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HOLLYWOOD EMBASSY: EPISODE 1.02

INT. EMBASSY HALLWAY - NIGHT

The elevators doors open and KERRY ISIS walks out. KERRY is cold, is tough, is a woman that no man, woman, or sentient being should ever mess with and expect to get away from. Some call her the Ice Queen, some call her El Jefe. Being on KERRY’S good side is gold in Hollywood.

She walks down the hall to the sounds of complete silence, turning and entering WILL’S room. The camera follows her in.

KERRY
So, you’re William…[trails off, not knowing his last name]

WILL
Penn. It’s William Penn.

They shake hands. WILL is clearly shaking like a leaf.

KERRY [cont’d]
Well, that’s ironic. Kind of funny.

WILL
Not as funny as you’d think. [She raises an eyebrow slowly; he panics] Or…or, it is. Yeah. [laughs nervously] Yeah, Penn. Writer. Barrel of monkey laughs. Andrew will be here soon. [turns; to himself] Oh God, I hope he gets here soon.

As if on cue, ANDREW enters, clearly frazzled, but in his own smooth way.

ANDREW
Kerry. Lovely to see you. You’re more attractive than you’ve ever been.

KERRY
And you’re about as smooth as a confidence man. Good to see you haven’t changed.

ANDREW
Yes, well, let’s get this started.

CREDITS

INT. LOBBY OF THE EMBASSY – DAY

The words ’12 HOURS EARLIER’ show at the bottom of the screen as we see MR. CRAITH, MATT, CHRISTIAN, and SARAH at the counter, studying a letter that CHRISTIAN currently holds.

MATT
Pursuant to the…

SARAH
You know, if you wanted to look intelligent, the least you could do is read in your head.

MR. CRAITH
Children, stop it. [to CHRISTIAN] Well?

CHRISTIAN
It’s dicey.

MATT
It’s a joke! I mean, for god’s sake, how much weight does the…[snatches the letter and reads it] … people of California…oh.

SARAH
Once again, smarter with your mouth shut.

CHRISTIAN
Who gave you this?

MR. CRAITH
It came this morning with the mail.

CHRISTIAN
You know, the whole visit with the police doesn’t bode well either. Check your calendar. You’re coming in for a consultation.

MR. CRAITH
I was just wondering what to get the staff for Christmas when the obvious gift was right under my nose. A consultation. It’s the gift that keeps on giving…legal pain, of course.

CHRISTIAN
[eye-roll]
I’m serious. You could be looking at a suit here. Book an appointment, bring Matt in so there’s a second person to hear the advice, and whatever you do, keep him quiet.

MATT
He’s been trying to silence me since he hired me. Hasn’t happened yet. You think your chances are better because you said please?

CHRISTIAN
I didn’t say please and I’m not above using force.

We see BELLA entering and talking on her cell phone to TOM.

BELLA
I don’t care if you had an epiphany, if you were born again Christian, or if the clues fell out of the high-jumpin’ blue sky. If I see a resignation when I go into my office then you are going to be sorry that you ever tried to get away from me. Thomas Dresser, do you understand me? [Pause] Oh, I really do mean it. If you quit, I will make you sorry you were born a man. [Pause. She smiles cheerfully] I thought as much! See you at the staff meeting, hon!

[She gets in the elevator as ANDREA gets out. They exchange a quick greeting]

ANDREA
Lindsay!

Lindsay Murrows smiles from one of the chairs. LINDSAY is Andrea’s agent. She’s warm, nurturing, and the mother/sister/best friend that you’ve always wanted. About 90% of that is all for show, but it makes you feel good and warm anyhow.

LINDSAY
Andrea! And how’s my best client?

ANDREA
In need of caffeine and honesty.

LINDSAY
I’m wounded! You’re still one of my top ten favorite clients.

ANDREA
Coffee. Then honesty. Then audition.

They leave out the front door as DANIELLE, JAKE, and ANDREW come in. DANIELLE’S slightly hungover.

JAKE
Is he always like that?

DANIELLE
Welcome to the warm and happy world of Nick Linwood! Just be glad we only had to have breakfast with him today.

ANDREW
[to JAKE]
I don’t see why you couldn’t just punch him. After all, you’ve been wonderfully violent lately.

CHRISTIAN
Did I just hear someone say violent?

JAKE
Christian says that every time I hit someone from now on, I have to pay him three hundred dollars.

CHRISTIAN
The equivalent of a consultation. [to MR. CRAITH] That reminds me. You’ll need to write me a check for three hundred dollars.

ANDREW
Three hundred! That is a bargain to injure Nick Linwood! Jake, I will write you the check…

JAKE
Pass.

DANIELLE
I’ll do it!

ANDREW
[disapprovingly]
With your right hook? I want to hurt the man, not tickle him.

MATT
I wouldn’t knock her swing. She’s very strong! She bruised me! Look!

ANDREW
Yes, but you’re a pansy when it comes to pain.

SARAH
He’s got a point.

ANDREW
Sarah! Now I know you’ve got a feisty punch, why don’t…

SARAH
No.

CHRISTIAN
Give it up.

ANDREW
Of course! The day that hell freezes over and pigs are being used as little flying frisbees down in the seventh circle.

CHRISTIAN
I’m going to work now. [to MR. CRAITH] Consultation. Don’t forget.

SARAH
And by virtue of him being my ride, I’m leaving too.

