Lipton’s Journal/February 21, 1955/629

From Project Mailer

Back to Laughton. He might do a great Naked[1] for Naked like Mutiny on the Bounty expresses the er-men and the sup-men. Those who are naked and those who are dead. Only I was so social when I wrote it that I had the arrogance to say, The fanatics are naked, and the dead don’t care. Which is a kind of proof of the mystery of perception. Someone years ago might have read my book, and thought Mailer means the men who are alive and therefore naked, and those who are dead, authoritarian, etc. How disappointed in his perception he might have been, that fellow, if he read the interview where I said the second.[2] But now he’s right. Little does he know it.


  1. In February 1955, Laughton spent a week with Mailer in New York City discussing how he might write the screenplay for Mailer’s novel, and also direct it, but ultimately turned the project over to an associate, Paul Gregory, who botched the film version, which came out in 1958. See entry 625.
  2. Mailer refers to his 1948 interview with Louise Levitas, “The Naked are Fanatics and the Dead Don’t Care,” collected in Conversations with Norman Mailer (1988).