Flirting with Disaster

A few text messages, a couple of exchanged voice mails, and Dean finally asked me out on a date. Or was it a date? You never know with these industry things. I didn’t care – we were going to see a movie. Not just any movie – a premiere. It wasn’t at just any old cinema either. It turns out Dean is a card-carrying member of BAFTA. I couldn’t resist calling Olivia to gloat.

“Olivia, guess where I am? I’m in BAFTA.”


“Well no, not really. I’m on a 38 bus on the way to BAFTA. I can’t chat now, I’ve gotta call Dame Judi to see if she wants me to save her a seat.”

“Very funny. How’d you get into BAFTA?”

“Well remember that old git writer Dean? He’s a member.”

“Okay Lucy, he got you into BAFTA, that’s a start, but don’t waste your time if he can’t HELP you, you know get a part in a movie.”

She’s all business sometimes.

“Okay, okay Olivia. Well all I know is I’m headed into BAFTA. BAFTA! Last week, I was not going to BAFTA, and today I am going to BAFTA. BAFTA, BAFTA, BAFTA,” I sang.

I knew I had regressed to playground “I’ve got ice cream and you don’t” tactics, but I couldn’t help it. It’s not every day you get into BAFTA.

I signed in under the one watchful eye of the BAFTA mask and then walked up the stairs to meet Dean. Disappointingly, the carpets were beige, not red. The bar was decorated in a neutral palette and clean lines. It reminded me of the sophisticated W Hotel.

We got a drink and as I wondered where the premiere crowd was, we were ushered into the cinema. The lights dimmed and I glanced around to get a look at the other audience members. There were only about 20 people and not one Dame Judi among them.

Twenty minutes into the film, I realized why the crowd was so thin – the movie was a flop that would probably go straight to DVD if it got a distribution deal at all. I thought Dean must have agreed as he stood up to leave. But it turned out he was just going back to the bar to get another round, and so it continued every 20 minutes until the film was over. By the end we were giggling at every line (probably not the intended response as the film as a mystery).

We parked ourselves at the bar to debrief over another round. I asked him who he thought was more to blame for the disaster – the writer or the director. Dean got serious in a hurry.

“What the writer writes is not always what the director films. It’s a collaborative process. A collaborative BUTCHERING process between the director, the producers and whatever snotty flavor-of-the-month actor they put in the film that thinks he knows how to write better than you… or changes your script around because he can’t pronounce R’s correctly.”

“I see–”

“You know, I once had an actor change ‘irrespective’ to ‘irregardless’. Can you imagine? I had to put my name to that shit.”

“That sounds horrible.” I tried being sympathetic if only to bring the volume of his drunken rant from an eight down to a six.

“Lucy, you’re the only one that understands me. Lucy, I’ve written the Great British Screenplay. I really have. It’ll blow you away.”

“That’s great. Is it in production?”

“I can’t let them butcher it, Lucy, I just can’t. It’s like a child to me. Would you let someone butcher your own baby?”

“Of course not.”

“No one will let me direct it, but I’d rather have it go un-made than get butchered.”

I noticed he was getting a bit teary eyed.

“Will you read it, Lucy?”

“Uhhh, sure.”

“I knew you would, Lucy.”

He leaned towards me to kiss me on the cheek, but knocked over his whiskey in the process. Saved by the Bell’s. I scrambled around for some napkins when a helpful arm reached from behind me and handed me a stack.

“Thanks,” I absent-mindedly muttered over my shoulder while trying to plan my escape.

“Anything for you, Lucy,” Marcus said.