CHRISTIAN leaves with SARAH walking him out. ANDREW, DANIELLE, and JAKE all start walking to the elevator.

ANDREW
You can even count it as one of your debts repaid! Two debts! No more than three. Come on, Boyd!

JAKE
No.

ANDREW
If you do it, I won’t sell the blackmail photographs I’ve got of you to Sarah?

JAKE
No.

ANDREW
I’ll quash the bisexual, transgender rumors.

JAKE
No!…Wait…the what?…

ANDREW
I’ll sleep with you!

The elevator doors open. CRYSTAL pushes out meekly.

DANIELLE & JAKE
No!

ANDREW
[to DANIELLE] Jealous, moppet?

The doors close. CRYSTAL makes her way across the lobby, but MR. CRAITH sees her go.

MR. CRAITH
Miss Richter.

CRYSTAL stops, puts on a blinding smile and turns.

CRYSTAL
Hi! Mr. Craith, right? [They shake hands once more. MATT lingers in the background, sorting mail and watching]

MR. CRAITH
Is everything working in your suite?

CRYSTAL
It’s actually really nice. I’m impressed. I mean, I really didn’t expect it to have separate rooms, or a kitchen! You know, when you hear hotel suite, you think…well, I mean, I guess most people don’t think so kindly on it, but it’s been really surprising.

MATT
[bored]
Had them refitted to make a profit. Cheaper than renting an apartment so long as you don’t mind telling people that you live in a hotel, and I mean, there aren’t as many amenities, but again, cheap. Besides, the first two floors are still for the plebes.

MR. CRAITH clears his throat loudly, clearly displeased.

MATT (cont’d)
Uh, guests. Tourists.

CRYSTAL
Well, it’s gorgeous.

MR. CRAITH
I’m glad. Are you off for your first audition? [nods towards papers & things in CRYSTAL’S hands]

CRYSTAL
Hmm? Oh! [insincerely] Yeah. My first. I’m really nervous.

She leaves.

MATT
[not looking up]
She’ll never get a part with those acting skills.

MR. CRAITH turns and gives him a withering look.

MR. CRAITH
I don’t pay you to make social commentary.

MATT
You don’t pay me much at all. How about a raise?

MR. CRAITH
And how about a dismissal with no letter of reference?

MATT
[quickly]
Working!

EXT. HOLLYWOOD STREET – DAY

LINDSAY and ANDREA walk down the street with coffee.

LINDSAY
Good coffee? Good weather? Good company? Good. How are you, sweetie?

ANDREA
Is depressed the right answer? [LINDSAY gives her a questioning look; ANDREA sighs] I’ve just got a terrible feeling in my stomach about this audition. I mean, look at the sides. They want some barely-twenty year old, I bet. I’m too old for this business, talent be damned.

LINDSAY
You’re in your early thirties. If that’s too old, I’d hate to know what you think of my age.

ANDREA
It’s just…I haven’t had a job in over a month. It isn’t the rejections I care about. It’s not! I love my work, but no one is allowing me to work! I want to share myself with the world. Make a legacy…y’know…not be forgotten when I die.

LINDSAY
You just stick with it. It gets hard sometimes, and you know that. I won’t allow you to become another face that just fades away.

ANDREA
I’m sorry. I get this way every few months. That feeling of impending failure, and it really doesn’t help that everyone else at the Embassy is either successful or about to become a star and I’m just not in that league. I’m the supporting role. I’m the character actress…

LINDSAY
You’re the talent. You’ve had great roles, you’ve been successful, and you have great friends, not to mention a magnificent agent! You’re the envy of every little girl who dreams of becoming a famous actress of substance.

ANDREA
Do I pay you to inflate my ego or find me roles? I can never remember.

LINDSAY
It’s a little of both. I’ve got some good news. [ANDREA perks up] I talked to the guys about today’s audition. They’re really eager to see you and they want to turn it into a recurring role. Maybe that’ll put some happiness in your life.

ANDREA
[genuinely pleased] What would I do without you?

LINDSAY
Suffer horribly.

INT. WILL’S SUITE – DAY

WILL sits typing on the typewriter with a laptop open beside it. He rubs at his eyes, clearly frustrated with his work. ANDREW waltzes into the room.

ANDREW
I’ve got brilliant news.

WILL
You’re leaving Hollywood and giving all your money and talent to me?

ANDREW
I said brilliant, not stupidly impossible.

WILL
What have you done this time?

ANDREW
You and I have a meeting with the very esteemed Ms. Kerry Isis…

WILL
Cold as ice Isis? [His eyes go wide] What in God’s name are you doing putting me in the same room with that woman, let alone setting up a meeting? Have you actually gone insane, and if you have…can you please not tell anyone else for two days so I can win the bet.

ANDREW
You’re betting on my sanity?

WILL
[hesitates] Only a little. Look. Listen. Look. I can’t meet with her. I can barely meet with anyone on the second level of power, and she’s…she’s like God-level!

ANDREW
Get over it. Write a bit of a speculation script for tonight, why don’t you, so that we can be…

WILL
[nearly shrieking]
Tonight?

ANDREW
She’ll be here around 8 PM.

WILL
You have gone insane.

ANDREW
Really, William, when I completely lose my capacity for sanity, I’ll prefer to do it with a much larger audience. Don’t flatter yourself. She only wants five or so pages to glean what your talents may be. I’ve told her that you’re one to watch out for. Don’t turn me into a liar.

WILL
Andrew…I can’t…

ANDREW
If you want this deal, and it’s hardly something to scoff at…well, you’ll have to.

