SPY MAGAZINE, 1993 RE STEVEN SEAGAL
Dark 68-year old businessman and former contract employee [Robert Strickland] of the CIA, is on the set of Marked For Death, starring Steven Seagal.
Strickland has known Seagal for more than a decade, since they were both in Japan, where Seagal worked in his mother-in-law's dojo (Martial arts school) and Strickland worked for the spooks. Seagal has been telling the press that he too worked for the agency - a claim neither the press nor Strickland has been able to substantiate but that certainly adds to the aura of terminal menace the Mike Ovitz protege likes to project. Perhaps, goes a common Hollywood jest of the time, Seagal has the CIA and CAA [talent agency Ovitz founded] confused.
Strickland is enjoying the ultimate accolade that Hollywood bestows on civilians - he's sitting in the star's trailer. The star is mouthing off about one Gary Goldman, an ex-mercenary with whom he was collaborating on a screenplay the previous year. The two have had a falling-out over money and screenplay credits, and Goldman, in revenge, has written a letter to the Los Angeles Times exposing Seagal's supposed intelligence background as a tissue of exploitative lies. This has made the tough guy very unhappy.
Seagal gets around to the point of the meeting, pulling out of a drawer a confidential profile of Goldman assembled by private investigators. Strickland, long aware that Seagal can be hotheaded, finds this something of an overreaction to a squabble over a screenplay. But the dossier is peanuts compared to what happens next. "I'd like you to do me a favor," says Mr. Ovitz's fair-headed boy, reaching under the table and pulling out an attache case. "I'd like you to kill Gary Goldman."
He opens the case. It contains $50,000 in cash.
All the stunned Strickland can say is, "You're crazy."
The actor merely looks frustrated. "If you won't do it," Strickland recalls him saying, "get someone who will. Pay him what you want and keep the rest."
Late 1990. The set of Out for Justice. Same principals - Seagal and Strickland. Raeanne Malone, one of four women hired by Warner Bros. to serve as Seagal's personal assistants, is in the bathroom of his trailer, brushing her teeth. Strickland watches as Seagal begins loudly calling for Malone, saying he needs her immediately. She emerges still brushing her teeth. "Gee, Raeanne," says the man of honor and protector of the weak, "You look like that when I come in your mouth."
In May 1991 all four assistants - Malone, Nicole Selinger, Christine Keever and another woman - quit because of Seagal's continuing piggery. Three of them threaten to bring sexual-harassment charges against him. Malone and another of the women, in return for a pledge of confidentiality, are paid in the vicinity of $50,000 each.
Summer 1991: A top-level security consultant, a 28-year veteran of a government intelligence agency, flies from Washington to New York at Seagal's behest. He is picked up by Seagal's limousine, driven to his home on State Island and ushered out to the pool, where, shortly thereafter, he is joined by Seagal and his business partner, Julius Nasso.
The purpose of this meeting? Seagal wants the consultant to set up Alan Richman, a writer from Gentlemen's Quarterly. Seagal doesn't like the way he came across in a story Richman wrote about him; in fact, he ha already gone on Arsenio and called Richman "a five-foot-two fat little male impersonator." (Richman is, in fact, a lean, five-foot-nine former Army captain.)
Seagal tells the consultant that Richman is gay - "a fag," in the actor's words. (Richman is actually heterosexual.) He wants Richman Richman to set up with a homosexual "to get pictures of Richman going down on the man." The pictures are to be used to destroy Richman's career.
The security consultant, incredulous, refuses. But Seagal is undaunted. Later on in the meeting he asks his guest what it would take to "whack" a certain man from Chicago. Our man asks Seagal if he means whack as in "whack dead." Replies, Seagal, referring to the man's intelligence background, "Of course, you people do that all the time."
"You're crazy," says the consultant, and once again Seagal's bid to contract a murder is refused. (The consultant later told Spy, "I don't really know whether if you agreed to hit some guy, if he'd draw up a contract for you, or if this is just his way of saying that 'anyone who crosses me might get hit.'")
Steven Seagal is a movie star, more specifically an action movie star. The public has long since stopped believing in the movie star as moral paragon, but an odd residue of affectionate respect clings to action stars, probably because they're men of brawn-over-brain, seemingly incapable of the treachery, duplicity, and calculation associated with intelligence. Action heroes, whatever their personal flaws, benefit more than other movie stars from the mythical figures they portray. Steven Seagal, the latest addition to the pantheon, is no exception.
