The Official Peter Coyote Web Site

Coymoon Creations


FALL 2007
NEWSLETTER

Update - 11/12/07:

Peter is presently filming a fact-based indie feature called "THE LENA BAKER STORY." Tichina Arnold (Everyone Hates Chris) has the title role playing the first woman in the state of Georgia sent to the electric chair. Two years ago the state pardoned Lena Baker, an African-American maid who was executed on March 5th, 1945, for the fatal shooting of her 67-year-old white boss, Ernest B. Knight (to be played by Peter). A mother of three, Lena had become a virtual sex slave to Knight. At her trial she claimed self-defense and the details of her pardon suggest that she should have only, at worst, been sentenced with manslaughter. Writer/director/producer Ralph Wilcox refers to the film as a "cradle-to-grave story that offers a real perspective on Lena as opposed to just one incident. Race does play a part, but this story is really about a woman torn between a rock and a hard place."  The $2.5 million feature film began shooting in Georgia last month. Beverly Todd will play Baker's mother while Michael Rooker will portray the sheriff who arrested her.

Great news for a short film narrated by Peter! The top 10 short films for sale on iTunes break down like this: Seven are cartoons, including six from Pixar. Nine are fictional. That leaves one live-action documentary - and it's the #1 film. It's called THE TRIBE, and after winning awards at several film festivals, it was released on iTunes last month. Now, not even a month later, it's the top-selling short film. Directed by Tiffany Shlain, the documentary is a very entertaining and thoughtful discussion of what it means to be Jewish in the 21st century and how that relates to the history of the Barbie doll. Barbie was invented (and Mattel was co-founded) by a Jewish woman, Ruthie Handler. The film ties it all together and asks some interesting questions about how we humans break ourselves into "tribes," and how those tribes interact with one another.  The following two photos show Peter at the film's world premiere at the Herbst Theater in San Francisco on December 3, 2005.

On November 3rd Peter participated in a benefit concert, Music for Mother Earth, at the historic Fillmore Auditorium. The event brought together Native American leaders and high-profile celebrities alike with the aim to raise funds and awareness for the Longest Walk 2: a walk across America for the environment taking place in 2008. The Longest Walk 2 is a 4,400 journey that will commemorate the 30th anniversary of the original Longest Walk which took place in 1978 and work to bring attention to today's critical environmental issues. The Longest Walk 2 will begin in San Francisco in February 2008 and end in Washington D.C. in July 2008.

For those of you who may have missed the Charlie Rose interview with Peter back in 1999, the DVD of that show is available at Amazon.com. Here's the description for the July 19th show - Three days after the crash of John F. Kennedy Jr.'s plane off the coast of Martha's Vineyard, a conversation about his life and his family's legacy with Jack Newfield, author of Robert Kennedy: A Memoir, Richard Reeves, author of President Kennedy: Profile of Power, and journalist Abigail Pogrebin of Brill's Content. Later, an interview with actor Peter Coyote. Coyote, a former member of The Diggers theatre troupe, discusses his life in the 1960s and his book Sleeping Where I Fall.

Update - 10/01/07:

Next month Peter will be making a public appearance at the Longest Walk 2 Benefit Concert - All Life is Sacred. The concert will take place at the Filmore in San Francisco on Saturday, November 3rd at 7 pm.

The complete first season of ABC's BROTHERS AND SISTERS is now available on DVD. The series drama portrays a contemporary American family, dysfunction being a major character. However, no matter what their individual problems are, the Walkers come together and find strength as a family. The first season follows them after the patriarch of the family dies. Along with news of their fatherís death, the five children discover some well kept secrets. Peter appears as Nora's (played by Sally Field) boyfriend, Mark August, in four of the shows - "Grapes of Wrath", "Bad News", "Three Parties" and "All in the "Family. The regular cast also includes Calista Flockhart, Rachel Griffiths adnd Rob Lowe.
 