ANDREW gives WILL a comforting pat on the shoulder before walking out of the room, leaving WILL to stare after him in shock.

INT. SARAH’S OFFICE – DAY

DANIELLE waltzes in carrying coffee and smokes, handing them to SARAH. SARAH grabs at them quickly, nearly inhaling her coffee and tucking away the cigarettes into her purse.

SARAH
Oh. Oh! Oh my god! You are…oh my god!

DANIELLE
Oh, I don’t know. You can just call me Danielle.

SARAH
Cute.

DANIELLE
That’s what Entertainment Weekly says!

SARAH
Yeah, I heard you got in there. What was it? Article?

DANIELLE
It was a glowing mention in the review of my latest movie. You know, the one that didn’t bomb. [She rolls her eyes] As opposed to this newest which is so destined to flop. I’m never letting Andrew talk me into auditioning for anything again, okay? Hold me to that.

SARAH
You got it. Then again, the last time you listened to anyone who wasn’t yourself, was…well, I really can’t recall that ever having happened.

DANIELLE
[dryly]
Ha. Ha. The next time, I know not to work with Linwood. I mean, he’s bad enough on his own, but the minute you put Andrew with him, it’s like the battle of the pre-teen boys. I swear to god, Andrew spent the entire breakfast meeting coughing obscenities under his breath. And poor Jake, I think he spent the whole meeting thinking he was on the brink of getting fired.

SARAH
He probably was.

DANIELLE
Doubt it. Jake’s in on Bella’s recommendation, not Andrew’s. Linwood would fire any of Andrew’s choices out of spite, but he’s got some sort of scary admiration for Bella.

SARAH
So how did you stay in there?

DANIELLE
Third-party audition. Carefully crafted by Andrew Pryce, Master of Secrecy himself. He made flowcharts and blueprints and actually came up with code names. The only thing I can figure is that he was horribly bored or horribly drunk. [furrows her brow] Or both. So, speaking of drunk…how bad was I at the party? The last thing I remember was being hassled by Keith Lenk.

SARAH
You were okay. You owe Jake a little. Keith wound up harassing you a bit before he sunk his claws into Christian.

DANIELLE
Oh. Poor Christian.

SARAH
Poor Christian? He’s a lawyer. I pity anyone who goes at him intending to get information. I swear to god, the boy keeps better secrets than monks on vows of silence. And he’s gotten really good with his contract law. The last one was a work of art. Ought to be in the Louvre.

DANIELLE
He done good with that.

SARAH
The twenty-five pages was a little much.

DANIELLE
Yeah. But now no one can interview us on the hotel premises. It’s great! The privacy is amazing.

SARAH
Hasn’t helped Mr. Lawyer Fantastico much.

DANIELLE
Yeah, I know. It’s mostly Keith though. I saw him sneaking up there today to get the scoop. Apparently, while Christian totally didn’t say much, he said enough to tip Keith off to something. I think he might have given a name. There’ve been three reporters up there today, at least. Poor guy. Sometimes I think I should just send Jake up to be a bodyguard.

SARAH
[laughs]
He does seem to have it in him. That was an impressive right hook.

DANIELLE
His training has not gone to waste! Plus, my god. He’s got a six pack. No, better than that. It’s like…it’s like an eight-pack. I cannot wait until I get to sleep with him.

SARAH raises an eyebrow.

DANIELLE (cont’d)
For the movie, oh my god, what is with you people today? [She sighs] I’ve got to get going. I’m supposed to drop by Christian’s office and give him a testimonial about the police. Apparently, we’ve got legal problems.

SARAH
I heard. Say hi.

DANIELLE
Can do. Don’t cause too many defamation suits, you hear?

SARAH
No promises.

DANIELLE leaves.

EXT. HOLLYWOOD STREET – DAY

CRYSTAL walks along with the objects in her hand, aimlessly searching for something or someone. TALIA finds her and taps her on the shoulder.

TALIA
How’s Hollywood, sis? Popped your cherry yet?…oops. I meant bubble, didn’t I?

CRYSTAL
[crossing her arms uncomfortably]
You’re not funny.

TALIA
No. I’m petty and mean. What are you doing here?

CRYSTAL
[half-heartedly]
I brought some stuff from Mom.

TALIA
Did they take you in? You haven’t gone running to the airport to fly home yet. Have you hit rock bottom in misery, or is it still easy sailing? They’ve played with people’s minds and hopes before. There’s a reason most don’t go to the Embassy when they first get into town.

CRYSTAL
There were drinks.

TALIA
[mockingly]
Drinks.

CRYSTAL
Yes, drinks! As in, two. Look, they aren’t demons or these insipid, shallow people that you’re making them out to be! They’re human beings! You’ve got to have faith in people, Talia. I have faith in you. I have faith that you can…

TALIA
Save it and shut it. In that order, and very quickly.

CRYSTAL
[in a small voice]
Why do you push me away?

TALIA
Why do you keep bothering me?

CRYSTAL
Mom thought that you were holding down a good job here. She actually thought that you had a 9-to-5 kind of thing. I knew better though. You’re such a disappointment to us, to Sandy…

TALIA
Don’t bring her into this. I was never supposed to be a role model for the two of you. Just because Mom had it in her head that my sisters ought to look up to me doesn’t mean that I owed you anything. I don’t. I’m my own girl.

CRYSTAL
But this…?

