6.21.2006

Swimming Pools, Movie Stars

The problem with having a very rich fantasy life is that reality so often pales in comparison. Last night I had dinner with a movie star, which wasn’t nearly as fascinating as the many movie star dinners I’ve been having in my head all these years.

First off, the restaurant was nothing special. I go there all the time, as a matter of fact, with my sister and my friends, none of whom are the least bit famous. On this particular occasion I got there early so I wouldn’t be nervous about being late. I chose just the right table and whipped out a script to establish right off that I am every inch the Hollywood type, but nobody seemed to notice. Not the clueless waitress focusing on the minimum basic requirements of her own job, not the male schoolteacher tossing graded papers onto a growing stack with a successively longer sigh. A couple of writers wiling away the afternoon alone got up to leave, the last of the dwindling lunch crowd, minutes before my companion arrived for dinner. Why were we having dinner at a place that closes at seven, anyway? How would the paparazzi find us?

At that point it occurred to me that what interested me most was not merely having dinner with a star, nor even about our working together, but instead by the notion of being seen doing all that. What’s that about a tree falling in a forest and not making a sound? “You guys should order now if you want soup,” the oblivious waitress said once my companion arrived. “It tastes like glue once they turn off the burners and have to re-heat it.”

Have you never seen a movie?” I wanted to shout. “Ask this woman for an autograph, you dolt!” I mean, my God, J. has been in pretty much all of them over the last twenty years, with and without her equally famous brother all girls my age have a crush on. Then again, J. wasn’t even wearing dark sunglasses, just jeans and sneakers like another unassuming Midwest housewife—despite her being one of the most popular comedic actresses of our time, with two Oscar nominations to show for it.

She’s recently started her own production company in partnership with her former agent, whose first big project is a biopic of a famous chef and WWII spy. In hopes of attaching me to write it, my manager had sent my semi-autobiographical sample script about three disinherited siblings who pull off a heist. (No we did not pull off a heist together in real life). J. casually informed me that she’d be ordering the artichoke and goat cheese salad and that she was interested in making my movie, as if these two thoughts deserved equal weight in a single sentence. “I even told my brother about it,” she added, squeezing a lemon wedge over her iced tea. “Do you see any Splenda around?”

“I’m sorry, can we go back?” I said, not about to let artificial sweetener come between me and this juicy tidbit. “What did your brother say about my script?”

“He said he’d do it.”

Star-struck rube that I am, I’ve been around Hollywood long enough to know that about a hundred things would have to happen before the two J's star together in my movie. But the mere idea of it all was enough to release any lingering disappointments I may have had about being in the moment. There I sat, just me and the movie star tossing around a few additional casting ideas. Although real sugar doesn't work as well in iced tea as the substitute, the thing about Hollywood is that every once in awhile, real life does turn out better than the movie version.

31 comments:

  1. i love the male j.

    although he is kinda single handedly resposible for causing severe over expectation of men in women my age. did he REALLY have to nail those parts quite THAT well?

    if it's the j i think it is, of course . . .

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  2. Ah, Marty and Sgt. Pepper...j & j...sorry, I realize its not a contest.

    But very very cool...in a 'at my ten year reunion, it was just as if everybody swelled' kind of way.
    But this sounds like the good kind of swell - one swell dinner.

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  3. I know exactly who you're talking about (being where I'm from, and all that). They're the real deal. I hope it works out--it would be fantastic working on a project with them!

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  4. Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! How cool is this?! I don't even care what you ate! (oh, like you could even remember what you ate after that...)

    Don't forget to blog how this one turns out, Julie - remember; I don't read the trades...

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  5. Holy shit. That is HUGE. Congratulations.

    I hope I was nice enough to you before you became such a big shot.

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  6. Well, I think snubbing you for my bigger deal Hollywood pals is a tad premature. I don't know about Chicago, but talk is so very cheap in Hollywood.

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  7. "Well, I think snubbing you for my bigger deal Hollywood pals is a tad premature"

    Don't be so sure - a preemptive snub can actually elevate your status. Oldest trick in the book.

    You're getting so big I may have to snub you to crawl my way back to the middle of the Hollywood pack.

