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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Hollywood: A scene from my life before kids

This is a creative non-fiction account of a day in my former life as a development executive in Hollywood for a well known actor's production company. It's told in the third person. Can you guess "Brian," the Hollywood celebrity's identity?

After guiding his spaceship-like Porsche into his private parking space on the Warner Bros. lot, Peter enters his company's office, in Building 81, just down the hall from Clint Eastwood's production company. A year ago Peter partnered with an A-list actor and acquired these hips digs in this much sought-after building. Peter walks through the lobby, past the framed black and white posters of classic films that he had nothing to do with, past the door leading to the bathroom that contains an orgy-size shower that Steven Seagal had designed when he occupied this space. He doesn't notice the new, overly-smily intern sitting at the reception desk.

Further into the office he nods a good morning to Greg, assistant to Anne, the VP of Development.
"Can I have a cappucino?"Peter asks.
"You got it," Greg answers, jumping up.

Greg beckons the intern to follow him. "This morning," he says to the intern in the kitchen, "you will learn to make the perfect cup of cappuccino."
"Great!" The intern exclaims.
"Making cappucino is a pain in the ass," Greg says, struggling to clean the steamer spout. The intern's broad smile disappears.

"Get me my brother!" Peter shouts out to Hannah, his perky blonde assistant who is attractive but not so attractive as to make the MAW (model, actress, whatever) wife jealous.

Hannah quickly dials the number, one of hundreds she has memorized.
"Tom?" She says. She's very polite, very proper, very efficient. "I've got your brother, Peter, calling for you." She places Tom on hold, swivels around in her chair, gets up and enters Peter's domain, a spacious office modeled after Sylvester Stallone's office, replete with a sink-in, big-enough-for-sex-sofa, German 1970s black leather and metal chairs and a glass desk perfectly organized for the day by the super-assistant.
"Tom's on two," Hanna says and then she closes the door behind her.

A day at Halo Pictures has begun.

The phone buzzes non-stop. The two assistants handle three or four calls at once. Anne doesn't allow the intern to answer the phones after she twice gave the incorrect name of callers. Anne will fire the intern later today when she has time. For now, she scrambles to put together notes for Peter's latest "great" idea: a romantic comedy set in white trash culture.

Greg and the intern reappear with the perfect cup of cappuccino. Hannah knocks on Peter's door, enters and places the cup on top of a napkin in the far right corner of the desk.

And then Brian saunters in to the office. He wears gym shorts, a black T-shirt and sneakers. He's been playing basketball on the set of the hit TV show that put him on the map.

"Hey! I'm Brian," he says casually to the intern. He offers his hand. The intern's jaw drops. She stammers but no sounds come out. "Welcome aboard," Brian says.

Hannah catches her breath as Brian approaches. He defines sexy. Even in his sweaty, post-work-out-mode, or maybe because of it. She stands up as he leans in to kiss her and offers him her mouth. Hannah always kisses him on the lips.

Anne is in her office, on the phone, fighting with an agent who won't give her the spec script that went out that morning. Brian knocks on her door, gives her a big smile and makes a comical gesture about the agent on the phone. He comes around her desk and kisses her firmly on the cheek.

"Brian just walked in," Anne says to the agent. "Should I put him on the phone so you can tell him yourself why you're not letting us have the script?"

Brian puts his hand out to take the phone, but the agent gives in and agrees to send the script. Anne gives Brian a thumbs up. He reciprocates and heads out to the assistant area.

In the assistant area, Brian chit chats with Hannah and Greg. Anne comes out to join them. Brian has a casual ease about him that almost makes those with him forget he's been People Magazine's Sexiest Man Alive. For a few moments the office is filled with giggles and silly jokes, fun banter and Brian's charm. 

But then Peter emerges from his office. Hannah quickly returns to her desk and Greg turns back to his desk.

"Brian!" Peter says too exuberantly. Next to Brian, Peter seems small and nerdy in his tight black pants, tight black T-shirt and army boots. "How are you?" He laughs giddily.

Anne rolls her eyes and goes back to her office. Just last night Peter had whined to her about not being invited to Brian's party over the weekend.

Inside Peter's office, Brian throws himself onto the oversize sofa. He puts his hand up his T-shirt and plays with it, revealing his taut stomach. Does he notice the picture of Peter's nubile twenty-year old wife in the Demi Moore naked-while-pregnant pose? Or the naked post-baby picture of the perfectly whittled body with just a hint of pubic hair showing? Or the naked-with-two-year-old-child card that went out this past Christmas? If so, he doesn't comment.

Instead, he says, "so I've been thinking. I don't want to do romantic comedies. I want to concentrate on smart thrillers, dark dramas."

Peter's goofy smile fades. He's spent the last year looking for romantic comedies for Brian to headline. He spent all weekend working on his white trash rom-com idea.

"Hannah! Get Anne in here!"

Anne hears the desperate shout before Hannah summons her. In Peter's office she doesn't sit on the sex-sofa with Brian. She sits on one of the very uncomfortable chairs opposite to get a better view. She knows something significant must have happened because neither Brian nor Peter say anything.

"Great shoes," Brian finally says. Anne just bought the leopard skin shoes at the Nordstrom sale that weekend, her only respite from twenty scripts and two five-hundred page manuscripts she had to read.
"Thanks," she says.
"Okay guys, good to see you. Gotta run." And with that Brian is off, but not before kissing Anne and Hannah goodbye.

"Anne, we'll reschedule the white trash meeting," Peter says. "Hannah, cancel my lunch and get me Dr. Rosenbaum on the phone."

Everyone, except the intern, knows that when Peter wants Dr. Rosenbaum, his shrink, their day will be miserable.

After she gets the shrink on the phone, Hannah comes to tell Anne about Brian not wanting to do rom-coms. Anne shrugs.

"We'll make the white trash rom-com a white trash thriller," Anne says.

In Hollywood there are many ways to spin a story.

**All names except for mine, Clint Eastwood's and Steven Seagal's have been changed to protect the guilty.

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(I posted a previous version of this before my blog went public.)

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At November 18, 2010 at 11:29 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...


At November 19, 2010 at 2:47 AM , Blogger Corinne Rodrigues said...

This is lost on me:) But I do like your blog and am following from Follow Friday 40 and Above!

At November 19, 2010 at 5:55 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmm, can't figure it out, but then again, I'm not a big stargazer. Still funny though!

I found you through over 40's blog hop, and am now a new follower through google reader.

At November 19, 2010 at 11:48 AM , Blogger Amanda @ Serenity Now said...

OOO---I likes the intrigue. ;)

At November 19, 2010 at 4:13 PM , Blogger Amiko said...

Following you via FF 40 & over...^^

At February 27, 2011 at 1:28 PM , Blogger Liz said...

All I can say is, "SQUEEEEEEE!" :)


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