TALIA
It’s a living.

CRYSTAL
It’s disgusting!

TALIA
Why don’t you just let go of me? Everyone else seems to be able to do that.

CRYSTAL
You’re my family. You don’t let go of your family.

TALIA
I did.

CRYSTAL
And I’m not going to.

She shoves the things into TALIA’S arms and walks away, passing ANDREA on her way. ANDREA turns into the lobby of a hotel and heads over to a group of people, beaming confidently.

ANDREA
I’m here for the audition. Andrea Roberts. [She hands them a portfolio] I’ll be in the waiting area. [She gives a dazzling smile, and sits down. The moment all attention is off of her, she proceeds to bite her nails]

INT. CHRISTIAN’S SUITE – LATE DAY

A knock at the door sends CHRISTIAN into a fit, rolling his eyes, and storming over to the door. He yanks it open.

CHRISTIAN
[angrily]
What?

RICK stands there, eyes wide and surprised.

RICK
Hey. I…

CHRISTIAN
[sighs]
Sorry. Thought you were someone else. Come on in.

He returns to his desk as RICK slowly follows him in, slightly confused.

RICK
I didn’t really think you’d be here. Left the office early?

CHRISTIAN
Left a few documents here, so I’m working from home. [Holds up his cell] Did you need something?

RICK
Well, how about first we go over why the hell you snapped at me like I sold your soul out to the tabloids. What’s going on?

CHRISTIAN
[slowly]
I thought you were someone else. Drop it, okay?

RICK
I don’t think so, because you reserve that kind of pissy for special occasions. What’s up?

CHRISTIAN
You don’t want to know.

RICK
No, I think I do.

CHRISTIAN
It has to do with you, anyhow. [scoffs] It always has to do with Rick Campbell. I swear to god, someone woke up one day and decided that the Earth should revolve around you.

RICK
[worried]
Christian…are you…

CHRISTIAN
[indignant]
It’s basically your fault! It’s always your fault in the end!

RICK is silent, ashamed.

CHRISTIAN (cont’d)
God, I mean, so you’re ‘heartbroken’. Let’s all shed a tear, why don’t we? You know exactly how I feel about that, and there aren’t going to be any more discussions, okay, so don’t even think about bringing it up. You know, ever since they found out about me being your best friend, [sarcastically] your…confidant, the entire tabloid reporter population of L.A. has assumed that they can just knock on my door for…

He trails off, losing steam and clearing his throat.

RICK
What?

CHRISTIAN
Never mind.

RICK
[He crouches down, one hand on CHRISTIAN’S arm to get his attention]
No. Tell me.

CHRISTIAN
They knock on my door for about two hours a day, whether I’m in or not. A whole army of them. And you know what? [He laughs darkly, shaking his head] It’s all for you. It’s all because of you. Just like always.

RICK is silenced once again. CHRISTIAN tears away and buries himself in his work.

CHRISTIAN (cont’d)
Get out, please.

INT. HOLLYWOOD EMBASSY LOBBY – LATE DAY

MATT and JAKE hang around the counter, talking as MATT checks in keys into the computer system.

JAKE
Not…

MATT
[distracted]
Yup.

JAKE
But I mean, she said she was an only child.

MATT
She lied, as those sorts of women are prone to do. Gosh. Your world must be spinning off its axis. Did you at least tip her real good?

JAKE
She didn’t charge me.

MATT
Huh?

JAKE
You think I have to pay for sex? Which universe are you living in this week? She was cute. Met at one of Andrew’s parties. I only found out what she did when I saw her on the street a week later. She very promptly told me to…

MATT
Do something slightly unhygienic in a different area?

JAKE
That was the gist of it.

MATT
I hear you.

JAKE
[doubtful]
I’m sure you do.

MATT
Please. You think you’re the only one who knows Talia?

JAKE
You didn’t.

MATT
I did.

CRYSTAL enters the lobby.

MATT (cont’d)
And I didn’t pay either.

JAKE
Well, at least we know she still likes her charity cases.

He notices CRYSTAL and nudges MATT hard. They both straighten up.

JAKE
Crystal?

CRYSTAL
Uh…hi.

MATT
How’s the room, how’s life, how’s the business, how’s your sister?

CRYSTAL narrows her eyes suspiciously.

JAKE
What he meant to ask is ‘how are you’?

CRYSTAL
[to JAKE]
And you would be?

JAKE
Jake Boyd. This is Matt. I know your sister. [He pales slightly] I mean, we met once. We dated.

CRYSTAL
Dated. You dated my sister?

JAKE
More or less.

MATT
He slept with her.

JAKE silently raises a challenging eyebrow as if to say, ‘so did you’.

CRYSTAL
[Her eyes widen]
This is actually stuff that I really don’t want to be talking about.

JAKE
We just wanted to give you a proper greeting. Welcome to the neighborhood, and the lot.

CRYSTAL
I’ve been here two days, and I’ve been talked about behind my back. My sister’s reputation has preceded me, and I overheard someone whispering about a bet…about me? See, it’s been two days, and I really want to give you guys the benefit of the doubt, but…you’re making it really difficult.

MATT
We’ve heard that one before.

JAKE
You’ll either fall into place, or fall out and pull your hair out at the same time. All depends on your accommodation to the lifestyle of the third floor.

CRYSTAL
What is that? People keep saying it with such reverence. [She stage-whispers] Third floor! What, is it, your prayer? Your temple?

