Somewhere in an alternate Gyllenverse, part I

(previously posted to the JW forums, 4/5/07)

Disclaimer: I am not a screenwriter, so please cut me an appropriate length of slack.

[SCENE: Night, interior. A hotel room, clean, but not too ostentatious. Our protagonist, an impossibly gorgeous young actor, is on his cell phone.]

J: So what did they say?

Anonymous fictitious agent (hereafter "AFA"): [on other end of phone line] Promise me you won't freak out.

J: [beat] Fuck. So that's it? Tell me what they said. [begins pacing]

AFA: I'll tell you if you promise you'll stay calm. Sit down.

J: [sighs exhasperatedly] Okay, whatever. [still pacing around room] I'm sitting.

AFA: Well...[hesitantly] They loved your reading...

J: ...But?

AFA: But...you've gotta understand, Jake, this character is a really sensitive issue...for the studio as well as the director...

J: [growing more agitated] If you don't spit it out, I'm going to start breaking shit...

AFA: [hurriedly] Okay, okay, calm down. Uh, listen... [laughs insincerely] They said you're just too good looking for the part.

J: [stops pacing, stunned to silence]

AFA: Jake? Did I lose you?

J: [sits on bed, defeatedly putting head in free hand]

AFA: Jake?? [to self] ...fucking cell phones...

J: I'm here. Are you kidding me? That's why I'm out?

AFA: I'm sorry, Jake. Fiedler said no one wants to do a movie about a mentally challenged serial rapist with a lead who makes the audience wet.

J: [shaking his head] Can't he give audiences more credit than that? That's fucking ridiculous! No one's going to be attracted to this guy!

AFA: No, his problem is that they're going to be attracted to you. Thinks the ones who don't go home feeling ashamed of themselves will be writing letters and calling because someone made a movie about a sick rapist and depicted him as "lovable" and "desirable," or something like that. You know, the same old bullshit.

J: I can't believe this is happening again.

AFA: [beat] Hey, I know you really wanted to do this--

J: [interrupting] What about makeup? [gets up, wanders over to mirror, begins making faces] Prosthetics? They could give me a harelip or something.

AFA: Not good enough. Besides, if they wanted you with a harelip, they'd get Joaquin Phoenix. He's cheaper than you.

[J pulls phone away from ear and looks at it in disbelief]

J: [back to phone] Are you serious? Doesn't anyone care about the acting?

AFA: [sighs] I'm sorry.

J: [drops back on bed, begins chewing thumb] Okay, well...Thanks, man.

[J ends the call, flops backward onto bed for a second, then gets up again, goes back to mirror]

J: [looking incredulously at his reflection] Joaquin Phoenix??

This is a little piece of satire that's been floating about in my head for a while. It occurred to me one day that Jake's appearance might be a problem in some cases. Like Chloƫ Sevigny said, film makers might think they have to do something to suggest he's more average looking just to make him believable as certain characters. Now, of course, we don't feel that way, because he's so good at becoming the character that we forget we're watching Jake. But what if some dumbass Hollywood suit didn't get that? This scene is what might happen.


Xenia said...

Yes, I remember this piece of yours...I read it when I couldn't comment on it because I didn't know in what language doing it ;).

It's incredible, isn't it? that someone could possibly think that Jake is "too good-looking" to play a character whatsoever...but it sure can happen...

And it's mostly an Hollywood fixation, I have to say it.
In Italy we generally tend to think about acting less seriously, basically as a "job"...even if we're doing our best to take up the worst Hollywood poses...

BTW someone should explain to those kind gentlemen who rule movie industry that there are no scientifically proved connections between extreme good-looks and bad (or good) acting. At least not yet. ;)

Cherita said...

BTW someone should explain to those kind gentlemen who rule movie industry that there are no scientifically proved connections between extreme good-looks and bad (or good) acting. At least not yet.

I'd have to say that even if there were (as far as bad acting) Jake would prove the exception. No one can deny his ability. No one with any authority has, as far as I know. But sometimes, the people who make the big decisions can be a bit out of touch, and I'd hate to see Jake lose out on a role with real meat just because he doesn't look the part. Hopefully that never happens. But perhaps it already has.

ncwoman said...

God I love this piece!!

Cherita said...

Hehehe, thanks for the compliment, Charlene. You probably remember the other one that I did, which was about the Boo postcards. I don't think I want to bring that one here, but I do have a part II in mind.