I'm in Hollywood - Chapter 53

[Updated at: 2021-01-11 10:13:35]
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Since the news that Drew had stayed overnight at Eric\'s home broke, newspapers and tabloids\' sales directly shot up. Eric reckoned the number of paparazzi would probably also proportionally increase.

The next day after he acquired the agency, articles had already started to pop up.

One of the reporters from The Los Angeles Daily:

"It is difficult to understand why Eric Williams has chosen to buyout Sid Agency. Kapoor Sid indeed possesses outstanding ability as an agent, however, thanks to his fallout with Michael Ovitz, he was evicted from the CAA and has been struggling in the industry ever since. Rumor has it that Kapoor Sid had initially intended to sell the agency and develop in Europe, however Eric Williams\' insisted on his staying. It seems that the young director\'s success has gotten to his head, and he probably still does not realize that going against the CAA was probably not the wisest choice to make."

The Hollywood Reporter focused on the matter of Eric increasing the commission:

"Renamed as the "United Talent Agency", it has been reported to us that the first thing Eric Williams did once he took over, was to increase the incoming commissions to 10%. It was also said that Eric Williams would give priority to his own agency\'s actors and actresses whenever he\'d shoot a movie. As long as his standard remains similar to 17 Again or Home Alone, let alone 10, even if he was to demand 20%, it would still be enough to make a lot of people join him in drove. However, this is only wishful thinking as making movies is like gambling, and one just cannot keep on winning. We believe Eric Williams might have some difficulty getting through this year unscathed."

It was the same with other newspapers, they were all criticizing Eric\'s move. Some had even tried to squeeze out everything of this hot topic, and issued an invitation to interview Michael Ovitz.

What was even more surprising was that the CAA\'s boss hadn\'t declined, and although he hadn\'t came forward himself, he had let his assistant disclose that he was very optimistic about Eric Williams\' potential, and hoped that their two sides would be able to cooperate.

There was seemingly nothing wrong with this statement, however some of the media saw things differently; to them, it was simply a veiled warning to the young director: as long as Kapoor Sid stands on your side, the chance of us cooperating is slim.

But of course, those were only conjectures.

Then, it was announced that Eric\'s next movie would be called Pretty Woman, and it didn\'t take long for the resourceful paparazzi to find out that the director had extended an invitation to Richard Gere.

This made the paps excited again as Richard Gere was a signed artist of the CAA. Under normal circumstances, the actor would probably accept Eric\'s invitation without a second thought, however things were different now, and if the negotiations fell out, it was enough to confirm the paps\' previous speculations.


In the newly renovated Firefly Studios\' conference room, Horner Willie sat leisurely with a cup of coffee. He was one of the best CAA\'s agents, and was also the one in charge of Richard Gere, which was the reason for his presence here.

The conference room\'s door was pushed open, and Eric came in dressed in a suit. He went over to the man and smiled as he extended his hand: "I’m sorry to have kept you waiting, Mr. Willie."

"Never mind." Horner Willie disdainfully stood up, shook hands with Eric, and proceeded to sit back down.

Eric slightly frowned as he sat opposite Horner Willie, before he swept the conference room with his gaze in puzzlement. "Mr. Willy, I remember asking Mr. Gere to come, as the concerned party, why isn\'t he here ?"

Horner Willie shook his head and said: "Richard is busy with other things, he has given me carte blanche to handle this matter."

Although he already had an inkling as to where this was going, Eric still politely asked: "I sent a general outline of the script for Mr. Gere to read, I wonder what he thought of it ?"

Horner Willie said: "Richard read your screenplay and was very satisfied, Mr. Williams, it\'s just that, the 500,000 $ paycheck that you are offering is hardly satisfying. You should know that, Richard starred in An Officer and a Gentleman, a movie that made a North American box office of more than 100 million $."

Eric sneered in his heart, that self-righteous guy was taking him for a greenhorn. "Mr. Willie, I was still small when An Officer and a Gentleman came out… Right, in which year was it released again ? I\'d like to have a look at it later."

"1982." Horner Willie blurted out, and noticing the unconcealed ridicule in Eric\'s eyes, the man realized he had been played.

A Hollywood actor\'s paycheck was mostly based on how much one of their movies made at the box office; the higher it was, the more they would get. However, it was calculated based on the box office and other factors of recent years. An Officer and a Gentleman had already been released seven years ago, so it basically had no worth as a reference now.

Before issuing an invite to Richard Gere, Eric had made his research and was fully aware of the man\'s current circumstances. In last three years, the movies he starred in hadn\'t made a single good box office, the only decent one was No Mercy, with a final grossing of only 12 million $. One of the movies he had recently done a cameo for had only made a final box office of 180,000 $. No, you didn\'t read wrong, it was indeed a miserly 180,000 $.

So Eric was being generous with his 500,000 $ offer.

"Well, Mr. Willie, since you estimate that my offer is not enough, let\'s hear what you have in mind."

Horner Willie quickly composed himself, he said: "Actually, Mr. Williams, your 500,000 $ offer isn\'t something we can\'t accept. My boss is a generous man, and as long as Kapoor Sid leaves the United States, he will not make it hard for him. It was originally meant to be this way, but with you interfering, it has put Mr.Ovitz in a difficult position, so…."

Eric sneered: "So the premise for our cooperation is blackmailing me to dismiss Kapoor, is it ? How ridiculous, he is forcing a man to leave the country and you still have the nerve to call him generous."

"Mr. Williams." Horner Willie\'s face turned cold: "Although you have made some achievements, in front of the immensity of the CAA, you\'re simply akin to an ant. It would be wise of you to accept our offer and…."

"And if I don\'t ?"

"Then I\'d like to remind you, Mr. Williams, that Stuart Runkle is one of our signed artists, and if you go against us, I\'m afraid that you won\'t be able to successfully shoot Home Alone\'s sequel."

"It seems that the CAA has expanded so much that they\'ve forgotten their purpose." Eric didn\'t try to hide the sneer on his face, "Let me remind you that you\'re a talent agency whose aim is to put the interest of its clients above everything. It\'s the only way you can survive."

Horner Willie snorted: "We do not need your reminder, Mr. Williams. We\'ve always been doing so, and even though we couldn\'t reach an agreement, we\'ll get Richard to star in another movie as compensation. The CAA does not lack high-quality film projects, you see."

"I hope that after Pretty Woman is released, Mr. Richard Gere will still feel your compensation was enough." Eric said in a meaningful tone, before standing up and saying: "Mr. Willie, there\'s no need for further discussion. Go back and tell Mr. Ovitz, that although Hollywood does not lack actors, as long as a CAA signed artist enters my sight, I will keep extending invitations, but will never accept any of your binding conditions. I hope at that time you will be wise enough to not refuse me."

Horner Willie looked coldly at Eric and said: "I hope you won\'t regret today\'s decision."

Then, without saying anything more, he picked up his documents and left straight away.