is not agree with what the what the decision maker thinks. Thank God it was. And she said, well, why would you keep all these characters? And I said, because with so many mothers and daughters and so many stories taken together, it forms a mosaic of all women, all mothers, all daughters, all stories. Everyone will see themselves in something. And that’s the point, is slim it down to one or two people. Then it’s just a specific story and it’s the whole different thing. So I got the job when when she was sort of buzzing about me getting the job. I said, But I have a I have a condition, a condition that I didn’t realize till I came in here today. You have to write the screenplay with me. Oh, my God. No, I don’t know how to do it. And it’s okay. I’ll show you. No, no, no, no, no. I’m having a novel, you know. I said, I know who you are. I have enormous admiration for everything you are and everything you do. I won’t write the screenplay without you because it is not just a wonderful book. It is an iconic book. It is a book that has meaning to people who love literature and people who are in your community. I need your voice. I need to know that I’m writing. We have all the. No, no, no, no. You don’t have all the dialog. You don’t understand. It’ll be new dialog. There’ll be some more dialog for the book. We got to write a lot of new dialog because it’s a different form and I need your voice. She, thank God, insanely agrees to do it. She flies down, she has a laptop and got in 1993. So there’s not a lot of that going on. And you tell me how great is the laptop and I should do it and I write in pencil. I still do this and we start to write. And this is an interesting this is an interesting story and a relates it to what we’re talking about in general. She’s okay. So the first scene you said is the first chapter of the book. So I said, well, here we go. I said, I’ve come down from from the Napa Valley, where I was working with with Francis Coppola on a film called Gardens of Stone. And it was a novel, and Francis has a computer program. That screenplay ises the novel. You run the novel through it and it puts it in screenplay form. And here’s what it taught me, that there’s four pages of screenplay for every page. In the book, you’ve got a 20 page chapter that’s an 80 page scene. We have 120 pages for the entire movie. So let me tell you, my dear, we’re going to name that tune and two and a half notes and half pages over page budget, which was not possible. I said, here’s here’s the first rule of adapt, of adapting. It’s not editing. You can’t edit 20 pages into two. Do you have to start over? Use that as your thing, as your template, as your treatment, but you have to find what’s the essential core of the emotional exchange in this scene. Cut into the conversation as deep as you can, do what you got to do and cut out as fast as you can and then make sure that it has impact when you’re done. And she has said, and I hope she still feels that that process really has informed and something she keeps in her mind when she’s writing. Because finding the core emotional exchange that you have to do on screen when you’re a novelist and I had been unsuccessfully before you get to wander around and you take as long as you want and go back and forth. And now in film, it’s gone by you at 24 frames a second. You better you better have have the goods and have them fast and hard in there. So anyway, that’s that was the beginning of our relationship with Amy ten.

Interviewer: Oh. What do you remember of Wayne? Wayne? And why they come as a package? And why and how did that happen?

Ron Bass: They had been friends, I guess. I had not seen his films. I then, of course, immediately did. He’s an incredibly gifted guy and soft spoken and sweet and dear. And it was on his set was I had some of that, some great experience. I never had a better one. I had a couple that were almost equal. He is just brilliant with the women, great with money, where budget was very limited. He’s great with everything. He was really, really the best. Really fantastic. And what happened was we couldn’t sell this to anybody. So Jeffrey Katzenberg said, I love this. You guys do whatever you want to do as long as you don’t spend one penny, more than $11 million up to $11 million. I’m going to give you notes. You can throw them out. It doesn’t matter. It’s the three of you. I had faith in the director, faith in you guys go make the film. And we did. At the end, the Bond company was like, over my shoulder every second it was like, we got to cut out these four scenes here because there’s nothing. But eventually we brought them all home.

Interviewer: So you were on set for the entire.

Ron Bass: No, no, no. But a lot of it happens down here, mostly. But I went up there for a little bit.

Interviewer: Did you go to China?

Ron Bass: No, no, no, no. I didn’t go to China.

