Oprah, Robert de Niro, Charlize Theron and the audacity of hope


I went back to Oprah’s website today, saw it in a different light.  There are some great photos of her as she is, celebrating her new network.  What an achievement, I don’t know what was the matter with me the last I time I logged on.   I didn’t see the part where she was calling for women in their 20’s – maybe she got enough responses.  Whatever, she’s opened it up, and there are no age or gender restrictions.

The category is just “do you have a dream”.  Well hell, yes.  Scores of them, actually!  Lord, how to pick one.  And write about it in 1500 characters.   I picked my film script, what the heck.   This is what I wrote:

I have many dreams!  One is to see my film script made into a film.  It’s about a woman who can’t remember her childhood, has nightmares & epilepsy, is in debt, hates her business, has no friends, fantasizes relationships (incl. one with Robert de Niro who becomes her inner mentor/father-figure).  She’s in denial that her life is out of control until bankruptcy forces her to face her truth. She goes back to where she grew up, to try & remember what she’s forgotten.  Her violently traumatic past re-enacts in the present,  taking her to the brink of losing her sanity & her life.

But she triumphs, claiming her life back from the past.  Steps out of history.  It’s a thriller/drama with lots of complications & is a heart-warming story about triumph of the spirit & the power of  truth.  1st prize would be for Robert de Niro & Charlize Theron to play the main roles.  There are other major roles, could be a really good cast.  Set in NY, Cape Town, Zimbabwe.

Feel very passionate about this!  Got it to Robert de Niro who was (coincidentally? don’t believe in coincidences) in CT the week I finished the nth draft!  Didn’t speak to him though.  I long for this film to be made, even if it has to be re-written by a more experienced hand than mine.

Bankruptcy, by the way, turned my life around.  It was the best thing that ever happened to me!  I know first hand that denial imprisons you & truth sets you free.  Thanks for this opportunity, Oprah.

It’s true about Robert de Niro.   I’d written the book 6 times, and then the script who knows how many times.   I got to a point where I needed some input from a filmmaker I could respect.  I typed “END” and said “I wish I was in the same town as de Niro, then I could at least walk to wherever he was, and try and give him my script”.   The next day somebody said “he is in town”.

He was here for a hotel opening.  Charlize Theron as well.  He was staying at the hotel but she wasn’t, and I couldn’t find out where she was.  Tried to get into the hotel opening, but was stopped by men in shades, tuxes, walkie talkies.   Invitation only.  Then I called the hotel and said can I deliver something for him?  I was told no.  I called the Tribeca Institute  (he’s co-founder) in New York.  The guy spat at me “call his agent”.  I asked if he could give me the number.  He slammed the phone down on me.

Found the agent anyway, called him in LA.  Got his PA’s PA, who said “no way”.  Jose.  He was very friendly and apologetic, but said it’s a closed system and unless I’m represented by a high profile agent I can’t get to de Niro’s agent, and he’s the only one who accepts scripts.   So I said thanks, nice chatting.  And to myself I added “I’m not giving up.  No way.  Jose.”

Ended up delivering it to the hotel anyway.   The receptionist asked “is Mr. de Niro expecting this?”

“Oh, I’m not sure, he might be” I said casually.  How did I know any different?  He may have had a dream about me.

He got it, I know he did (concierge told me).  Didn’t phone me yet, though.  It’s so strange, this world of writing a film script, and the hopes you carry about it.  The hierarchical system you have to find a way of breaching without pissing people off.  I spent a lot of time on the script, it’s very real to me in that sense, but the actuality of it being accepted is so completely outside of my experience.   So all I have to go on really is hope.  Faith.

The audacity of hope.   Why shouldn’t it be me?  No reason at all.  What a giant step out of history that will be.

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