Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Steven Jay Russell for...



...President! I think he'd be perfect for the job...well, if we could keep him from embezzling the money.

Via The Guardian:

"This is a love story," he says, light and breezy as a chatshow host. "It's about what a person will do, who is in love, who can't see the forest for the trees." He smiles his crooked smile and sits back in his chair. A glimmer of sweat appears on the flesh just beneath his right eye and he wipes it away rapidly with the sleeve of his shirt.

Steven Jay Russell has many other names. As well as the 14 known aliases he used while fabricating bogus credentials and passing himself off variously as a judge, a doctor, an FBI agent and a bar student, he has been nicknamed "Houdini" and "King Con" for his remarkable ability to escape from prison. From 1992, when he was imprisoned for the relatively minor charge of insurance fraud, Russell managed to escape four times from several different Texan jails over a five-year period. His story has been immortalised in a film starring Jim Carrey: it had its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in January and is due to be released in the UK next year. Critics have already called it "top notch" and "an hilarious tragedy" in the vein of Steven Spielberg's 2002 hit movie Catch Me if You Can, which recounts the real-life story of con artist Frank Abagnale Jr.

Like Abagnale, who successfully stole millions of dollars by posing as a pilot, an attorney and a doctor, Russell's life story is also the stuff of improbable fiction. His escapes were marked by astonishing brazenness that left law-enforcement officials slack-jawed in bafflement. But unlike Abagnale, Russell's shenanigans were driven by his obsessive love for a fellow inmate called Phillip Morris whom he met in jail in 1995. (The escapes always took place on Friday 13th, the day on which Morris was born.)

"It was lust at first sight," says Russell now, in his first interview since the film went into production. "I didn't think it was possible. I mean, we were in prison! He was softly spoken, with a deep southern accent. I saw him in the law library trying to get a book. He's short – he's only 5ft 2 and I'm 6ft 2, and I said, 'Hold on, I'll get that for you.' And that was it."

Okay, okay...maybe not president, but I definitely feel like his 144 year sentence is more about the state of Texas being put in it's place, not about him actually doing anything. >:(

4 comments:

tamayn said...

I have never gotten a chance to see it, but I'd love to. It seems like such a sweet story.

Then again, I always did like stories like that Steve Miller Band song, "Take the Money and Run."

Writer said...

It's a very cute movie, tamayn, so definitely see it if you get the chance. :)

JamTheCat said...

Saw the movie. LOVE Ewan Macgregor as Philip. Jim Carrey...meh...to busy trying to show he was a top when he really would have been a bottom in prison. And It was a fun story. It really deserved better than it got.

Writer said...

I enjoyed it, Kyle, though Jim Carrey annoys me. I've only knowingly allowed myself to watch two of his movies: this one and Eternal Sunshine for a Spotless Mind. :)