I'm in Hollywood - Chapter 16

[Updated at: 2021-01-11 10:13:23]
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“What do you want to eat ? I have some…. uhm, chocolates, and apples ?” Eric asked as he opened his somewhat empty refrigerator.

Stuart Runkle who was sitting on the couch, shook his head and said: “No, eating late at night is not a good habit, however if you have milk, you can give me a glass as drinking it helps better sleep at night.”

Eric’s eyebrows arched, he poured a glass of milk to Stuart and asked: “Where did you learn these things ?”

“In books, Eric don’t think that because I’m small I don’t understand anything, I’m already seven years old you know.”

Eric laughed and nodded: “Well, big guy, why did your parents quarrel about today ?”

“Dad resigned to start his own company, and when he told mom, they started to fight. Sigh, women are really troublesome, when dad was still working there, she would nag him everyday about how the size of the company was too small and that it had no future. Now that dad finally mustered up the courage to resign, mom said he was irresponsible for giving up the house’s only stable income.”

Eric nonchalantly sat on the sofa, he didn’t really care about the Runkle’s couple, he chewed an apple and smiled: “I think that you little fellow, heard and saw too many things not suitable for your age.”

Stuart grinned and his eyes sparkled as he heard the compliment, he jumped off the couch, sat down beside Eric and asked: “Eric, are you still filming ?”

Eric nodded: “Yeah, it’ll soon be over though, so don’t forget to ask your mom to take you to watch it.”

“Eric, do you think I can make a movie ?”

“Ha ? Stu, how did you suddenly come up with this idea ?”

Stuart’s eyes glowed with hope as he replied: “I heard that movie stars are payed a lot, so if I became one, I would be able to make a lot of money and mom and dad wouldn’t have to fight anymore.”

If the Runkle couple had heard those words, they would have certainly felt ashamed.

Eric thought for a bit before saying: “But you’re too young now. You may not know, but children are the most difficult to control during filming, and people usually try to minimize their screen time. There was once a director whose child actor started bawling on set, and the entire crew was paralyzed. There’s also the Child Protection Act, I think it’s better if you wait until you’re old enough, maybe when you’re eighteen like me.”

“Hey Eric, do you think I’m like those kids ? I’ll behave, you know. I heard that you’re a scriptwriter, you could also write a role for me, please Eric, I would be so grateful to you.” Stuart looked at Eric with sparkling eyes.

Although this child was more clever than children his age, he was still a kid after all. It was naive to think that as long as Eric helped write a character for him, he could go and play in a movie…

Eric’s heart jumped slightly, he sat up and carefully seized up the boy. He had suddenly thought of someone: Macaulay Culkin. The global superstar child from Home Alone.

At this instant, an extremely bold idea involuntarily started to form in Eric’s mind. It was still not completely clear, but he knew that if he the plan was a success, he could directly cross the most difficult stage of experience accumulation, age and fund problems, as well as other factors, that got in the way of his dreams. Although this would be a difficult challenge, but if he didn’t try, how would he know he couldn’t do it ? Life was a battlefield that had to be treaded !

He looked at the kid that had unknowingly laid on his lap; at least with Stuart’s IQ, the movie’s biggest uncertainty was gone.

“Hey Stu, to be honest, I do have a role for you, and it’s even the protagonist.”

Hearing him, Stuart raised his small head as he asked: “Eric, what’s a protagonist ?”

“The protagonist is…. the one who takes the biggest paycheck.”

“I’ll do it ! I’ll do it !”

Eric said: “I’ll have to get the consent of your parents first, so let’s get you home, that way I’ll be able to ask them.”

Eric had just gone out of the door while holding Stuart’s little hand, that he heard the sound of the Runkle’s couple next door.

“I am warning you, Charlie Runkle, if anything happens to Stuart, I’m getting a divorce !”

Charlie Runkle who had been on the losing side during the quarrel, suddenly roared: “Oh shut up bitch ! Iif you hadn’t stirred up this quarrel, would Stu even leave ?! Let’s go and check the basement, he might be hiding inside.”

