Friday, January 15, 2010
Before moving ahead with the snail-like progress of "City Island's" journey, allow me to recount a brief episode that occurred shortly before the departure of Michael Chiklis from the project. It's important to recount this little moment because it's easy to remember the hardships in getting a movie off the ground and yet somehow we forget the little perks that go along with the process. Yes there are frustrations galore--but there's also the nice restaurants where meetings are held, the occasional first or business class ticket bought on somebody else's dime, the exotic trips to film festivals made with the vague hope of promoting an unmade (and probably unfinanced) film...
...and then there's lunch with Kim Cattrall.
Somehow she'd gotten the script for my movie--I'm not sure why or how or who gave it to her, only that I know we didn't offer it to her. We weren't really offering it to actresses yet, since we were still in list-land about which mega-stars we would approach to play Michael Chiklis' wife. Anyway, our casting director got a call from her agent who said that Kim Cattrall loved the part, loved the script and would love to meet me. Well. Why not? I thought the world of her from "Sex In The City" and quite admired the fact that she was somebody who wasn't precious about going out and getting herself some work that she wanted. Clearly she kept a trained eye on projects that seemed to be coming together and had no compunction about pitching herself for something she wanted to be part of. This is admirable and not necessarily typical of actors of a certain stature--but then not much is typical about Kim Cattrall.
We were both living on the Upper East Side of Manhattan at the time so we arranged to meet at a local joint off Madison Avenue. She was hot off her mega- turn as the rapacious Samantha Jones in the TV version of "Sex In The City" and thus at the height of her celebrity--both nationally and locally. I found her to be terribly charming and awfully smart. We talked a lot about her background, what kind of family she was raised in and why the part of Joyce Rizzo spoke to her. We talked relationships. We talked work. The restaurant was packed and I began to notice that most eyes were on her. This is a strange pheomenon and even stranger if you're not the person who's being stared at but merely the person they're with. For celebrities are used to the attention and have their own ways of blocking out the stares from strangers. But non-celebrities--like me--aren't sufficiently well trained to do this and thus we find ourselves distracted by the attention we're inadvertantly on the receiving end of.
Soon I was finding hard to concentrate on what Kim was saying. Have you tried to listen carefully while a roomful of people are surreptitiously staring at you? So I suggested to Kim that we take a walk, figuring that the open air would be a little less...confining. We strolled up Madison Avenue, still talkling away...only now we were being checked out by all the shoppers along the street. More importantly, I began to realize that a lot of people seemed to be checking me out...as if, by mere connection to Kim, I was suddenly a lot more interesting. "Who's the guy hanging around with Kim Cattrall on Madison Avenue?", all eyes seemed to wonder. Many of the looks I got from men were hostile, possessive, perhaps just a bit competitive. But the looks from the women were different: for the first time in my life I began to realize what it must be like to be an attractive sixteen year old girl walking into a sports bar. Women of all types seemed to be staring at me in a way I'd never experienced: he must be the very coolest if he hangs with Kim Cattrall/Samantha Jones on Madison Avenue? My stock seemed to soar with every passing block. I grew taller and thinner. I began to shoot little looks back at those shooting little looks at me. Briefly I was Marcello Mastroianni in "8 and 1/2". I fucking loved it.
My meetng with Kim ended in Central Park. She was friendly and direct about how much she wanted to be in the movie. I told her I liked the idea and that we were still putting it together...trying to finance it...talking with agents...in other words, I tried to stay non-committal in a positive sort of way. Just a week or so later we lost Michael to "Fantastic Four". I tried to look on the bright side and told my producers that at least we had the interest of Kim Cattrall. They didn't dig this opportunity as much as I did. They were focused on bagging a major star for the role of Vince.
I never saw or spoke to Kim again. I hope she wasn't pissed that nothing came of our meeting. I liked her a lot and will be forever grateful for the boost to my ego our lunch and walk gave me at a somewhat troubling, directionless time in my life as a filmmaker. A true perk...
Posted by Raymond De Felitta at 2:07 PM