“Going All the Way” turns 50

Kara Kavensky, writing at The Towne Post:

50 Years of GATW

In 1970, Dan Wakefield’s novel “Going All The Way” was published. More than 20 years later, it was adapted into a screenplay and movie starring Jeremy Davies, Ben Affleck and Rachel Weiss. This month marks a golden anniversary for the book.

The movie was released just before “Good Will Hunting”, and was one of Affleck’s early movies. At the time, Wakefield was able to get Affleck to voice the audiobook.

“Going All The Way” is a novel that almost wasn’t. When Wakefield initially pitched his idea for the novel to his publishers, he was met with strong discouragement. Their reaction only fueled his desire to see it through. 

“I was taken to a famous restaurant and told that I was a journalist, not a novelist,” Wakefield says.

Continue reading at The Towne Post

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Charles Webb Enters Heaven

My latest post at CounterPunch is now online:

Charles Webb, author of The Graduate (an identity that dogged and bedeviled him his whole life). died a few days ago at age 81. I met Charles in early 1970, shortly after the release of his second novel, The Marriage of a Young Stockbroker. I was waiting for my own novel to come out that summer and decided as a way to stop obsessing about it I would help promote the work of some other writers whose work I admired. Like nearly everyone of my generation, I had been hypnotized by the movie of The Graduate, and when I read the novel I realized all the producers of the movie had to do for a script was transcribe the dialogue of the novel (not an ordinary formula.)

The sale of Webb’s novel to Hollywood was modest, and after it became one of the biggest grossing films of its time, I was told that director Mike Nichols had sent Webb a check for $5,000. Novelist and screenwriter John Gregory Dunne told me when he reported that tidbit: “that was like giving Charles Webb a tip.” Other writers would have screamed, or sued. But Webb didn’t want the money anyway.

I called Webb and his wife Eve answered, explaining it would take a few moments to get Charles to the phone.

“He’s outside on the front lawn,” she said, “eating the grass.”

Read the whole piece over at CounterPunch.org

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My feature on WTHR about Emmett Till and today’s attitudes

I was featured on WTHR for my coverage of the Emmett Till murder trial 65 years ago. From the story:

INDIANAPOLIS — As he watched video of George Floyd’s murder and the weeks of nationwide protests that followed, Dan Wakefield couldn’t help but think of another murder, one that happened nearly 65 years ago in Mississippi.

Emmett Till, 14, an African-American teen, was visiting the south from Chicago and staying with relatives when was killed by two White men. The men had accused Till of whistling at a White woman.

“They took him away and he was found two or three days later at the bottom of the Tallahatchie River with a 50-pound cotton gin fan tied around his neck,” said Wakefield, 88.

Read the full story and watch the video at WTHR.

You can read my full original piece on the trial at The Nation.

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Dan Wakefield

Dan Wakefield