It’s been 15 long months since I wrote that first missive and obviously things didn’t work out quite as I’d hoped.
But maybe it’s all part of a bigger plan that I am only just beginning to apreciate. Chasing Fate indeed.
After I’d posted that first optimistic blog we all threw ourselves into the process of getting a large production underway. First came the fun dinners as the producers and the writers and myself all became friends and we all tried to establish what made each other tick. They were enamoured of my video career and seemed obsessed by Britney’s ‘Oops’ video – I loved them for their enthusiasm and their determination to get this movie made with me at the helm. We started taking meetings at the Film Company and soon we were meeting casting directors and establishing what kind of movie we were making. It seemed that our budget would be about 15 million bucks and, in my quietest moments, I was full of awe that at last I was going to be making a real movie. “Don’t screw this one up!” I thought.
With a casting director in place the casting process began and as the pale Los Angeles winter crept upon us we spent hours and hours meeting every attractive and interesting and vaguely available young actor and actress in town. It was a fascinating process. Some were enormously talented, some were amazingly beautiful, some were obviously desperate, others were just plain ordinary. But as the months passed by I became more confidant and truly felt that we were all getting somewhere.
Meanwhile the project’s announcement had hit the papers. Amazingly I found myself and a certain enormously succesful entertainment person who was involved mentioned in the same headline in a Reuters report. “This is bloody marvellous!” I thought.
As we worked away I continued making videos. On one occasion, in order to remain available for casting in LA, I persuaded a six piece band from the UK (along with their managers and their label folk) against their wishes and at their expense to fly to LA so I could shoot them here rather leave town for a week and miss some meetings. I got permission to take a long-planned fortnight’s holiday in Australia and the casting sessions were adjusted to let me go. As I sat on the cusp of 2004 and cycled along a windy beach Down-Under I was very excited about what the New Year had in store for me. Even so, having been disappointed before, I told those around me that the back-slapping was very premature and they should keep their much-apreciated congratulatory messages on hold till the movie’s release party.
By the end of January we had our cast and my lawyer was spending hours hashing out my contract. A particularly tough point was the fact that he and my agent wanted me to get a Development Fee for all the hours I was spending working on the film. A compromise was reached and a sum agreed. I started turning work down to make myself available for the movie which was going to happen at any moment.
Then the Film Company bailed.
For a number of reasons, none of which were entirely clear but mostly I think to do with dollars, they announced didn’t want to make the film. The day after word came through that they had walked their lawyer rang me up demanding to know why I hadn’t signed my contract! I did the honest thing and suggested he should speak to his superiors. On reflection I should have kept my mouth shut and signed – I would have picked up that pesky Development Fee that had caused my lawyer so much grief.
My energetic producer was full of enthusiasm, “We’ll take it elsewhere,” he confidently predicted. But as the months drew on it seemed that no-one wanted to make a 15 million dollar movie and the cast we’d picked were too costly for a 5 million dollar version and didn’t justify the investment in a 30 million dollar one.
As the fallout became more noticable on the Hollywood Geiger Counter the script well dried up. The amazing head of steam I’d felt I was being propelled along by at the end of 2003 had evaporated and the press clippings waiting to be filed announcing our casting choices and possible start dates taunted me like old lovers who’d moved on to newer pastures. The be-suited gentleman in whose hands I had trusted my career and who’d so happily wined and dined me as we felt we were on the brink of such a major breakthrough now confessed that I was such a nice and talented guy that he thought someone else should look after my career. Let’s just translate that piece of amazing double speak into other words shall we? “You’re so brilliant, I’m firing you!”
Plainly it was the last gasp of my involvement with Chasing Fate and all I had was some memories of some fine free meals and a bunch of unrecouped Beverly Hills style parking receipts for all those hours spent in casting. For all our months of work neither myself, my manager or my lawyer had received a penny.
One Friday afternoon I was putting together a reel for someone and I found myself watching a clip from 2gether – perhaps the best script and only decent film I’ve directed. I giggled as I watched the guys do their stuff and suddenly it dawned on me. Kevin Farley was born to play Moe Jones – the lead of a script called CALLBACK – a low budge comedy I’d written with my pal Jordan a few years back.
A new plan of world domination quickly hatched in my fertile brain cell and this time I’m going public with it. To hell with Hollywood! I’m going to make another movie even if they don’t want me to. Kevin has agreed to play the lead and I’ve agreed to break the first law of film-making and I’m going to spend my own money making the movie if I have to. Moe Jones, the part Kevin will play, is a lovable but desperate actor in Hollywood, a very talented and decent fellow, who can’t get a gig. He decides he’ll do whatever it takes to get the part of the bad guy in the next Die Hard movie. It took a week for me to realise that perhaps Moe’s story, one that I’d started writing years ago, is eerily familiar to me. Hmm.
As I recall many film productions are made under the banner of a new incorporated company so that the finances of the production can be more easily handled. If this is the case I will call the company that makes Callback ‘Nice and Talented Guy’ inc.
There I’ve said it. I’m going to make the damn movie. Better get to work and produce something now otherwise I’ll look like a real wanker!