MATT
It’s the floor. Craith sends up anyone in the industry to the third floor. You got…I think you got the porn star’s room, actually. [He snorts] I’d check for cameras. There’s about…god, how many people would you say are up there?

JAKE
Twenty or so.

MATT
About twenty suites on the third floor. Anyone above that is just a common Joe, workaholic, lawyer, waiter, businessman, kinda like our Christian.

JAKE
[mutters]
Won’t be our Christian much longer if he keeps undergoing that cruel and unusual punishment.

MATT
Point being, third floor is the industry. It’s home.

CRYSTAL
Are you on the third floor?

MATT
Please, like I live here? I wish I could afford it.

JAKE
He crashes our places enough to live here. It’s a matter of title only. He lives here.

MATT
So, then…how is your sister?

CRYSTAL
[to JAKE]
He doesn’t know how to play well with people, does he?

JAKE
We try not to let him out much.

MATT
Standing right here.

JAKE
Isn’t that wonderful for you?

MATT
I’m just curious, okay! I mean, it’s not like she talks to either of us anymore. [to CRYSTAL] She wouldn’t happen to still have my wallet, would she? All my tickets for the sub place are in there.

CRYSTAL
I’m really not in the business of knowing what my sister does with her time, okay?

She pushes past the two of them, turning before she reaches the elevator.

CRYSTAL (cont’d)
Oh. She said hi to Matt.

CRYSTAL gets in the elevator as MATT beams, cocking his head to the side and smirking at JAKE.

MATT
Well, now. How. About. That?

JAKE
Shut up. It doesn’t mean a thing.

MATT
Yeah, if by ‘a thing’, you mean everything. God, wait until the floor hears about this. I wonder if Sarah would run a story…

INT. LOBBY OF RANDOM HOTEL – NIGHT

ANDREA stands before three people at a panel with a page in her hands. She smiles effortlessly and stands formally, yet comfortably. She’s in her niche.

AUDITIONER #1
[into a microphone]
Andrea Roberts, here to audition for the role of Melissa Sparks in episodes 2.03 and 2.04…

ANDREA
I’m sorry. Sorry to interrupt, but I couldn’t help hearing. I was led to believe that this was going to be a recurring role? My agent had told me that Melissa Sparks was slated to show up in…

AUDITIONER #3
It changed.

ANDREA
[smiles brightly and changes moods so fast you could get whiplash]
Right! Great. That’s great. Let’s get down to business then, huh?

AUDITIONER #1
[to the mic]
…in episodes 2.03 and 2.04, for the role of Melissa Sparks, the drug-addicted and possibly alcoholic cousin of Julie Sparks, one of the secondary characters. [to ANDREA] Whenever you’re ready, Ma’am.

ANDREA winces at this, but clears her throat, grasps the script in her hand and begins.

AUDITIONER #2
Melissa, haven’t you been taking my calls? There’s someone who wants me out of the picture and I need you to help me, for once in your life Melissa, you have to help me. I think it’s the reporter, I think he’s stalking me…

ANDREA
Julie. My god damn apple-polisher of a cousin. [laughs bitterly] Sure. The one time you need my help, you come running. You didn’t come when my girl died. You weren’t there at my Laura’s funeral. You don’t know what hard times are like, sweetheart, you don’t. So now your privacy is a little bit invaded and you come running.

AUDITIONER #2
That isn’t the reason, you know it’s not!

ANDREA
Do you remember December 6th, Julie? Come on, dare you to remember it. You were out for a walk, shopping with your precious girls, the both of them. All three of you were walking down Rodeo Drive and you walked right by me. You walked right by me as I lay on the ground, and I was bleeding Julie, I was bleeding to death in the rain and you walked by! You walked by me! That was a matter of life and death. The next time you want to talk to me about help, maybe you ought to just remember December 6th, why don’t you?

AUDITIONER #2
I’m…

ANDREA
Don’t say sorry. If you say sorry, then you’ll have lied to me on top of everything else.

AUDITIONER #3
And scene. Thank you very much for your time, Mrs. Roberts.

ANDREA
It’s just Ms. Roberts. [She shakes their hands and smiles] Thank you so much. I’ll be in touch.

AUDITIONER #1
Someone will contact you regarding the part within the next twenty-four hours. Good luck.

She nods and leaves the room, pressing her back to the doors and exhaling loudly.

ANDREA
[upwards]
Dear god, if you never put me through that again, I might just find religion. Or possibly just give up badmouthing behind people’s backs. Or I’ll give up meat. [Nods] I can give up meat.

INT. RICK’S SUITE – NIGHT

ANDREW wanders in through an open door, checking his watch. Rick is scribbling at something at his couch and table, deep in contemplation.

ANDREW
An hour ten and fifteen seconds. Hour ten and fourteen seconds. Hour ten and…

RICK
Andrew, you shut up or I do it for you.

ANDREW
Well, that sounds pleasant!

RICK
In ways that will make you beg for mercy.

ANDREW
I see you’ve picked up tricks from Jake.

RICK
Do you want to tell me why you came wandering in here like you own the place?

ANDREW
In a way, I do own the place. Just not legally. Spiritually and mentally, however…

RICK
I am not in the mood.

A beat.

ANDREW
Have you been…?

RICK
Maybe.

ANDREW
And was there a…

RICK
Possibly.

ANDREW
Congratulations, you have mastered the acerbic answer. [He sits down on RICK’S couch and drapes an arm over his shoulders] Come on, now, darling. Open up. Share. I promise you that I won’t bite. After all, I’ve got [checks his watch] an hour and eight minutes before Will’s inevitable meltdown.