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  8. Vlad Tepes9:53 AM

    Either your celebrity guest stars are getting easier to guess or um... Yeah. Your celebrity guest stars are getting easier to guess. Congratulations! Even if talk is cheap, this is pretty exciting stuff.

    P.S. I agree with you 100%, Tim.

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  9. The new system is designed not to conceal anybody's identitity, per se, but rather to discourage Google searchers from coming here looking for dirt on a particular celebrity. And I think we were all tiring of the adorably ambiguous monikers. So have your fun but remember, no obvious search terms and for heaven's sake no name dropping. We're all just too cool for that.

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  10. Julie, you are on a ROLL!

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  11. Oh. My. God. I'm glad it's you because if it were me, I'd have peed my pants in giddiness and no one wants to see that. Tim Woods is right, Male J has caused years over overexpectation on my part. Go, Julie! Spin on, dreamweaver!

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  12. I love the swimming pool! Ludivine Sagnier is very, very hot!

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  13. clueless, and i supposedly work in this biz. at midnight on the island that never sleeps, my brain must be sleeping.

    anyway, congrats. i dont have those kind of meetings where we decide to make movies that wont be made very often. i usually do them on the phone....

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  14. This is my first time at your place and call me clueless but I haven't figured out who you are talking about yet. Alas, I'll have to go back and think a little. A difficult task for this blonde mom!

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  15. "He said he'd do it" - OMG those are words I would so love to hear (and in a purely writerly way, not some kind of kinky perv way, honest). Way to go, Julie!

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  16. simply awesome. a neat duality though- the dinner not being the dream you thought it would be...but the mention of the 'wanting to do your script' being the goal in most of those dreams...that, and maybe some sweet sweet loving (maybe that's just me)

    Congrats

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  17. Wow! That's fantastic! Congratulations, and good luck. I hope the movie works out. Even if this one doesn't, though, it sounds like you're on the right track.

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  18. I've got my fingers crossed for you!

    It's funny - when I dated Mr. Movie Star, the 'movie-starness' (twinkly lights in the air, uncontrolled giggling on my part, etc..) wore off fast and all of a sudden there was this normal guy (well, sort of normal but that's a long story) that I had to deal with like any other boyfriend.

    Hmmm.. it's hot and Mr. Movie Star has a pool, which is about all I'm interested in right now.

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  19. Okay, I'm pretty damn slow because I just figured out who both J's are. I may be wrong, but the male's birthday is today. It was mentioned on Countdown with Keith Obermann.

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  20. Very kewl and I hope all works out for you!

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  21. Ah Julie, ever so funny. :-)

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  22. I have no clue but if it is older J's we are talking about, and the male J who takes like years to decide on a project?

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  23. Nice. I see three JCs in here. Is there a prize?

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  24. You know when you feel like you're in a movie that things are going right. Unfortunately, you never know the genre of the film you're in. My first screenplay gig was for a big shot movie star and that was quite a ride. Congratulations!
    screenwriter bones
    http://www.screenwriterbones.blogspot.com

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  25. This rocks, the Js rock and you rock. Good for you!

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  26. "Congrats" just doesn't do it for me anymore. Thrilled you for and genuinely glad to read your success stories, even the ones in smaller measure. But "congrats" is all I can come up with at the moment.

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  27. Fabulous! Congratulations. That is very cool. I love her. She's one of the funniest actresses out there and her brother KILLS me with laughter. Wouldn't you love to be at Thanksgiving at their house this year? It's gotta be hilarious.

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  28. I look forward to the time when bloggers will need to refer to you by a mysterious initial, too.

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  29. Anonymous12:55 PM

    Julie,
    I sincerely hope your development deal isn't at Disney in light of the recent 'restructuring' of the company.

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  30. Congrats!
    Also, like others who read it, I think your blog is very entertaining. When are we going to get a new update? It's been over a month since your last post. Thanks!

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  31. I adore those Js, she will be extra-blessed to have you as a project partner, I can't wait to read more about the progress, and I'm already looking forward to adding the title to my IMDB list of must-see movies.

    Just. Fabulous.

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