Interviewer: So what do you have any recollections of any any funny anecdotes from your time on the sets? Any anything that went down?

Ron Bass: Sure, I don’t if it’s funny. I mean, there’s a bunch of. Yeah. A m a memory. And again, these are just in my mind. There’s a scene in the film where a young mother in China drowns her baby to get back at her husband. That actress is a woman named Feiyue or Youth who has since become a friend. She’s now a producer, director and actress, and she is accessible. She was like a kid. She was, I don’t know, 17, 18, 19 and never been to America. Put her on a plane. Debate from Beijing flier here. Tire set is waiting for her to come and drown this baby. She’s wearing some kind of frilly, diaphanous nightgown. So it’s really kind of very exposed. It’s a huge crew, beautiful, beautiful young woman. And she walks through us all purposefully and walks to the place where she has to drown the baby. And I’m right there on the right. But where with the monitor and watching her go through that scene several times. And of course, she has to scream this incredibly primal scream when she realizes what she’s done and know how many of them she did. But she did a lot. Eventually, you drowning a baby is hard, you know, in film. And so eventually the mother mother’s hands that had to hold the baby under the under the water. And of course, babies immediately don’t breathe instinctively. No. To do nothing when they’re underwater. And the baby is only underwater for like 2 seconds and then comes out and you cut the film. That’s not the baby. It was never going to of a problem. So now it’s lunch time and we have a code around the around. You and I come up to her and she and I have lunch. I said, I want to work with you someday. And I’m so impressed with the work that you done. And we, we form a friendship cut to the films about to be released. And now Amy and Wayne and I are sitting by a speakerphone and someone from the motion picture ratings. People are saying this picture has to be R-rated because of that one scene. If you cut drowning the baby, you can have a PG 13. And for the audience, it doesn’t really know what that means. It means a lot of money because our restricts who can go. And this kind of film would be wonderful for teenagers to go to and moms to take their daughters and so on. And I said on the phone, But you don’t understand the whole motivation of the woman to do it is that this horrible thing happened. And that’s how when she comes to America, she’s haunted by that demon. And that’s why she goes crazy. And that’s why her daughter is this. I mean, everything depends on it. Are we going to Jeffrey Katzenberg so supportive. He said, you know what, you’re right. We’ll take that. We’ll take the railing and did very heroic because a lot of you know, we could do a lot of heroic show business stories. Amy, rightfully skeptical of our business and my business. There’s a lot of wonderful stories over the years and that’s one of them.

Interviewer: What in terms of the creative process within. What? What did you feel stood out to you in working with her? That is what indicates her unique talents.

Ron Bass: Well, who is that about? Her unique talents and working with her new talents are there to read in the book. Working with her, it’s an enormously open mind. Here she’s got a book that is, as I say, iconic. Now it’s taught in every high school in the country. And I would make suggestions. And she loved suggestions and she would love to talk it through. She had no pride of anything like, you know. Well, the public is going to expect that. Listen, there’s no just what tells the story the best. Always cheerful, always upbeat, very strong person. We’ve since been through we were going through an experience of trying to get to do a television series on it. And somebody was treating us badly. And I said, Why don’t you write them a letter? And she wrote them a letter that would make your retinas bleed. I mean, she can be very strong when she’s in the right. She’s she’s a unique she’s a unique, unique person. Everybody that in those areas blessed and thrilled to have her counters a friend.

Interviewer: You have during this time and she’s working on the script which you working on her follow up novel or had she done had that been done by then? You were calling.

Ron Bass: Me Kitchen God. Yes. I thought it was done by then. I thought. But, you know, I really don’t recall. She’ll tell you.

Interviewer: Do you remember her making any? Did she ever talk to you about what it was like to go from someone who wrote a few short stories? How to her joy you touching on her family stories to becoming this international bestseller that seems strategic driven. Everything, all the fame and money that was a big thing took off. And I am here to say I know what these bombs are like. I call them bombs.

