Tales From the Hollywood HIlls
Lucy Fisher liked the script.
"It's the most brilliant script I've ever read, absolutely, completely perfect in every way. …
Now, for the first rewrite….”
I stop listening.
Coppola bought it and gave it to his coke dealer to direct.
Of course I was banned from the set. ..I was the writer.
He was over budget on One From the Heart and the studio was going down. He sold my
script to Paramount for a million dollars. They didn't bother to tell me. I was the writer.
The first time I met Don Simpson he was screaming and pounding his desk. So I pounded
his desk and screamed too. Coppola had just sold my script Interface to pay for the neon in One
From the Heart. I didn't see a cent. Not even the $6250.00 for the last payment on the script.
Paramount bought it because they needed one more project to start shooting
before the Director's Strike.
Coppola told them it was brilliant and it was ready to go.
The one thing he didn't tell them was a problem.
It was POV.
They had a meeting. "What's the main character look like," they asked.
"Doesn't matter," they said.
"What do you mean it doesn't matter?”
"You never see him."
"What! You never see the main character?! What kind of movie is this?"
"It's Point of View.”
"Everything you see, you see from his Point of View.
That's why its so good, that's very hard to do."
We bought a script where you don't see the star? How do we cast that?"
They all sat around for a beat.
"What else do we got?"
"A white dog who hates black people, then it turns around and he hates white."
"Do you see the main actor?
"We'll go with that."
I'm making this up. I wasn't there. They don't talk to the writer.
They wouldn't acknowledge the script was there.
They wouldn't return my calls.
They had my script but I was a non-person.
The decision hadn't come down.
Then they decided they had to hire me.
If the script was brilliant but flawed, being un-castable and all,
they'd hire me and get me to do something mainstream
to prove that they hadn't been taken for a cool million.
I bump into a Creative Executive in the hall, a gushing girl, Pam Dixon.
“Hi, who are you?
“Chip Proser?!!! Chip Proser, as in “Interface?”
"Why...Brilliant...Brilliant Script! I'm so thrilled to meet you... to meet you at last.
"But we already met?"
“We met? We did?! No, I don't think so..."
"Yes, we did. I remember."
“That party in Westwood. Saturday night. I talked to you for 20 minutes."
“Oh, but you weren't anybody, then."
I walked in. He was pounding his desk. So I walked up and pounded it too.
"Forget it. Forget about it! Paramount will never make a Point of View movie,"
Don pounded. I pounded back.
"That's okay, I don't want Paramount to make it. I want it back."
He pounded some more. "Paramount will never give it back!"
I pounded. "Why not? They don't want to make it!"
"Paramount is not in the business of giving scripts back."
"You're not gonna make it, you're not gonna give it back."
"Right. We don't do that"
"Then why this meeting?"
"We want you to do something else?"
"Whatever you want. We think you're a brilliant writer."
"I'm not a writer, I'm a filmmaker. And I want to do Interface."
"No. We don't want to do that."
"Then we have nothing to talk about." I pounded and left."
I heard from him over the years through agents.
They offered Beverly Hills Cop
when it was a Stallone project and he had a big gun.
I turned them down.
"Interface", I said.
"They'll never let it go," said the agent. That's not the business they're in."
"They're just gonna let it sit on the shelf?"
"That's right. That's the business they're in.
They're not gonna admit to anyone they
bought a Point of View movie for a million dollars.
It makes them look like schmucks."
"So sell it, get the money back."
"What if it made money for another studio, they'd look like bigger schmucks!
“Then fuck 'em." I said.
I met on Dirty Dancing and turned them down.
They introduced me to a Zucker.
They said 'bring in anything you want to do.'
"Interface," I said.
"Then I'm not interested."
I meet with Guber. Innerspace. It was his idea.
"Little guys in the body of a big guy."
"Fantastic Voyage", I said.
"Never heard of it," he said.
"Weren't you head of the studio at the time?
"This one, It’s my original idea. Its called Innerspace.
Completely different, only, kind of
“How about if the big guy is up and moving around?
Then you got a story inside and outside!”
“Perfect. I can sell that.” He says.
This brain fart buys me a house in the hills.
They hated Guber. He hogged all the credit on something they did.
