You come in the door in your house on Hampstead Heath in London and the phone is ringing and the voice has the authentic Hollywood rasp of sincerity and cocaine.
"Hey man, I am so glad I caught you in I don't believe it. I just flew in to LA, from this feature we're doing in Senegal. Like Gorillas In the Mist only this is like Silverback's side of the story. Anyway I was up all night reading your book on the plane, Jesus, it is amazing, I mean I just could not put it down. I mean forget dinner. OK, First Class Virgin, dinner is not all that great, but you really caught it man, the whole scene, I mean I was there in the cockpit of a Formula One car turning left, the front end a little light, I mean fantastic. Like I drove straight home to pick up the phone, like gotta call you. Who you thinking of to play your guy, you know, the lead? I"m thinking Cruise."
The raspy voice pauses to suck in another lungful and you say, "Brad Pitt?"
"Hey, what a great book, man. I think we can get Julia for the female lead but listen Sandra Bullock's hot now and she owes me. What a great book, man, I did a Oceans I did Crash and this is gonna be bigger than all of that combined."
You are thinking this is definitely not Soderberg. Not Paul Haggis. You are thinking "did" could mean anything, like he saw them or went for coffee, but this is no time to interrupt.
"Yeah, humongous. Maybe the cars are the star, know what I mean? Like we could tell the whole story from the car's point of view. I'm just throwing that out. Don't pay any attention if it don't ring bells. So listen, this is your baby and I don't want to screw around with options. I mean I don't want to be dicking around with the lawyers for the next six months What I want is I want to go straight into production. You got a script?"
"Uh, not with me at the moment. No."
"Well I want you to do the script. I'll work it out with your agent, what's his name. . .
"Right, Ralph. Bernie is gonna love this."
"Bernie Ecclestone is gonna love this if you give him a piece of the gross."
"Don't worry about Bernie. I can handle him. Listen, great talking to you, kid. Start thinking about that script and I'll get back to you."
And he hangs up and you never hear from him again. And you will never know why.
(To be continued tomorrow)