Osborne Bridge - Last Chance, Idaho
I had turned off of Highway 20, to take a look at the Henry’s Fork. The gravel parking lot faced an old wooden bridge that still spanned the river. As I passed a few fly fisherman wiggling into their waders I spotted a lone man a third of the way across the bridge. It was about then that my over taxed hard-drive of a brain thought this must be Osborne’s Bridge, a prime location on the river. I approached the tall fellow looking out into the water. Rather than say we are daydreaming, we fly fishers say we are looking for rises. Rises are trout feeding on the surface which make those pretty circles in the water.
“Do you know if this is Osborne Bridge?”
Interrupted, he turned and replied, “I have no idea, but my friends there at the car could tell you.”
He finished his instructions with a smile as he recognized a fraternal fly fisherman. I recognized the Oscar winning actor, William Hurt.
“The reason I ask, some fellows down at Silver Creek told me to fish at Osborne Bridge.”
“You just came from Silver Creek? How did it fish?”
I replied, “A humbling experience.......the trout looked and laughed at me.”
He laughed, “The same thing happened to me, but what a place, eh?”
The conversation eased into him asking where I was from, where was I going to fish and led to him extending a hand and saying, "I’m William.”
I shook his hand, "Grant, and I of course know who you are.”
He smiled and seemed appreciative that I was not breaking out the Sharpie and paper for an autograph.
I asked, “Are you an avid fly fisher?”
“Used to be, and I seem to be getting back into it. I am here for a new project, a movie.”
“Oh, another “A River Runs Through It?”
He seem to grimace. “I fished a with Norman McClean.”
At this time I entered into my let me entertain you with an interesting story mode. I related that I have a close friend who asked me to take a lady friend of his to lunch. She lives in Bozeman where most of the filming of “the fly fishing movie” took place and the significance of her importance to “the movie” was that when she was approached by Redford’s advance team to rent her house, where she could name her price, she said, “It is not for rent.”
“But, you don’t understand, this is Robert Redford, he wants this house while he is here, name your price and terms.”
She said politely, “No you don’t understand, my house is not for rent - The End.”
I laughed as I concluded the story with, “Not many women would turn down Robert Redford.”
Hurt pumped his fist and said, “Good for her.”
The slight grimace returned, “ I had the rights to Norman’s book, but could not raise the money at the time. Redford out bid me, so good for her, good for her.”
I was just about to turn into a fan and quiz him about “Body Heat” when his movie people called ready for him, and it was time for me to go look for those circles in the water.
With smiles we shook hands once again and exchanged the fisherman’s parting, “tight lines.”
Epilogue: Three nights later at Boodles in Bozeman, I had dinner with the lady who turned down Redford. When I told her the Hurt story, she quipped, “Think we can get an invitation to the premier.”
The movie project, Hollywood's version of Duncan's The River Why. As much as the fly shops hoped for a blockbuster, "this movie" went directly to cable. Hurt performed in his Academy Award winning style as H2O, but his cast did have a noticeable open loop.