Living and Dying with Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor Over Sundance

How I turned some newspaper stories into a book which became a movie that caused those two guys to kiss

After dinner, we all headed for the Eccles Theatre for the screening of the movie. The auditorium had the electricity of a rock concert, as the audience anticipated the arrival of McGregor, Carrey and Carrey's girlfriend, Jenny McCarthy.

My friend Tim Fox, who is president of Columbia Artists Management Inc. in New York City, had gotten good seats for the rest of my friends at the screening. He and the others sat in the row behind me and my agent. I looked at Tim and said, "I feel like the dog that caught the car. What do I do now?"

And then the lights went down and the movie began to roll. At first I took notes on how the movie differed from the book. But soon I was so engrossed in the film, I forgot all about taking notes. I even forgot that it was Jim Carrey on the screen, not Steven Russell. And only occasionally would I remember that I had written the words coming out of Carrey's and McGregor's mouths.

Steven Russell escaped from prison in January 1997 by dyeing his prison uniform green and posing as a doctor.
George Hixson
Steven Russell escaped from prison in January 1997 by dyeing his prison uniform green and posing as a doctor.
Phillip Morris, shown here in 1997, first met Steven Russell two years before, while incarcerated at the Harris County Jail.
George Hixson
Phillip Morris, shown here in 1997, first met Steven Russell two years before, while incarcerated at the Harris County Jail.

The directors/screenwriters had condensed the book and flipped it around. Nevertheless, I couldn't have been happier. Plus, my cameo — minus my one line of dialogue — had made the final cut. And, of course, I was still alive.

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