Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Brad Pitt Guy (part 3).

From 2009...

Okay, so I’m sitting in the empty upstairs section of Jerry’s Deli in Westwood with a guy in a funny hat and too much jewelry who may be a crazed stalker but definitely took a piss next to Brad Pitt in some nightclub and pitched him some script that he had not yet written and Brad Pitt said he wanted to read it and this stalker guy tried to write the script and couldn’t and now he wants me to finish the script for him in exchange for half the money Pitt’s company pays him.

Should I say yes? Hey, it’s 50% of some potential deal the originated at a urinal. Actually, not even a deal - just an offer to read a script. Should I say yes?

The entire time I keep my glass of Coca-Cola in sight and often in hand to prevent him from using some knock out drops or something so that he can kidnap me, take me back to his house in TBDotcoLA and do weird things to me while I am unconscious before serving me up with a nice chianti and some fava beans and then either mounting my head on the wall of his trophy room-basement (do houses in the Brentwood District have basements?) or pickling my brain in a jar and putting it with all of the others on the mantle over his fireplace (do houses in the Brentwood District have fireplaces?). The guy may have really pissed with Pitt but that doesn't mean he's not also a crazed stalker.

PART ONE - if you missed it.
PART TWO - if you missed it.

After our waitperson, Laurence-with-a-Z, sets the endless dishes and bowls on the table in front of my stalker, and my half sandwich in front of me, then goes back to his station on the other side of the room, stalker’s face unfreezes.

“So, can you tell me what this story you pitched while pissing is about?”
“Then you are interested? I knew you would be!”

And he tells me the story between bites of food. He has about a dozen plates in front of him, enough food for a bunch of people, and instead of focusing on one plate he ends up nibbling a little bit from each. A bite here, a bite there, a bit of soup and then a forkful of cake. His story is like every episode of 24 mashed together along with a soap opera story about a guy in love with two women and one of them is an imposter and a plot to assassinate the President and some Iraq War stuff and a conspiracy involving cloning the Vice President and the protagonist dealing with the death of his wife in a car accident and ... Brad Pitt must have been saving up pee for weeks in order for this guy to have pitched this whole story to him at one standing!

Afterwards, with all of his food picked at but not a single plate cleaned, he asked me...
“So, William C. Martell, are you intrigued? Excited? Interested in my proposition?”
“Well, it *is* interesting.”
“Ah, I knew you would find the possibility too delicious to ignore!”
“It sounds like this is your baby, though - I think you should write it.”
“Alas, I have made numerous attempts to complete the screenplay, but I am not a professional writer, as you are. I’m afraid I require your assistance.”
“I think you can do it, you got this far, right?”
“I am willing to offer for your services one half of the impending purchase price from Bradley Pitt’s motion picture production company, which I am sure will be most lucrative. I have already written half of the screenplay and as you have heard, planned each of the remaining scenes in the story. This should be simple for someone of your talents and experience!”

And then I say yes.

No, of course I don’t say yes. That would be crazy. This deal is only slightly better than having him kill me and eat me with some Chianti and fava beans.

“I’m kind of in the middle of one of my own projects right now...”
“Completing my screenplay should be quite simple, and consider the rewards.”
“It’s your baby, you should see it through.”
“No. No. I have attempted that and woefully fell short. You have actually written the book on writing such films, you are the expert, you are the individual with the unique talents required to complete my screenplay. Please give this careful consideration.”

And then he reaches into his bag and pulls out...

Is he going for a gun?
Is he grabbing a can of mace or some knock out drugs or something?
I'm I going to end up on the menu with a nice chianti and some fava beans afterall?

His cell phone.
This was a few years ago, so it wasn’t an iPhone, but was whatever the cutting edge phone was at the time. The funny thing is, it may have been a Razr - which is the phone I got for free when I renewed my deal with Verizon a few years ago... the phone I got for free when I renewed my deal last year has a full keyboard for texting and holds about as much music as my iPod and shows movies and has internet access. But this was one damned fancy phone at the time, and he popped it open and went to his contacts page and scrolled down some numbers...