But Seagal stands apart from his action-hero brothers. With Seagal, the gap between myth and reality makes the shortcomings of Arnie, Chuck and Sly look like kid stuff. After a six-month-long investigation, Spy has concluded that Seagal is not simply a fraud, a liar, a coward and a bully but also a onetime bigamist who on at least two occasions said he wanted to contract out a murder, who had to settle a nasty sexual harassment claim and who, not surprisingly, hired and does business with people having ties to organized crime.
Almost everything you've ever bothered to read about Steven Seagal is a lie. It is true that he has starred in five motion pictures, and it's also true that he has a black belt in aikido. Apart from those facts, there is little you can count on.
Once, for example, Seagal said on Arsenio that he had spent a lot of his youth in Brooklyn. In fact, he was born in Michigan and lived there until he was five, when his family moved to California. He later clarified he recollection, saying he had visited cousins in Brooklyn. Also, he seems to have distanced himself from his Jewish side. Mom was Irish and the family worshiped indifferently, as Catholics or Episcopalians. But Dad was Jewish, and the family pronounced its name the normal way: SEE-gul. When he and Gary Goldman were in business together, Seagal said he didn't want to call their production company Seagal/Goldman Productions "because that would sound too much like two Jews from the garment business." Shortly after that, the actor returned from an art exhibit where he had seen a painting by Chagall. The work moved him to decree that thereafter he would call himself Se-GAL. He declined to attend his father's funeral in 1990.
The actor is even trickier about his personal relationships. He told Bob Strickland that he married Miyako Fujitani because he had gone to Japan in the first place to avoid the draft, and by marrying a Japanese national he would be less likely to be sent back to the United States. (Of course, if Seagal's birthdate is April 10, 1952 - other dates have been published - his lottery number of 194 was probably high enough that he had nothing to fear from the Selective Service.) In 1991, however, Seagal told Movieline that he'd married Fujitani because she was pregnant. Fujitani denies this. In an interview with Spy, Fujitani, who has a greater facility for dates, laid down chapter and verse. "I met Steven in California in the fall of 1974," she told us. "He followed me back to Japan in October. We got married in December 1974. Our first child, Kentaro, was born on October 3, 1975."
Seagal has often bragged that he was the first and only Occidental to own and run a dojo in Japan. In fact, the dojo, which was founded by Fujitani's father, a noted aikido black belt, was owned by his mother-in-law and managed by his wife, herself a black belt. Seagal has also boasted of his courage in battling criminals. Sometimes the thugs are members of the Yakuza, the Japanese Mafia; other times, they are mere garden-variety criminals. "I jumped right in their faces," Seagal told Movieline. "I was a tenacious motherfucker, man, and I was fearless."
"It is a lie," Fujitani told Spy. "He once chased a few drunks away from the dojo but never was involved with Yakuza." She also has some insight into Seagal's distinction as the first Occidental to receive an aikido black belt. "The only reason Steven was awarded the black belt was because the judge, who was famous for his laziness, fell asleep during Steven's presentation," she says. "The judge just gave him the black belt." And while Seagal has since risen to the sixth level of black belt, martial-arts buffs scoff at his prowess because he has never competed.
"Of course, Miyako Fujitani has reason to be unhappy with Seagal. She told Spy that it was Seagal's ambition to return to America to seek his fortune in either the movies or the restaurant business, and that she scrimped and saved for years, even denying herself and her children necessities, to help pay his way home. Before he left Japan in 1980, Seagal told her, "I always do the right thing; I never will betray you." According to Fujitani, he then availed himself of her savings and hied off to America, where, without bothering to divorce her, he married Adrienne La Russa in 1984.
If Seagal has a bad memory for dates, he has a simply awful memory for wives. About a year after entering into a state of bigamy with La Russa, Seagal became interested in the actress-shampoo pitchwoman Kelly LeBrock. According to [author] Joe Hyams, Seagal saw LeBrock in the 1984 Gene Wilder vehicle Woman in Red. Hyams remembers Segal saying, "She is my destiny." Hyams was friends with LeBrock's former agent, Jerry Pam; he arranged a dinner where Seagal could meet Pam. "During dinner," Hyams recalls, "Seagal asked Pam what was the best way to get publicity. Pam told him the best way was to be seen in the company of somebody famous. Later Seagal asked if Pam could help him meet Kelly LeBrock. Pam told Seagal that Kelly was currently in Japan."
