Campbell Scott and William Kowalski

That time Campbell Scott recorded Eddie’s Bastard in one take

Campbell Scott and William Kowalski
Campbell Scott (L) listens, rapt, as I expound on the finer points of wearing hemp fiber necklaces. (New York, 1999)

I just found this photo in my archives the other day, so I decided to clean it up and scan it. Seeing it brought back a lot of pleasant memories.

The audiobook of Eddie’s Bastard was recorded by Campbell Scott in 1999 at the HarperCollins audio studio in New York. I decided I was going to watch, which in retrospect must have seemed incredibly annoying to a professional actor who had already recorded many books by other authors without them peering over his shoulder to make sure he didn’t mess up. I didn’t think he was going to mess up, of course. I just wanted to be there as my book took on another form.

Campbell was not only tolerant of my presence, but he was very pleasant to chat with, and astonishingly professional in his work. He read the entire book through over the course of two days, without making a single error and with only a couple of directional points. Think about that for a minute. This book is well over 100,000 words long. He read every word perfectly the first time–not only just the way it needed to sound to please the director’s ear, but also exactly the way I intended it to be read. Two straight days of reading out loud, and he never got tired.

I happened to mention to him, over takeout sandwiches, that I had just seen a movie which qualified as the worst movie I’d ever seen. It was a Brandon Fraser film–which one, I can’t remember. He laughed uproariously and said, “Brandon Fraser is a really good friend of mine! I’ll have to tell him you said that.” So that was how I learned I should probably be careful what I say about movies to someone in the film business.

You might recognize Campbell from his recent role as Mark Usher in the latest season of House of Cards. He’s also been in about nine million other things since his debut in 1986. He comes by acting honestly–he’s the son of George C. Scott. (The C stands for Campbell.)

Campbell Scott
Campbell Scott as Mark Usher in House of Cards.