RICK
I heard about that. You really have no soul.

ANDREW
Yes, well, the gratuities and royalties I’ve made from selling it are far more than enough. Are you, perchance, still worried about what will happen if the tabloids get hold of the exact details of what occurred to cause your breakup?

Silence.

ANDREW (cont’d)
Aha.

RICK
No. No aha. No epiphany, or eureka…

ANDREW
I’d hardly ever say Eureka. I’m not exactly Archimedes and I’m not exactly sitting down in a bathtub with a crown upon my head. Though, from time to time, it is a rather nice indulgence.

RICK
Silence just means contemplation.

ANDREW
The only thing that silence means is silent acceptance. You’re afraid of the tabloids! You’re afraid of the rumors.

RICK
And if I am?

A beat.

ANDREW
Rick, darling. I want you to listen to me and listen carefully. You seem to be under some preconceived misconception that the world and all its constituents owe you something. Listen to me. You will never in your life be universally loved. Pick your fights. You’ll never win with everyone, so you might as well choose a path that makes you happy and then announce, “screw the tabloids!” After all, any publicity is good publicity.

RICK
No, it’s not.

ANDREW
Well, it is to me.

RICK
Somehow, I’m not surprised.

Another beat.

ANDREW
[Sighs]
You won’t be listening to me, will you?

RICK
[slowly]
I have worked too hard and too long and I have invested too much of myself to let my career go down the drain because I let the tabloids have a morsel of information. I won’t do that, Andrew. I won’t.

ANDREW
I’m beginning to see that quite clearly. [He gets up] Hour and four minutes. Well then, best be heading off to check in with our young prodigy of a writer. [He makes it to the door and hesitates] Tell me, Rick, is Christian actually still talking to you?

RICK
Of course he is.

ANDREW
I’m simply wondering as the things that you’ve just told me are guaranteed to place you two in a fight and to direct him towards the life of a mime when it comes to you. He hates that approach and you know it.

RICK
Yeah, well, it’s my life.

ANDREW
So you’ve made quite clear. Hour and two.

He leaves.

INT. WILL’S SUITE – NIGHT

WILL looks at his watch compulsively.

WILL
Come on, Andrew, come on, where are you?

He taps lazily at the laptop and when we see it, there’s about two pages written, and most of it is highlighted and ready to be deleted.

WILL (cont’d)
Okay, okay. [Pulls out a coin] Heads, I scrap everything and start over. Tails, I stay the course and pitch this.

He takes out his coin and weighs it heavily in his hand, but as he flips it, the phone rings, startling him into dropping the coin on the floor. It spins madly as WILL scrambles to get the phone, picking it up.

WILL
Andrew, is that…oh. [He sits back in his seat, his face numb] Hi, Dad.

We see the coin on the floor, shining and heads-up.

WILL (cont’d)
Yeah, I know you called me the other day and yeah…I know that I didn’t call you back, Dad, I was busy! [acidly] No, Dad, I actually do have a job. [Pause] Don’t worry, you’ll get your precious loan back. Dad, I…

He trails off, listening to his father and sits back, tiredly resigned to listening to the tirade.

INT. FIFTH FLOOR HALLWAY – NIGHT

BELLA stands outside CHRISTIAN’S door, knocking lightly. After a moment, CHRISTIAN pulls open the door.

BELLA
Can I get advice?

CHRISTIAN
Sure, but the knocking on my door is going to cost you at least $50. Don’t you know what I charge by the hour?

BELLA
[smiles faintly]
Funny.

CHRISTIAN
[gently]
No, it’s not. What’s going on?

BELLA
Is Tom breaching contract if he resigns now?

CHRISTIAN
Do you have a copy of the contract on you?

BELLA
No. I can get one. You gonna be able to help me out, do your job, and keep your sanity at the same time?

She enters his suite as he lets her in. She notes that the phone is off the hook and the place looks disarrayed.

BELLA (cont’d)
Word is you’re about to give Andrew a fight for the first to lose his marbles. Want to talk about it, hon?

CHRISTIAN
I’d prefer less talking and more lawsuits that result in restraining orders. I did not come into this intending to become a piece of meat for the papers. For god’s sake, I mean, it all comes down to who you choose to be friends with, doesn’t it? Rick’s my best friend, so I become the source to tap.

BELLA
No one said it was fair.

CHRISTIAN
And I don’t expect it to be! [getting angrier] But what happened to the whole issue of privacy! What happened to people being allowed to keep their secrets? What happened to private matters being kept off the front page? I am so sick. I am so sick of this. I am sick of tabloids and rumors and gossip and papers and reporters, and god, I am so sick of having to deal with all of this because of Rick. None of them give a damn about me at all. And what do I get in return from Rick?

BELLA
He’s trying.

CHRISTIAN
Not hard enough. [He sighs] Sometimes, you just have to…sometimes, you just have to have your privacy. I’m tired of my door being knocked on, Bella. I didn’t come here for this.

BELLA
Honey, there are options. And there are restraining orders. Are you sure you want to throw Rick away for this? I mean, after all…he’s not encouraging the tabloids anyway! He’s the biggest secret keeper of us all. He even told Andrew just this afternoon that he’s not going to give the tabloids anything.

CHRISTIAN freezes up. He hangs his head.

BELLA (cont’d)
[worried]
I said something wrong.

