My name’s Billie Jenkins. I run a murder mystery dinner theatre in upstate New York with my boyfriend, Emmett. You may have heard about it. It got a lot of press when it opened and some movie types came snooping around to see if it was silver screen worthy. The layout’s thematic of an old-fashioned drive-in movie. The audience sits in older model cars and eats their TV dinners while watching the play unfold between the headlights and the big screen.
I recently completed an MFA program and my thesis The Disappearance of TV Westerns and the Resultant Decline of American Society was published by a small university press. Out of the blue I got a call from some other Hollywood type who wanted to option it to make it into a movie. He threw around some names as though he already had them under contract. I didn’t say much; was toying with the idea of it when he must’ve figured I’d say no and he upped the ante by raising his financial offer as well as saying I’d be on the books as a consultant. That sweetened the pot nicely but then he mentioned Colin Firth, fresh off his Oscar win for The King’s Speech. While a fine actor, he doesn’t have that rough and craggy look of a man who’s ridden horseback across Montana and Wyoming in bad weather. And he’s Mr. Darcy.
Emmett and I watched Arsenic and Old Lace, directed by Frank Capra, and starring Cary Grant the other night. It was really over the top with a lot of physical comedy that Cary Grant skillfully carried out. I wondered if guys (like women – I know it’s not just me – who sometimes think they’re looking like Jessica Rabbit, then catch a glimpse of themselves and realize they’re more Agnes Gooch), think they look like Cary Grant, then catch a glimpse of themselves and realize they’re more Michael J. Pollard. Amazing how those silly centimeters can alter your life.
I know I said I’ve got plenty to say, but Eugene’s just arrived and wants me to help him alter his poodle skirt before tonight’s show. The googley eyes of his felt poodle keep crossing and he feels it’s detracting from his performance.