Yesterday I had one of those amazing life-moments when you are just suddenly hit by where you are and what is happening.
Since very early on in the “ALife4Sale” project, I have had occasional contacts from movie and TV producers interested in doing something with the story. I really did not know how to handle all of these enquiries, but had some amazing and surreal discussions on the phone.
One of the most memorable was with a Hollywood producer who suggested that her team of people saw the story “as a Tom Hanks-type rom-com.” What an unreal comment to hear about something that you are doing. My quick response was a tongue in cheek reply, as I tried not to laugh at what I was saying. “Oh no, I rather saw George Clooney playing me!” Without missing a beat, or picking up on any of the humour in my voice, the agent simply said, “Yes, we could possibly make that happen.”!!! Wow, I thought, I’m a bit out of my area of experience here!
Fortunately Evan, who was helping with some of the “ALife4Sale” publicity, put me in touch with an LA movie agent, and I could palm off all such enquiries to Brandon and let him deal with them. Since then things seem to have moved pretty slowly, but there has been a lot of discussion between Brandon and Walt Disney, who seemed most interested in the project.
There was some negotiation, and eventually Brandon presented an offer which he thought was the best we would get. Disney wanted to buy an 18 month option on the story, with a view to buying the story within that period if they decide to go ahead and make a movie. And of course they pay for this option.
I was amazed about this, and of course happy to accept. I mean, how often does a normal bloke like me have Disney knocking at their door wanting to make a movie about them?
Well, since then it all seems to have taken a huge amount of time to sort out paperwork and signatures, but I spoke to Brandon a couple of days ago, and he suggested we meet in Beverly Hills for lunch. “Of course,” I said, as if it was the type of thing I did all the time. “Oh, and I’ll be able to give you your cheque too,” he added.
So I programmed the GPS and set off through the horrendous LA traffic to Beverley Hills and parked at Barneys on Wilshire Boulevard, which has a very popular restaurant on the top floor. Also having lunch there at the same time was movie director Ridley Scott, and as we walked out the store afterwards I held the door open for Monty Phthon’s Eric Idle. What a surreal experience.
Lunch was fantastic, and I breathed a quiet sigh of relief when Brandon offered to pick up the bill. Although he then presented me with my cheque from Disney, and I felt my financial situation ease slightly!
After the lunch meeting I wandered up and down Wilshire Boulevard and Rodeo Drive, where all the incredibly expensive shops are, then went to collect the car. To get out of the area I found myself at the junction of these two famous roads, in front of the hotel where Pretty Woman and many other movies were filmed, waiting in the middle of the junction to turn left onto Rodeo Drive, behind a Mercedes with a Beverly Hills licence plate, a cheque in my pocket from Walt Disney, rock music blaring from my stereo, arm out the window in the sun, having just had lunch with my very own movie agent!! I was amazed and stunned, but immensely happy – what an incredible experience! I took a photograph through the car windscreen. Of course it doesn’t fully capture the moment, but I know I will never forget the feeling!!
Once again, I think about what an incredible journey this is turning out to be. A year ago I was a truck driver in a mine, yesterday I was driving around Beverly Hills with a movie studio cheque in my pocket.
Later in the afternoon I had to go to Walmart to buy a new pair of jeans. The pair I have are now falling apart a bit, the right rear pocket now has a huge hole in it, and under the left rear pocket a hole is starting too. I had to laugh that I had been to probably the most expensive restaurant I have ever been to in the scruffiest pair of backpacker-jeans I have ever had!