Thursday, November 23, 2006

"But Would You F*ck Him?"

First off, happy birthday NYBro. The old boys club welcomes you.

Next, It can't all be industry updates and writing tips and tales from the trenches...there needs to be some cake or candy sometimes to go with the meat and vegetables. And I'm more than happy to provide the sweets every now and then...I know my place in blogland.

So continuing on the theme of the week, likeabilty and hotness and yum factor, I remembered a movie from the mid-90's called 'I'll Do Anything' by James L Brooks. It told the story of a fading actor trying to get back in the Hollywood game while learning to raise his nine year old daughter who'd recently reentered his life. And it was also a musical...that ultimately had the songs edited out. So it was a bit of a mess, but had some brilliant scenes - what you'd expect from the maker of 'Broadcast News' and 'Terms of Endearment' and 'As Good As It Gets'....(oh yeah, and The Simpsons).

One scene in particular came to mind - the 'would you f*ck him scene'. The setup is simple: Cathy (played by Joely Richardson) is a Studio Exec sleeping with Matt the Actor (Nick Nolte). Casting is underway on a BIG movie and Matt reads for the lead role across from hot young actress. Various exec's, including Cathy, are watching screen test and about to discuss. Albert Brooks plays Burke the studio boss...a real 'cut to chase' kind of guy.

Here's the scene:


INT. BURKE'S OFFICE - DAY

The staff of Popcorn Pictures is gathered in the boss' office watching Matt's screentest on projection TV. Burke sits next to Nan on a sofa -- Cathy sits in front of him -- others in chairs or on the floor. Burke talks sotto to Nan.

BURKE
So how do you think 'Ground Zero' will do tonight?

She ignores him, continuing to watch the screen. He leans into her.

BURKE

How do you think my movie will do tonight?

NAN
I'm not going to talk to you during Matt's screentest.

Cathy turns in her chair and mouths "thank you" to Nan.

BURKE(to himself)
How bad can it be? We've got to have at least a two million dollar Friday. There's nothing else out there.

CATHY (turning to him)
Please.

BURKE
I'm watching...

ON SCREEN A VERY ATTRACTIVE ACTRESS is crying...Matt very close to her...

ACTRESS
C'mon, Deeds, tell me about the meeting.

MATT
What's wrong?

ACTRESS
Don't worry about my crying. As a matter of fact, crying turns me on.

MATT
Well, in that case, your dog died.

There is laughter in the screening room.

The actress smiles through her tears--pats Matt for being wonderful.

ACTRESS
What happened at the meeting?

MATT
I can't remember. You're too pretty.
(on her look)
Oh, I told them I'd keep on being Chairman.
(then explaining)
I'm Chairman, you know.

ACTRESS (smiling)
I know.

MATT
Told them I'd keep on being Chairman if they hired everybody back.

ACTRESS
What did they say?

MATT
Oh, that I was crazy. You always wear your hair back like that?

She kisses him. We HEAR the director say, "Cut. Terrific, guys." The girl and Matt hug, no longer in character, as others come in to congratulate them.

INT. SCREENING ROOM - DAY


Ad-libbed enthusiasm... mostly about the girl...

ON CATHY - as the conversation about the girl grows more pointed... Cathy, impassive outwardly, recoiling inwardly.

BURKE
Okay, come on... let's have our creative meeting right here.

MALE D PERSON
Well, I'd sure go to bed with her.

BURKE(professionally concurring)
Very fuckable.

MALE CASTING PERSON
I'd sure fuck her.

BURKE
Okay... that's her... What about him?

FEMALE D PERSON
I think he's a very good to excellent actor--I do... (puzzled) But there's something...

BURKE
You wouldn't want to fuck him?

FEMALE D PERSON
Well, six years ago, maybe.

CLAIRE
I think he's talented and attractive.

BURKE
So you'd want to fuck him?

CLAIRE
He might be light in that area.