They brought me to see Mancuso. "We think you're brilliant," they said.
"We want you to do a project... Little people inside a bigger person...
all zooming through veins and stuff."
"I'm doing that project. You know that. For Guber."
"Yeah, but we'll let you direct."
They weren't gonna do that. They were gonna make a directing deal,
get the project, fuck Guber and then find an excuse.
"And when I get sued for stealing his project, you'll take the heat?"
For the first time, there was silence.
"It's in the contracts I read. I have to indemnify you for any lawsuits over stuff like that.
That means, if they sue me, you're in the clear. So in this case, you're gonna indemnify me.
They sue me, you take the heat."
"We can't do that."
"Right. Neither can I."
Mancuso looks at me. I look back. Writer's are such a pain!
"There is one thing I want to direct."
"Yeah, what's that?" as if they don't know.
"No. We won't do that."
"Would you say this meeting is over?"
I insist on being Co-Producer on Innerspace. I get a call from a friend.
"Congratulations", he says.
"Your picture, they're making it."
"What picture, what are you talking about?"
"You know, the one at Warner Brothers."
"What Warner Brothers? I never worked for them."
"You better call your agent."
The Agent Berkus is matter of fact. "Well Berman left Universal and took it with him."
"Don't they have to tell me these things?"
"I'll make some calls. Oh, by the way, I think its also been re-written.”
"Did you read the script?" Berman asks, long distance.
"Part of it, " I say.
"Well, so, what did you think?"
"Well, of course, its imbecilic…"
"Gotta call, other line…." The phone goes dead.
"As a consideration," the agent Berkus says.
"A consideration? What does that mean?”
"That means they got too many producers for the ads, they say.”
"They want you off.”
"As Co-Producer. And since you didn't do it…."
"But that's why I want it, you see.
If they threw off all the producers who didn't do it in this town,
nobody would get a credit."
"But now they got Spielberg on it and they need room for him.”
"Well, did he produce it?"
"No, but he's Spielberg."
"Can't argue with that. Have them take me off as writer.
I don't want people to think I wrote that shit.."
“That, they won't do."
"A pseudonym, then. "Sue Donim"
"No, they've got control of your name."
"When did they get that?"
"It's in the contract, the Writer's Guild MBA,
you get paid that much,they control your name."
"To put it on any piece of shit they write."
"That's right. But Co-Producer can come off."
"As a consideration?"
“How about as a consideration they go fuck themselves."
“I'm not going to tell them that."
"Want to go to the opening?" the agent says...
"I'm not invited. I'm the writer."
"I am. I’ll take you with me."
" I don't date agents."
"Want to see the movie, don't you."
"No. They don't pay me to watch these things."
Katzenberg loves me. I can make anything I want.
"Why not interface?"
"You want to direct?'
"How about Beverly Hills Cop?
"How about Interface?"
"Stallone's attached. Its got a big gun.'
'What is it about Interface, you embarrassed you paid a million before you read it?"
"Anything, anything you want."
'Just not that."
"You're on the list."
"That can't be good."
"No, the A list. At Paramount.'
"There's really a list?"
"Look, here it is.'
It’s three sheets of paper, stapled together.
I look. Right up there on page one... nine other writers and me.
My name up in lights.
I must be a fucking genius; they say I am. I spell pretty good.
I look at the B list, ten other writers.
I look at the C writers, the ones they go after,
after I and all the other A's and B's turn them down.
Right there on the list, in the middle of the C's, Robert Bolt and Harold Pinter.
I zip it into the trash.
Bruckheimer takes me to dinner at Muse. I have the blackened tuna.
"Top Gun," he says. "Flyers for the Navy. Don saw a story.
Guy standing in front of a plane.
Aviator shades, cool leather jacket with patches on it. Tom Cruise.
You'd be perfect for it."
"Except for one thing."
"You got it."
"I can't do that. They won't make Interface."
"And they won't sell it."
"Then I don't work for Paramount."
There's a long silence.
“You having desert?"
"The agent calls. "They're having trouble with Top Gun. I can get you the deal."
"I don't work for Paramount."
"A few weeks. A lotta money.
You need a big movie, you need to get something made.
