Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Janitors And Movie Stars

(to King Henry II of England)

“A king like you
has policy prepared
on everything.”

The Lion In Winter
by James Goldman

I saw the film version of “The Lion In Winter” before reading the play. The film follows the play reasonably well and they’re both great. When I was a little kid and heard the French king say that line to Henry, I lost track of the story for a while because I was busy thinking about the sense of the line. It does seem like a very good idea to have a policy prepared for everything. Thinking is free. Planning is free. And then if some contingency pops up that you’ve prepared a policy for, you can move very fast.

Ever since then I’ve tried to be a good king (we’re all, so to speak, the king or queen of our own life) and I’ve tried to have a policy prepared for everything.

Today’s post is an example of that. It may be a stupid and insane example, but, hey, the world is not always a rational place. It doesn’t hurt, really, to prepare for crazy things as well as sane things. (And, really, it might even be better to prepare for crazy things since there seem to be so many more of them than sane things.)


Look at this little bit of business from a horrible 2012 movie called “Maximum Conviction”—

“They’ve sure got some ugly janitors in this dump.”

“Who let the hooker in?”

“Fuck you.”

There’s nothing good about that movie and I don’t recommend it at all. But this little moment was fun. That guy, of course, is wrestler Stone Cold Steve Austin playing a special forces soldier. That actress is Aliyah O’Brien.

I’ll have more to say about her in a minute. But first this aside—

My experience is that beautiful women really do talk that way. Although it’s certainly possible, I’ll be the first to admit, that they just talk that way to me. When I did a little zombie story as cartoons a few years ago (I have much more story than just the cartoons) I built the cartoons around how I’ve heard so many beautiful women (in private) talk like truckers:

The Zombie Issue Destroyed Their Friendship

Sara’s Zombie Quest Disgusted Jenny

Zombie Sara Terrorized Jenny From The Start

Zombie Sara Made Jenny Question Their Past

Zombie Sara’s Zombie Urges Destroyed Her World

Jenny Paid Her Respects At Sara’s Grave

Okay. Back to today’s post.

That actress, Aliyah O’Brien, stood out to me for a certain reason. That’s what today’s post will be about.


Look at this headline:

Maria Sharapova Would Love To Try Acting

Of course. It’s not enough that she’s phenomenally wealthy or one of the most accomplished tennis stars in the modern world, or, I guess, a candy entrepreneur. She wants to be an actress, too.

Of course. I guess it goes along with being a celebrity.

It’s worth remembering, I suppose, that back in the Fifties when Hollywood made a movie about war hero Audie Murphy called, To Hell And Back, the part of “Audie Murphy” was played by none other than...Audie Murphy. And he was adequate. He went on to have a fair enough career. A celebrity can be an actor. It’s possible.

So at some point in the future—if it hasn’t happened already—a movie studio executive is going to sit down with some filmmaker and say something like, “Maria Sharapova has millions of fans. They’ll pay good money to see her in anything. We’re going to drink that milk. We’ve got a little budget here and we’re going to make a movie with Maria Sharapova. It hardly matters what, so pitch me. What do you think we should make?

There is something like an infinitely long line of filmmakers and would-be filmmakers waiting to be in that position, waiting to make a pitch for a Maria Sharapova movie.

Pam Anderson was a TV celebrity and got to make “Barb Wire.” Cindy Crawford was a fashion celebrity and got to make “Fair Game.”

It really doesn’t matter if the movie is too stupid (Anderson) or too serious (Crawford) the studio knows if the budget is kept down they’ll make their money back just from the celebrity’s fans.

But at the same time if some twist of fate maneuvers a reasonable filmmaker or reasonable would-be filmmaker into that position, they have a chance to make a reasonably good movie. George Roy Hill got to take Robin Williams and make “The World According To Garp.”

If I ever had a chance to pitch an idea for Maria Sharapova I would build my pitch around the actress Aliyah O’Brien.

She looks a little like Maria Sharapova.

But she doesn’t look so much like Sharapova that it would appear silly. They kind of look like sisters. And Aliyah O’Brien is reasonably young but she has been in a dozen or more different projects. So she must be generally comfortable with the process of filmmaking.

Regardless of the content of the pitch, I think that would be a selling point right there. Aliyah O’Brien could help Sharapova relax. She could help Sharapova know what to expect in the strange world of filmmaking. She could be something like a friend during all the down-time between actual sessions with the camera rolling. Maybe most importantly, she could be an example to Sharapova on how to act on the set and how to respond to the camera.

The content of the pitch hardly matters.

Sharapova and Aliyah O’Brien would be sisters. Maybe they haven’t talked for a while. Then fate somehow throws them together. They’d get into some kind of complicated situation. They’d struggle through some difficulties together. Then somehow they get separated. The Sharapova sister uses some quality she learned from her sister to save them both and they both realize how much they’ve missed each other and they’re better off together than apart and the movie ends with the sisters closer and family is good and blah, blah, blah the end.

Just one for instance—there are millions of these kinds of scenarios: Sharapova plays an astrophysicist [!] so she’s uncomfortable dealing with people because she’s used to dealing with computers and telescopes [and if her acting is a little dubious filmmakers can say, hey, she’s playing a scientist who is supposed to be a little stiff] and some international businessman tries to kidnap Sharapova’s sister to force Sharapova to give him her algorithms for manipulating the orbit of an asteroid from the asteroid belt into lunar orbit where the businessman can mine it for billions of dollars worth of raw materials. The sister escapes and runs to Sharapova to warn her. They both barely escape getting kidnapped and go on the run together, and Sharapova is trying to call in friends from the government but the Feds don’t want to go public with her methods of asteroid relocation so there are conflicts of interest with trying to help her and trying to maintain the secrecy of her methods. Etc., etc., etc.

It’s an adequate plot, kind of timely. It’s not too serious, it’s not too absurd. And it’s built around nice stuff—family ties, sisters helping sisters, a built-in story arc dealing with the sisters being distant but then closer at the end.


It’s good to have a policy for everything.

That’s my policy for making a pitch for a movie starring Maria Sharapova.

I’d make a sisters-in-danger-helping-sisters story, with lots of contemporary big science and big business issues tossed in keeping things in motion. And I’d try to get Aliyah O’Brien as the sister, because she’s very pretty and very experienced and she looks a little like Sharapova.

It’s a world of movie stars and janitors.

I’d be happy to be one of the janitors, if I were the janitor who got to make a movie with Maria Sharapova. I think I could sweep those floors.

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