I’m a Hollywood writer; so I put on a sports jacket and take off
my brain. – Ben Hecht
More Hollywood stuff, this regarding my first book, Cosmic Banditos, a goofball novel about The Meaning of Life wherein the protagonist is an unbalanced guy strongly based on me.
There’s a movie deal for Cosmic Banditos too. The actor John Cusack has optioned that book. Here on this little Caribbean island I got an email from Cusack’s company, New Crime Productions, saying he wants me to adapt that book for the screen. I got that email within a few days of the one from the movie studio for which I’m writing the screenplay to In Search of Captain Zero.
I’ve got movie deals up the wazoo.
If you’re one of those sad souls who is fascinated by movie stars and who has kept reading this book solely to find out which major movie star I physically threatened, why, and what happened when I did so, I have something to disclose: It was John Cusack I physically threatened. If you don’t remember that I physically threatened a movie star – it was mentioned a long time ago – good for you. In a sense I respect you for it.
The Cosmic Banditos saga is a good one, with plenty of bizarre Hollywood
doings. The bizarre Hollywood doings are best summed up by the fact that
I physically threatened John Cusack and now he wants to hire me.
How did that work?
I’ll soon get around to that, but first: My having fired my movie writing
agent means that Steven, my Hollywood attorney, will handle the Banditos
contract negotiations. At first I thought this would save me money since I
would not have to cough up the 10% commission agents get for making a
couple of phone calls. However, Steven informed me that since he will be
acting as my agent as well as my attorney, he will get the 10%. I came within
a hair’s breadth of firing him on the spot for this bullshit, but decided to
wait on that, since it would mean I’d have no one left to handle my affairs
in the States.
An important point is that I myself put the Cosmic Banditos deal together
in the first place, minus only the contract details. Putting the deal together
in the first place is 90% of an agent’s job. So, in theory, I should get to keep
90% of the 10% Steven wants. When I mentioned this to Steven, he said,
“That’s different,” then changed the subject.
We’ll see how it goes with Steven, but I’ll tell you, my finger is quivering
on the firing-someone-else trigger.
At the time of the original Cosmic Banditos option deal, which was back
in the spring of 2001, two other writers – a writing team, as the Hollywood
expression goes – were hired to write the screenplay. How did they do? I’ll
put it this way: If they were a football team instead of a writing team, the
goddamn New York Jets could have kicked their ass. They wrote The Worst
Screenplay in the History of the World. But more about that to come. I’ll
fucking loop back to it.
Still more Hollywood stuff. In order to keep my fee down, Cusack’s
mpany is calling it “a rewrite.” A rewrite of The Worst Screenplay in the
History of the World. Since it’s The Worst Screenplay in the History of the
World I will not in any way be referring to it in my work. Cusack’s people
have agreed to this, i.e., that I should not refer to it in my work. (They have
more or less agreed that the first screenplay is The Worst Screenplay in the
History of the World.) So how could it then be a rewrite? When I queried
everyone involved on this matter they all said the same thing: “That’s
different.” Then they all changed the subject.
Anyway, all kinds of things will be up in the air when I leave this little
Caribbean Island and return to my home at the end of the road at the
bottom of Central America, aside from how it goes with Lisa.
’m supposed to be writing the screenplay to my first memoir, In Search
of Captain Zero, a book wherein there is no movie, and for which I’m being
paid a ton of money, and in the writing of which I intend to go into the
tank, i.e., purposefully come up with a bunch of utter crapola.
I’m also about to be hired to write the screenplay to my other book, which
was optioned by another major Hollywood star, one whom I physically
threatened. (Did I mention that I have doubts about whether there’s a
movie in that book?)
And yet I’m not writing either screenplay. I’m writing this book, for
which there is no guarantee that I’ll be paid anything, or even that it will
be published at all. Not only that but – in case you haven’t figured it out –
as soon as word about this book gets out, my writing career will likely be
Who is going to want to come near me after this?
Unless, of course, this book becomes a howling success. If this book
becomes a howling success, I’ll basically be able to do what I want, including
answering thorny questions with the words, “That’s different.”
I gotta say it again: On top of all the sweating and forehead bleeding and
firing mega-talent-agency pimps, plus queasy guts, this is some wild-ass
job, this writing job, no?