This is it. Simpson and Bruckheimer are going to get this made.
"I don't like Simpson."
"Yeah, I know. He's an asshole."
"He's one of your best friends."
"He's a player. They're gonna make this movie. And that's what you need."
"You know what I need. I need to get Interface outta there."
"Just take the meeting, okay. I'm working on that. Okay?"
So I meet Tom Cruise. He's much shorter than he looks. Simpson and I don't get along.
I've been to college, for one thing.
"I'm in Mensa, you know. Look, they invited me in." He shows me the letter.
"Really, I'm in Densa. New group. For people too stupid to get into Mensa."
He's playing with a deck of cards, he hands them to me. I look.
They aren't cards, they're polaroids, fifty or so actresses, or actrii...actroids,
standing in the middle of Don's office, nude. Trying to get the part.
I look up, he's grinning.
"So, I see you've met Mom."
They have a thing, where they sit there and stare at you and say nothing.
You're supposed to get intimidated by this.
It puts you on the defensive which is where they want you.
They stop talking and stare at me. I get up and go to his desk,
and start looking at the scripts and articles...I pick up a Navy patch...
“What's this...NAVY SEALS? You doing a MOVIE?!!!"
He grabs it and stuffs it in his desk.
"Nothing. Stay away from that."
Don's trying to be charming. He's trying his best.
"Here's the deal. We need Paramount to approve, we need the Navy to approve.
They won't approve. The planes are flying all wrong. Those last writers were assholes.
They didn't know what fucking ballistic is... they didn't know what they were writing about."
"And we took them to Miramar and everything," Jerry pops in....
"Paramount doesn't like it. Dawn Steel doesn't like it. Too macho.
And she hates the girl character. 'She's a bimbo,' she says.
"Who's the girl character?"
"Some aerobisize instructor they meet on the beach. You write good girls.
"When have I written a girl?"
"Interface, there was a girl in that, right?"
"Right, the nurse."
"She was intelligent. How do you write such good girls?"
"I write 'em as men, then I change the names."
"Yeah...yeahh...right!" He liked that, I could see...
"Any girls here?" I ask.
"In Top Gun?," they looked at me strange.
"I need a character. They don't like the girl in the script.
So I'm looking for some one...a woman.
Someone they could logically meet around here.
You got anything like that?"
"Are you kidding. Wait till 5 o'clock at the MCRD."
"Officer's club. Best meat market in Southern California.
Women like to get to the pilots when they're still in their flight suits
all sweated up and smelling of combat.
You can't get laid there, you're definitely queer."
"That's how you tell, huh?"
He walked me in. There were women all around and pilots zooming with their hands.
And around each pilot, women, blond, tall, tanned legs,
laughing and sniffing and rubbing up against them.
Aerobasize instructors if I had to guess.
"Who's that?" I said.
There was one woman at the bar. She was center stage. She was holding court.
The pilots surrounded her like supplicants, hanging on her words.
She wasn't as pretty as the rest.
"Oh, that's so and so. She's the TAGREF."
"The go between."
"Go between who."
"The pilots and the Admiral, and the Navy and the aircraft manufacturers.
She explains ACM and doctrine back and forth."
"She fucking the Admiral?."
They looked at me funny. "Yeah. How'd you know?"
“Hollywood screenwriter. It's my job."
"I got the girl.'
"What girl?" The voice was hazy.
"In the script. She's a TAGREF. She's for real. At Miramar.
She explains Air Combat and works with the pilots. She'll know flying.
They'll have something to talk about."
"We want you to start. You have three weeks."
"The Director's strike is in three weeks. We've got to have the script in by then.
Can you do it in three weeks?"
"How the hell do I know?."
"Okay, I'll start."
"No, don't start."
"Why not, I've only got three weeks."
“Don wants to talk to you first. Give you his notes."
“What notes. I haven't started yet."
“Stand by the phone."
“Why don't I just come to the studio, we can work it all out."
“He isn't at the studio, he's at home."
“When's he coming in."
“We don't know."
“Is he coming in?."
“Let's go to his house."
“We can't do that."
“What do you want me to do?"
“Just wait by the phone. He'll call."
“When? I need to get started."
“We'll let you know."
