William Friedkin is a terrifying man. He is also an unassuming man. The reason that he is both, I assume, is to fuck with you.
I got a job working as his personal assistant on a film for Cinemax called Jailbreakers. It was part of a series of remakes of Sam Arkoff movies called Rebel Highway that Debra Hill produced. Yes that Debra Hill.
I wish I could say I got the job because I loved The Exorcist, but the truth is that I got the job because I had a decent car. My roommate was an office PA and when he heard they were looking for someone to drive Friedkin to the set, he called me. I got to the office in six minutes. I had a decent car. I got the job.
My responsibilities were to pick up Friedkin at his “home” (read: estate) he shared with Paramount’s CEO Sherry Lansing, hold onto his glycerine pills in case he had another heart attack (just like Father Merrin!) and get him tea or whatever he needed at any moment. Most of the time, it turned out to be tea and sports scores. “Please, call me Billy,” he instructed. And I did. Breathlessly.