Thursday, September 16, 2010

Hollywood calls again. You Pick Up The Phone. The Second Great Law of Hollywood Part 2

A month later the phone rings again.  This time from the Chelsea home of  Bigtime Financial Titan.

"Hello Bob?  Bigtime Financial Titan here.  Very good to talk to you, Bob.  Forgive me if I get straight to the point.  May I call you Bob?  Thank you Bob.  Bob, I just came back from the Grand Prix at Silverstone and, Bob, I was very impressed, Bob.  And Bob, I asked around for the best writer in Formula One and I was given your name.  Well I've read your book, Bob, and I just have one question for you.  How'd you like to make a movie of your book, Bob?

    "Depends, Bigtime" you say because you have learned hold back on the leap in until you know if it is a flaming pit or a black hole.

    "Call me Big.  Why don't you come down to my little place in Chelsea tomorrow, say at eleven Bob and we'll discuss it.  Is that all right Bob?  It won't take too long because I have a meeting with Rupert at two.  I do a lot of business with Mr. Murdoch.  See you at eleven then, Bob."

    You walk in his front door into a large open and airy room.  Tall palms rise from porcelain pots up to the two story high skylight and eight heads sitting around a conference table all turn to face you and they all say, "it's going to be a great movie, Bob"  There’s a famous ex-Formula One racing driver, a former Formula One team owner, a couple of assistant producers, a very glamorous lady who watches you like a hawk.  After small talk about big movies, a matched pair of limousines pull up to his front door and drive our party of ten sixty yards to lunch at a chic restaurant on The Kings Road.  We sit down at a round table.  Our host does not sit down but leans over the table, his hands on the back of my chair like a benevolent father.  And he says, "sorry I can't join you for lunch.  I've got a meeting with Murdoch. But after my meeting with Rupert I am going to draw up a company with you all on the board of directors to make this movie. Have a good lunch."

And you never ever see or hear from him again.

Which is the second great Law of Hollywood.  The first Law is from the great screenwriter William Goldman (who wrote Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Harper, All The President's Men, etc. etc.)  It goes:  Nobody ever knows anything.
The second great Law of Hollywood, if you haven't heard it before, comes from me and it goes: No answer means no.  And nobody ever knows why.

So six months later the phone rings again and a producer from New York has the money together, the director is hot to do it, wants you to write the screenplay and he wants to go straight into production as soon as he talks to your agent. Is that OK with you?

"Sure," you say.  "Yes, absolutely."

He never calls your agent. And you never ever hear from him again and you never know why.

(to be continued)

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