Friday, February 20, 2009

The luck of the Irish (or Kiss Me Kate)

Trying to be a success in Tinseltown has been described as swimming with sharks. I think it’s more like swimming with sharks in a sea of bullshit.

But yesterday I felt like a winner. The gods were with me, all my ducks were in a row, Mercury was not in retrograde… you get the picture.

The day started with a letter from the brilliant Augusten Burroughs, the number-one New York Times bestselling author of ‘Running With Scissors’, ‘Dry’ and ‘Magical Thinking.’ I had asked Augusten and anyone else I know who is at the top of their game to write me a letter of reference in support of my Green Card application.

Colin thought someone had died and came running (not with scissors) into the living room when he heard my sobs. I was crying, not from grief, but deep, deep gratitude that someone as busy and successful as Augusten would take the time to write a long letter that ended: “It is precisely Claire’s rare combination of remarkable talent coupled with her shirt-sleeves-rolled-up willingness to work as hard as she can for as long as it takes – a truly American quality – which enables me to strongly recommend – without any hesitation – the swift approval of her visa application. Claire is a tremendous asset to our literary and entertainment economies. We must not – and cannot afford – to let her go.”

Then I beat Tracey at tennis. Yes, she had a shoulder injury and a bad ankle, but I won.

There’s more. Mary McGuckian (the Irish director of The Making Of Plus One) copied me on an email she had sent to Hylda Queally at CAA who represents Cate Blanchett and Kate Winslet and who, last night, was honored by the US-Ireland Alliance. Mary told Hylda I would be there and to look out for me. Kate, who’s been repped by Hylda since she was 16, presented Hylda with the prestigious award, which is how I was in the same room as Kate Winslet.

I was there as the plus one of the gorgeous Sonya Macari, an Irish actress who played one of Anne Boleyn’s ladies-in-waiting on ‘The Tudors.’ The presentation was supposed to be at 7.30pm, but the hundreds of us who were sitting patiently waiting for a glimpse of Kate had to wait until 8.15 before the last VIP, one Tracey Ullman, was seated. Neither of us knew the other was going to be there. Tracey stopped to chat with me on the way to the front of the room. Which is why I think so many people subsequently gave me their business cards because they assumed I must be important.

I didn’t go up to Hylda or Kate and introduce myself as they were always surrounded by hoards of people. I can tell you that Kate looked absolutely stunning and positively skinny – as did Hylda. I read in ‘People’ magazine (so it must be true) that Kate doesn’t watch what she eats or exercise at all. If she hasn’t been exercising, she must have had lipo. She is perfection and so hot right now, and can play me in the movie based on my book, ‘Plus One: A Year In The Life Of A Hollywood Nobody’ if she wants.

I have a good ‘in’ with Kate – both our daughters are called Mia (it's a sign!) and I have her agent's email address. Then I spotted Harvey Weinstein, but he didn’t stay long enough for me to ask him if he had any problem with me calling my film production company MiaMax (after my two children).

It really was a fabulous evening. Just as I was leaving my chum, Patricia Danaher, who writes for ‘The Irish Times’ among many other prestigious newspapers shouted out that she’d get my letter of reference to me on Monday. She’s a member of the Hollywood Foreign Press and a Harvard scholar. I reckon with Augusten’s letter, Patricia’s letter, the others I have and one from Tracey who’s won eight Emmys and countless other awards, I could be elected Pope, let alone get a Green Card.

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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Why can’t they clone Clooney?

For the first time in seven years, my hairdresser didn’t ask me to remind him which side I part my hair. Then I went The Omelet Parlor for lunch where I’ve been ordering two poached eggs on a toasted English muffin for almost ten years and was finally greeted as a favorite and regular customer.

I was so excited at the possibility that I might actually matter that I stepped outside my comfort zone and ordered the chicken tacos. And very nice they were too.

The next day it was off to the ER set on the Warner Brothers lot in Burbank where Eriq La Salle and Noah Wyle (Doctors Benton and Carter) were filming their scenes in this the final series of my all-time favorite TV drama.

John Wells, the Executive Producer of the show wrote and directed this episode. I was sat right behind him with his wife - my great friend, Marilyn. I had my own director’s chair and set of headphones.

For one glorious moment I thought I was going the week before, when Gorgeous George was filming his guest appearance on the show that made him famous, but it was a closed set for the obvious reason that women like me might try and touch him. The fact remains: I am one degree of separation from George Clooney and not a lot of people can say that.

The final edit of The Making Of Plus One is in post production in Toronto. The plan is to get our little movie into the Cannes Film Festival in May. Even if it isn’t accepted into the festival (as if!), Mary McGuckian has booked a theatre in Cannes so it WILL be premiered there. Incidentally, the full title of the movie about trying to get my book made into a film is The Making Of Plus One Starring Kate Winslet, Cate Blanchett and George Clooney.

The Making Of Plus One… sets things up nicely for a film actually based on my book. Wouldn’t it be amazing if art imitates life and Kate, Cate and George star in it? My hope is that there’s a big enough buzz about The Making Of Plus One… that a big studio will come knocking and want to option my book then commission a script based on it. I’ll whip out my screenplay and say: “Here’s one I prepared earlier!” and laugh all the way to the bank.

The Cannes Film Festival is very conveniently around the same time as our Dad’s 80th birthday so Julia, Marley and I have already booked our flights to London. Julia may not make it to Cannes as she’s been invited to sing at The Blue Note in Japan for real money. Julia asked me to go with her to Japan from England to help with Marley while she sings two shows a night for five nights. Sorry, Sis, I’m going to Cannes! My daughter is first reserve to go to Japan instead of me.

Just when you think life can’t get any better, I returned home from the ER set to learn the joyous news that some outstanding invoices that Colin and I had abandoned all hope would be paid, have been paid.

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