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Out of Focus?

Scotty Crane is tired of getting the shaft from Paul Schrader

"I was told I'd probably get a note to stay away from these people, they're in a litigious state of mind, they're going to say that you stole their script," Schrader says. "And then my film got made, and they didn't have any say over it. So the grievance began essentially as a power issue, you know: 'We should control the Crane movie, not you.' That was the initial grievance. Out of that grievance, many other grievances have flowed, and if you have talked to Scott, you know what those grievances are."

And then some.

But Scotty has every right to be furious, as does Patricia Olson; Bob was his dad, her husband and remains, to this day, their provider. He left everything to Patricia in his will, and she makes money off the TV Land reruns of Hogan's Heroes. The family worries that the movie makes him look so despicable, the network will dump the show. "They're destroying the image of Bob Crane," says the son selling his daddy's pornos. As far as Scotty's concerned, the killing of Bob Crane is about to claim its second victim, his mother. As far as Schrader's concerned, it isn't his fault.

Take off your clothes and smile: Bob Crane's family doesn't deny that Colonel Hogan was a sex fiend. But that's only the beginning.
Take off your clothes and smile: Bob Crane's family doesn't deny that Colonel Hogan was a sex fiend. But that's only the beginning.
At top: Scotty, Bob and Patti Crane in happier times. Below: Greg Kinnear as Bob Crane and Maria Bello, who plays Patti Olson, in Auto Focus.
At top: Scotty, Bob and Patti Crane in happier times. Below: Greg Kinnear as Bob Crane and Maria Bello, who plays Patti Olson, in Auto Focus.

"All of this is an unfortunate distraction, but, you know, it is about a real person," Schrader says. "People are going to have opinions. Scotty is the son; he's going to be vocal about it. But, to me, Bob could've been an insurance salesman, and he still would've been a fascinating character as a performance piece. The aspects that interested me about the movie and still interest me about it have nothing to do with all that other noise, so I just kind of tuned it out. But Crane's story is a classic rise and fall."

"Bob was a celebrity," Kinnear adds, "and celebrity does have some element of corrupting. In terms of the obsessive nature of his own documentation, for better or for worse, that's out there for anybody to view. There were a couple of late nights driving home where I found myself not liking the character in spite of wanting to. There was, you know, almost a naïveté that Bob had that seemed kind of charming, and at times when we were shooting the movie, it had started to feel like, 'Damn it, Bob, what the hell were you doing?'"

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