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Friday, September 03, 2021

‘Once Upon a Time in Queens’ director Nick Davis surprised by candidness of the 1986 Mets

Unlike Oldman, Davis’ stars never have won an Academy Award for Best Actor, but they include no shortage of colorful characters, from a hilariously profane Lenny Dykstra to Keith Hernandez and his cat, Hadji.

It is a wild ride that recreates a wild era in New York, one Davis experienced as a Mets fan who was 21 at the time.

In “Once Upon a Time in Queens,” he gets to sit down with most of the key players of that era, a now-56-year-old speaking to peers who themselves are in late middle age.

It is that distance from the events of the 1980s that he believes makes this the ideal time to catch up with these guys, when they still are vibrant but far enough removed to have perspective.

“I think 10 years [after] is too early, because they’re still protecting their own images and protecting their reputations,” Davis said after a recent screening in Central Park of the first two episodes.

“These guys are all in their 50s or 60s. They’re letting it all hang out. Nobody was holding back. They were willing to tell me absolutely everything that went on – that they could remember.”

That remembering could be a challenge not only because of the passage of time, but because of the mental fog induced by some players’ regular use and abuse of alcohol and other drugs.

It all is documented in the film, including a reflective and remorseful Dwight Gooden, who recalls that when Len Bias died of a cocaine overdose in 1986, Gooden told his drug dealer that he wanted some of what Bias had used.

Davis believes Gooden had not told that story publicly before, but the director acknowledged his primary mission was not breaking new journalistic ground about a season that has been chronicled thoroughly.

“[Viewers] may know about the facts, but it’s never been told cinematically,” he said, later adding, “It is a chance to tell this sweeping, epic story, and hit people on an emotional level.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 03, 2021 at 12:59 PM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: 30 for 30, mets

 

 

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