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If you’re a Caddyshack fan, you have to see the recent documentary on its making, Caddyshack: The Inside Story, on A&E. Through in-depth interviews with seemingly every member of the cast and crew, it reveals fascinating details from behind the scenes on the set. For example, in the original script, Bill Murray’s character, greenskeeper Carl Spackler, had no lines. His appearance was originally planned as no more than a cameo, as Murray was only scheduled to be on set for six days. Of course, in its final form, the film featured Carl Spackler as a central character. The same was true for the mechanical gopher. The furry character started as a hand puppet scripted into just one scene. By the end, the contentious relationship between Carl Spackler and the gopher was the “glue” that held the plot together.
But not everyone was a big fan of the documentary. One focus of the story was the constant party scene on set. There was no shortage of booze or drugs at the motel where the cast and crew stayed while filming, and the higher-ups at the production company in Hollywood were concerned that it was getting out of hand. Enter Rusty Lemorande, a production executive hired by Mike Medavoy at Orion Pictures, which funded the film. Apparently, part of the “quid quo pro” for his hiring was that he would be a “spy” for Medavoy and others at Orion, providing them with information as to what was going on during filming in Florida.
Lemorande was less than pleased with the way in which he was portrayed in the documentary. He filed a lawsuit against A&E Television for defamation, after A&E refused to stop airing the show despite Lemorande’s demands for a retraction. His lawyer claims the documentary makers “manufactured a fiction to make him look like a spy.” After watching the documentary (multiple times), my first impression was not that Lemorande actually had been a “spy” or snitch for the executives in Hollywood, only that those executives had hoped he would be. He plays a minor role in the documentary, and while he does come off as a bit of a wet blanket, I certainly didn’t think twice about his contribution (or lack thereof) to the movie. His most significant quote was that the set was “like a daycare center, with no babysitters.”
From a legal perspective, based on my viewing of the show, he certainly faces an uphill battle. In the documentary (which he obviously agreed to be interviewed for), he openly admits that the Orion executives may have expected him to be a “spy.” He actually uses the term “spy.” In his lawsuit, he alleges that the documentary defames him by portraying him as a “spy.” If that’s the case, it does so by using his own quotes, which in my opinion were not taken out of context. No other member of the cast or crew claimed he was a spy.
Ironically, Lemorande’s lawsuit, more than the documentary, makes me think the rumor may have been true. He must know something we don’t, because the documentary simply doesn’t make him out to be a bad guy. He clearly had a heightened sensitivity to how he would be portrayed. After all, no one likes a snitch.
– Mark Donnell
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