I'm in Hollywood - Chapter 56

[Updated at: 2021-01-11 10:13:36]
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Kapoor looked over and said: "Well, it\'s probably because of the 1985 incident. Al Pacino starred in a 30 million $ production from the Warner, they invested so much but the movie only made about the same sum at the box office, so Al chose to temporarily withdraw from the screen because of the pressure back then. I recently heard he was trying to make a comeback though, so I added him to the list."


Thinking of Scent of a Woman and the wild, manly charm that Al had exuded then as a blind retired army officer, Eric couldn\'t help but ask: "Kapoor, is there anyway we can sign him ?"


Kapoor hesitated: "We can give it a try. But Al Pacino is one of the rising stars from the seventies, although that 1985 movie was a bust, there\'s nothing wrong with Al\'s performance. The guy was nominated four times for best actor at the Oscars so far. Since he has been hinting at a comeback, I believe that many agencies will be competing to win him over, and we have yet anything to show for us in terms of achievements."


Eric knew that what Kapoor said was true, but he still said: "Anyways, we need give it a try. Contact him as soon as possible and tell him about Pretty Woman, I\'d really like him to play Edward if possible."


"Okay." Kapoor nodded, then pointed at the pile of files that Eric had singled out and said: "Should I also extend invitations to these people ?"


"Not for the time being, no. You first try to get in touch with Al Pacino, and if he refuses the offer, we\'ll contact these ones."


For the next few days, Eric held constant auditions for the supporting roles, had to scout for filming locations, contact those locations, and still wrote the script every night.


Meanwhile, he also took the time to contact a girls\' only boarding school in L.A, readily becoming their sponsor. While there was less than ten days to Christmas, he had to convince the goblin at home to move out earlier. Living with her was seriously a headache, he had to be on guard against sudden nocturnal attacks all the time, he certainly didn\'t want something like the previous incident to happen again.


……


"Eric, I\'ve got a good news and a bad news, which one do you want to hear first ?" It was a new day at the office, and Eric was sitting at his desk looking through a financial report when Jeffrey came barging in without even bothering to knock.


Seeing the middle-aged man undisguised expression of glee, Eric laughed: "The good one first."


Jeffrey pulled out a contract from his briefcase and handed it over to Eric. He said: "Lamborghini has agreed to our sponsorship offer, they\'ll provide us with their upcoming Lamborghini Diablo sports car. After I repeated to them everything you told me the other day, they scrambled to sign down. See here, that\'s the contract, a full 1 million $ ! Hahaha, once this news gets out, other movie companies will be green with envy, some can\'t even make one million at the box office."


Eric took the contract and went through it. It was true, Lamborghini had indeed promised to pay a 1 million $ advertising fee, provided of course that Pretty Woman\'s North American box office reached the 100 million $ mark. If its grossing was less than that, Firefly Studios would have to compensate them accordingly, while if it was higher, Lamborghini would be the one to make adjustments.


This was something common from where he came from, so Eric wasn\'t particularly excited, he chuckled at his friend: "Jeffrey, you\'re too excited, what if we can\'t reach the expected box office and need to return the fee ?"


Jeffrey calmed down when he thought of the possibility, and he anxiously said: "It won\'t happen.… right ? Didn\'t you say you had confidence the movie would do great ?"


Eric waved his hand: "I\'m just teasing you. So, what about the bad news ?"


"The bad news is that I\'ve contacted several famous jewelry companies, and they all turned me down. There\'s just one jeweler who reluctantly agreed to provide us with a set of jewels for the filming."


Eric looked at the old man in amazement, he said: "Jeffrey, although I\'m glad you\'re doing your best out there, don\'t forget that Vivian is a hooker, for anyone to be willing to let us put their jewelry on her is nothing short of a wonder, really."


"…. Right, I didn\'t think of this." Jeffrey mused, and tentatively asked: "Eric, why don\'t you change Vivian\'s character to a white-collar worker, I think….."


"Don\'t even, Jeffrey. Modifying a script to suit the need of a sponsor is idiotic. You stick to your job as a producer, okay ? I don\'t think I\'ll ever listen to any advice you have to give when it comes to the movie contents."


"Cough, cough, well I do have past antecedents…." Jeffrey smiled in embarrassment, and added: "Right, did Al Pacino respond to you ? I heard you wanted to invite him to star in the movie."


"Kapoor contacted him, he called me last night saying that Al Pacino was now in New York for a Broadway play or something like that."


"Then you have to convince him as soon as possible,"Jeffrey persuaded, "We\'re nearing the Christmas holidays, if we don\'t have a lead by that time, we won\'t be able to shoot immediately afterwards."