Ron Bass: Oh, yeah. You’ve been through.

Interviewer: It. I saw it as a little boy.

Ron Bass: Exactly.

Interviewer: Did you ever talk to her about that? Children insights about who.

Ron Bass: She is and a lot of people in the business are. And your father among them can be the most modest of people. She never like. It’s just all this good fortune happen to her. She was an originally a copywriter for technical. Did you know this for technical publications? That was her beginning. Look, the least the least thing that resembles what she came to do. And she wanted to tell these stories. You want to tell Daisy’s her mother. You want to tell Daisy’s stories? And so many of these stories were things that she’d heard. And as fluid as they come, as fluid as they are. She worked so hard on every sentence and every thought, and she thinks it through so hard that the the pilot script, which didn’t go to pilot, but it was we worked very hard on the script.

Interviewer: So are you referring to the follow on TV series?

Ron Bass: This is it. Yes. To the you go back. Sure. So in the last couple of years, we thought we might try to make a television series based on the novel. And we wrote a pilot script for a generous company with our producer and wonder television was wonderful to us and HBO and everybody was wonderful. We wrote a script that we loved and it did go to pilot, which is statistically what normally happens. But I think the question that Libyans were.

Interviewer: Talking about insights about being famous and the impact of her celebrity overnight success. Do you ever discuss how to deal with how that affected her or deal with that in any way or.

Ron Bass: When when I’m trying to now see where I was.

Interviewer: Going it all together?

Ron Bass: Yeah. Yeah. Because it was there was something you said that brought me that brought me to the. But exactly. Because we’re going to get it right. We do get second at the point that she got in it. Yes, I know. I do remember.

Interviewer: Good.

Ron Bass: So she read the pilot script and she was distant from it and she had input. But she really was writing her novel and she was absorbed in that and she was very laissez faire. She’s said, Any of my other novels, you want to turn into film, you got them. We have a good partnership. So now we we have an idea that maybe we’ll do a sequel film. And Amy writes me a memo, an email about what should the film be like in the most abstract, poetic, exciting terms. I mean, I read it about 12 times and it’s like so that has to begin with something that is and yet isn’t it? Was that kind of a thing? So. Beyond anything I could do. And most people understand I wrote to it, said, you just I’m sorry, I’m not playing in your league. I did what it says, do this. It’s just treat me like a four year old because her mind works in a in a way with a subtlety and an understanding of nuance and a and an understanding of the human condition. That is another plane from mind, certainly, and from most other people. And I guess I guess great authors like that.

Interviewer: I guess if you’re really busy, too.

Ron Bass: I did.

Interviewer: Can you tell me about your impressions of Daisy?

Ron Bass: Chain of Daisy was just you know, I saw it a little bit in them. And T.K., her husband is then at that time was involved in a Gus is a friend of Amy’s and I’m working on a project of Gus’s life called China Boy. So I was introduced to all of them. She was just, to me, very delightful and charming and whatever and not at all ditzy and not at all eccentric. She just was what they were there on. There’s a little bit come to learn as we look at bone setters daughter and and and kitchen gods wife and subsequent novels that we’re talking about Chinese ghosts. And Amy may have told you this, but she said that when her mother passed, her mother came to her. And the story of that moment in that confrontation, there wasn’t just a vision. It was really exciting and moving and transcendent and an inspiration for a lot of a lot of what came after, but a belief in the spirit.

Interviewer: Specifically of answered story.

Ron Bass: Yeah, well, Jerry’s daughter.

Interviewer: Ty Bowen said his daughter.

Ron Bass: Well said his daughter about it is about a ghost and about a woman from another generation who had influence on on this generation. But it’s the concept is yes it’s Chinese law that ghosts are real in the in the sequel that we were going to do for television and may still yet if we’re lucky enough to do four feature so you one the character of Jun’s mother in the book who had passed away is a character as a ghost and is and can only be seen by June and the audience and heard from time to time because it represents how much you carry your mother with you, how much he’s a part of you, and what she’s always there. And so when you look at questions like soul and spirit and, and what, what, what there is that transcends you. And those are interesting conversations. And I’ve done films about that topic before, but it brings home to me the relationship that that Amy has with Daisy brings home to me. The way in which people are real for sure, is that you have them, you carry them, you carry them with you. They are inside you. They don’t leave you. Right, people, that’s a wonderful thing about life.