My best week in show business. I was making $30,000 a week.
When I was a union cameraman in Boston, I made $30,000 a year.
The first week I waited by the phone. Nothing.
Monday, nothing. "Jerry, he hasn't called."
“Don't worry, he will."
“You still trying to hit that deadline?"
“I'll call him, get him to call. Stand by. Don't go anywhere."
I waited until four. Then I went to the batting cage. It relieves tension. I wasn't tense.
I hit seven balls for a quarter. That's three point five seven cents a ball.
It pitches one ball every thirty seconds.
Paramount was paying me six dollars and twenty-five cents every thirty seconds.
I was in profits already. I hit 620 for the year.
Tuesday, I got a call.
"We think he's up."
"You've got movement?"
"We've got movement."
"What do I do?"
"Standby...just standby the phone!"
"Roger, Wilco, Standing by!"
Wednesday I get a call. “What were you doing?"
“Your phone was busy."
“You checking on me?"
“We tried to call, just in case."
“I got a call."
“We told you, stay off the phone. He's up. We think he's up. He may call any minute."
“He may not. If I'm on the phone he can call back."
“He won't like that. Just stay off the phone. Okay?!!"
There was a freaky tension in her voice I didn't like.
Okay, I'll stay off the phone."
I put another line in, the Don Simpson line.
Now I could make a phone call and work for Paramount.
I went to the batting cage. I practiced taking the outside pitch to right.
"We have movement." They said.
It was Thursday. I had $18,000 of Paramount's money.
I was seeing the ball good. I was turning on the ball. I was taking it a day at a time,
playing within myself, just trying to help the team.
It was two and a half weeks to the Director's strike and I hadn't written a thing.
It was a low growl...like a black bear waking from slumber.
Three of us were sitting around at Paramount like monkeys...
we had been that way for twenty minutes,
one finger jammed deep in our ears, the other stuffing the phones into our heads to hear...
Tony is looking at me, Jerry is looking at the floor.
I am looking at a picture of Flashdance on the wall.
That girl was pulling her bra off through the armhole of her sweatshirt. Cool!
"Harrmphsun fustser...myradddafrrrafap sllmxllmmymmm."
Just a grumble, like logs rolling down a ramp. We looked a each other and shrugged....
"Ummm...didn't quite get that last part, Don."
Tony starts to laugh. Jerry glares him into silence.
"Myrummpha tata mmlmpooyrlll.pyn."
Somebody starts to cut the grass outside. Jerry dispatches a girl to stop them.
We'll shut down all of Paramount if we have to...
We're close to the godhead now, and the pearls of wisdom are coming...if...
if we just have the fortitude to suck them out and decipher them...
"Little jeeewwwwsssss harummmphhhh...."
I look at Jerry. My ears perks up. Now he's going somewhere.
Now he's stepping to the plate. The key's imbedded and now it's making sense,
I can actually pull the message from the line noise.
"Howwwwmmmphhhummmppphttt. How’re all my little jews doing....
how’re all my little jews...working hard....working hard for the studio....
how’er all my little jews working..."
I look up... Tony Scott? I donno, to me...not Jewish! He looks embarrassed.
I put my hand over the phone, catch Jerry's attention.
"Jerry, I don't know about you, but tell this cocksucker I'm half-Irish, will you?"
He gives me that look, and speaks softly into the phone..."
Don....Don ...........Don.....It's no use.
"My little jewsss....my glummmmphhhssseennsion...." It trails back into the babble.
"Okay, great notes, we'll get right to work on that. Thanks, Don." He hangs up.
"Why do you put up with this shit?"
"I know... He's an asshole... But we make sooooo much money...”
My house, high in the Hollywood Hills. 11:57 Pacific Standard Time, January 31st.
The Director's Strike starts in 3 minutes.
I scribble the last correction and hand the script to Tony.
He steps out the door. In...under the wire. Are we fucking pros or what?
The Strike lasts 35 hours. The Directors cave and I'm back to work.
I get the call from the agent.
He hates it. "He"... is, of course, Don Simpson.
"Completely wrong." The agent says He says.
"I doubt he can read it He can't even talk."
"He's the producer, he doesn't have to."
"So what do I do?"
