Soderbergh made a sort of Spalding Gray autobiography, stitching together monologues and interviews from across Gray’s career into a new monologue – not one Gray would have scripted himself in precisely this way, but thoroughly captivating. The picture is nothing special, lots of 4:3 video sources – Gray’s story is everything.
The open is perfect, revealing the out-take nature of the film, a rough videotape of Spalding sitting down, attaching his microphone and beginning a story. Lots of talk about death – maybe that was always present in his stories, but you really notice it now.
Topics: childhood, christian science, his parents, his mother’s suicide, beginnings in acting, sex, conversations with audience members, his movies (three of them anyway – nobody ever mentions Terrors of Pleasure), his two wives and his children, and the car accident a couple years before he died, with mentions of R.D. Laing, Gray’s work in pornographic film, “poetic journalism,” dancing to Tubthumping and the meaning of life. It’s like the best Inside the Actor’s Studio episode, with no interviewer.
I don’t know why, but for a whole segment he is holding up a Playboy.