Interviewer: So it strikes me, by the way, a couple of years ago, I saw snow flower.

Ron Bass: Oh, yes. With Wayne, you know, Wayne directed. I wrote that with way. Yeah.

Interviewer: So if I look back at your work here, it’s like a trilogy in terms of working in Asian and Asian culture.

Ron Bass: I’ve written a lot more that didn’t get made, so I’ve written a lot of things that are trying to be something to Japan based quite different. But a lot of them are trying to base. And right now I’m working with Gus Lee on the new novel China Boy, which is the story of his childhood. And we’re writing it together. And he’s a cousin of he’s a close friend or whatever. They’re really they’re very together and he’s a wonderful writer. There’s something very special about not just Chinese culture, but the Chinese sensibility that has me in and I’m in awe of of Chinese people and I’m in awe of the city of Paris. That’s about it for me. That’s my too. That’s the two things that are transcend my ability to understand them. And I just want to be around them and have as much of the reflected light as I can as I can manage.

Interviewer: Like looking at what it is, because it’s, you know, for God’s sakes, being a screenwriter on a big movie and doing instant films and. What do you feel? Could you describe what you think? Whether those engaging, magical aspects of Japanese Asian myth or are Asian storytelling and using history that makes it so rich in story?

Ron Bass: I’ve never said I never see anything that makes that the point as well as as the Joy Luck Club, because the contrast is the problems of the American girls. Are so trivial compared to. Yes, they’re big to me. I mean, you’re getting divorced. Your husband’s a bad person. I mean, lots of very serious things. But then when you go back in the scenes and Wayne directed in China and your mother is eating opium and you’re watching her body contort, and then you’re drowning your baby. I mean, the operatic huge roar. I don’t think people could invent that stuff in America without that exposure. The ability to understand human nature at that level and take everything to the limit, the level of passion and intensity is just thrilling. And, you know, when you have 3000 years of culture, you look at life a little differently. Personally, I would never be in a trade war against that country because they’re capable of having a very long game. They’ve been playing the long game for thousands of years, and I think they’re good at it. You know, I’ve written 211 scripts and when you write a script, as I know you know, you are all the characters, you are the dog, you are the devil, you are the prostitute, you are the king. You are everybody that can only come through you. You only have one instrument and you’re playing it that thing through the evil. When you’re adapting a novel, it’s you. And there’s no end to people telling you that you don’t dare do that. Because how do you know? We are living now in a moment where you and I work, as you may know, with three young women who are my development team, who are brilliant and they write on their own right and so forth. And in the in the now MeToo movement, does a man get a man write female characters and female leads as accurately, as legitimately as women can? And there’s a mix of two things that I think are being conflated. One of them is women and and ethnic minorities have had so such an unfair treatment in every business, including ours. There have been so many fewer screen opportunities for women historically than for men, that the new emphasis on my agent coming to me and saying, Well, you’re up for these three things, nothing but they want a woman. And that just is happening a lot because they’re right for female lead. And as much as it can frustrate me because I believe I can write it as well as anybody, whether my female teammates think like it or not, but I know I can write wine. I know I can write my best friend’s wedding. I know I can do it. I know I can write it with Amy. You still applaud something that’s happening, that’s changing the culture and changing the world, even when it’s not advantageous to you, because these two things have to change. And I told the story about my father. He had to take a different job because automobile speed covers wouldn’t have any use anymore. So yeah, you get you get these things like how can you possibly write this? Because how do you know this? But the stories are all about people. They’re all about human nature. They’re all about self-esteem, they’re all about human connection. There is a there is a through line to the roles that we assume they don’t give really writers the credit of being the actors that we actually are. And when I pitched the team and said, Well, you’re a wonderful actor, one, because when you pitch, when I hear you talking about ripping the dialog, you’re an actor, but writers are actors because I did a film called When a Man Lives Woman and Meg Meg Ryan was the was the actress. And she came to me one day and said, Louis, our director, Liza minnelli, keeps saying, talk to roundabout. Don’t do run about this. When we talk about it, I she benefits from it and she’s I said, well, because only you and I ever had to be Alice Green. And that is the truth of being I have to be somebody I haven’t been before. And to me, it’s as natural as breathing because that’s what I do all day long. I don’t want 11 times, but there are people on the outside, as people say to Amy, You have a responsibility to do this. How can you write about old China when you never grew up in Old China? There’ll always be people telling you you can’t do what you know you can do. And those people should read the Joy Luck Club and then come tell me that she doesn’t do it. It’s just it is frustrating because you what do you say to someone like that?

