From Houston Reporter To Jim Carrey Co-Star

Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor are the putative stars of

I Love You Phillip Morris

, but stealing the movie from them is Houstonian Steve McVicker.

If his scenes don't end up on the cutting-room floor, that is.

McVicker, a former reporter for the Houston Press and the Chronicle, wrote the book on which the movie is based; the book grew out of stories he wrote for the Press about a con man who keeps escaping from Texas prisons.

He got a chance to make his acting a judge, fully berobed and gavel-pounding. Which is sort of odd for someone who spent a lot of time skewering incompetent judges.

In a scene filmed in New Orleans, McVicker was told to sit behind the bench, take a look at the jury verdict and then hand it back to the bailiff so the jury foreman could read it.

"I was intentionally hanging on to it for five, six seconds just to get more face time," he says. "The director would say 'Cut' and tell me to do it faster, but I didn't."

(McVicker's verdict on Carrey, who shared the scene: "A real nice guy.")

The movie is scheduled to open Valentine's Day weekend next year. We'll see if Hollywood is a cruel mistress to our man.

-- Richard Connelly

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