Five Conversations About Peter Sellers
Elizabeth Gonzalez James
Five Conversations About Peter Sellers is an essay that begins as an exploration of the author’s burgeoning obsession with Peter Sellers, and specifically his role in hijacking and derailing production of the spy spoof, Casino Royale, in the late 60s. But what begins as a reported piece on how the film set erupted into chaos, quickly devolves into its own chaos as the essay splits into 5 different narrators, each with their own idea of what the essay is actually about. Is it about how Peter Sellers and his oversize ego ruined Casino Royale? Is it about how society has too long allowed horrible men to run the world? Is it an exploration of the nature of the essay as a creative form? Or is Peter Sellers and his genius at impersonation actually a vehicle through which the author probes her own shifting identity as a bi-ethnic person? The answer is…yes.
ELIZABETH GONZALEZ JAMES is the Interviews Editor at The Rumpus. Her debut novel, Mona at Sea, was published in 2021. Originally from South Texas, she currently lives in Massachusetts with her family.