James Toback has had a reputation as a difficult interview subject long before I met him for the first time at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. At the time he was there to promote his latest theatrical release “Tyson” and the man was as gracious as can be, the complete opposite of the stories journalists had warned me about. After witnessing Toback’s honest and unflinching nature firsthand, I embraced it but understood why others might not. He is a straightforward individual who is not afraid to speak his mind and burn bridges if necessary. A man like James Toback is a rarity in Hollywood these days and sometimes that can scare people off.
Having been one of the creative forces behind such diverse films like “Fingers,” “Bugsy” and “Black and White,” it’s one of his other treasures that has brought me back to speak with Toback today, “Two Girls and a Guy.” The 1998 gem has finally been remastered and released on Blu-Ray with a pristine transfer and a few new extras chronicling the eleven years since the film’s release. For those uninitiated with the film, it revolves around a chronic bachelor (Robert Downey Jr. in one of his best performances) who must use his charm and wit to deflect blame once he’s been caught cheating by his two girlfriends. The girlfriends are played by Heather Graham and Natasha Gregson Wagner who both use their sexual and intellectual interrogation of Downey Jr. to get the upper hand once he’s been trapped in his own deceit, leading to an unsuspecting finale.
As for working with Downey Jr., Toback has fond memories of helping his friend when he was down-and-out and fresh out of prison. That friendship blossomed into a successful working relationship but recently things have changed. Toback feels Downey Jr. is in “the franchise business” and may not be interested in pursuing challenging work anymore. For our sake, hopefully he’s wrong but if not, “Two Girls and a Guy” will always exist as a reminder of a powerful collaboration between two gifted artists.
“Two Girls and a Guy” is now available on Blu-Ray.