Monday, October 4, 2010
Karin Gillespie: True Hollywood Story
Here’s my True Hollywood Story:
All my life I’ve had stars in my eyes. When I was nine, after a successful turn as the lead in a local theater production of Alice in Wonderland , I told my mother she needed to take me to California immediately where I could fulfill my destiny as an actress. She refused (there was a little matter of leaving my father and two brothers behind). Thus, for years, my only connection with the limelight was my weekly purchase of People magazine.
One day, however, I was thrust out of my humble, ordinary existence. One afternoon, out of the blue, I had a close encounter with one of the beautiful people.
It was a typical workday for me: Stare blankly at the computer monitor. Type a couple of words. Check e-mails. Eat chocolate. Repeat.
The phone rang. Generally I screen my calls so as to not distract myself from my daydreams and chocolate consumption, but for this afternoon I answered on the second ring.
"Hello! This is James Woods," said the voice on the other end of the phone. "The movie actor. Do you know who I am?"
I was momentarily befuddled. First of all, I have to admit that movie stars don't call me every day. In fact, this was my very first call from a movie star. Secondly, I couldn't figure out why he was calling me. Was he trying to sell me something? Was James Woods the actor now James Woods the telemarketer? Had I missed news of his downfall?
"My mother was reading the large-print edition of your book Bet Your Bottom Dollar," he continued, "and she was laughing so much that I asked her if I could read it, too. After I finished, I thought it would make a great movie. Have you ever thought about who would play some of the characters in your book?"
Finally. My chance to be in the spotlight.
"Mr. Woods. It just so happens that when I was eight, I starred in Alice in Wonderland ..."
"Actually, I was thinking Meryl might be ideal for one of the parts," he interrupted. “We’re friends from way back; I’ll call her.
"Meryl? As in Meryl Streep? Well, yes, I suppose she is probably a little more experienced.”
Long story short, James Woods' people got in touch with my agent and the papers were drawn up for the movie option. After it happened, friends kept asking me when I was buying a Greek island. Truthfully the money would only purchase a few Greek salads, but I had big dreams. How much was Crete going for, I wondered.
After the papers were inked, James Wood called me on the phone and we had a long talk about his vision for the film. He also sent me a dozen red American Beauty roses; the card read, “Can’t wait to make a film with you, Best wishes, Jimmy.”
I’m a practical sort and had always seen as the film option as a fun story more than an actual reality. Since then Hollywood has sniffed around my door several times. I had a flurry of interest in Earthly Pleasures the story of a greeter in Heaven who falls in love with a mortal, but nothing came out of it… yet.