Sellers, Peter – 03 from Out on a Limb – Destiny and know yourself
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Shirley MacLaine – Out on a Limb
When Peter finished, I tried to continue to sound matter-of-fact.
"Yes," I said, "I've read a lot of Elizabeth Kubler-Ross's stuff and she has so many documented accounts of so many people describing the same phenomenon when they were pronounced clinically dead. But apparently it wasn't time for them either, and they came back to tell about it."
Peter looked at me closely in that way he used to have of openly questioning whether he should go further.
I tried not to press him but I didn't want him to stop talking about it either.
"You don't think I'm crazy?" he asked.
"No," I said, "of course not. I've heard about too many people describing the same phenomenon. They can't all be nuts. I think the important thing is to figure out what one comes back for"
I said 'one' instead of 'you’ because with Peter, if you pressed too hard on the personal stuff, you could lose him.
As I have said, the identity of "Peter Sellers" completely eluded him.
He had often said to reporters that he understood his characters to the core and many other mysteries of life besides, but Sellers? Nothing. . . he didn't have a clue.
Peter squirmed around in the mock-up.
'Are you all right?" I asked
"Yes," he said, "but all of this. . . this set. . . that camera. . . these lights. . . this car. . . reminds me that I haven't yet understood just what you said. I don't know why I'm here! I don't know what I came back for this time! That's why I act like I do. I don't know. I can't figure out my purpose. What am I supposed to be doing?"
His eyes filled with tears. He began to whisper under his breath, "I know. I'm a pain in the ass to so many people. And I know they think I'm crazy. But I'm crazy about the right things. I'm not sure they are."
He wiped his eyes with the sleeve of his immacuIate costume in the character of Chauncey Gardiner. He blinked and sniffed as Chauncey would have.
"I know I have lived many times before," he said, "and that experience confirmed it to me, because in that lifetime I felt what it was for my soul to actually be out of my body. But ever since I came back, I don't know why, I don't know what it is I'm supposed to do, or what I came back for."
He took another deep breath, a long agonized sigh--still maintaining the persona of Chauncey Gardiner.
A few minutes later the camera crew was ready.
Hal Ashby, the director, walked onto the set and we went into the scene as though nothing had happened.
We were shooting our first scene in the picture on the last day of filming. Life was an illusion. . . just like the movies.