CHRISTIAN
No. No, you’re just honest. [He looks up] I have work to do. Looks like I’m going to be fighting off reporters who can’t get the story from Rick now. Bring me back a copy of the contract and you can tell Rick that he can enjoy his precious peace and privacy, but he’s going to do it all without me.

BELLA
Christian, honey, are you…

CHRISTIAN
There’s a job that opened up back in Iowa. It’s a friend of the family who’s trying to recruit me.

BELLA
You’re leaving?

CHRISTIAN
[panicked]
No! No, and if you tell anyone about it, I’m only going to deny it.

BELLA
But you’re thinking about it.

CHRISTIAN is silent.

BELLA
[scoffs]
I don’t believe this.

She gets up and walks to the door, shaking her head.

BELLA (cont’d)
Fine. I’ll bring the contract. And here’s a little free advice from me. Talk to him, for Christ’s sake. If only that you get to bite his head off, talk to him. Spare us the cleaning up of pieces when he splinters and doesn’t have you to turn to because you aren’t here anymore. Talk to him. Tell him.

She leaves, slamming the door with a little force behind her.

INT. WILL’S SUITE – NIGHT

WILL is still on the phone and while he is, JAKE wanders by his open door, catching his gaze and wandering in. JAKE looks at WILL sympathetically, and WILL makes a generic ‘help me out’ signal. JAKE stares at him incredulously, and after a moment and more signaling, he sighs and steps closer.

JAKE
[affecting an American accent; knocks loudly on the table]
Mr. Penn, my name is Jake Smith with Embassy Pictures, I wanted to talk to you about your latest script.

WILL
Darn. Dad, listen, I have to go! Work calls. [On the other end of the line, you hear faint protests, but WILL barrels through it] I promise I’ll call you back, but I just know you’ll call me before then and demand to know why I haven’t called, so give Mom my love, okay, bye!

He hangs up quickly.

WILL (cont’d)
[with a groan]
I owe you.

JAKE
You always do.

WILL
[miserable]
I need help. I need something to write about. I need inspiration to write something that’s just, that’s…that’s…

JAKE
Good?

WILL
[dryly]
Thousands of adjectives to describe brilliant writing and you give me good?

JAKE
You’re the writer. I’m just the lowly actor peon.

WILL
Yeah, in the general sense, I need to find something good. What do I do?

JAKE
You’ve got talent. We know that much. Your last script was a critical hit. You wrote through the adversity and you wrote about what you knew. So you take whatever’s inside you, bitterness, cynicism, angry frustration, depression, whatever you’re feeling today…

WILL
[interrupting]
Can I be feeling nothing? It sure feels that way when I try and write those emotions out.

JAKE
Are you a robot?

WILL
No.

JAKE
Well then, pull out an emotion. For God’s sake. You can be hungry, thirsty. Anything!

A beat.

WILL
Can I ask you something?

JAKE
So long as it doesn’t involve Andrew seducing me, by all means, go ahead.

WILL
[confused] O..kay. Uh, but it involves Andrew. [rushed] Not like that! It’s just that the way he’s pushing me into this whole thing so quickly with someone like Kerry Isis, it…it seems like he’s got all this faith in me. That I don’t even have in myself. I want an honest answer here. Do you have faith in me? In my talent?

JAKE
Honestly? [WILL nods] Honestly, I don’t know if I, personally, can believe in someone who hasn’t got faith in themselves, but I mean…it was your script that got me my first real part, which you know, got me discovered so…

WILL
[cuts him off]
What are you saying?

JAKE
I’m saying that I have great faith in your talent.

WILL
But…

JAKE
But I don’t have faith in you. Not yet.

WILL sits there, shocked and slightly hurt.

JAKE (cont’d)
[softly]
I’m sorry.

He leaves slowly, always checking back on WILL.

INT. ARTISAN’S – NIGHT

LINDSAY brings over two drinks and sits down at the table that ANDREA is currently occupying. ANDREA stares at her cell phone, not even noticing when LINDSAY returns. SARAH and MATT come into the bar, chatting away and crash ANDREA’S table.

SARAH
Is she having a staring contest with her phone?

MATT
I think the phone is winning. Wait…wait…it blinked. No, sorry, I’m just insane.

SARAH
No argument here.

LINDSAY
Waiting to hear about the audition.

SARAH
[waves her hand in front of ANDREA’S face]
Nothing. You know, I could diagnose this and name it after myself! The Slightmanitis Syndrome. Actors and Actresses! Perfectly sane…

MATT
Mostly.

SARAH
Mostly sane the majority of the time, but put them in a post-audition lurch and watch as they go catatonic!

MATT
I’d want half the profits from this find.

SARAH
Yeah, when hell freezes over. Weren’t you supposed to be standing watch for that Isis woman so Will would have time to get all the hyperventilating out of his system.

MATT
That’s impossible.

SARAH
Granted, but weren’t you supposed to send up a warning call?

MATT
Surprise is good for the soul.

SARAH
You got tired of waiting.

MATT
Six of one, half dozen of the other.

SARAH
You realize that karma is going to bite you in the ass.

MATT
And how!

The phone in ANDREA’S hand rings and she jumps up, staring at it in shock.

LINDSAY
Answer it!

ANDREA fumbles with the phone.

SARAH
[sotto voce]
Side effect number five; the attack of the clumsy fingers in even the most graceful of people. Watch as our subject flails madly in an attempt to press a simple button.

