THIS WEEK IN PURSUIT OF A HOLLYWOOD CAREER
I was into my third day of my first subscription to the Hollywood Reporter when I opened the paper to see a picture of Marisa Tomei, captioned that she would be a keynote speaker at the Fifty Most Powerful Women in Hollywood breakfast at the Beverly Hills Hotel. I was sure it was the Universe’s way of telling me that Marisa was meant to do my movie. I’d had Marisa on my brain for two years ever since she came into mind as being the actress to play a certain character. Every time I sat down to write I’d always see Marisa, hear Marisa and pray that she’d read my script someday. So here it was, the golden opportunity to at least be in the same room with Marisa Tomei. If I could somehow get myself allowed into that breakfast.
I called the Beverly Hills Hotel to inquire about attending the function. A snippy waiter slash actor told me he didn’t think that could happen. But I don’t like to take no for an answer so I called the Hollywood Reporter and spoke to a nice young man to whom I tried to sound professional and important when I asked if I could attend the event. “We love for people to attend”, he responded. Great. I didn’t care how much this breakfast was going to cost, it was the chance I’d been waiting for. He put my name on a list and that was it. I didn’t ask how much the breakfast was because I didn’t want the expense to make me change my mind. I was prepared to part with a hundred dollars for this breakfast.
I sat in traffic on Beverly Glen for an hour and a half. During that time I was thankful I wasn’t a hotshot executive or an ambitious assistant who had to deal with this crap every day, twice a day. I valeted my 1995 Ford station wagon and adopted a BMW attitude before heading inside.
My name was cross referenced on ‘the list’. The young man smiled and directed me toward the dining room. At that moment I realized this breakfast was free! And to top it off there was a goody bag full of stuff that jaded Hollywood people could care less about, but I felt like a kid coming back from a night of trick or treating and wanted to dump out my free loot and examine it all. I knew better than to do that. And even though I sat alone at a table off to the side of the dining room, there I was, eating a salmon omelet with fifty of Hollywood’s top women in the industry.
When Marisa spoke I was mesmerized because after all the scripts I’d written, this was the first time I’d seen a character that I wrote come to life. And she truly was perfect.
The breakfast came to a close after she took her seat. It was now or never. I marched myself over to the power vortex where Marisa, Nancy Meyers and Sherry Lansing were milling about. My heart started pounding, my palms were sweating, I think my eye was twitching. All of a sudden I felt like a crazed fan, a stalker. How did that happen? Perhaps the two years of obsessively thinking about her had something to do with it.
I don’t remember what I blurted out but she politely gestured to her manager by her side. Her manager was kind enough to take a copy of the script, whether she trashed it or kept it I don’t know. I’ve been calling her office for months and haven’t had a return phone call. So maybe Marisa won’t be doing my movie after all, but for a few hours I was with the fifty most powerful women in Hollywood. And I had a free breakfast.
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