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Who Am I This Time?: Christopher Walken and Susan Sarandon as Vonnegut's offbeat thespian couple.

Who Am I This Time? is a 1982 film directed by Jonathan Demme and based on a short story by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. Christopher Walken portrays Harry Nash, a hardware store clerk who has achieved a degree of local celebrity due to his powerful performances in community theater. Yet when not on the stage or in a rehearsal, Harry retreats into an insecure and painfully shy personality. The story is set in motion when Helene Walsh (Susan Sarandon), a woman intending to stay in town for only a few weeks, is talked into auditioning for the role of Stella, opposite Harry's Stanley Kowalski in a production of A Streetcar Named Desire. Ignoring warnings of Harry's introverted personality, Helene falls in love with Harry's "Stanley" persona, and mistakes his cluelessness and shyness for rejection. This results in a clumsy and uneven performance on the second night of the play, but Helene bounces back in time for closing night, due to an inspiration; her closing-night gift to Harry is a copy of Romeo and Juliet. Harry and Helene find that they can pursue a relationship by reciting stage romances to each other, and the story ends with him proposing in character, from a scene in Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest.

The film's score was composed by John Cale of The Velvet Underground. Hinckley, Illinois served as stand-in for fictional North Crawford.

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Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Who Am I This Time? (1982) is a film adaptation of the 1961 short story "Who Am I This Time?" by Kurt Vonnegut, directed by Jonathan Demme, and starring Christopher Walken and Susan Sarandon.

Contents

Harry Nash

Helene Shaw

  • I just might show up and surprise you. And myself.
    • After being invited by George Johnson to auditions for the town play.

George Johnson

  • I guess as long as people come along with the machines then we got nothing to worry about. It's when the machines start delivering themselves that, uh, — that, uh, people better start worrying.
    • To Helene, after she states that she will correct his improper phone bill.
  • There isn't any other way to get to know a lot of nice people faster than being in a play.
    • To Helene, inviting her to auditions for the local production of A Streetcar Named Desire.

Dialogue

George: That club needs you Harry. I mean, actually I need you. I don't even know if I can direct traffic, let alone a play. Would you consider playing the lead in this one Harry?
Harry [looking reluctant and uncertain, but willing to try]: Who am I this time?

Harry [after auditioning stormily with Helene]: Was that alright?
George: For a first reading, that wasn't too bad.
Harry: Is there a chance that I'll get the part?
George: I think we can safely say we're leaning powerfully in your direction, Harry.

George: Helene? The part of Stella is yours. You were just great.
Doris: I had no idea you had that much fire in you — skyrockets pinwheels, roman candles.

George: Do we have a play, or do we have a play?
Lidia: What play? There isn't any play going on now.

Lidia: You aren't directing this play George.
George: What are you saying? What do you mean, I'm not directing this play? Who is?
Lidia: Mother Nature at her worst. What's going to happen to that girl discovers what Harry really is? What Harry really isn't?

Helene: I feel like my life is just beginning, I've never been this happy.
George: Does Harry know you've decided to stay?
Helene: He's totally pre-occupied with learning his lines and getting into his role, and everything.
George: And if he gets any further into his role, he'll never get out of it.

Helene: I bet your Mom's a great cook, huh.
Harry: No — I don't know.
Helene: What do you mean, you don't know?
Harry: I was — found.
Helene: Found?
Harry: On the steps — [points outside and stutters] — j-ju-Unitarian church.
Helene: On the steps?
Harry: It was cold.

Helene [about Harry]: He's the most marvelous man I've ever met.
Lidia: One thing you have to get set for whenever you're in a play with Harry, is what happens after the last performance.
Helene: What are you talking about?
Lidia: Once a play is over, whatever you thought Harry was, just evaporates into thin air.
Helene: Oh, I don't believe you.

Helene: What did I do wrong? Did I insult him or something?
George: Oh, no — no, He does that after every performance. The minute that curtain comes down, he clears out — he's gone. That's what we've been trying to tell you.

Harry: Can I help you — with something?
Helene: [puzzled at his formality] Can you help me?

Helene: I'm really a very shy person, too. I mean if George hadn't asked me to audition. I would have never have met you. [Harry walks away while Helene is nervously facing away from him] You're really the person whose helped me to overcome my fear. [Turns and sees Harry gone and that he has retreated back into the store]

Harry [at Helene's insistence, reading a passage from Romeo and Juliet, which she has given to him as a gift after the final performance of A Streetcar Named Desire]: I take thee at thy word, call me but love... and I'll be new baptized. Henceforth... [to Helene]I never will be Romeo — never.
Helene [exasperated, wanting to speak to him directly, but returning to the lines of the play]: What man art thou that thus bescreen'd in night so stumblest on my counsel?
Harry: By a name I know not how to tell thee who I am: My name, dear saint, is hateful to myself, because it is an enemy to thee...[continues reading from Romeo and Juliet]

Bert: I've never seen such a change in anybody in my life. They sure are creating a stir around here.
Doris : This town could use some stirring.

Harry [speaking some lines of Jack Worthing from The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde ]: Charming day ... Miss Fairfax.
Helene: [taking this as a cue to speak lines of Gwendolen Fairfax, from the play]: Pray don't talk to me about the weather, Mr. Worthing. Whenever people talk to me about the weather, I always feel quite certain they mean something else...
Harry: I do ... mean something else.
Helene: I thought so....

Harry [improvising with Helene slightly on lines from The Importance of Being Earnest]: Miss Fairfax, ever since I met you — I've admired you more than any girl I have ever met since I met you.
Helene: Yes, I'm quite aware of that fact — and my ideal has always been to love — someone with the name Ernest. — And then there is something in that name that inspires absolute confidence.
Harry: Do you mean — you love me too — Gwendolen?
Helene: Passionately! My own Ernest.
Harry: But you don't mean to say that you couldn't love me if my name wasn't Ernest?
Helene: But your name is Ernest.
Harry: But, Yes, I know — it is — but supposing it was something else? Do you mean to say you couldn't love me then?
Helene: But — that's clearly metaphysical speculation...
Harry: I must say — I think there are lots of other much nicer names. Harry, for instance — that's a charming name.
Helene: Harry? ... No, there's very little music in the name Harry, if any at all... It doesn't thrill.
Harry: I must get christened at once — I mean we must get married at once.
Helene: Married, Mr. Worthing?
Harry: Surely. You know that I love you, and you've led me to believe — that you're not absolutely indifferent to me.
Helene: I adore you. But you haven't proposed to me yet.
Harry: May I propose to you now?
Helene: I think this is an admirable opportunity — but — in order to spare you any possible disappointment — I think it only fair to tell you quite frankly beforehand — that — I'm totally determined to accept you.
Harry: Gwendolen!
Helene: Yes, Mr. Worthing, do you have something to say to me?
Harry: Will you marry me?
Helene: Of course I will, darling. And how long you have been in getting to it! I don't think you've had much practice in how to propose.
Harry: I've never loved anyone in the world but you.
Helene: I hope that after we marry, you'll always look at me just like this.

Helene: Well, George, you know this week I've been pursued by Mark Antony, and romanced by Henry Higgins, loved by Henry the Fifth, and — I was just proposed to — by Ernest Worthing. Now don't you think that I'm just about the luckiest girl in town?
George: Listen, not only do I think so, but most of the women in town think so too, wouldn't you say?

George: I don't know if you've heard or not, but I've been asked to direct the next play.
Helene: George, that's wonderful!
George: Thank you. I was just wondering if you two might be available for the cast.
Helene [after Harry whispers a response into her ear]: Who are we this time?

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