CATHY
The man is talented. If you get one of those directors who like actors, I think...

BURKE
A director can't make you hot if you're not hot. You'll end up with warm which is death.

CATHY(defending Matt slightly)
We laughed.

BURKE
Let me ask you something... Would you fuck him?

CATHY(wearily)
Everything doesn't boil down to...

BURKE
Let me stop you before you embarrass yourself.

Burke rises and addresses his staff...

BURKE
We all can do our little lectures on what things boil down to. Everybody else here was professional enough to come out and say... I'd fuck her...I wouldn't fuck him... and you're ducking it... I want you to forget the acting stuff and totally focus on the issue.
(beat)
We do have some kind of responsibility to the audience... You just saw his screentest... so, if this is the first time you saw the guy, do you come out thinking to yourself and your girl friends, 'I'd sure go to bed with him; oh God, would he be something.' Would you, Cathy?... I'm being real here.

CATHY
No...

BURKE
Okay, so let's keep looking.

They file out. Cathy gets up several beats later than the others... and follows them out, avoiding Nan's look.



Remember, Cathy is sleeping with Matt in real life at this point in the movie.

Ouch.

"You wouldn't want to fuck him?"
"Well six years ago maybe."

Who among us hasn't heard that said about them lately? Um...(cough)...anybody?

But that's the harsh reality of this biz. No matter how clever the dialogue or twisty the plot or brilliantly drawn the characters, all can be won or lost on whether you (the audience) would 'do' the star(s).



SONG & ARTIST? - "Baby..baby...been so sad since you've been gone
Way back to New York City
where you do belong...
Honey, I missed your two tongue kisses,
legs wrapped around me tight
If I ever get back to Fun City, girl
I'm gonna make you scream all night..."

5 comments:

Crashdummie said...

Wow, never thought all complexed questiones could be narrowed into one...

LoveStrong said...

Art reflects Life...

Like it or not, much of our drive, our daily activities, and our conversations with friends revolve around physical attraction (our true first impressions) and f*ckability. The *cut to the chase* nature of Brooks' character here demonstrates what most of us are thinking, and even if we can't express it as readily as he does, it is in all of us.

Animals, we are. Animals! Or maybe I'm just extraordinarily horny all the time...(hmmm)

The Film Diva said...

That scene is ripped from reality. I've been privvy to that exact conversation many many times. And let me tell you, when you hear a 70-year old man lob the question around like he's in high school.... Oy vey!

Portnoy said...

I can't say I'm a big Brooks fan. I respect his writing but find his films too overloaded with sap or rich people with problems that are - unrealistic. of course there are some golden moments from him - but WC, here we differ....

although if you posted this i'd be all over it like those victoria secret twins. ("twins max, imagine the possibilities")

NORMA
I am big. It's the pictures
that got small.

GILLIS
I knew there was something
wrong with them.

NORMA
They're dead. They're finished.
There was a time when this busi-
ness had the eyes of the whole
wide world. But that wasn't good
enough. Oh, nol They wanted the
ears of the world, too. So they
opened their big mouths, and out
came talk, talk, talk...

GILLIS
That's where the popcorn business
comes in. You buy yourself a bag
and plug up your ears.

NORMA
Look at them in the front offices --
the master minds! They took the
idols and smashed them. The
Fairbankses and the Chaplins and
the Gilberts and the Valentinos.
And who have they got now? Some
nobodies -- a lot of pale little
frogs croaking pish-poshl

GILLIS
Don't get sore at me. I'm not
an executive. I'm just a writer.

NORMA
You are! Writing words, words!
You've made a rope of words and
strangled this businessl But there
is a microphone right there to catch
the last gurgles, and Technicolor
to photograph the red, swollen tongue!

GILLIS
Ssh! You'll wake up that monkey.

wcdixon said...

Crashy - live and learn

Lovestrong: lives to love

Diva: lived and learned

Portnoy: loves to live (and twins)