Show Business: Elliott Gould: The Urban Don Quixote

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"That will be no problem," Bergman says. "You know that when you talk to him. As for comedy—well, all the best actors are not fitted only for tragedy or comedy. They carry two masks."

Naturally, Gould is not so sure and is already worrying about the part, which he will begin filming later this month in Sweden. One of his greatest fears is that he may be asked to make love to the leading lady on-screen in the buff. Bob Kaufman, who wrote the screenplays for Getting Straight and / Love My Wife, is currently getting a kick out of teasing his friend about working with Bergman. "When he's on the set, Gould thinks every director is Fellini. When the picture is finished, he's already David Lean. But by the time it's released, he's Mervyn Le Roy. Let's face it," he says in joking anticipation. "One day Elliott's going to say that Bergman's a jerk."

Maybe. But in the meantime, the Bergman role will provide Gould with the incentive to stop unpacking his familiar bag of tricks. Until The Touch is ready for release—which means not for at least a year—he will still be on constant view in his U.S. films, enduring the endless comic agonies of contemporary American life. That will further reinforce the prevailing impression that he is the star of every sixth movie made in the U.S. If that is a slight exaggeration, then so, just now, is Elliott Gould.

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