I'm in Hollywood - Chapter 45

[Updated at: 2021-01-11 10:13:32]
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A few days later, as Eric predicted, the Los Angeles Daily exposed pictures of Julia leaving his house, and talked in detail about the \'rave\' he had held at home. It fleetingly mentioned the Home Alone crew being there, but emphasized more on the \'wave of young and beautiful women\' that attended.

Some newspapers also followed suit, but as they didn\'t have anything concrete to report on, they started criticizing Eric\'s personal conduct, turning him from an inspirational youth into an extravagant playboy that had abandoned his girlfriend for an underaged girl.

".….. Eric Williams is indeed a talented youth, but after too easily obtaining wealth, the young man has obviously started to go down the slope……"

"…… After just having left his clerk girlfriend and slept with Drew Barrymore, Eric Williams was immediately seen with someone else. According to our sources, the woman in the picture is one of the lead actresses of Mystic Pizza……"

"…… It\'s really hard to imagine that even Eric Williams would start a relationship with thirteen-year-old Drew Barrymore, however, it is undeniable that the young man\'s actions have violated the California law. I cannot help but be reminded of Roman Polanski, also a talented director, who committed the same unforgivable crime. In order to not repeat the past and have Eric Williams escape to Sri Lanka like his peer, I feel the L.A.P.D had better take measures against the man as soon as possible….."

And even some shady entertainment tabloids who couldn\'t find anything started to make baseless accusations. The favorable public image that Eric had established started crumbling.

The 20th Century Fox reacted as soon as the storm hit. 17 Again was still in theaters and they had just bought the Home Alone\'s overseas copyrights, so if they let Eric\'s image be trampled on, they would surely suffer huge economic losses.

As for Columbia, besides fulfilling their part of the gambling agreement, they just sat idly on the sidelines. Some employees from the Publicity Department had suggested their boss made a statement in order to appease the public, however, their idea was completely rejected. Blount Cohen had been bitterly done in by Eric, and the Publicity Department even suspected that their boss might have had a hand in all the mess, so they weren\'t willing to go plead on the youth\'s behalf.

The Fox\'s media outlets had made it their specialty to deal with those who discredited public figures in order to inflate their sales.

Soon, under the company\'s leadership, a counterattack was quickly launched, and through various means, they started to release speculations about a few controversial actors and directors. For a time, the North American newspapers were in a messy state, and the focus on Eric slightly shifted away.

People gradually started feeling that something was amiss. Although the media were good at manipulating the masses, not every citizen was stupid.

Soon, a not so famous paper called Hollywood News published an article on its front page, which would\'ve normally been completely ignored, but as the subject it dealt with was currently the trend, it immediately attracted attention.

"Christmas\' farce: blame the box office."

"The annual golden period that is Christmas is approaching. In previous years, film companies had done their best to promote their movies during that period, but this time, they are instead using a series of despicable means to discredit their competition. And all of this is thanks to wonder boy, Eric Williams."

"After one week of release, his two movies had already topped the box office."

"It should be known, that the number of screenings available during the Christmas period are limited, which leads to the studios competing with each other every year. Therefore, this time, in order for them to get a share of the pie, they shamelessly dragged Eric Williams in a variety of scandals and criticism."

"Regardless of the young director\'s misconduct - which has yet to be proven, I would like to say to those major movie companies; please go back to your usual competitive ways, stop using petty means to suppress your opponents and fight fair and square."

To the major newspapers, Hollywood News\' article was perceived more as a warning: stop what you\'re doing, we have his back - that\'s what it said. They quickly realized that the youth was no longer fighting alone and that he seemed to be in a sort of partnership with the Fox.

While some of the tabloids were reluctant to drop the topic, the more influential papers, who had a better understanding of the situation, immediately stopped in their tracks.

The storm seemed to have passed just like that.

A few days later, Eric who had been until now besieged by the crazy paparazzi, finally moved into his newly acquired Beverly Hills mansion and firmly shut his door. He didn\'t have to take a peak from his balcony anymore, just a glance from a window could let him see the line of conspicuous cars stationed in front of his new house. Ah, those relentless paps !

Jeffrey Hansen looked at the mansion behind the high walls with some envy, and pressed the doorbell. After a few minutes, Eric opened the door to welcome his old friend inside.

Glancing at the cars parked outside, Jeffrey Hanson asked: "Eric, you\'ve had to stay at home for several days now, how did you manage ?"

Once this matter was brought up, Eric felt depressed. The procedures for the Firefly movie company didn\'t require much of his help, and adding to that the upsetting flow of flashes that followed wherever he went, he had basically stayed home these days. Compared to his past where even a neet could lead a blissful life, this era had neither internet nor smartphones yet, so he had been bored to death.

"Writing a novel, writing a script, watching TV….. boring stuff. With the current state of things I don\'t even dare go out anymore. The last time, I went to a convenience store to buy a drink, and the next day a tabloid made up an article about how I had tried to seduce the clerk."

Jeffrey couldn\'t help but laugh in glee listening to him.

Eric led his friend to his study, which was on the second floor of the mansion. They had just entered, that Jeffrey saw a large cork board hung on one of the walls, densely packed with newspapers clippings and hand-written annotations.

"What is this for ?" Jeffrey walked up to it and curiously asked.

"Nothing," Eric stepped forward and chuckled as he ripped off one of the clippings: "I was bored, so I tried to gather some information from analyzing various tabloids and newspapers, hoping to figure out who was behind it all, so that in the future I could…. settle the score."

Jeffrey teased: "With Sherlock Holmes on the case, those guys had better be prepared."

Eric shrugged. In fact, he had been quite lucky to have been backed by the Fox this time, as it allowed him to get out of the mess rather unscathed. He hadn\'t yet reached the level of fame where fans would mourn sorrowfully at his death, like his past\'s Michael Jackson, so he couldn\'t be careless.

After a brief contemplation, Eric asked: "Right, Jeffrey, how are things going ?"

When the middle-aged man heard him, he pulled out a stack of papers from his briefcase and complained: "You, how can a boss be so laid-back, I\'ve had to do everything alone. It\'ll take about half a month to finish renovating the company\'s office. And here, this is the information you asked about various brokerage firms. Eric, do you really intend to buy one and set up an agency ?"

Eric took the data and said: "Of course, you\'ve seen how the CAA has gotten Stuart Runkle into its clutches, if I don\'t take proper measures, all the stars I mold are going to be snatched away."

"But a film company cannot possess its own brokerage firm."

Eric who was reading the files in his hands, said without looking up: "I know that, I wasn\'t planning on merging the two together, they will both be independent of each other, so there shouldn\'t be any legal problems."

"Alright, I\'ll let you handle that then. Right, you said your screenplay was completed ?"

Eric took out a manuscript from his desk and handed it over to Jeffrey: "It\'s done, wanna take a look ?"