“We’ve filmed numerous movies there and it’s always an astonishing thing to watch in action,” says Ken, who is from Louisiana himself. “Waves from 2ft to 7ft can be made at the touch of a button.”
|The 72-year-old now operates the only wave generating tank in North America|
He has spent a lifetime leaping into the unknown, from the moment he left Yale having won the university’s prestigious Porter Prize for his 853-page dissertation on Homer’s Iliad.
“When I told a great editor, Norman Cousins of the Saturday Review, that I was feeling claustrophobic in the Academic World he suggested I enter the world of entertainment where ‘anything goes’ and ‘nobody knows anything’ – to quote from William Goldman’s Adventures in the Screen Trade.
Ken had got the film-making bug and was soon rubbing shoulders with stars like Angelina Jolie, James Belushi, Tim Allen and Rupert Everett.
“Sure, there are plenty of stories,” says Ken. “I could tell you about the ‘trailer war’ between Tim Allen and Julie Bowen at the Target Center in Minneapolis during the shooting of Joe Somebody, but maybe I’d better stick to my walk-on role in that film as Jesse Ventura’s bodyguard!
|Atchity has written more than 20 books – including the novel The Messiah Matrix|
“Of all of them I loved working with Angelina because she’s so business-like about her acting—refusing even to take a toilet break so as not to hold up a shot.
“In contrast, I won’t name the who demanded that we buy her an $8,000 watch as a “gift”—then, when we politely refused, showed up hours late for the next day’s shoot.”
It’s words, though, that get Ken’s juices flowing. He has written more than 20 books – including the novels Seven Ways To Die, The Messiah Matrix and Brae Mackenzie – and when he isn’t doing it himself he is helping others navigate the publishing minefield.
|The Lost Valentine is among Ken Atchity's film productions|
As a literary manager his authors have logged nearly 20 New York Times bestsellers. Added to that he is the creator of the free on-demand webinar presentation "Sell Your Story to Hollywood" for aspiring storytellers available at Real Fast Hollywood Deal. I bumped into him at the Dublin Writers’ Conference, run by the book promotion service Books Go Social.
“I have good time management skills and can keep my ego under control – things I learned from my high school and college Jesuit teachers,” says Ken. “They were the world’s toughest coaches.
“I’ve sold seven or eight scripts for the prodigious John Scott Shepherd, two of which have been made to date: Joe Somebody (with Tim Allen and Julie Bowen) and Life or Something Like It (Angelina Jolie, Ed Burns, Jim Belushi).
“Steve Alten’s Meg is the biggest sale I’ve made ($2.2 million to Doubleday-Bantam), and is finally going into production this summer starring Jason Statham and Bingbing Fan after about 15 years in development at three studios.
|Ken had got the film-making bug and was soon rubbing shoulders with stars like James Belushi|
Ken is married to Kayoko Mitsumatsu, accomplished producer for NHK (Japanese National Television), and president of the non-profit YogaGivesBack.org (“For the cost of one yoga class you can change a life”). They have two children, Vincent and Rosemary, and four grandchildren.
With all that going on you would think he might be ready to wind down, but he doesn’t see it that way.
|Joe Somebody was one of the several scripts Ken Atchity sold for John Scott Shepherd|
In Ken Atchity’s case, it seems there are still plenty more waves left in the tank.
Nick Rippington is a sports journalist with Express newspapers. He is also author of the UK gangland thriller Crossing The Whitewash.