Tuesday 20 December 2011

Movie Star Girl - Chapter Three

The picture first appeared in the New York Post. And then it was all over the internet. ‘JASON HURL & HIS NEW LOVER’. It was an image of Jason, with his hand on Nicola’s arm, in a Chinese restaurant.
This was not what Tommy wanted to wake-up to on the first day of principle photography.

They arrived on set and the awkward atmosphere was palpable. Nicola didn’t look at anyone. Jason was two hours late. His excuse was valid, his wife was going crazy; screaming down the phone and threatening divorce.

Tommy focused on the work. They had twelve different set-ups to ply through. He had three focus points – the camera monitor, the coffee, and the director of photography. He didn’t communicate much with the actors. He got away with it because the scenes were all in the shopping mall and had been rehearsed twenty times over.

“I’m not his new lover,” explained Nicola as they stopped for lunch.
“It’s really none of my business,” said Tommy.
“Well, you’re shooting the movie, and I figured it was your business.”
“If you were fucking him and telling everyone the movie sucked, it would be my business. But if you’re just fucking him then I really couldn’t give a shit.”
Nicola was stunned. But then again, so was Tommy.

Nicola was angry at herself for believing in Tommy. She’d done this ever since she was fifteen, over-romanticized her connections with men. She’d seen their first night after the audition as a poetic and meaningful experience. But everything since then had pointed to a different truth: his refusal to kiss her, his coldness during rehearsals, his not caring about her personal life during shooting. Her Mother was right: she was a drama Queen who lived in the clouds. Nicola decided that things had to change, and she focused on the work.

The process of directing the movie was a difficult one for Tommy. He was troubled by the fact that his actors were putting in astonishing performances. The screenplay was a great one – but it was the actors who were taking it to a new level. The producers felt it, the crew felt it. Everyone involved could sense something special was happening. Somewhere during the production, and it’s hard to pinpoint where, Nicola became a movie star. The magazines wanted pictures of her, everyone on the internet wanted to sleep with her, and the big casting directors wanted to talk to her. Even though she was relatively unproven, and no-one outside of the production had seen the rushes from “Two People Lost”, she was in demand. She found time for meetings with David Fincher and Brett Ratner on her days off, and had fans waiting for her near the set at the end of each day. She kept her head down and eloquently carried on with her work. It was a skill that Tommy loved and detested. He wanted to find her flaws, her problems, anything to make his feelings for her fall away. His feelings grew stronger.

During the last week of shooting, rumors were floating around that she was about to be offered a role in the new Spielberg movie. Tommy wasn’t surprised – she was the most talented young actress in America and it was only a matter of time before everyone knew it.

For a few days, Tommy had been suffering with a feeling he had not experienced since his teens. It was a roaring pain that coursed through his body, numbing all his energy and hope. It was love. Deep, powerful, horrible… love. He had to tell her how he felt. It didn’t help that the last days of shooting would be taken up with the sex scenes. This made him feel completely sick. He dealt with it and dealt with it and dealt with it until 1am on a Tuesday, when he couldn’t deal with it any longer. He knew what he had to do: get in a car and go to Brooklyn.

He’d seen it in the movies a thousand times. He’d even written a similar scene in “Two People Lost”, the go across town to win the girl scene. He was ready. He rang her buzzer and waited on the steps and felt signs of that New York magic appearing again. “Who is it?” asked Nicola’s voice. “It’s Tommy, I need to speak to you.”
“Come up, I need to speak to you!”
She buzzed him in and he buzzed his way up the stairs.
She opened the door and forced him into a giant hug. “I got the role I got the role!”
“What role?” asked Tommy.
“The Spielberg role!”
Tommy expected himself to be disappointed or jealous, but he wasn’t. He was overjoyed. YES YES YES! NICOLA IN A SPIELBERG MOVIE! They were both caught in an enormous wave of excitement. And then he kissed her. She gave him an are you crazy? look and then immediately kissed him back.
“It begins shooting two days after we wrap,” she added.
“Oh really? Didn’t I tell you we’re extending the shoot by two days?” said Tommy, unable to hide the fact he was joking.
“Well screw you, I choose Spielberg.”
“Who is this Spielberg guy anyway? Has he done anything I’d know?”
“Yeah – one of them is called E.V, or something like that? E.D? T.D?”
“Whatever. Sounds overrated.”
They kissed again. The tension and conflict of recent weeks faded away, it was like they were chasing cupcakes in the Manhattan streets all over again.
“It’s going to be crazy, I feel so unprepared,” said Nicola.
“It’s going to be amazing. You deserve it,” said Tommy.
“Jason said I can crash at his place, which will make the whole thing a bit easier.”
Tommy pressed the rewind button in his brain and listened to her words again, just to make sure she’d said what he thought she said. She did.
“You’re staying with Jason?”
“Why would you stay with him?”
“Are you jealous of him or something?”
“I just don’t get why you need to be staying with Jason fucking Hurl.”
“Because he’s a friend, and I don’t know anything about L.A., and it’s free.”
Tommy was aware that this was his own problem, not hers. He tried to think of what to say but every thought and word registered as insane. He decided to leave talking and to leave her apartment.
“Tommy – I kissed you. Not Jason. What’s the problem?”
“My problem is that he’s the biggest movie star in the world and every time you are near him or talk about him it drives me insane.”
“First of all. Biggest movie star in the world? Did you not see “Killer Spider 3?” I mean, c’mon! And secondly, I can’t help but be around him all the time because you put me in a movie with him. And thirdly, get over it.”
“Whatever. I need to go.”

Tommy didn’t sleep that night. He stayed up wondering why he was so ridiculous. It’s something he’d always done – pushed women away. The difference this time was that it really mattered. Nicola was it. It. The one. Yes, she was a beautiful actress, and yes, there would always be people taking pictures of her hanging out with movie stars – but so what? This was the logic that he could see, but not quite believe.

The sex-scenes were no problem. Jason and Nicola were great, and everything was professional. If they were attracted to each other, it didn’t show. You’d think that this would be good news to Tommy, but it wasn’t. Nicola was so near to him, and everything he wanted was a fingertip away yet somehow he couldn’t trust it. He couldn’t quite believe it.

The wrap party was crazy. The sound department got wasted and, ironically, smashed up the nightclub’s sound-system. The make-up girls made out with the camera department and the production assistants made out with the supporting cast members. Jason and Nicola sat in the corner, laughing and chatting, and Tommy stood in the corner talking to the caterers and avoiding everyone else.

Jason and Nicola left together. A cold and heavy rain burst onto the New York City streets and Tommy’s leading actors boarded a plane to sunny L.A.

Care to share?


  1. I've enjoyed the story so far (in an odd way... I can completely identify with Tommy's frustration at the whole thing), but I'm a bit confused... Nicola and Angela are the same person, right?

  2. Shit, what an amateur mistake! I randomly changed the main character's name!!!! Fixed now!!!!! Read it all again now! haha

  3. Hahahahaha! BUSTED! It's about you and Angela Lansbury. Admit it!

  4. Angela.... Nicola, what guy ever remembers the girl's name!