I’m scared to tell you about this although I think I did pretty well all told. You know how we did that exercise in elevator pitching, yeah? Important skill, self-development, no-one cares about your unknown idea? Well look, obviously it should have been you if luck had been on our side but it turned out it was me. In an actual lift. With Jane Drew. Yes that’s right. I shiver thinking about the whole thing now but actually I think you would have been proud of me.
So I’m on my way to the thirtieth floor to see Dr Norton (do you still have to go to those? I still have to go or they can recall me. Sucks, frankly). Anyway she piles into the same lift as me just as the door is closing. I’ve already hit 30 and she hits the button for the top floor. She’s all Audrey Hepburn – pitch shades, fussy turban thing, coat with massive buttons. She’s incognito in as flamboyant a manner as possible. I knew her in a second and I knew I had to take this chance. I heard she took the script for ‘Namaste’ to Bob Hollins herself. If she likes it she will get it done. Even if it’s no good for her she produces now too. So I just let her know I knew her. I said: “Hi Jane.”
I thought she hadn’t heard me, so I glanced over and she obviously had, but was fiddling with cigarettes. “That’s dangerous” I said, as a joke, but she just kept on ignoring me. We’re at the fifth floor and this is fizzling horribly. Of course, I realised, she’s thinking I’m a stalker or something. She has loads of them, as you know. So I reassure her. I say: “I’m not going to hurt you. I know I look a little rough, but I’m actually a writer now. Me and this other guy are working on a screenplay. It’s therapeutic. Do you want to hear about it?”
She smiles now, and I realise she’s maybe been smiling with her eyes before, not realising her shades block all that off. She’s not saying no, so while she plays with her phone I decided to just go for it.
Now you wont like this, and you’ll say it is typical of me, but I had a complete blackout. We’re at fifteen or so, and I left all our ideas somewhere back below ten. I thought Jesus Christ this is awkward. I sort of wished the floor would go and we could plummet out of this embarrassing situation, and maybe in the mixture we’d make at the bottom some kind of sharing of ideas might happen. She looks alarmed when I say this, so I have to think fast and use what I had to hand. As you know, I can do that.
“It’s ‘Devil’ meets ‘King of Comedy.” She’s listening intently now, steps back a little to get a better look at me.
“It’s the story of a guy who has had his share of troubles with the authorities but finds his true purpose in a creative therapy group. His family want nothing to do with him after what he did, but he has one true friend who shares his pain and together they dream of writing a blockbuster movie. Sad huh?”
I check her out. She’s definitely listening. She’s let her phone fall on the floor. I am selling now. I remember the performative stuff so I punctuate the next bit by clapping and getting close to her.
“No! It’s not some fucking sob story. It’s about hope! One day the guy gets into a lift with a big star. She’s beautiful and talented and she reminds him of the one he’s wronged. We’ll get all this past stuff in flashback Leone-style in the second act. Anyway he pitches her this idea…”
…and here I almost lose it. Almost got trapped in that recursive brain thing that put me on isolation for a month. Retreat and consider, retreat and consider, I know my mantra and it works after a few seconds, but I’m dribbling a tiny bit now and have to wipe.
“The idea doesn’t matter right now. Point is she falls for him. Right there. Can’t resist him. Wants him.”
I sold the fuck out of this thing. Clapping and all.
“They fuck. Right there in the lift. She screams it’s so good. He makes her love him with his cock. You know the kind of thing. Anyway. I see a third act where they make the movie then kill a guy and go on the run.”
Yes, I know, third act is always my problem. But this was off the cuff, for God’s sake. I watched her but she didn’t have any notes or anything. She definitely heard me, I know that. Then we were at my floor. I gave her your card, as I still don’t have mine done, and got off. Didn’t see her at all after that. No idea where she went after that.
Tell me if you hear from her people.