The Story: Someone asked me recently what the first "Don't Make a Scene" was—what inspired it. It was this scene, from an unfairly forgotten movie called The Stunt Man, an early indie film that had trouble finding a distributor—the major studios didn't know how to sell it, and it was tested and run, to great acclaim, in Seattle.
For me, it's what the movies are all about—make-believe, with the illusion of reality. There is nothing "really" real, not even in documentaries. They are all presentations, manipulations of reality, to present a point of view, a story, "Pieces of Time" in Jimmy Stewart's phrase. It's all magic, sleight-of-hand, subterfuge, legerdemain. We are told where to look and to accept it as reality. Don't look behind the curtain, because you'll see the film-crew, usually with a doughnut in their hands.
That is the reality. What they are making?
Well, that's the magic.
The Set-up: Cameron (Steve Railsback) is a fugitive on the run. In his flight, he is nearly run down by Bert—a stuntman on a movie—performing a reckless stunt that ends up killing him. Subsequently, Cameron is taken under the wing of the film's director, Eli Cross (Peter O'Toole), who, when the authorities make inquiries about the accident, insists that the new-comer, Cameron, is actually Bert, the late stuntman. Cameron, fearing arrest, plays along. And, when the police leave, they have this conversation.