Eric nodded confidently: "Don\'t worry, I\'m keeping track of the time."


……


The value of the dollar at this time was quite high, so a sponsorship fee of 1 million $ was simply tremendous. Eric\'s mansion that he had bought for about 2 million, would see its value multiplied by ten roughly two decades from now. Lamborghini\'s upcoming Diablo car was priced at only 240,000 $, yet they had actually been willing to cough up so much for publicity\'s sake; it wasn\'t long before the news was out.


For a time, all kinds of articles filled with jealousy, envy and hate flooded the newspapers.


The Los Angeles Times quipped: "For a film production cost rumored to only be of 7 million $, Eric Williams has somewhat managed to get himself sponsored by Lamborghini, hereby recovering a seventh of his investment. It seems that the youth is not only a directing genius, but also a business genius."


Hollywood News questioned him: "1 million $ in sponsorship fees, does Eric Williams intend to dedicate his entire movie to advertising a car ? Just looking at its title, Pretty Woman - as revealed by the Firefly Studios, I am having troubles linking the movie up with Lamborghini\'s brand, and am seriously beginning to doubt the standards of Eric Williams upcoming project."


Worse than those few articles, the latest issue of Film Review vehemently criticized him: "Eric Williams is acting like a spoiled kid who has just discovered Hollywood. Asking something as outrageous as a 1 million $ in advertising sponsorship fee is simply blaspheming art. If Eric Williams is successful in getting his way, one can only imagine how thrilled those profit-seeking producers will be to put the concept in place. We therefore call upon all lovers of the seventh art to boycott Eric Williams\' upcoming movie."


Unfortunately, Film Review was a much too high-end source, and although Americans liked movies, they weren\'t too interested in those over serious movie magazines. So while those remarks from the old-fashioned and conservative filmmakers circle set off some waves, it didn\'t have much impact.


What was taking place outside wasn\'t really affecting Eric, he was still conscientiously preparing for Pretty Woman.


Of course, besides the problem of the male lead, the preparations were almost over. All that was left were trivial details that did not require Eric\'s presence and were left for Jeffrey to take care of.


"Eric, if you insist on having Al Pacino, you might need to go on trip to New York." Kapoor\'s expression was somewhat haggard as he sat opposite Eric and said.


Eric personally got up and handed him a cup of coffee for him, before asking: "You mind telling me why ?"


"Al Pacino has some questions about your script, and keeps stalling because he wanted to have a talk with you face to face, however he can\'t come to Los Angeles since he is performing Richard III in Broadway right now."


Eric had planned on going to New York by Christmas to see Aniston. If he didn\'t go and claim her back, then the lass was sure to throw herself into someone else\'s arms, and he would suffer a big loss.


"No problem, I was just about to head up there anyways. How about you come with me Kapoor, maybe we can try to convince him to join UTA ?"


Kapoor nodded: "I was thinking the same, right now Al only has a manager but no agent. No matter what, we\'ll have to at least try."


"That\'s settled then, find us plane tickets as soon as possible, tonight or tomorrow would do. If we can\'t convince him, we\'ll have to fly back and proceed with auditioning other actors."


The discussion over, Eric drove away towards an all-girls\' school* located near the Rose Bowl stadium in Los Angeles, it was where Drew had been sent a few days ago.


He had just met the girl that she started complaining endlessly to him: "Eric, I beg you, send me to another school, are you afraid I\'ll convert to the Scientology or Satanism ? Ugh, Catholic schools are sooo boring, they\'re all girls, and their teachings are moronic to the core."


Eric smiled as he flicked the girl\'s forehead. He himself was originally from the east, and also didn\'t believe in their teachings, the reason why he had sent Drew here was mainly because of Jeffrey\'s recommendation. It was a very strict Catholic boarding school that would be able to keep Drew from skipping class or escaping.


"Alright Drew, there\'s no way you can transfer out, I had to pay a lot of sponsorship money to get you in, you know ? I came to tell you that I\'ll be in New York for the next few days, and if everything goes well, I\'ll come back after Christmas. You have a key to my house, so if you don\'t want to go back to your mother\'s place, you can go to mine. If you need anything, just call Jeffrey, he\'ll take care of it."


Drew asked, dispirited: "You\'re going to see Aniston ?"


Eric nodded.


They chatted a bit before he drove away in a hurry, leaving behind a girl full of grievances.


_ _ _ _


* It doesn\'t say, but I\'m pretty sure it\'s referring to Westridge School in Pasadena, it\'s the only all-girls\' school near the Rose Bowl Stadium.



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