So all of this is true and not true.

The true: In Errol Flynn’s fascinating autobiography, My Wicked, Wicked Ways, he recounts doing ALL of these things. It’s insane. He ran away from home when he was a teenager and sailed to Papua New Guinea to become a gold prospector. Striking out on his gold hunt, he became a slave trader, got a job fishing Crocodile Dundee style — tossing dynamite into the ocean and netting the stunned fish and occasional shark — rare bird trapper, manager of a coconut and tobacco plantation, sold cobras on the black market, boat captain, pearl diver, and diamond smuggler.

While hunting for pigmy slaves he killed a headhunter in self-defense, watched another pigmy get eaten by a crocodile and then used his meager fortune to pretend to be affluent back in Australia. He began wooing widowed socialites in Sydney, and nearly got arrested for stealing their jewels. From there he fled to London where he became a stage actor, starred in a lost British movie, and was discovered by Jack Warner.

He was hired by Warner Brothers and went from a nobody to starring in Captain Blood — Warner Brothers tentpole action movie of the year directed by the A list Michael Curtiz, (who later directed Casablanca and Adventures of Robin Hood), and then Erroll basically shagged EVERY actress in Hollywood.

The dude was a horrible, horrible, amazing, fantastic, wicked, awesome human being.

The not true: As far as I could tell, Charlie, Errol and Hedy traveled in the same social circles, and even attended parties at each others houses, but they were not friends, and Charlie wasn’t jealous of him.

But I thought it made the story more interesting. The arc I conceived for Charlie is for him to learn to become less suspicious, more trusting and open to new friendships.

I tried to put myself into Charlie’s head and wonder what it would be like to see his profession change so much, and see the newer, more flamboyant talent take over Hollywood. I mean, Errol did supplant Charlie’s best friend, Douglas Fairbanks, as the new, hot swashbuckler. There HAD to have been some level of animosity, if not merely for his dearly departed friend’s sake.

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