"I'll talk to them, I'll straighten it out."
"Do me a favor, don't."
"Stand by the phone."
"No problem. I've still got that extra line."
The notes are bad. Jerry's apologetic. "I thought it was good, but well, Don..."
"Yeah, I know."
"Listen, just talk to him. We want you on this. Just talk to him, work it out."
Where are his notes?"
"I don't think you should read them."
"Jerry, I gotta deal with them, I gotta read them. Send them over, okay."
A kid arrives, hands them to me. And takes off fast. I didn't like the look in his eye.
Like when the Doctor knows you've got Bone Cancer.
Ten points. All bad. I call the agent.
"What do I do?"
"Look, just, for once, don't say what you think, don't say what you feel.
Just talk to him and keep the job, just tell him anything,
just tell him what he wants to hear, just tell him he's right."
"That's no problem, he is."
"See, that's the kind of attitude I like. You're learning.
You stay on this picture, I can get you any job in town."
"Kind of like bronc busting isn't it."
"Just call him, be nice, be conciliatory. It's good money. Keep the job."
"Don, it's, Chip. I just read your notes, and I gotta tell you, you're right.
This is the worst fucking script I ever read."
Obviously, I caught him off guard. He wasn't ready for that.
"Your Point One, the dialogue.... You're right! The dialogue is terrible,
it is the worst crap you ever read in your life. Not only is it the worst crap you ever read,
its the worst crap I ever read. Its horseshit. People don't talk like that."
"Two, the characters do suck! The girl is a complete bimbo.
Maverick is an obnoxious asshole, and Iceman is a jerk.
“Three, their character arcs are all wrong. Too convex. The beats don't beat.
Four, the plot sucks. I don't think you should have them shooting down Kaddaffi.
For one thing, he's a fucking terrorist and he doesn't give a fuck
that you're a big Hollywood producer.
You piss him off, he's liable to send someone over, put a big bomb in your bed
and blow you the fuck up.
I don't think you should fuck with him."
This gets silence...He's thinking seriously about this.
"Five, the planes are flying all wrong. The Navy is not going to go along with this.
Ballistic doesn't mean what it says in the script.
Ballistic means your airfoils aren't acting on the air and you're out of control. It's not good.
And pilots wouldn't announce it like they're trying to do it and kill themselves.
Six, he kills Goose and doesn't seem to give a shit.
This makes him a bigger asshole than he was before.
Then he tries to fuck his wife. That's not gonna play!
Seven, eight, nine and ten, you're right on all those notes too.
In fact, Don, I gotta hand itto you, these notes are right on, they're totally correct.
I thought you weren't paying attention, but
I gotta say, you nailed it, you are totally, completely, one hundred percent, unbelievably correct.
And this script is a total piece of shit!"
I get wound up on that last part and now there's nothing but silence on his end.
“Don, there's just one, thing, Don.”
"That's not my script. My script's the one in the blue cover.
That's the one by Cash and Epps.
That's the one you had me rewrite. Mine starts off where he gives the Russians the finger.
It's probably over by the couch. Why don't you read that one and get back to me."
I hang up.
Next day I get more notes. Dictated by phone. Fifty pages. One sentence.
I throw 'em in the trash.
"You should read it, you know,” Jerry says.
"No, but I don't have to, I'm a producer.”
"Then I won't read it either. Anyway, he's cranked to the gills, he won't remember."
"Do you want to take that chance? We're gonna make this movie, you can be on the set."
"When do I get to ride in the jet? You promised!"
"We'll get you that ride, don't worry. If you stay on the film."
"What do you mean, if?"
"We need you to take a pay cut."
"I don't think so."
"We don't have the money?"
"Paramount doesn't have the money? Gulf and Western doesn't have the money!"
"We don't. In the budget..”
"Are you taking a cut? Cut back on Don's drugs.”
“We can't pay this much to a writer?”
“We need the money to pay actors.”
“What are they going to say?”
“Dawn Steel hates you, too."
“Cause I turned down Dirty Dancing?"
"When we wanted to hire you, she said 'Over my dead body!'"
"Should I send her a card?"
"Don fought for you."
"You know, he fires you every Friday?"
"How come I've never heard."
