Tuesday, May 27, 2008

It's official...

Actress Jennifer Tilly has announced the start of filming of ‘The Making Of Plus One’ at the Cannes Film Festival. Jennifer and her real-life sister, Meg Tilly, play sisters who have optioned the rights to my book, ‘Plus One’, who intend to make a small independent movie based on it, with them playing Julia and me.

Their characters are two American TV soap stars who hope that, by playing English women, they have a chance at an Oscar nod (incidentally, both Meg and Jennifer have had Academy Award nominations). Geraldine Chaplin plays their voice coach. John Sessions and Amanda Plummer also star, plus a bunch of other people you’ll recognize even if you don’t know their names.

Michael Eklund plays the movie’s producer, working behind the scenes at the festival to get Cate Blanchett and Kate Winslet attached to play the sisters, even though the TV soap stars bought the rights so they could take those roles. The plot thickens.

People will be on the edge of their seats by the end of the movie, gagging to know if the film gets made or not and wondering who will play Julia and me. That’s the plan, anyway.

As I get more and more excited about our trip to the south of France to play ourselves in a proper movie inspired by my book, you might be forgiven for thinking that Julia would have checked with me first before volunteering me to run the ‘What’s Beneath The Duck?’ stall with her this Sunday between the hours of 1 and 3pm at the Topanga Country Fair. Hang on a minute while I answer the phone.

That was Julia. Because we have “personality” and are “flexible”, Julia and I have been promoted to the Hoops stall. Plus ça change...

Labels: , , ,

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Young at heart

Many years ago, when I had my first VCR, I foolishly allowed Julia to select the movie for us to rent one Christmas for all the family to enjoy: ‘Sophie’s Choice.’ I still have nightmares about that film.

Five minutes into the movie we took Mum and Dad to see (my choice), I feared I had made an even bigger blunder. ‘Young At Heart’ is a documentary about a bunch of senior citizens who travel the globe singing rock tunes, some disconcertingly more senior than others. Mercifully, it lightened up and we all loved it. It’s truly wonderful, but a stark reminder that life is not a dress rehearsal and we must all seize the day. Three clichés in one sentence – sorry about that. Here’s a quote from Nietzsche to make up for it: “Without music, life would be a mistake.”

The parents’ trip went well and it was very emotional waving them off at the airport, especially as Dad needed a wheelchair because his arthritic knees were giving him jip. Julia tried valiantly to get them upgraded to first class using her air miles and they were on standby if anyone was a no show or cancelled at the last minute. No such luck.

I tried to broach the subject of a master plan for their future, especially as several good friends of ours are dealing with their parents’ ailing health where dementia and diapers are involved. Enough said. But Mum and Dad insist they’ll deal with that if and when the time comes. “Will you at least sell some premium bonds and get a cleaner and a gardener in once a week?” I begged. But Mum wants to hold on to the premium bonds in case they win a million pounds.

As you can see from the photo above, Mum is in fine fettle. Julia and I took her to the Café Del Rey for brunch on Mother’s Day. She said it was the best Mother’s Day she’s ever had and made up for all the ones we’ve spent apart since Julia and I moved to LA.

Ageing parents is just one reason why I need the ‘Making Of Plus One…’ movie to be a success. Filming started this week. We cracked open a bottle of champagne to celebrate. Just to be clear - this is not a movie based on Plus One. It’s a mockumentary about the making of a movie based on Plus One and the wheeling and dealing that goes on during the Cannes Film Festival to get it made. Julia and I will be flying to the South of France in July for the second phase of filming. We will be playing ourselves and only in a couple of scenes.

If ‘The Making Of Plus One’ movie is a success, it will give Plus One the book a new lease of life and pave the way for a movie actually based on the book with the added bonus that the rights have reverted to me. The Man Child has suggested we call it “Lesbians On A Boat With Robots and Ghosts” as that has all the ingredients for a box office smash.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

A week in the life.....

Hallelujah! The Man Child passed his California driving test, cousin Tim (Dad’s sister Auntie Joyce’s son) managed to get Dad and brother Mark tickets to see Portsmouth play in the FA Cup Final and this photo of Marley accompanied the invitation to her Belly Dancing Third Birthday Party on May 29th. Julia said I can publish it as you can’t really see her face, but her general cuteness is there for all to see.

It was Dad’s 79th birthday on the 27th April and we held a small but perfectly formed tea party for him at Julia’s house in Topanga. We watched Brothers & Sisters as Julia had a song featured. The air conditioning wasn’t working and we couldn’t find the remote to turn the fan on so it was like being in a sauna.

The heat wasn’t as unbearable as having to explain to the guests who weren’t familiar with the show who each character was and where they fitted in to the plot. Julia’s song was barely audible in the background but at least she got paid handsomely for it. Twice as much money, in fact, as I’m getting for the use of title rights for Plus One.

Director Mary McGuckian called from France to say she’s on the last push to start filming the ‘Making Of Plus One’ movie. She is “reasonably confident” the money will be in the bank to enable her to start filming on the first day of the Cannes film festival.

For logistical reasons, Mary’s decided to split the filming in two, and Julia and I won’t be needed to play ourselves until the second round in the South of France, in July now. Mary says we should be thankful we won’t be in Cannes for the zoo that is the film festival.

Yesterday, I leased a new car, a Camry. I LOVE it, but not as much as I love America for awarding me such an excellent credit rating. Colin drove it to work today and we loaned the Man Child the PT Cruiser as a reward for passing his test. So I cycled to a friend’s house to fax my signed copy of the agreement with Mary. I realize there’s something wrong with that picture.

Mum and Dad’s trip is going well. They’re staying in an apartment identical to ours, just along the corridor. Julia and Marley come down to us most days and we swim in the pool. But they’re spending today in Topanga, watching Marley dance around the maypole at her pre-school. A day off for me!

Last night, Marley and I were dancing around the living room together. Mum was howling with laughter and said I reminded her of Dawn French in the classic Darcy Bussell sketch. I catered a party last week to help keep the wolf from the door until my movie money comes through. Mum said I should look on the bright side as all that running about will help me lose some weight.

After 53 years of marriage, Dad told Mum that he doesn’t like cold lamb. Not as annoying as Mum walking in front of the TV just as Ronaldo missed a penalty for Manchester United against Barcelona. Frankly, I have been nothing short of saintly since Mum and Dad arrived. My days and evenings have been spent shopping, cooking, teaching Max to drive, ferrying him to and fro, and listening to Mum tell me over and over again how she doesn’t like American bread and how she couldn’t live here.

It’s no wonder I parked the car in the wrong parking bay. At least I didn’t get towed this time, just a snotty note. While I viewed the not getting towed as a result, Colin wondered if I might have “a mental problem” because I’ve parked in the wrong bay twice now. I cannot convey how much that pissed me off.

I was up at dawn’s crack to get the coffee on and the apartment tidy for Mum and Dad’s 8.30 a.m. arrival when I noticed a spider crawling across my shoulder. I shook and shook my hair to get it out, and screamed in panic, but I could still see it out of the corner of my eye. I threw off my dressing gown and ran naked back into the bedroom so Colin could save me from the giant creepy crawly. I jumped up and down on the bed screaming at Colin to wake up and help me for fuck’s sake.

I stopped screaming when I realized it wasn’t a spider, but part of my ear plug that had fallen out in the night and got stuck in my hair. Colin said: “At least you’ve still got your dignity” and went back to sleep.