Cinema is way much more than what we see on screen. There are tons of stories behind the plot, anecdotes and trivia facts that synthesize all the human dimensions of movies and these enrich the film experience of the fussiest movie buff. As it's well known, each new fact and oddity creates new paradigms and that's actually the case with Steven Prince.
This popular pseudo-fictional character wasn't really a gun dealer as many assume. His persona has transcended the barriers of fiction and has turned him into an important cult figure. But let's make things clearer. Do you remember Easy Andy? He's the young weapons dealer in Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver (1976). One of the most intense scenes involves Robert De Niro and Steven Prince, of course. Prince interpreted Easy Andy as a determined, resolved, self-confident, and cautious man.
Steven Prince has made appearances in some other great movies, and despite the fact that many associate him with that iconic secondary character, he's played far more interesting roles. His best performance was interpreting a more important and less far-fetched character, himself. After his work in Scorsese's movie, the director saw an odd potential in this young man. He thought Prince's peculiarities made him worthy of a whole documentary on his life.
American Boy: A Profile of Steven Prince is based on a pleasant talk between friends. Comfortably sitting in his own home, Prince tells the director, and a select group of people, the craziest moments of his life, especially those related to his time as a drug addict when he was a tour assistant to Neil Diamond. All his anecdotes are illustrated with images and home footage of him and his family.
Without any fuss, Prince tells that he was addicted to heroin. Then he starts narrating a story in which, without any knowledge of medicine or first aid, he had to stab a woman in the heart with an adrenaline shot. "A girl once ODed on us; we got everything we had but nothing was working and my friend looked at me and he says: 'well, you're gonna have to give her an adrenaline shot.' I said, 'what are you talking about?' [...] So we had a medical dictionary, the needle was so big, so he said I had to inject directly into the heart, so you have to give it in a stabbing motion and then plunge everything. I had the medical dictionary and a magic marker, I started looking where her heart was, I measured two or three ribs and marked a spot right between them. I grabbed her and bam! She came out immediately." This story sounds familiar to you, for sure. It's the famous scene in Quentin Tarantino's classic film that catapulted him as one of the best directors of all times, and the movie is, of course, Pulp Fiction.
The tragicomedy that is this newbie actor's life was also a source of inspiration for one of the scenes of the animated movie Walking Life (2001). In the documentary, Prince tells how once he had to shot a tires thief that wanted to stab him. This anecdote was used by director Richard Linklater in that movie, with the only difference that in his version the protagonist accidentally shoots a waiter in a bar and the other shoots back in revenge. There's no doubt that there are many moments of real life that Hollywood has used to create box-office successes. Steven Prince, however, is a real unique case whose crazy stories keep us spellbound.
For many, films represent an escape from their monotonous life; for others, it's just an accurate portrayal of their experiences. No matter the case, there's always a good reason to get lost in the plot of an amazing movie.
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Translated by María Isabel Carrasco Cara Chards