"I hire you back?”
"You do, why?”
"It takes you that long?"
"You piss him off."
“Tell you what, next time he fires me, let me know so I can leave.
I'm gonna miss Ski season, this goes on much more."
Tony's trying to help, he's the director and he wants a script.
"It's nothing, pay no attention. he's just paranoid."
"He's coked out of his mind.
"He thinks we're stealing the film from him.
"He's the producer? How can we steal the film?
"He thinks we're conspiring that's why we have to meet in Santa Monica.
He'll never come out here. And he won't think of sending his people here to spy on us."
We were eating at Michael's.
"When you turn in the receipt, they're gonna know."
"They're all fucking crazy,” Tony says, “you gotta go along with it. The business is nuts.
I've had a deal with Paramount for years. I'm in this meeting, talking to Mancuso, he's screaming,
his veins are popping, he's spitting at me..."This is the worst piece of shit I've ever seen,
the worst thing we've developed in all the years I've been here, you've wasted our money,
you're an idiot, I wouldn't make this if it was the last picture in the world!"
I'm pissed too 'Well fuck you and fuck Paramount! You're idiots.
I wouldn't work for you if you were the last studio in the world.'
I get up, walk out an slam the door then I look at my watch, it's two o'clock,
I have another meeting about another project...with Mancuso.
I open the door."
'Tony! Great to see you! How've you been, come in... come on in...'
It's like it never happened. They're all nuts."
"Simpsons nuts and he's crazy on top! He's the Wizard of Fucking Oz.
He won't even leave his house."
"He can't leave his house. There's a contract out on him. He's scared to drive to the studio.
Something about something he did in Vegas. Beat up some girl or something.
He's got surveillance cameras and a twelve foot wall,
you drive in and there are more surveillance cameras at the front door."
It’s like the fucking Fortress of Solitude.
A big Armani greets me at the door and leads me to Don.
He's in his black room dressed in black, with the black stereo cranked to the max.
He's already in his rap as if I'm late and he had to start without me. His eyes are like BB's.
"Here's the secret, I listen to all the cuts, day and night, day and night blasting until
they're in my head in my head. I have the record company send them to me.
They send me all the tapes. New ones, old ones, ones they haven't released.
You see this?”
He shows me an envelope. Inside, a check. Made out to Don. Five Million Dollars.
"That's from the movie, that's nothing. We make more on the sound track.
I listen to the sounds, I listen to the music.
One cut from Prince, Another from someone else,
you listen to the orchestration, you listen to the beat...
the top ten songs, the pulse... what's happening...the best.
The best of the best...then I got this German guy, he copies them.
We change a little bit, knock them off, same stuff,
just a little different and we own them, we own the sound track.
That's what makes hits! “You see this?"
I hadn't noticed, but he'd segued to another zone.
"Nine millimeter Baretta. Fourteen rounds in the clip. Dumdums, teflon points. And this."
Now he pulls out an UZI. "I keep them under the bed. Anybody fucks with me....
See this," he pulls the clip off, "Thirty rounds, hollow point, teflon heads...
Goes right through a vest like cheese."
His eyes are like tiny holes into a deeper black. I know he doesn't like me.
"See this,"....a red dot walks across the stereo..."Laser sight.
Anybody that dot lands on, he's dead meat!" He grins.
He's too close to the writer. His first mistake. The move is sudden. Before he can react,
I've got the gun. Stark terror. 'Of course. It would be the writer!
How else would you get a guy in close.' Someone with a reason to kill a producer.
I can see it in his eyes, the Producer's worst Nightmare!
The writer's got the gun!
"But...but you don't know how to cock it...You don't know where the safety is."
Uzis have two safeties, one's in the back of the pistol grip.
I squeeze it and jack a round.
"Yes I do." I smile.
My career with Simpson is over. He fires me again. I go skiiing.
Two months later a get a call. It's them. The silent treatment. By phone.
"This is Stacy, in Jerry's office at Paramount?"
"Hi Stacy, where's Traci."
"She no longer works here. Um.... How've you been?"
Then silence. I can hear them breathing. Fuck 'em.
I put the phone under the couch cushion and have lunch.
Forty minutes later, I pick up the phone.