Interviewer: And it’s exactly.

Ron Bass: We’re doing a a another project I have with one of the women that used to work for me. And now we’re partners on something. And it’s a very futuristic like that. The Handmaid’s Tale in a very futuristic world in which no man lives beyond the age of 32 for a thousand years. No man’s ever live beyond age of 32. That’s a world created by women. And I created the idea. So the idea was told by the buyer, But a woman has to work with you and has to write on it because because you can’t you can’t know how to do this. And my writing partner, the wonderful female writer Hannah Shakespeare, decided that the lead character should be transgender because it fits so well with the idea of men versus women and men dying young and so forth. And we desperately want a transgender actor and in the way that this business works. So similarly with Chinese actors, when we were casting Joy Luck Club, it’s so wonderful that we needed transgender actors for this because now you don’t have to have a movie star. Otherwise you’d have to get, I don’t know, Emma Stone or somebody to get the series do happen and and you can’t. And now people understand that the authenticity that’s being brought to it by the actress and there’s many wonderful transgender actors around now. So that’s we got we get lucky on that Chinese actors we had we interviewed for auditioned for the Joy Luck Club and now we’re talking 25 years ago it it would break your heart. There were 50 actors that we wanted, actresses that we wanted to they have in that film and we only had 11 roles and they would be in tears sometimes just telling you, thank you for to Wayne thank you for giving us this this chance. This we never get a role. We never. So then they get a role as crazy as agents. Crazy Rich Asians is wonderful and it’s made a lot of money and it’s adorable and it’s helpful and it makes you disappear the other and see someone of the different ethnicities re the same as as you are. So the world is changing.

Interviewer: Is there anything you’ve answered? My question is there anything, any observations you want to make about Amy as a person and working with her that I have.

Ron Bass: A forgive me. This will be repetitive and it might be as a person. She is, as I say, incredibly intelligent, incredibly direct, can be caustic, can be very direct, very honest, very forthright, very strong, opinionated, fabulous to have dinner with and talk about. Incredibly sophisticated travels. The world knows everybody’s written an opera. I mean, you know, she’s but the observation I would make about her and I seen it in people in my business, too, something about genius, that it’s just something a little special. It’s just a little difference that they carry with them not trying to carry with them at all. But you just kind of walk away from your friendship, Amy, and you say that’s that’s one out of very, very, very few people that has something about them that is elevated. And I can’t define it more than that, but I recognize that it’s there and and and it’s wonderful.

Ron Bass
James Redford
Interview Date:
American Archive of Public Broadcasting GUID:
"Ron Bass , Amy Tan: Unintended Memoir" American Masters Digital Archive (WNET). August 19, 2020 ,
(1 , 1). Ron Bass , Amy Tan: Unintended Memoir [Video]. American Masters Digital Archive (WNET).
"Ron Bass , Amy Tan: Unintended Memoir" American Masters Digital Archive (WNET). August 19, 2020 . Accessed February 4, 2023


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