Pablo and I made the journey to Trainwreck Studios in Burbank. What a god-forsaken place. I swore to myself that I would never return.
“We’re here to see Kathleen Kennedy,” Pablo told the receptionist.
“And you are?”
“I’m Pablo Dunbar, the agent of James…”
The receptionist’s eyes widened when she saw my face. “You mean, James…”
“Yes, THAT James,” I interjected. “Tell Kat we’re here so that we can get this over with.”
“I thought you were retired…” she began to say as she stumbled through her words. “Anyway, she’s waiting for you. Fourth floor. The only way up there is through the air ducts. Elevator’s broken.”
So we climbed up the ducts into Kathleen’s office. “Damn it Kat,” I said, “when are you going to get that fucking elevator fixed?”
She turned around and was wearing sunglasses. She appeared to be somber over something.
“Hello James,” she said.
“Can I offer you gentlemen a glass of scotch?”
“I’ll take the bottle please.”
Kat sat down behind her desk and began to shuffle through some paperwork. Pablo and I plopped down in the leather chairs.
“So, what did you think of Antonio’s script?” she asked.
“To be honest Kat,” I said, “it needs some work. Too much talk. Film is a visual medium. ‘Show, don’t tell’ as they say. If I can do a second draft and clean up the dialogue…”
“James,” Kat interrupted, “Fart in a Windstorm is a court drama, there’s going to be a lot of dialogue. Besides, I already promised Antonio that he would get final say in the script.”
“Fine, whatever. But I need to put my stamp on it if this is going to be a film by James…”
“Look, I get what you’re saying,” Kat said. “But in agreement with the writer’s guild, he must get sole screenwriting credit. That’s going to put a limit on what you can do.”
I just stared at her.
“You don’t want to relinquish creative control to me,” I said. Out of my periphery, I could see Pablo getting uncomfortable.
“Don’t be ridiculous,” Kat replied, “the studio is willing to put $1.5 billion into this project ONLY if YOU are signed on to direct. Once when this meeting is made public, Hollywood will be in a tizzy over the return of its most famous director.”
“Kat, you know I can’t make a small scale courtroom drama for anything less than $2 billion.”
She learned forward on her desk as she began rubbing her temples. She appeared as though she was about to be sick. I took a big gulp from the bottle of scotch.
“What’s with the sunglasses?” I asked her. “Did you have eye surgery? Did your husband beat you?”
Kat removed the glasses, revealing her puffy red eyes and makeup smeared from crying.
“Jesus fucking Christ,” I said.
“We haven’t had a hit since This Taste Like Ass,” she said as tears rolled down her face. “The board wants me out. I’ve become the laughingstock of this town.”
“It’s no fun when the rabbit has the gun, eh?”
“James,” Pablo said. “Mrs. Kennedy, James and I are both in agreement that this script is doable. Sure, there are problems that need ironing out, but we are committed to making this work. Right James?”
I just shrugged.
“Really?” Kat said.
“Absolutely, the gang’s back together. Let’s have a drink on it!”
We all stood up and Pablo forced a group hug. Kat’s spirits seemed to have been lifted slightly.
As we were climbing back down the air ducts, I grabbed Pablo by the ankle. “You better not fuck me out of this contract like you did last time!” I told him.
TO BE CONTINUED