Welcome back, my friends, to the crime that never ends. We're so glad you could attend. Come inside, come inside. Ask yourself, do you feel lucky? Well, do you? You bet your ass you are. Come with me, and take a little trip to the dark side. You know you want to ...
Screened an all-time classic last night. DIE HARD. The one that started it all. State-of-the-art high-concept action thriller deluxe. After it's success, we got 'DIE HARD on a plane.' 'DIE HARD on a boat.' 'DIE HARD on a bus.' You get the idea? I also believe this the begininng of the Eurotrash villian syndrome. One that lasted a good, long while, until it was beaten to death. I must say it was a shock to see Bruce Willis with hair. And of course the American screen debut of Alan Rickman, who, to this day, is one of my all-time screen villians. Hadn't seen it in years, and it was great fun to see again. I of course took copious notes. I had a lot of fun writing my big-budget spy thriller NOWHERE GIRL (shameless plug -- it's right now over at Ridley and Tony Scott's company), and I just might go for the big-action-movie bucks on my next screenplay.
Speaking of screenplays, you know what time it is. Time for another steamin' hot slab of hardboiled pulp from Wilshire Boulevard.
In the opening teaser, Carrie questions one of dead movie producer Harvey Flender's employees (believe it or not, this dude is based on a real former coworker of mine at the production company I used to work at; he was a complete asshole, so this was particularly satisfying.)
Then, Carrie takes another employee, Jenny, to one of her favorite beach dives for a little ... personal interview. (Another note -- this is based on a real-life haunt of mine, Chez Jay, who's owner, Jay, recently passed away. RIP, Jay. Thanks for all the strong cocktails over the years.)
INT. CONFERENCE ROOM - DUSK
Odd-Looking Sad-Face sits at the end of the conference table
across from Carrie. Gripping Variety for dear life.
Meet FLEMING BOOR (49), Harvey Flender’s assistant.
Paunchy. Bug eyes blinking. Sparse hair trying for a Ceasar.
Approaching the final chapter of a life of quiet desperation.
Tragic death. I’m sorry.
(writes some notes)
How long did you work for him?
Twelve years. We’ve made 79 movies together.
Nine minis. And two series.
(mutters, to himself)
And still no producer credit --
Impressive. His wife told me that he had a lot of enemies.
Do you know anyone who might have wanted to do him harm?
Look in the Hollywood Creative Directory.
Start with the letter ‘A.’
His wife told me that Harvey was rather -- frugal.
You can say THAT again.
So you know about his --
Of COURSE. He was a THIEF, a CROOK.
(raises a finger)
And now I am poised to take his place.
PUSH IN ON Fleming.
Quivering with quiet rage.
INT. YAVO/FLENDER FILMS - CORRIDOR - MOMENTS LATER
Carrie walks past a closed office door.
A hand-made sign reads LEGAL IS CLOSED.
Jenny appears. Has her coat on. Holds her bag.
I’m sorry, but Betty left. She gets here at 7:30.
Leaves at six sharp, has to race home
to her unemployed, drunken husband.
(nods at the closed door)
What about Legal?
That’s my boss, Modi. He won’t talk to you.
He doesn’t talk to visitors.
I see. I like a challenge.
I’ll ambush him another time.
So where do you want to go?
PUSH IN ON Carrie.
The cat about to get the canary.
How do you feel about shellfish?
EXT. CHEZ RAY’S - NIGHT
The crisp, surf-guitar jangle of The Venturers’
cover of CALIFORNIA DREAMIN’ over --
A crusty, old dive.
Across the street from the beach.
Near the Santa Monica pier.
Small martini glass in pink neon.
INT. CHEZ RAY’S - NIGHT
Almost pitch-black, except for the zillions of tiny Christmas lights.
And the juke box. Movie posters signed by patrons.
The joint is packed. Hipsters who know better.
Beaten-down regulars who don’t.
Excited voices fight the music.
And in a dark, corner booth --
Carrie and Jenny.
Each with a giant, shell-shaped bowl of oysters.
Carrie dunks a piece of bread in steaming hot shrimp broth.
Pops it in her mouth. Grabs her beer. Takes a long pull.
I love this place.
I’ve passed it a million times
and never knew what it was.
I wasn’t even sure if it was open.
Carrie pours salt on her wrist. Licks it.
DOWNS a shot of tequila.
Bites a lemon wedge. Smiles.
Chez Ray’s is Santa Monica’s best-kept secret.
If someone in the press writes about it in one of trendy rags,
Just then RAY (80’s) the owner, ambles over.
Toothpick thin. Natty in a pink Hawaiian shirt.
Ancient skin ruined by the sun.
But bright, blue eyes still twinkling with mischief.
Who’s the new dame, doll?
Did the Brit take a powder?
Ray. This is Jenny Lane. I’m on a job.
(to Jenny, winks)
Better watch out for this one.
She can reel ‘em in.
Don’t even need bait.
He shuffles away. An awkward silence.
So tell me about Yavo/Flender Films.
I want all the dirt. I don’t care how tawdry.
Well, they’re all freaks.
We’re underpaid, understaffed, and very successful.
Flender was a cheap, lying bastard,
and he got what was coming to him --
(sips her cocktail)
Yavo is nasty, crude, and suffers from a Napoleon complex --
Did Yavo and Flender get along?
They only got along because of
how much money they made.
Yavo used to be one of the biggest producers in town --
he’s made over a hundred TV movies --
but he made other investments over the years,
which make much more money,
so nowadays he lets -- let -- Flender call the shots.
(a bite of food)
All he has to is sit back and watch the dough roll in.
Bastard’s only in the office two days a week.
Rest of the time he’s at his compound down in Laguna.
(sips her drink)
I can’t think of a motive for Yavo doing it.
No upside. Flender was doing all the work.
Can you tell me about his enemies?
That could take all night.
Whattaya say we kick it back at my place?
I have a full bar.
PUSH IN ON Jenny.
Her Cheshire cat smile.
I thought you’d never ask --