ANDREA
Andrea Roberts speaking. [Pause] Yes, yes, I did. [Pause] Really? [She writes something down madly] Tuesday is perfect. I love Tuesday. [She beams as she nods] I understand. Thank you so much! [She hangs up and grins at LINDSAY]

MATT
Well?

SARAH
Don’t dare use suspense. You know Andrew has a copyright on it in this neighborhood.

ANDREA
Callback. I got it. [gleefully] I got the callback!

LINDSAY
I knew that you would!

ANDREA
[still gleeful]
Yeah, but you were lying!

LINDSAY
Sixty-five percent of my lies turn into truth.

She hugs ANDREA.

LINDSAY (cont’d)
You done good.

ANDREA nods quickly as MATT claps her on the back.

MATT
Just don’t screw up now.

SARAH
You’re the epitome of support, Matt.

MATT
I do what I can.

SARAH
So long as it benefits you.

MATT
Well, obviously.

SARAH
And yet, you’re not helping Will, even though it wouldn’t hurt you to do it.

MATT
I feel he needs to grow as a person.

ANDREA
[shaking her head, but still smiling]
So lazy.

MATT
You love me and you know it.

ANDREA
I really do, but it might just be the happiness talking.

SARAH
[genuinely]
Congrats.

ANDREA
Thank you. God, the minute you’re about to give up on yourself is just when things turn around. Always seems to work like that, huh? Oh God, that’s such crap, isn’t it? I’m lucky. I’m lucky it came along, and I know I can do this.

LINDSAY
And best of all, I believe in you.

ANDREA
Of course you do. I pay you to.

INT. ANDREW’S SUITE – NIGHT

ANDREW sits there with a drink in his hand, a script in front of him, a tabloid to his right, and a phone to his left. Every so often, he’s talking to someone on the phone, but he’s drinking more often.

ANDREW
A terrible script, a bad drink, and an idiot on call-waiting. How blessed am I?

DANIELLE is hovering behind him.

DANIELLE
Oh, come on. I don’t need you to read it all, I just need you to…you know, read the scene. I mean, actually read it. Read it with your eyes.

ANDREW
As opposed to reading it with my soul?

DANIELLE
Seriously, Andrew. Look. It’s a crappy script. We both know that, and we all hate the producer, so why can’t you and me and Jake try to save the damn thing? [firmly] I do not want my career to spiral down the tubes because I got talked into auditioning for a piece of crap movie. Look, I know you’re a genius. Everyone gets that, so why don’t you use that inflated IQ for something useful?

ANDREW
You’re quite convincing when you want something. Though, you do lose your charm.

DANIELLE
I’m taking lessons from Bella. I know how to hurt you.

ANDREW
[panicked]
Oh god, she told you where my alcohol supply comes from.

DANIELLE
And the pretty call girls and boys you love to entertain so often.

ANDREW
No one knows about that.

DANIELLE
I do.

ANDREW
[sits back]
I’m supposed to have been with Will about five minutes ago for his meeting, you know.

DANIELLE
Andrew, it’s a terrible script. Help us out. Please. Ask for the rewrite.

ANDREW
You think I enjoy this? You think I enjoy directing mediocre and worthless wastes of time? I don’t, but I owe the man something for signing the bloody contract, so excuse me if I’m not jumping with joy to rush to the man’s aid and turn his disaster into a miracle.

DANIELLE
Please, Andrew. Please.

ANDREW
Moppet, you will owe me.

DANIELLE
Just think it over?

ANDREW
No guarantees.

DANIELLE
I just want a second thought.

ANDREW
[sighs]
Go talk to Jake, or rehearse or get drunk…or…something. I have to go revitalize Will’s career.

He gets up and leaves promptly, heading straight for WILL’S suite and entering to find WILL in a right panic.

ANDREW
Kerry. Lovely to see you. You’re more attractive than you’ve ever been.

KERRY
And you’re about as smooth as a confidence man. Good to see you haven’t changed.

ANDREW
Yes, well, let’s get this started.

KERRY
I don’t intend to stay long. Script. Phone number. Cordial goodbyes.

ANDREW
Curt as always. Well, William, give her the script.

He and KERRY turn to look at WILL, who is sitting at his desk again, clearing his throat uncomfortably.

ANDREW (cont’d)
[quietly]
Oh, dear god.

WILL
The thing…the thing about the script…I’m really sorry, but the…oh god, I’m sorry, but the thing is!…

KERRY
Andrew, you promised me that he wasn’t a waste of time.

ANDREW
I meant it. He’s got talent. Even if you’re looking at past accomplishments, every script he’s written has grossed over twenty-five million and earned critical accolades at the same time. You have to admit, it’s a promising outlook. [mutters] When he’s not stammering as though it’s amateur’s night at the Apollo.

KERRY looks at WILL as he cowers in his chair. She taps her foot impatiently and checks her watch, as though deciding.

KERRY
Well. Since time is money, and I’m pretty damn rich…I think I can afford to wait a little while. Why don’t you prove that you’re actually worth my investment. I want part of a script in a week. At least ten pages. No stammering apologies and guilty blank pages this time. One week exactly.

She leaves. A beat.

ANDREW
[exhales]
All things in the mix of chaotic considerings, I think that went well.

WILL
What meeting were you in?

ANDREW
[ignoring WILL’S incredulity]
One week. Better get started.

WILL
Yeah, no pressure or anything.

END EPISODE
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