“I meet many people in the motion picture industry in popular night clubs, and would be happy to introduce you to several of them if you wish...”

And he shows me names on his phone - names of people you have heard of. Movie stars, directors, a famous agent or two, the producer or this summer’s big movie. And I want to steal his phone. I want to sucker punch him, grab the phone, and run out of Jerry’s and around the building to the parking lot, get in my car and speed off. Actually - there’s an upstairs back door and stairway down to the parking lot... that will save me some time. Once I’m back home in Studio City I can write down all of the contact information and start calling these people and...

Who am I fooling? I would choke so badly trying to call some famous stranger - trying to call Brad Pitt, even. What would I say? Hey, I stole your number from this stalker of mine and have a great screenplay - wanna meet in a men’s room so that I can pitch it to you? But I want those connections... and this guy has them. I have no idea how this crazy guy got all of these folks to give him their numbers, but he did. Hell, I’m sitting in Jerry’s having lunch with him - so whatever odd anti-social social skills he has, they work. Maybe it’s the hat?

“Look, I can’t. I really can’t. I’m in the middle of this spec, and it’s *your* script that Brad Pitt wants, not mine. You’re the one who has to write it. You *can* do it.”

The phone is snapped closed and goes back in his bag.

“In that case, would you read the material I have written up to this point and advise me on how to best proceed? If you give me your counsel on this matter, I would be willing to introduce you and your work to Mister Bradley Pitt. Perhaps he would be interested in the screenplay you are currently writing?”

I do not read people’s scripts for money... I do read my friend’s scripts... but this guy is not my friend, he’s some weird stalker in an unusual hat.

“Sure, I’ll read it.”
“Good. Good. I knew you would be interested!”
He whips out the script and hands it over his picked at plates of food. I give a quick flip - half a script, I should be able to read it and scribble down some notes in a couple of hours, right?

That’s when our waitperson, Laurence-with-a-Z comes with the check... and my stalker offers to split it with me, he’ll pay half and I’ll pay half. He figures out what half is on that fancy phone of his... and I leave with his script after paying for half of what he ordered. Once I finish reading the script, we’re supposed to meet again at Jerry’s... he seems sure that once I read his brilliant writing I will want to finish the script for him and get half of that money Brad Pitt is never going to pay and some of those contacts in his phone. Hey, maybe I’ll read the script and it will be brilliant - all of those weird subplots will somehow come together into something that makes sense?

At least I escape without ending up this guy’s entre.

Monday - Part Four... all about that brilliant script of his!

- Bill

TODAY'S SCRIPT TIP: We Love Trouble! - how conflict pulls us into character and story... so you need to have lots of it.
Dinner: Popeyes Chicken.
Bicycle: I think I'm almost back... after the holidays and the rain kept me off the bike. Only negative - someone in North Hollywood is using my bike headlight right now... after the stole it!


Michael J. Lee said...

I've seen guys like this. They're always part of the rich and famous scene in LA, like the furniture. Some hairdresser or interior designer or pet groomer to the stars. The sad part is these guys often do get deals done, not because, as studio head lied to me at a conference, they really loved their ideas, it's because they don't want their next pedicure to be awkward. Some of them if they're really unscrupulous/ambitious can turn their Rolodex into a career like Jon Petersen.

James said...

Love this story.

Awesome script tip btw. Would loved to have seen your School of Rock made.

Sort of an off the cuff question -- any thoughts about Hollywood dumbing down scripts? I've seen scripts in development just as layered as you are describing, but often if an exec doesn't understand it the first go around the note is almost inevitably to dumb the script down.

Then the writer's choice becomes "How much do I want this made?"

Any thoughts?

Joshua James said...

Monday? Bill, you're killing us!

Brett said...



Anonymous said...

Monday? Did I miss Friday already because shit, I had a dentist appt and...

Anonymous said...

I need closure!

The "Dangerous" Screenwriter said...

Hey Bill, we should sooo do lunch!!

Nicolas Van Peteghem said...

goddamn it's hard to wait for the next episode!

you should be a showrunner, Bill. Don't mess with features anymore! Do TV!

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