The bigamist then flew to Japan to woo the woman who would become his third wife. Within two weeks they were lovers, and within the year she was expecting his child. By this time, Adrienne La Russa had decided to file for an annulment. Seagal did not dispute her motion, and she didn't seek any financial damages or support from him. "Not only did I not ask for anything," La Russa told Spy, "but I gave him money for months afterward just to get him out of my life." She added, "I can't say very much, because I am afraid of Steven and his friends." At about the same time, Fujitani divorced Seagal, leaving him free to marry LeBrock.
It's not surprising to hear that Seagal would accept money from women when he leaves them. Before he broke into movies, it was well known that he was having financial problems. A dojo he had opened when he returned from Japan in 1980 failed; a second one was doing only moderately well. According to his friend Bob Strickland, Seagal was so desperate for cash in 1985 that he arranged for a soldier-of-fortune friend to steal LeBrock's Porsche Carrera for the insurance money.
Seagal had other sources of wealth more mysterious than insurance fraud. His pal Mark Mikita, who runs a dojo in LA, and has known Seagal since his days as a martial-arts instructor, says that on at least two occasions a flat-broke Seagal disappeared for a week and returned flush with cash. (This claim has been corroborated by Joe Hyams.) According to Mikita, Seagal once returned with a new car and a stack of $100 bills six inches high. Seagal boasted to Mikita and Hyams that he had pulled a hit for the mob to get the money.
Is any part of this bragging the truth? And if it is, is the man personally dangerous? He certainly likes to be perceived as tough. He's fond of portentous phrases like "I'm not the one who got hurt or carried away," or - endlessly - "I'm a man of honor."
Hot air? Maybe. According to several Spy sources, Seagal packs a .45 in his belt, not just loaded but cocked and chambered.
The most frequent way Seagal projects danger is by referring to his period of service for the CIA. For example, he told the Los Angeles Times that while he was in Japan, he as an adviser to several CIA agents, and through them he met "many powerful people" for whom he did "special work and favors."
Seagal undoubtedly knew some agents: perhaps it was from them that he appropriated the heroic tales he tells about himself. According to Mark Mikita, the actor specializes in taking bits of other people's experiences and claiming them as his own. On one occasion, one of Seagal's students, a former Green Beret, was talking about his time in Laos. Later Seagal told the same story to another group, only now he had become the protagonist.
Once Seagal became famous, it was essential that he maintain his mysterious facade. In early 1988 he was collaborating on a screenplay with two writers, Temmak Kramer and the aforementioned Goldman, who describes himself as "an unconventional-warfare and intelligence specialist." During a Los Angeles Times interview at the time, Seagal once again floated a vague tale of his association with the CIA. Perhaps the reporter, Patrick Goldstein, was skeptical, because Seagal took the further step of persuading Goldman to back up his tale. "I know this much," Goldman told the Times. "I've been out with Steven on several missions, and he knows how to get things done. He has a certain high level of skill that you don't just pick up reading fantasy magazines. I don't think anyone would question his capabilities." Goldman then carefully added, "I think it would be fair to say that at some point in time Uncle Sam recruited Steven Seagal because they thought he had particular talents that would prove useful on certain assignments."
The following year, Seagal and Goldman had their argument about money. This prompted Goldman to send a letter to Goldstein recanting everything he had said about Seagal's CIA background. Spy has obtained a copy of that letter, dated August 18, 1989. "Please accept this written apology for any deception, stated or implied, that I may have conveyed," Goldman wrote. "The plain truth of the matter is that Seagal was and is a gutless coward who is trying to convert the heroic deeds of those brave men into a personal history for himself."
