Friend of the Blog Chris Offutt and Ole Miss writing professor Chris Offut talks to the Washington Post about leaving behind writing for televison:
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Chris Offutt doesn’t have HBO, so he’s going to head over to a neighbor’s house Sunday night to watch “Treme.” It just might be his last chance to see his name in a television show credit roll and, to be honest, he’s OK with that.
He’s felt the lure of Hollywood, heard the Sirens in the distance. And the 54-year-old Kentucky native has experienced enough success as a screenwriter and story editor on TV’s brainiest shows that it felt real. But he’s ready to leave all that behind.
“When I was working on ‘Weeds,’ I got depressed, and then I realized I wanted a big house in the Hollywood Hills, and I wanted a Jaguar,” Offutt said. “I mean I really wanted these things. And I thought, ‘OK, this isn’t me. I gotta get out of here, because A, it’s obtainable, and B, it don’t mean a goddamn thing.’ So I left and I moved to Mississippi.”
In addition to writing for television, Chris has published two story collections, a novel, and two memoirs. Folks in the Oxford area have learned that his readings are always brilliant. The Post goes on:
On “True Blood,” he wrote a nutria into an exorcism in the script, only to have the production department question the creature’s existence. So he switched it to a possum. When he arrived on the set he found an animal handler holding two of the creatures by the tail: “I love possums. So I went up to her and asked, ‘Why’d you bring two?’ She said, ‘Sometimes the first one’s not cooperative.’ So they had a stand-in possum.”