"You still there?"
"What is it, a problem."
"Well yeah, they're having a little problem with the script."
"That's too bad."
"But its not my problem, its theirs."
Months later I read their script.
Somebody has taken my script and typed across the top of every page.
"Top Gun re-written by Warren Skarren."
Jerry calls two days before opening.
"You're coming to the opening aren't you?"
“But... you have to...Why not?'
“I wasn't invited."
'I'm inviting you now."
'Too late. I've got plans."
“Plans? For what?'
“'Dinner?! This is the opening, the World Premier. Don't you want to see the film?"
“'I'll see it on video."
“Um, listen....We've got another project. You'd be great. Beverly Hills Cop III."
The bad guy in Beverly Hills Cop III is named Chip. They make a big thing out of it.
Why the guns? Why the paranoia? Why he won't leave the house
It's a hit. And not that kind, the other kind.
I hear the story later. He's in the beach house with a pal.
They get coked up and want some girls.
They call Heidi. Twenty minutes later there's a knock on the door. Its two girls.
They understand he's a producer. Don grabs them and drags them in.
The foreplay is over. It was the coke.
He drags them upstairs…they try to resist. That's okay up to a point.
On coke, the point is 2.5 seconds from the impulse.
They better come across and quick or …Whack!
Don was supposed to be Head of Production
but there was a girl in the hospital that couldn't be bought off.
They gave him the parachute and a few projects;
Flashdance and Beverly Hills Cop and the keys to the career.
He figured that if you used unknown actors, and journeymen directors,
and changed writers like sheets at a Holiday Inn,
you could call yourselves...the producers, the "auteurs".
With access comes success, and power.
He could abuse anyone in Hollywood, including himself.
Now these girls were resisting, what the fuck?!
Half the ingénues in Hollywood would blow him for a part.
Who did these twits think they were….Whack.
They run screaming out of the house.
Twenty minutes later, a knock on the door. He opens it…Heidi's girls.
"You don't know me, but the girls, you know who they were?"
"Angelo Bruno's favorite nieces…out to Hollywood for some fun."
"Bruno, the guy from Philly?"
"He wants to kill you, he wants you dead."
"He put a contract out on you. In Vegas. Its no gamble, it's a sure thing."
“Why do you call?"
"Maybe I can help. "
"Anyone who takes the contract, I talk to him. I make a better offer."
"What does it cost?"
"Cash. Small bills."
So Don has a girl, an assistant. Where he goes. He nods toward a guy,
she slips him the envelope. This goes on for years. Fifty thousand a pop.
Finally someone talks to him.
"Schmuck. If he wanted you dead, you would be. It's a scam. A scam outta Vegas.
They know you're a mark."
I see Don Simpson years later. The agent gets married and has a bachelor party.
The big shots are there in a private room above Prego.
Don shows up and passes around his polariods.
Katzenberg looks at them and goes white. He hands them to Tisch.
His jaw drops and he tries to pass them on.
A stripper appears courtesy of Don and takes her clothes off.
She tries to dance but everyone's frozen in horror, imagining the story hitting the trades.
The last I see of him, he's showing the valet parker the polaroids.
I figure he was the devil, Mephistopheles The cards were on the table. The deal was there.
I could have had it all. Money, power, my name in lights, primo drugs, starlets to beat up.
the get-out- of -jail-free card that goes with making money for the megastudiocorporations.
He showed me it all. But He showed me too much.
And he dipped into the goods.
He showed me thecheck for five million dollars, and it didn't make him happy.
It was a weapon, another tool to intimidate and entice.
He had a Testarrosa and was scared to drive it anywhere.
He showed me women as furniture. I owe him.
Interface sat on the shelves at Paramount for seven years, then they sold it to Disney for
three million. Its back at Paramount thirty five years later.
With interest there's probably thirty million dollars on it.
It predicted the internet, drone wars and things like that. It will never get made.
I quit screenwriting She said lets get married and have kids. I said okay, why not?
She didn’t mention the cost of private school.
I don't go to parties. I don't talk to producers. I don't watch movies.
Chip Proser is a lapsed catholic and screenwriter and current producer/director."
His draft of Top Gun can be read online.