Back in March of this year, Peter was a guest of  Black Mesa Trust director Vernon Masayesva and his wife Becky at Bean Dance in the Hopi village of Hotevilla. Peter is no stranger to the Hopi mesas. He explains, "Thirty-five years ago, as a confused young man and leader of a commune in California, I wound up on Hopi visiting David Monongye, who was then in his 90s. There were no white people in Hotevilla then. I stayed there a couple of months and he taught me some Hopi prophesies, showed me some of the abandoned villages, and allowed me to observe the Hopi way of life. I stayed with David and his wife, and I saw the way people came in and out of their house and discussed things. I was hugely impressed. That visit became the moral compass of my life and I've done what I could to be of use to the Hopi people since then, including being involved in the effort to save the N-aquifer." Peter and some friends have been coming to Bean Dance for several years, but this year was unique.."Twenty years ago, I saw a textile at an Indian show and I knew it shouldn't be there, so I bought it. I wrapped it and stored it in cedar. Last year at Bean Dance, I met Robert Breunig, director of the Museum of Northern Arizona, and I finally met Vernon face to face. I told them about the textile and sent it to the museum for storage. It would have been used this year at Bean Dance, but it takes three weeks to purify it, and Jerry Honawa was too busy with his other responsibilities to do it for this year." Peter is very clear about what the return of the textile means to him. "In giving it back to the Hopi. I am giving a gift to David Monongye in thanks for what he gave to me." The textile, a wearing robe (tuuhi'i), was given into the care of Jerry Honawa. Masayesva said that it was a generous and very significant gift to the Hopi people. Black Mesa Trust is a grassroots organization founded in 2000 to preserve the N-aquifer on Black Mesa for future generations of Hopi and Navajo people and to affirm the ancient knowledge that "water is life."

Update - 9/20/07:

Peter is presently filming in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in a new road comedy called FIVE DOLLARS A DAY. The project dates back to 2003 when Nick Cassavetes had signed on to direct, but a year later was replaced by John Curran. Three years later Nigel Cole (Calendar Girls) is sitting in the director's chair with Christopher Walken and Allesandro Nivola as its lead stars. The screenplay is written by Neal and Tippi Dobrofsky with Carol Baum, Jane Goldenring and Kia Jam producing. Film production began on September 10th with Capital Films greenlighting the project in conjunction with ThinkFilm Studios. According to Variety, the film is set up as a road movie "that pits a con artist against his more conservative son." Walken plays Nat, a grifter father who prides himself on living like a king on five dollars a day. He enlists the companionship of his son Flynn for a cross-country odyssey that proves to be quite humorous and poignant. Along the way Nat plans a sting on his old partner, Bert Kruger (Coyote), a wealthy guy who stole Nat's wife many years ago. Sharon Stone also stars as Nat's old girlfriend Dolores. Peter, who's having a great time on location, says the film is "hysterically funny and very surprising".

Update - 9/05/07:

As previously reported, Peter has recently directed his first film, a 20-minute short called RACE, written and produced by Hira Ambrosino. After the editing has been completed, the film will hopefully travel the film festival circuit perhaps providing a chance for Peter to realize his dream of directing a feature-length film in the future. Here's a photo of our new director watching an intense take.

It's not too late to still catch RESURRECTING THE CHAMP at your local theatre. Very often actors dislike having to play old on screen, but Peter says he was thrilled to get the chance to step into the shoes of an old boxing manager. He admitted, "I'm too old to get the girl anymore, but I'm not really old enough to play that guy (Ike Epstein), but Rod [Lurie] let me do it." It also proved to be a very nostalgic experience for the actor, whose father used to be involved in boxing. "My dad was a boxer, so I grew up around these colorful old men, who were tough as nails. Floyd Patterson's manager even spoke at my dad's funeral." Though Peter didn't follow in his father's footsteps, it certainly made his respect the profession. "It's a fantastic test of character. You can only imagine what it feels like to take one of those punches from those men who can punch hard enough to kill a cow."