The late Leonard Nimoy may have been most known as Spock, however the actor had a career outside of the series and even stepped behind the camera into the director’s chair himself on a few occassions. But Leonard Nimoy, as impressive in his role as one of the best Star Trek characters (Spock) as he was outside of it, once worked on a Liam Neeson movie that didn’t land well.
The fiercely intelligent and considered actor explained in 2012 why he thought The Good Mother, an ’80s film starring Neeson and one of the best actors of all time, Diane Keaton, flopped.
It had to do with the ending of The Good Mother, which was lifted from the book of the same name. Causing a stir at the time of release, the source material made Nimoy’s directorial effort one of the most complex new movies in 1988.
The plot probed sentiments and beliefs about children’s exposure to sexuality and challenged society’s growing reliance upon courts to settle complicated private concerns, and like the book, the ending is rather dour. “I thought that the film was a statement about the injustice that was being done in this case. It was based on a book and we tried to be very faithful to the Good Mother book,” Nimoy told StarTrek.com.
“I was pleased with the job that I did getting that story told. Unfortunately, it’s a film that doesn’t have a happy ending. Audiences were turned off by that and we just could not get the film the kind of attention I thought it deserved.”
He went on to say, “I was hoping that it would create enough discussion about the right or wrong of the justice system in this case that it would get some attention. And it never did. So that was a disappointment. I suppose I should have known going in that a film with an unhappy ending was not going to be terribly successful commercially. Anyway, I was happy that I did it and I got to work with some wonderful people.”
The film brought in $4,764,606 against a $14 million budget and earned mixed reviews — critics didn’t think it was one of the year’s best movies. Perhaps it didn’t bring to life the complexities of the novel with the next execution, depending on who you ask, but it’s fair to say it was a big leap for a director in 1988 when films about its subject matter were still rather taboo.
In happier news, celebrate the actor and director with these stories: Tom Selleck thinks Leonard Nimoy deserves more credit for this movie and Leonard Nimoy created the Vulcan salute from childhood memory.
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