Tuesday, February 15, 2000

Lupercalia-fragilisticexpialidocious



I finally finished the rewrite of IN YOUR DREAMS for the guy who read my "log line" and synopsis on the Hollywood Script Reader's Digest. Then I called the nephew of the guy who tracks down our witnesses for us at work. The nephew, it turns out, is an agent who handles screenwriters at one of the major agencies (Preferred Artists). I'm all ready to pitch him APRIL FOOL, but while I'm on hold I take a deep breath and decide to chat with him a bit and see what he's interested in...

After a brief preliminary exchange he launches into a spiel straight out of The Player: "I don't want little movies, O.K. I don't know what you write, but I don't want small period pieces, I don't want 'Brazil 1921', I don't want 'coming of age', I don't want a warmhearted comedy set in a nursing home, I don't want Victorian England...I want big, I want event movies, special effects, The Mummy, star vehicles, Tom Cruise...that's what their looking for, that's what makes the money..." I said, "I have one of those.'' He said, "send it to me."

So I dusted off MERLIN, the first script I ever wrote, which I started writing 10 years ago, and began yet another rewrite -- more of a 'polish' actually. In the middle of the polish, I got a call from none other than Jon Sperry! He was in town and wanted to get together. I didn't hear from him for about a week after that, which was good because I wanted to work on MERLIN, but then I got a message on my machine from him saying that he and his wife, Ivana, had just rented an apartment in West Hollywood. Sperry is moving to LA!

Meanwhile, one day at work, I was interrupting Justin, one of the lawyers here, to get his signature on something, and he hands me the phone and tells me to talk to his friend Jim, who works for Gale Ann Hurd. She happens to be a producer (Terminator 1&2, The Abyss, Armageddon) and the ex-wife of James Cameron. Jim (not Cameron) told me to give one of my scripts to Justin to pass along to him (Jim). I say sure.

So Monday I send off MERLIN, and that night I call Sperry to remind him of the Jeanine Basinger reception at CAA. Tuesday I give Justin IN YOUR DREAMS for Jim (and Gale). And that night I go to the big party.

The first person I see at the party is Doug Bennett, president of WesU, and his wife Midge, who still remembers meeting my Mom in Florida two years ago. I also said hi to Jeanine, although I don't think she remembers me. I told her I saw her on TV last week on A&E (Lana Turner bio). She said she tried to tape it, but missed it.

Next I run into Bruce McKenna, another writer who wants to produce and has shown some interest in APRIL FOOL. With him is his beautiful wife, Maureen, who used to take acting lessons from: Jon Sperry! Maureen has blue eyes and red hair and I mentioned that that name McKenna suits her well, by the way what was her name before she married. Turns out it was Maureen Joyce. Now I remember, she's the girl Sperry told me about whose great-grandfather was this Irish writer named James Joyce. You may have heard of him.

Maureen and Bruce and I begin the Sperry-watch, checking in with each other periodically to see if Jon has showed up yet. In the meantime I talk to Bill Christopher (Father Mulcahey from TV's M*A*S*H) who knew my dad back at the Sigma Chi house, he wants to know who all the producers are, so I pointed out a few. One of them was Larry Mark, who agreed to look at MERLIN many years ago. I said hi and thanked him for that opportunity. Lately he's been busy with films like: As Good as it Gets, Simon Birch, Bicentennial Man & Hanging Up, among many others.

At last Sperry appeared, looking quite European, with Ivana, who is, in fact, European and who is also a beautiful redhead. (How come all these other guys get to marry beautiful redheads?) It was the perfect setting for a reunion, everyone was dressed up (except Joss Whedon) and there was free food and an open bar. I haven't seen Jon since he ran off to Paris, and I had never met Ivana (and in fact was beginning to doubt her existence) however, I ended up talking with her for a good part of the evening, and I can now confirm beyond the shadow of a doubt that she is real and she is terrific.

I was a lot more relaxed this year than last, even when I spoke with Akiva Goldsman, who apparently has hired Bruce to work on some new movie based on another comic book. None of the really famous people were there, which is kind of a shame because I really wanted to introduce myself to Dana Delaney this time, but I had more fun because I didn't feel any pressure.

Now what I'd really like to do is go out and see some movies.

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