In an interview with Spy, Goldman says he had long known that Seagal tends to tell grandiose tales about himself. Late in 1988, a former soldier of fortune and treasure hunter named Randy Widner invited Seagal, Goldman and another man to hunt for treasure off the coast of Barbados. At that time, Seagal had been telling Goldman that he'd been a U.S. Navy SEAL. Evidently this was one frogman who did not take well to water. As Goldman recalls, "Randy was driving [a Zodiac raft] in circles while Steven and I carried the gear out to him. The surf was unbelievable, really tough... He started screaming and panicking and was sure he was going to die and all that crap." Goldman says Seagal had to be helped onto the vessel. "Widner had to pull Seagal by his hair; I pushed his ass onto the boat with my shoulder." Later that evening, Goldman says, he realized that Seagal could not read a compass or a map. (Seagal describes himself as "autistic with numbers.") With that, Goldman says, he totally dismissed the notion that Seagal had ever been involved in any covert operations. In his letter to the Times reporter, Goldman wrote that Seagal "would surely die of starvation if he was given a compass and a map that led to a restaurant five miles away."
After a month after Goldman wrote a letter to Goldstein, the reporter ran into Seagal at a movie premiere and brought it up. A few days later, Goldman says, he got an angry call from Seagal that ended up "almost conciliatory," with him assuring Goldman that he'd help him in the future.
Meanwhile - as we have seen from Bob Strickland's account - the actor was asking his old friend to kill Goldman for $50,000. But it wasn't enough that Strickland dismissed the offer out of hand. For months afterward, Strickland says, Seagal repeated the request, until early the following year, when Seagal told him Goldman had left the country. (Indeed, Goldman went to the Philippines in early 1990 and did not return for two years.) The Los Angeles Police Department recently started looking into the whole affair.
Among the reasons Strickland maintained the relationship was that they had other dealings. Seagal wanted to make a movie based on Strickland's life, and in May 1990 he paid Strickland a $50,000 advance on a $250,000 payday for the rights to his life story. In December 1991 they too had a falling-out. Strickland concluded that Seagal was representing his adventures as moments from his own life. He even saw Seagal on Arsenio recounting an adventure from his heroic days with the CIA; the adventure, of course, had really been Strickland's.
The CIA man, angry in the extreme, called Seagal and demanded that the actor stop appropriating his life, and said that if he didn't, he would expose Seagal as a phony. And in fact he soon did, detailing all these accusations in a letter to Seagal's agent, CAA chief Mike Ovitz.
Why Ovitz? Because Ovitz, as is widely known in Hollywood, is Seagal's protector, mentor and presumably - from time to time - his handler.
The boilerplate story about how Seagal got started in show business is that Ovitz was one of his martial-arts students. Ovitz, according to legend, believed Seagal had stardom written all over him and prevailed upon Warner Bros. to give him a screen test, then cast him in a movie. The rest, as they say, is history.
Unfortunately, the truth is less tidy. For example, Seagal was not exactly a blank slate upon which Ovitz could project his destiny-bending vision; friends say Seagal had been trying to get into movies as far back as his time in Japan. Additionally, the claim that Ovitz was Seagal's student - repeated as recently as this May in The New Yorker - has been refuted by Seagal, who told the Los Angeles Times in 1988 that Ovitz was never his pupil, but that the two "love each other"; in the same interview, Seagal described himself as Ovitz's "guru."
Joe Hyams is also a martial-arts buff; he and his wife, Elke Sommer, often put Seagal up early in his career. Hyams has no idea how the Ovitz-Seagal connection formed, but it was clearly strong. "For whatever reason," Hyams told Spy, "Ovitz wanted Warner Bros. to give Seagal a picture. He suggested to Warners that in return for giving Seagal a picture, he would have Richard Donner, who was his client, direct the sequel to the very successful Lethal Weapon."
At the same time, someone at CAA, possibly Ovitz, arranged for Seagal to demonstrate his martial-arts skills before a group of Warner Bros. executives. Dressed in full regalia - baggy black pantaloons and white robes - Seagal put on a show that deeply impressed the executives. "It was quite miraculous," Warner Bros. president Terry Semel told the Los Angeles Times. "With just a toss of his hands, Steven would send the other guy flying. It was pretty astounding." What Mark Mikita - who participated in the demonstration - finds astounding is that none of the executives seemed to know that the whole thing was orchestrated. "I still can't believe those guys at Warners didn't know it was a rehearsed demonstration," Mikita told Spy. "It shouldn't have fooled anybody, Seagal could not toss me or anyone else in the air unless we were in on it."
According to Hyams, Warners was impressed enough to hire Andy Davis, an up-and-coming director, and spend $50,000 on a screen test for Seagal. "The test was a disaster," Hyams says. "Seagal's voice was squeaky, and he did not come across well on-screen." At that point, Hyams said, Ovitz took a most unusual step: He went back to Warners and offered them Donner for Lethal Weapon 2 for the same fee he'd gotten for the incredibly successful original. Whether the latter part of this deal went down is unknown (Donner would not return our phone calls), but Seagal got his break.
