I'm in Hollywood - Chapter 70[Updated at: 2021-01-11 10:13:41]
Kapoor had timed everything accurately, and they arrived at the Beverly Hilton at 4:20pm. The ceremony wouldn\'t start until 5pm.
The waiting area was packed with small groups chatting. With a casual glance, Eric spotted Tom Hanks, Tom Cruise, and Sigourney Weaver. These giants from his past had seemed so out of reach back then.
After his last six months in Hollywood, there were very few people who didn\'t know Eric, so whether they had met before or not, once they spotted him, they would nod in a friendly way.
He walked through the huddle of guests and arrived at the Home Alone\'s crew area. Maybe it was arranged by the organizers, the 17 Again crew was right next to them.
Eric first went towards them and greeted Penny Marshall, Susan Sarandon and the rest. Drew took the initiative to release Eric\'s arm and stay with the 17 Again crew.
Compared to the other areas, Home Alone\'s seemed deserted. Jeffrey was still in New York, while the two actors who played the robbers were busy shooting another movie.
Matthew Perry had been the first the be signed, snatched away by the WMA. However, unlike some others, he was courteous enough to show up at the get-together Eric had organized during the Christmas season, and had expressed his willingness to work with the young director again.
In comparison, the Runkle couple\'s attitude had been a disappointment.
"Charlie, Mary, good afternoon." Turning towards the Home Alone crew, Eric smiled and shook hands with the two of them. The couple\'s faces were glowing, the media had always focused on their son, it was the first time they had attended this kind of event.
"Hello, Eric." The couple smiled and returned the handshake, but anyone could see they were straining themselves. They had changed.
Eric didn\'t mind, he squatted next to them and was about to cheerfully greet Stuart when a voice abruptly interrupted: "Mr. Williams, we meet again."
Eric hadn\'t noticed that there was someone else standing next to the couple. The last time he had seen the middle-aged man was when the latter was storming out of a conference room: CAA agent, Horner Willie.
The CAA operated in a certain way, and if that man was here, it was obviously because he had been one of the agents assigned to Stu. However…. Eric knitted his brows, he still remembered how the guy had acted during their last meeting. There could be only one reason why he had chosen to come instead of someone else: intimidation.
Eric coldly glanced at the man\'s outstretched hand, and blankly said: "Hello Mr. Willie, it\'s nice to see you."
Although he said so, his tone was completely detached. Horner, however, seemed pleased with himself. He smiled, and took his hand back, not appearing strained at all.
As a first class agent, he didn\'t need to attend today\'s events, but he had personally chosen to. Eric\'s previous refusal had been akin to a slap to the man\'s face, and the reason he had come here was to make the youth realize that, since Stuart was now a CAA signed artist, he would need to bow to the CAA if he wanted to shoot Home Alone\'s sequel.
However, Horner Willie actually mistook Eric\'s disdainful demeanor for fear, so when he saw him bend over to pick Stu up, he stepped forward and said: "Mr. Williams, Stuart is now my client, if there\'s anything you need, you\'ll have to address me, there\'s now use fawning over the child I\'m afraid."
Eric swept Horner Willie up and down, and noticing the man\'s meticulously coiffed hair and unblemished clothes, the corner of his lips rose. He leaned towards Stuart and whispered: "Stu, I know you hate the guy, wanna show him how far your spit can fly ?"
Stuart\'s eyes instantly lit up, he looked right and left, before turning to face Horner Willie.
Horner Willie shrieked, before he malevolently glared at both Eric and Stuart. He took out a handkerchief from his suit pocket, but froze in horror at the sight of the loogie on his chest.
Charlie Runkle hastily scrambled to wipe it off the man: "I\'m sorry, I\'m so sorry Mr. Willie."
Mary looked unhappily at Eric but didn\'t dare get angry at him, she turned to her son and said: "Stuart, hurry and apologize to Uncle Willie."
Stuart, who probably found comfort in now being held by Eric, blatantly ignored his mother by turning his head aside.
"Let\'s go Stu, I\'ll introduce you to a huge star, I\'m sure you\'ll like Tom Hanks."
Eric, without caring about anyone else, made his way towards the BIG crew while holding the little guy.
Stuart said with a tinge of pride: "I am a huge star now, Eric."
Eric smiled and asked: "And what is it like ?"
The little guy\'s expression changed, he shook his head and said: "Not good. I thought that if I earned a lot of money then my parents would be happy, but they fought even more after that, and dad found himself another woman."
Eric froze and looked down at the precocious 7-year-old boy in his arms: "How do you know all this Stu ? And do your parents know that you do ?"
Stewart shook his head: "If they did, they would have already divorced. The only reason they\'re still together is because they\'re not confident they can win my custody."
Eric tentatively asked: "Stu, do you know what the words you\'ve used mean ?"
"I had to hear them a few times before I did. Right, Eric, my dad took me to pass a test a while ago," Stu then leaned towards Eric\'s ear and continued, whispering: "I have an IQ of 177, dad was really excited and wanted to tell the reporters about it, but that Horner Willie said it had to remain confidential and couldn\'t be disclosed, so dad kept his mouth shut."
Eric sighed, but couldn\'t stop the sneer that took form at the corner of his mouth once he thought of Horner Willie\'s cheap trick. The reason the guy hadn\'t wanted to disclose Stu\'s IQ was obviously because he was afraid it would boost Home Alone\'s entries. Foolish thinking, the movie was already on its last rope, that kind of information wouldn\'t do much anyways.
At the BIG crew area, Eric put Stuart down and gave a greeting hug to Tom Hanks.
Tom glanced with schadenfreude at Horner Willie who was hurrying to leave the place: "That was a seriously ruthless move, Eric. Horner Willie has OCD, he\'ll probably be having nightmares for the rest of the week."
Eric grinned, he had deduced as much when he had taken notice of the man\'s appearance, that\'s why he had had Stuart do that. Although it was somewhat vulgar, it felt damn good. Horner Willie would probably be uncomfortable for days to come, and it was also possible he would be scarred by today\'s events.
"Tom, you know him ?"
Tom Hanks nodded: "\'Course I do, I\'m also CAA contracted after all. Many people dislike him. He used to be okay before, but ever since the agency became huge he just…." Tom didn\'t continue, he simply shook his head.
Eric suddenly said: "I almost forgot about this. Tom, my relationship with the CAA isn\'t good to say the least, so if I were to invite you for a movie, would you refuse ?"
Tom Hanks smiled and said: "Of course not, as long as the script is good enough, I\'m down."
Eric reckoned that there was nothing much the agency could do with a celebrity at Tom\'s level.
After the two men had chatted for a bit, Stuart pulled Eric by the hand towards some other guests, and took out a small notebook from his pocket, before proceeding to collect autographs.
Although many people had witnessed the little guy spitting on Horner, none of the minded, or if they did, didn\'t let it show. Stuart might be the youngest here today, but he was also more popular at the moment than 80% of the attendees, so everyone he asked would smile and sign his notebook.
Several actresses had their motherly instinct kick in, and took turns to pick the boy up and shower him with kisses, leaving behind a trail of bright red lipstick.
This continued for a while, until a staff member came up and reminded everyone that they would open soon. Eric brought Stuart back to his parents, went to find Drew, and waited for the venue\'s doors to open.