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The Night of the Acquitted B-List Actor Pt. 2

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Hipstercrite: The Night of the Acquitted B-List Actor Pt. 2

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Night of the Acquitted B-List Actor Pt. 2

"Is this John's son's secretary?"

God, will you quit it with the "secretary"? It's not 1955 anymore, daddy-o.

"Yes"

"This is Mr. W. We met awhile back."

"I remember. How are you?"

"I'm good. Look, I want back in the business and need help."

"Ok."

"I mean I need an assistant to tell me what's new, who the agents are, who are at the studios."

"Well, I work exclusively for Mr. F, but I'd be happy to meet with and give you some ideas."

"10AM, 101 Cafe, Saturday. How does that sound?"

"Um..great. See you then."

What the hell did I just do!?!?

The rest of the week I hemmed and haughed about meeting with Mr. W. I mean how often is one faced with the predicament of conversing with an actor who was found innocent of killing someone when we're all pretty sure he did it. A new moral question came up for me- do I speak to a man who may or may not have killed his wife? Even if he did, does that mean that no one should talk to him? I needed to be informed, so I did as much research as I could before our weekend breakfast meeting. I read the entire case online. I watched Mr. W's most famous works. By the end, I knew no more or less than I did before.

I decided to go through with it.

It was the most nervous I'd been in a long time. At that point in my career I had worked for and met some of the most intimidating presences in Hollywood, but none of them compared to the 120 pound 74 year-old I was about to have breakfast with now. Did I think he was going to kill me? Of course not. I just had no idea what I was in for.

I pulled into the parking lot and headed for the door. There he was. The same tiny man in cowboy garb and hat bigger than his torso. He lowered his Wayfarers and in his unforgettable voice says, "Ms. Modery, how ya doing? Let's go inside so these people will stop staring at me."

We got stares from every angle. If it wasn't because of his face that everyone in America got used to seeing on the nightly news, it was because of his ridiculous hat and shit-kicking boots. The waitresses new him by name and everyone seemed genuinely happy to see him. This was his haunt and one of his only havens left in town.

Before we even sat, he ordered "the same old thing" and directed me to his table in the back. The atmosphere was tense and I could tell he was just as nervous as I was. We talked about trivial things and at points his dialogue was slightly nonsensical, his focus elsewhere, shifting to what's going on around him, who was watching him, judging him. He ate more butter than toast and he was quick to explain the physical and sexual abuse he was subjected to as a child, as almost a pretense excuse to what he thought I could be thinking.

Four cups of coffee later, he stops with the small talk.

"Let's cut the bullshit. I want back in the industry and I need help. I know no one likes me, I know they all think I'm a murderer, but I'm going to win an Oscar before I die, God damnit. I have these ideas, you know, and I need your help."

I shuffled in my seat...

To be continued...

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