VIDEO: Robert Redford on His Great Paparazzo War of 1975
One of the more intriguing, entertaining documentaries of this year's Sundance Film Festival, Smash His Camera tracks the life's work of self-described "paparazzo superstar" Ron Galella. Perhaps best known for relentlessly hunting Jackie Kennedy Onassis and her family (until a judge issued a restraining order that stands against Galella to this day) and once incurring a Marlon Brando knuckle sandwich that knocked out five of his teeth, Galella was also a dedicated tracker of Sundance founder Robert Redford. The film features a certain level of détente between Galella and Redford -- enough so that the shutterbug actually gets close enough to hand Redford his latest book -- but it definitely wasn't always that way. Click through for Redford's somewhat lengthy, wholly fascinating story about the lengths Galella used to go to to get his shot -- and the lengths Redford went to to dodge him. Also: Galella's exclusive response to Movieline!
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While talking on Monday to Galella and Camera director Leon Gast, the photographer confirmed the story's veracity -- but had a few clarifications to add as well.
"Yeah, I just said, 'Well, he's that way,'" Galella told me at Gallery Mar on Main Street, where an exhibition of his classic black-and-white work is selling for anywhere from $1,300 to $2,500 per shot. "But I got one over on him. Many times I beat him to his apartment [in New York City] at 95th Street and Fifth Avenue. He said once at an event, 'How the hell do you beat me to my apartment?' And I said, 'Well, I go through Central Park. There are fewer lights there, and it goes fast. Your driver goes up Madison Avenue hitting all those lights. But he's always been cooperative. I got him and his family at Tavern on the Green when his son graduated; I go to his apartment and he lets me in the building. He lets me shoot in the lobby and into the elevator -- the whole family. It's very rare that you can get a big star like that in his own lobby; the doorman will stop you. But he let me do it."