“I thought, ‘I don’t need to meet this rich guy and a boat,’” he recalled. “And she says, ‘Do me a favor and get this book called The New New Thing and tell me you don’t want to come.’ So I get the book by Michael Lewis and I say, ‘I’m coming.’ The book is about Jim and I think, ‘This guy is a maverick.’ The other truth is, I had a friend of mine was going as well, so we went together. The boat was in Antigua. So Jim goes, he’s leaving and I said, ‘You can’t go man,’ and he asks if I drink and I say yeah, and I don’t know much about wine but he opens this Volnay ’61, which we drank in like five minutes. And he goes, ‘Nobody here drinks, I was going crazy,’ and then he didn’t go and we ended up having the best week, and that’s how we connected, and we stayed friends.”
Funnily enough, the next time he saw Mr. Clark was in Papua on his boat, but it was a new boat. Turns out he’d sold the Hyperion to some British guy named Louis Bacon.
“I was like, ‘Louis is American! He’s my old partner,’” he said. On that trip, Mr. Stevens had brought along a copy of Crazy Love, another doc that he co-directed. Mr. Clark was impressed and not long after asked Mr. Stevens to help him with The Cove.
“He has a lot of interesting friends,” said Griffin Dunne over the phone. He was out in L.A. working on a script and staying in Mr. Stevens’s apartment. “You’ll probably hear from everyone that no one tends to pack as much life in as Fish; he’s been grabbing it with both hands lately.”
Mr. Dunne gave Mr. Stevens his first acting job, a bit part in Baby it’s You. Mr. Stevens, he says, has returned the favor in spades.
“He is certainly a well-connected and well-loved person by a lot of people, many of which don’t know each other—and if they do know each other it’s only through Fisher—who are all doing interesting things in their lives,” he said, adding that Mr. Stevens, Liev Schrieber and a set designer named Happy Massee have an ongoing tennis scene. “I think that is the best image I have of Fisher, his general enthusiasm that he has about life, the way he embraces life. He had a particularly nasty skin cancerous mole removed from his neck a couple of years ago, and they patched him up with tape, and it was pretty gruesome-looking, and it was one of those ‘keep it dry’ and ‘don’t move too much’ bandages, but it was a really hot day and he saw a pool and just went, ‘Oh my God, look at that pool, I gotta go in!’ And he just runs from about 20 yards away and dives into the pool with the bandages. And he hits the water and goes, ‘Ow! Ow! The water is so great, ow!’ It was like he had a choice, either go with the doctor’s orders or dive into the blue water; he’ll go for the blue water.”
Mr. Dunne said that it is Mr. Stevens’s joie de vivre that accounts for his remarkable success with women. Mr. Stevens, who’s probably best known for playing a quirky scientist in Short Circuit, dated Michelle Pfieffer.
“What will start off as just a one-on-one dinner on their first date will move on to these fantastic experiences,” Mr. Dunne explained. Like what? Skinny-dipping in the East River?
“Well … yeah … usually they end up nude, in one environment or another!” Mr. Dunne said with a laugh. He said the diversity of the women Mr. Stevens has dated is also a reflection of his curious nature: doctors, editors, actresses, different races, heights, ethnicities.
A few years back the Naked Angels held a fund-raiser. Mr. Stevens volunteered to be the subject of a roast.
Mr. Dunne again: “Everyone got up and roasted the shit out of Fish. A lot to do with women and fucking … and it sort of transcends his physical appearance, which is not what one would associate a guy who looks like Fish being with such beautiful women, and how the fuck does he do it?? It was a noble expression of his to put himself in that position to raise money for this group. It was also pretty taxing on his identity, I think.”
“He’s been spending an awful lot of time at yoga studios—which I would normally say, ‘He’s trolling for victims’—but I guess not. I think he recently got into a serious relationship,” said another friend, Matt Dillon, on the phone.
Mr. Stevens, currently dating a model and yoga instructor, said he’s looking to settle down. “There comes a time when you gotta grow up,” he said, when I pressed him on the issue at dinner.
But that doesn’t mean no more dinner parties.
“I go out a lot,” he explained. “My mother worked at night. Since I’m 13, I been eating out. I had an account at a Chinese restaurant—Jen’s Kitchen—across the street, when we lived on 13th street.”
He said that during the time he’s lived with women, he has eaten at home in Dumbo.
So you’ve lived with women before?
“Yes,” he said. “And I’d like to again.”
“I like to cook, Fish,” Ms. Gershon said.