In careful studiospeak, Warners acknowledged the unusual nature of an arrangement in which a mega-agent with a premium and well-established client may have trifled with that client's advantage in order to promote a total and minimally talented unknown: "Michael has been one of Steven's major supporters," Terry Semel told the Times. "He went far beyond the role of just being Steven's agent. In fact, with the type of superstar client list Michael has, you wouldn't normally see him work so closely with a first-time actor."
What's the explanation for Seagal's extraordinarily rapid advance? Does he have powerful friends other than Ovitz? Certainly he claims to, and they tend to be invoked when he has differences with people.
A case in point: After Bob Strickland noticed that Seagal was appropriating his stories, he left dozens of messages warning him to stop. Seagal filed a harassment suit against Strickland and got an order of protection against him. In answer, Strickland filed a sworn affidavit in Burbank Superior Court. Among much else, Strickland said, "On December 11, 1991, Steven Seagal stated to me, in my attorney's presence, 'If anybody from the CIA fucks with me, they will be hurt.' He claimed he was backed by very powerful people." (Charlotte Bissell, who was present as Strickland's attorney, confirmed his statement.)
The affidavit went on to state that a mutual friend named James Berkley "called me from New York...and advised me to 'watch my ass.' He stated that my safety could be in jeopardy because Steven Seagal is backed by powerful people who have a vested financial interest in preserving his image and reputation." When interviewed by Spy, Berkley elaborated a little, saying only, "You don't fuck with people from 18th Avenue in Brooklyn."
Julius Nasso is a 40-year-old pharmacist from Staten Island and the owner of Universal Marine Supply Company, which supplies pharmaceuticals to merchants vessels. He is also Steven Seagal's partner in Steamroller Entertainment, formerly Seagal/Nasso Productions, which has its New York headquarters on the second floor of Nasso's offices on 12th Avenue in Brooklyn. It's not clear how he and Seagal became partners. In an interview with Spy, Nasso said he broke into filmmaking in 1984, when he served as an assistant to the late director Sergio Leone during the filming of Once Upon a Time in America. He said his good friend Tony Danza, the actor, was instrumental in getting him involved. Danza told Spy, "I know Nasso, but he's no friend of mine. I didn't introduce him to Seagal."
Seagal tells people Nasso is his cousin, and Nasso sort of agrees. "Our ancestors were related," Nasso told us, although he couldn't be more specific. Nasso is Italian and immigrated to the United States from Sicily when he was three. Seagal is Irish and Jewish. America is a wonderful melting pot, but this seems to stretch all limits, baffling even Seagal's mother. "I never heard of Jules until a few years ago," Pat Seagal told Spy. "I know he's not related to us."
Of course, if in fact Seagal and Julius Nasso were cousins, they might have the same uncle. In an interview in The New York Times, Nasso shows respect for his successful uncle, the one for whom he was named, the one for whom at one time or another he worked. That would be Julius Nasso, the owner of Julius Nasso Concrete Corporation. In 1985 the U.S. Attorney's Office in New York charged Anthony "Fat Tony" Salerno and ten other defendants with a wide range of racketeering activities, including extorting money from construction companies to submit fraudulently rigged bids. Julius Nasso Concrete was named in a civil case for participating in the bid-rigging scheme. Employees of Julius Nasso Concrete testified for the government, and Salerno was sentenced to 100 years in prison.
Whether or not Nasso and Seagal are cousins, they are certainly close. Nasso served as Seagal's best man when he married Kelly LeBrock, and he is godfather to two of their children. Also, they are next-door neighbors. And yet, they are more than neighbors - tax records show that Nasso is the co-holder of the deed to Seagal's Staten Island home, the one with the $560,000 mortgage, which sits across from the house formerly occupied by the late Tommy Billotti, who was whacked with Gambino boss Paul Castellano in 1985.
