The Film Comment Podcast: Wendell B. Harris on Chameleon Street
This Friday, October 22, a new restoration of the 1989 indie classic Chameleon Street opens at BAM. Wendell B. Harris’s utterly unique satire follows a real-life compulsive con man, Douglas Street, whose increasingly risky scams demonstrate both a sociopathic genius and a deep pathos. Wendell not only wrote and directed the film but, like his hero Orson Welles, also played the lead character with all of the dangerous charm of a man who deceived his way into a surgical theater.
For today’s podcast, Wendell joined FC Editors Clinton Krute and Devika Girish for a fascinating oral history of the making of Chameleon Street, which won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance in 1990. He also revealed that he’s pulled some cons of his own: in 1978, he scored an interview with classic Hollywood actor Hurd Hatfield by pretending to be a Film Comment reporter. Now, if Wendell can locate the tape… Better late than never!