ABOUT "CRIMES OF OPPORTUNITY"
Excerpt from The New York Times (March '96) called "Where Screenwriters
Can Get a Hearing" written by Diana Jean Schemo:
Coyote had his own idea for a film. Over four years, the actor has written nine drafts of
a screenplay, "Crimes of Opportunity," with a co-author, Sylvia Peto. But it was
not until the lights dimmed in a narrow cafe downtown last Tuesday night that human voice
met written word, stirring imagination to life.
It was then that Mr. Coyote heard 14 actors speaking the lines
and stage directions of his work at one of the script-reading sessions held weekly at the
Nuyorican Poets Cafe. As the reading went on, Mr. Coyote could envision the male lead in
his script, an ex-convict who vies for the attention of a confessional talk-show host, as
an updated early Brando, thanks to the raspy efforts of Jared Harris to hide his British
accent. He could consider questions from an audience of friends and industry
professionals, who asked about the screenplay's structure and techniques, like the use of
black-and-white flashbacks to convey different versions of a crucial moment...
'It was very thrilling,' Mr. Coyote said afterward... 'I'd never
heard this dialogue in the mouth of anyone else before.'
The drama Mr. Coyote wrote with Ms. Peto, a Seattle-based author
who was not present for the reading, involves a character called Eddie Malick, modeled
loosely on Jack Henry Abbott, the convicted murderer and would-be writer whose case was
championed by Norman Mailer. Less than six weeks after Mr. Abbott's 1981 release from a
Utah prison, while on a parole partly sponsored by Mr. Mailer, Mr. Abbott killed an actor
and playwright working as a waiter at an East Village restaurant. 'Crimes of Opportunity'
links the convict and his literary aspirations to an equally ambitious local television
personality, adding a love story to the mix."