Full-Court Press

4 Apr

Splash -Culture-Bigaud

What a day. Having an ugly fight on the phone with Ann while I’m sitting in my car in a parking garage. Her blaming me for everything, all our financial woes.

Me finally saying “Fuck you.”

And her saying “I hate you!” and hanging up.

Then it’s back to the magazine for a few hours of work, feeling shaky, wondering how I’ll deal with the freeze on my account – numerous calls to the lawyer on the case go unanswered.

I don’t blame Ann for being close to hysterical. The court order that finally arrived (after they froze my account) cites all the things they can do, such as seizing our cars and walking into our house and taking anything of value. Unfortunately, instead of dealing with it together, Ann reverted to type. If we were on a lifeboat at sea she would have pushed me overboard.

In the afternoon, I flee work early and head into LA, for an appointment with Eriq LaSalle’s company about the Les Miserables project. This is a big deal – he’s heard the report on the pitch from his people and he wants to see us.

I get there early and find a parking place on a side street. I make a call on my cell and finally get the lawyer. Surprise, surprise, he’s a human being and we sketch out a payment plan. I may only have fifteen bucks in my wallet, but at least Ann and Devon won’t be going through the trauma of having sheriffs appear at the door.

Michael, Tom and I meet at Hamburger Hamlet an hour before the meeting to go over the pitch. Tom is in one of his sulky, passive aggressive moods.

Later, when Michael calls him on it, Tom says, “I like to be quiet before a pitch.”

My immediate thought is, ‘Why agree to a pre-pitch meeting if you don’t want to talk?’

Eriq LaSalle has a rep of having no patience for fools. The skinny on Eriq is he once stopped a writer in mid-pitch, saying, “I know you’re not an actor, but can’t you do any better than this?” Then LaSalle thought about what he’d just said and blurted, “Fuck this” and walked out.

Our pitch goes really well. LaSalle was really engaged, offering penetrating comments when we were done, even siding with us against one of his execs on a story point.

Michael and Tom are both six five. I’m five nine on a good day. On the way out, after some banter about LaSalle’s basketball movie, Rebound, Tom says. “And Mark here played in the NBA.”

I look at my shoes, feeling like Chaplin, and mumble, “It was a tough couple of years.”

(2006)

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