Pair of Aces

Last January, when senior editor Gary Cartwright flew to the Hawaiian island of Maui to see Kris Kristofferson, it wasn’t just to interview a movie star and hit songwriter—it was also to visit an old acquaintance (see “ A Star Is Reborn ”). The two met in 1984 through author Bud Shrake and immediately hit it off. Kristofferson went on to star with Willie Nelson in a couple of made-for- TV movies co-written by Cartwright and Shrake, Pair of Aces (1990) and Another Pair of Aces (1991), though Cartwright didn’t have his friend in mind when he was working on the first film. He and Shrake had actually penned Pair of Aces in the early seventies and had spent more than a decade shopping it to various studios. “For a while, it was going to be MGM’s picture of the year,” Cartwright says. “They were going to throw a lot of money into it, and they wanted Marlon Brando for the lead.” While the 62-year-old Cartwright isn’t writing any screenplays these days (he’s focusing instead on his seventh book, about his recovery from a 1988 heart attack and quintuple bypass), he says he’d be happy to work with Kristofferson again. “He’s immensely likable,” Cartwright says, “and one of the smartest guys I’ve ever met.”

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