In a deposition in a civil assault case in which Seagal is involved, Seagal stated under oath that he doesn't know how much money has has, doesn't know what he owns and doesn't know what he is paid per picture. At that point, his attorney, Martin Singer, interrupted with a clarfication: Seagal does not have an individual contract with Warner Bros.; other people are involved. In fact, the contract is with Steamroller, and the other party is Nasso. Nasso seems to have quite a bit to say about Seagal's financial affairs. For example, when Bob Strickland's business deal with Seagal soured, he was told to repay the advance, which had been drawn on Seagal's personal account, not to the actor but to Nasso.
Last December, Nasso - whose business card identifies him as a Warner Bros. producer - hosted a party aboard the U.S.S. Intrepid in New York Harbor for the foreign distributors of Seagal's recent hit, Under Siege. In his interview with Spy, Nasso said he "was active in the foreign distribution of Seagal's films." Why Warner Bros., which has the largest foreign-distribution system of any studio, would need the help of a pharmacist is anyone's guess. Warner Bros. refused to be interviewed for this story.
Nasso's own explanation to Spy for his involvement in the global distribution of Seagal's first movie, Above the Law: "Because of my experience in the drug business [i.e., the pharmaceutical-drug business], I had contacts all over the world."
Goofy though this sounds, it's pretty harmless. Far less innocent are the people with mob connections who've gone Hollywood with Seagal. One of the technical advisers on the set of Under Siege was Robert Booth Nichols, who has been identified in federal wiretaps as associating with the Gamino crime family. [See The Fine Print, Spy, July 1989]. A retired Navy captain named Joseph John who was a technical adviser on the same movie - responsible for securing use of the U.S.S. Missouri for the movie - described Seagal and Nichols as "asshole buddies"; Seagal even cast Nichols in a tiny role. Another performer in a Seagal film, Jerry Ciauri, is the stepson of a Mafia capo, Robert Zambardi, who reportedly got Seagal to give his stepson a part in Out for Justice. Seagal hired Ciauri, who has ambitions to be a movie star, to play a bookmaker. In a key scene, Seagal beats up a number of bad guys in a bar; the one varmint who never takes a punch is Ciauri. "No way Seagal was going to take a swing at Bobby Zam's kid," Spy was told. Ciauri is awaiting trial on charges of attempted murder, grand larceny and coercion.
Seagal would have made his directorial debut on a film called Man on Honor. The movie, produced by Nasso and Seagal and written by Seagal and screenwriter Jim Carabatsos, was to have begun principal shooting earlier this year but was shelved when Fox withdrew financing. That was only the latest chapter in the picture's complicated financing. Originally money had been raised by Joseph John. Having caught the movie bug, John wanted to produce Seagal's next picture. "I raised $20 million from some of my Saudi Arabian friends," John told Spy, "but at the last minute Steve pulled out of the deal. Nasso then called and told me, 'We don't need your $20-million, we're going to raise it from friends in Brooklyn.'" Their friends didn't come through; just weeks later, Nasso approached John's Saudi friends for the money. They declined. Nasso and Seagal then went to Europe to seek financing. Among the places they stopped were Switzerland and Sicily. At press time, Man of Honor was on indefinite hold.
What happened, Spy has been told, is that Seagal annoyed his investors with his arrogance and high-handedness, and by failing to keep certain promises. Apparently his friend withheld their financing for Man of Honor as a way of giving Seagal a schiaffo -- a slap in the face -- so that in the future he would remember who's who and what's what.
Meanwhile, Jerry Ciauri's acting career is going nowhere fast.
There is an outside chance that all of Seagal's posturings, from his phony CIA stories to his real association with people of distinctly murky background, are the result of nothing more than obsession - that Steven Seagal has never been even remotely involved in the profession of war or murder; that he would never follow through on a threat or even a plan to whack someone; that he associates with the murky ones simply because that's the way he gets his kicks. That, in short, Steven Seagal is one sick hombre - a violence groupie.
But what makes Seagal of heightened interest are the specific terms and circumstances of his advancement.
Seagal's ascent was and has been guided by one man. And this raises intriguing questions. Why would so shrewd an operator as Mike Ovitz, at the height of his Hollywood power, undertake to promote Seagal's career so visibly? Some private motivation? Did Professor Ovitz see Seagal as a kind of action-movie Eliza Doolittle? Or did other considerations balance out the obvious limitations of Seagal's talent? Was Ovitz aware of his protege's background and provenance at the outset? If not, why would he not distance himself from Seagal once they become more apparent? These are just some of the questions Spy hopes to have answered in the very near future.