Mary Runkle was frightened by her husband’s sudden shout, and indeed, it was her own fault.She started following behind her husband when Eric’s voice sounded not far.

“Hey, Mr. and Mrs. Runkle, don’t worry, Stu is here.” Eric held Stuart up and the both of them were relieved once they saw him in the former’s arms.

Stuart returned to his parents’ side, and once the Runkle couple heard Eric’s account, they regretted and promised not to quarrel in front of their children again.

“Actually, Mr. and Mrs. Runkle, there’s something I’d like to talk to you about. Stu just told me that he wanted to play in a movie, and I just happened to have a script that is perfectly suited for him. With how clever this little guy is, he would be able to do it without a problem.”

The couple was taken aback, if they didn’t know about Eric, they would probably treat his words as a joke. However, the youth had now even appeared in the newspapers, so although it was sudden, they had some expectations.

The couple had been disappointed with their life, that much could be observed by how often they argued. If their son became a movie star… What followed was obvious.

“Eric, would you tell us a little bit about the movie ?”

Eric said: “Of course, it’s a comedy about a little boy who finds himself at home alone as his parents have carelessly forgotten him…”

It took him five minutes to generally sum up the story, then he added: “I just had a chat with Stu, and found out that his IQ is probably even higher than what I was hoping for, so if you’re not against it, by all means, let him try.”

The couple stared at their son who was sitting nearby, pretending to be well-behaved.

“Daddy, Mommy, I think I can do it, and the story is really great.”

“I think you’re too young…” Charlie hadn’t even finished speaking that he was pinched by Mary.

“Eric, can you let us think about it ?”

“No problem.” Eric nodded, but added: “But you have to get back to me as soon as possible.The movie is due for the Christmas period, and if it does well, it’s likely to become a series. So if you agree to it, Stu will be the main lead.”

A series… Even as ordinary people, they knew what it meant: the paycheck would just get higher and higher.

Meanwhile, Eric hadn’t found an easy way to tell the Runkle couple that he would personally direct the movie. The plan hadn’t even taken shape and he couldn’t be sure it would succeed, but he didn’t want to give Home Alone to the 20th Century Fox, or any other film companies, he was intent on making it fully independently by himself. For someone with only half a foot in the industry’s circle, the difficulty of such a challenge could well be imagined.

Back home, Eric’s excitement kept him awake as he sat in front of his typewriter and started writing the Home Alone script while he furiously thought about the specifics of his plan.

The first was money, then actors. Apart from Stuart, the two robbers were the top priority, and Eric didn’t plan to invite his past life’s Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern. The two of them were already famous actors and Pesci had also won an Oscar for best supporting actor. With his money, he definitely couldn’t afford them.

Eric would have to find TV comedians instead. In this era, television and movies actors’ statuses weren’t comparable, some were even ashamed to tell people they played in TV shows, so their contracting fees were very low.

For the location, Canada would do. It was now autumn in Los Angeles, but northern Canada was sure to have many places with snow.

The other things to watch for would be ……

The lights in the room were on the whole night, and as the sun rays started to stream through the windows, Erich stood up and stretched.

After a few hours of planning, he got many things down. The Home Alone of his past had an initial budget of 18 million $, which, from Eric’s perspective, came mainly from the shooting costs and promotion stunts. The filming alone would only cost a few millions, most of which would be the actors and director’s remuneration.

Now, Eric had the complete Home Alone movie in his head, he just had to transpose it, so he wouldn’t have to be unnecessary wasteful.

As for publicity, he had his own plans. But no matter how frugal he was, he needed at least 1 million $, or the film couldn’t be shot.

One million… The 17 Again paycheck would soon come in, so that was 500,000 $, if you included the remaining royalties from the screenplay, that was about 600,000 $ in total.

Jurassic Park was also selling like hot cakes, and if he discussed it with Michael, he should be able to get 200,000 $ more, which left him in need of another 200,000$ to fill the remaining gap.

Eric decided to cross the bridge when he got there, and started his preparations instead.