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.
So how do you think 'Ground Zero' will do tonight?
She ignores him, continuing to watch the screen. He leans into her.
How do you think my movie will do tonight?
I'm not going to talk to you during Matt's screentest.
Cathy turns in her chair and mouths "thank you" to Nan.
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)
ON SCREEN A VERY ATTRACTIVE ACTRESS is crying...Matt very close to her...
C'mon, Deeds, tell me about the meeting.
Don't worry about my crying. As a matter of fact, crying turns me on.
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.
What happened at the meeting?
I can't remember. You're too pretty.
(on her look)
Oh, I told them I'd keep on being Chairman.
I'm Chairman, you know.
Told them I'd keep on being Chairman if they hired everybody back.
What did they say?
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.
Okay, come on... let's have our creative meeting right here.
MALE D PERSON
Well, I'd sure go to bed with her.
MALE CASTING PERSON
I'd sure fuck her.
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...
You wouldn't want to fuck him?
FEMALE D PERSON
Well, six years ago, maybe.
I think he's talented and attractive.
So you'd want to fuck him?
He might be light in that area.
The man is talented. If you get one of those directors who like actors, I think...
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)
Let me ask you something... Would you fuck him?
Everything doesn't boil down to...
Let me stop you before you embarrass yourself.
Burke rises and addresses his staff...
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.
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.
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.
"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..."