This is what you might have to go through…if you’re a woman in Hollywood.
After spending a short eternity in this town, it dawned on me that I didn’t seem to be getting anywhere with my whole goal of putting Shakespeare on film. Only Kenneth Branagh and Baz Luhrmann were getting that done, and in very, very limited amounts. No, what Hollywood seemed to want was more Jenny McCarthy.
By now, I had managed to in debt myself to American Express, traveling to several film festivals with a short I made, in trade for trophies and pieces of paper with calligraphy saying “You Won!”, which apparently is something Amex could give a whole fuck load of zero about. When the credit card Gestapo called me to ask why I hadn’t paid them, I told them that I won Best Short at the festival that they were the actual sponsors of. I even went so far as to suggest they should consider sponsoring me too. When they said it doesn’t work that way, I hung up because I had to save time for people who believe in my work.
Not to be deterred by the short-sighted vision of my creditors, I turned my short into a screenplay and started looking for a literary agent. I was determined to sell this script and make this movie. If Clerks could win the hearts of America, then my script could at least get a read.
One night after performing at the Improv, my friend Jess and I were at the bar hanging out with my drink tickets, when two agents types started chatting us up. I’m talking to Paradigm about my script and APA was buying Jess drinks, when they tell us there is a big party up on Mulholland. The last time I went to a party on Mulholland it was in a place that had a moat filled with swans. The guy had swans. I’m hoping he was a vegetarian. APA kept trying to convince us to go with them. When he says there is going to be a lot of Hollywood big wigs, including some indie film financiers, Jess looked at me with big eyes and grabbed me by my jacket sleeve.
“This is a sign. We’re going!”
We got into Jess’s car and followed the agents as they swerved up Laurel Canyon, to a sprawling estate on the top of Mulholland. The guys got out and went inside the dim building. I lingered by Jess’s car for a second.
“Jess, it looks pretty dark.” I said, cautiously.
“Maybe everyone is out back or something.” Jess bounced up the driveway.
I followed her inside to the large estate, which was quiet and empty. The guys were in the kitchen fixing drinks.
“Nice party. It’s hopping.” I said.
“Oh, we’re just stopping off to pre-game and have some drinks first.” Paradigm said. He handed Jess and me a couple of stiff vodka cranberries and lead us to the outside patio with a stunning view of the Los Angeles basin. All of Los Angeles snaked out in rivers of glowing, pulsating grids to the ocean and I stood staring at it for several minutes. From up there, LA looked like beautiful twinkling jewels and I wanted to cat burglar the whole city.
“Hey!” Jess yelled, snapping me out of it. They were all standing by the pool talking. I wandered over to join them and Paradigm grabbed my waist like I was a Birkin bag at The Barney’s Sale, and pulled me to him.
“Lets get in the hot tub,” he said, kicking off his shoes. He went over to the wall and hit a button, activating it. The tub sprung to life, bubbling and swirling Chlamydia, and he and APA shed their clothes.
“Let’s not,” I said. “Let’s go to the party.” I wasn’t wearing cute underwear, because I only went out to perform stand up, and as I learned, comics weren’t worth putting on clean underwear for. But Jess, who never turned down a chance to show off her magnificent rack, immediately tore off her shirt and slipped into the tub.
“Come on. Get in.” Paradigm said, taunting me. I started to get annoyed.
“I’d rather go to the party,” I said, crossing my arms. I was on a mission. If I came all the way up here, I wanted to meet an indie financier or a goddamned swan. Or at least a guy who ate swans.
“This is the party, honey.” He said. I had a feeling he was going to say that. Then he reached out and grabbed me, pulling me into the hot tub.
Now I was soaking wet, in my clothes, and pissed off. I pushed him off me, and climbed out of the tub. As I stood up, gaining my balance on the edge of the cement, Paradigm grabbed me by the ankles and pulled me back into the tub again. My feet went out from under me and the side of my face landed on the cement tile. Hard. My teeth sliced into my tongue and my chin split open. Blood began to flow down my front.
I sat up with my hand over my nose and mouth, blood spurting between my fingers.
“Fuck. You.” I mumbled. As soon as everything stopped spinning, I got up and ran into the house.
A few moments later, Paradigm came to find me in the bathroom with my head in the sink running water over my face. I had a bloody towel in my hand that I whipped at him like a Matador, keeping a douche bag bull at a distance.
“You okay? You’re okay.” He said, managing me.
“Where’th Jeth?” I mumbled. My newly forked tongue couldn’t pronounce the letter “S”.
“Oh she and my friend disappeared. I imagine they will be busy for a while. So. We should take advantage of the time too. Why don’t you slip out of those wet clothes and into my bed? You’ll be more comfortable. Tomorrow we could watch a movie. Order Chinese?”
I was mad that Jess hasn’t come to check on me, that she left me to fend off this oaf, with my mouth full of blood. He tried to massage my shoulders. A little blood trickled down my chin, onto his hand.
Even with me looking like something out of Nightmare On Elm Street, this Paradigm guy was still definitely Up For It. Even with the left side of my face swelling up like a tennis ball, this guy was good to go. Still not sure why Joey Waters from tenth grade wasn’t interested in this hot piece of tail. In high school I was a cheerleader with BOTH sides of my face, AND a working tongue. Just who did you think you were, Joey? It just goes to show how compassionate this agent guy is. He isn’t driven by looks. He is willing to overlook things like a sudden cleft palate, a speech impediment, and severe blood loss. Not to mention complete lack of interest from the other party. Bravo.
But the pain was making me cranky and I’m totally a bridge burner. And right now this dude was like my River Kwai. So, I shrugged him off and moved to a couch in the next room crawling up in a ball. Paradigm stood over me for a moment not saying anything. Then he threw a pillow and afghan at me in anger or as the worst offer of hospitality ever.
“Don’t sit on the couch in those wet clothes. My Mom will get pissed,” and he left the room in a huff.
This isn’t even his house. This. Is. His. Mother’s. House.
Well, I had my chance and I let him get away. I seem to be missing part of my face at the most inopportune times. I bled onto the pillow until I finally fell asleep.
It’s so hard to get a movie made in this town. I should probably consider becoming a director because there aren’t many actors who can’t say the letter “s”. And I don’t think Amex is going to float me the money for reconstructive surgery anytime soon. How many hot tubs does Kenneth Branagh get pulled into you think?