Vertigo Films, a British production and distribution company based in London, were interested in our ultra-violent but funny cop thriller and wanted to pick up the script. There was one itty-bitty problem: we didn't have one to show them.
The only thing we (Saint and I) had was a seven page synopsis.
And my learned "business partner," Ian St. John, had some history with Vertigo Films.
"They passed on my last feature which was a big success for Lionsgate and they are still licking their wounds. I am always bumping into Lotte Lenya the Head of Development in LA... she keeps saying she wants to work with me."
Via Curtis Brown, Saint's agent in London, we sent Vertigo Films a truncated, 2 page outline with quite a few gory and subversive details missing from the narrative.
"We got to take out the reference to the Fourth Estate," said Saint, "they are too thick to know what that is, best play it safe and change it to the Press..."
Meanwhile, back in Hollywood, Greavsie's career was on the up. "Charlie Sierra" his TV series ("Sons of Anarchy meets Fast and the Furious") had been commissioned by a major studio, and I was tasked to edit the scripts of the first three episodes.
"Let me know if there is anything that they have ripped off or anything that seems familiar to you..."
The Times obit for Leslie Halliwell (1989)
Greavsie saw me as the genetically modified cyborg hybrid of Wikipedia and the late Leslie Hallilwell.
I can't wait to kick the shit out of Greavsie in LA
"I caution you to tone down your responses. I know your style, son. Do NOT forget, your opinion does not matter...your writing does, so get on with it!"
In the past I had taken my Master of Celluloid's beloved scriptwriters to task for their English prep school world view, latent homosexuality and casual misogyny (most evident in love scenes and female characterization).
"As you wish, my Lord."
Barbarians at the Gate: Greavsie's back in with the studio
"The writers are on fire. I would appreciate you not showing them (the X3 scripts) to anyone, it would be very embarrassing for me and not good for the studio."
He got back to me the following day.
"So, what are your first thoughts?"
This was not thing to be called "Charlie Sierra".
"Reminds me of a film called Charlie Sierra, it came out in 2007, you can buy it on iTunes for $3.99."
"You see," (oh boy, i know that tone, I'm in trouble with the Headmaster, again,) "right now you want into the film world and you are already butting heads with me!"
I cut to the chase and told him that "Charlie Sierra" was "mindless, enormous and cliched" but the vital 17-32 male demographic of gamers, porn addicts and violence junkies would lap it up.
"I can tell that the two guys who wrote this are posh lads, in one of the prison scenes they describe the Day Room as a "common room type area".
"Well, they are a bit wanky, I got to go and talk to them now. I don't think they do transitions well between scenes. One of them, a hairy, beardo-weardo who looks a bit like Alan Moore, snapped at me the other day, 'What about dubbing on a Seinfeld type slap bass to link all the scenes then?' The cheeky little fucker, I told him that his opinion was not important, I say that to all of my screenwriters..."
The knave did not know his place in the Court of King Greavsie!
"...I mean what is it with all of these screenwriters? They are all functioning alcoholics and fuck ups..."
I wanted Greavsie to sound like Munroe Stahr, the tragic protagonist of The Last Tycoon, but then I remembered who he was.
"... fucking writers, fucking bullshit artists, if he had said that to me on set, I would have had him thrown off! What about your thriller, any word on that from Vertigo?"
They make Golan-Globus look like United Artists circa 1919