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American Grindhouse director Elijah Drenner figures that, after a 55-year career spent on the margins of Hollywood amassing some amazingly random roles, Dick Miller is ready for his close-up. A bantamweight son of the Bronx, Miller went west in the 1950s hoping to become a writer and wound up as the unsung hero of the Roger Corman B-movie factory, where he was cast in multiple bit roles in drive-in classics like Apache Woman, The Wild Angels, X: The Man With The X-Ray Eyes, The Terror, The Trip, and the original Little Shop Of Horrors. Miller even eventually found a lead role as a talentless would-be artist turned murderer in the 1959 black comedy A Bucket Of Blood. (Endearingly, whether Miller was meant to be a Greek soldier or a Native American or a Napoleonic servant, he always came across like some guy bitching about the Yankees in a New Yawk deli.)
It's a good story, and now Drenner is raising money to tell it, aiming to finish a feature-length documentary, That Guy Dick Miller, about the instantly recognizable actor who's had such a surprisingly far-reaching career, working with everyone from Martin Scorsese (on New York, New York and After Hours) to Jonathan Kaplan (Heart Like A Wheel) to James Cameron (The Terminator) to his most ardent supporter since Corman, Gremlins director Joe Dante, who's used Miller in every one of his theatrical films. Donating as little as $5 will earn you a "Special Thanks" in the credits, and of course, there are plenty of other rewards—many of them from Miller's own personal collection of memorabilia. Those willing to give $200 or more, for instance, will be thanked with the original, autographed shooting scripts for his episodes of Police Woman and Bonanza, while anyone who forks over $1,000 can have dinner with Dick and his wife in Dick's very own home.
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