Here is a wee sample of what Potterton had to say about Keaton:
Do you recall your first meeting with him?
It was in his hotel room overlooking Central Park. He was staying there with his wife Eleanor while working on a short experimental film based on an idea by Becket. The traffic noise outside was very loud and he went to a wide-open window and yelled out QUIET. I loved that.
The Rairodder is simply wonderful, one of my favourite Buster movies actually. Was it a kind of pinch-yourself experience working with one of the true legends of silent comedy?
Thanks for the compliment. On the first day of shooting I remember thinking, "I haven't a clue how I'm gonna get through this"... Fortunately for me Buster was a dream to work with and we just got on with it....
I love the fact you had a healthy collaborative relationship together. Were you surprised by the way you could both be open and honest about decisions in the film?
Except for that folding map gag over that long trestle bridge, we never really disagreed about anything. Fortunately I can draw and storyboard a gag situation which I think he appreciated. Him shooting into a tunnel just as he was firing at wild ducks was storyboarded for example, but it was Buster's idea to build and hide in that little duck blind. It made the gag much richer.
Here is a description of the book itself:
"In the golden age of silent cinema, Buster Keaton was one of the world's most revered filmmakers. Hand crafting masterpieces like The General and The Navigator, Keaton's fame and acclaim was matched only by Charlie Chaplin. However, when his career and personal life took a down turn upon the arrival of sound, Keaton's achievements were forgotten, and for years he was seen as a faded relic from another era. Contrary to popular belief however, Keaton bounced back. He quit the drink, remarried and got his career back on track. In the 1950s and 60s, he kept on working steadily on TV, in commercials, telefilms, mainstream movies and independent features.
This book explores the final years, and days, of Buster Keaton. In a series of articles, Chris Wade looks at the wide variety of work he took on, such as Film, which Keaton made with Samuel Beckett; The Railrodder, one of his final two- reelers; and a host of other lost curiosities worthy of dusting off and re-evaluating. Rather than viewing his last two decades as a depressing wilderness and a mighty comedown, Wade makes a case for this latter period being a Keaton renaissance. Also includes a new Q and A with Gerald Potterton, director of The Railrodder."
You can order the book here: