Last spring I was bored, so I decided to half-heartedly organise a film festival to honour William Atherton, the actor who had bit parts in such films as Ghostbusters and Die Hard. It never happened in the end, but as I can’t think about much new to write about this week, I thought I’d recount the saga to you in two epistolary instalments. It started like this:
Date: 25 May 2005
Dear film fan,
You are formally invited to the William Atherton film festival, a day of devotion to the actor who has made a career out of playing scowling bureaucrats. For those unfamiliar with the Atherton template, he is best know as Walter Peck, the fucking idiot who shut down the containment unit in Ghostbusters, thereby unleashing mayhem upon New York City. He also shone in Die Hard as Richard Thornburg, the fucking idiot who did lots of coke then tried to befriend terrorist Hans Gruber. Atherton followed up this role wonderfully in Die Hard 2 by using his phone on the plane and generally annoying Holly McClane.
The festival will take place on Atherton's birthday, the 30th of July. The programme will run as follows:
2pm: Die Hard (Atherton as Richard Thornburg)
4pm: Real Genius (Atherton as Prof Jerry Hathaway)
8pm: Lecture by Dr William Parkhouse:
"Captain, these men are in criminal violation of the Environmental Protection Act!" Atherton and the role of the subconscious in Ghostbusters
9pm: Lecture by Professor Paul Tadich:
"It's true your honour, this man has no dick." A discussion of ambiguity in Atherton's work
10pm: Ghostbusters (Atherton as Walter Peck)
I look forward to joining you in celebrating the genius of William Atherton.
Dalyell Road film committee
P.S. This is not a hoax.