The wind can blow cold, in Los Angeles, even during July. Hell, it can blow cold in August at the same time as the Santana winds. This is a particular sort of icy blast that can curl the sack-hairs of the toughest Chollo that ever rolled down Normandie.
This is the cold that one feels on The Day of The Rope. It’s the cold that Thomas Jane must have felt when he finally parted ways with his beloved Punisher franchise…
“Do you really think he was fired, or do you think he left?” asked my wife, tossing a handful of popcorn at The Boy, who managed to snatch six out of the seven popped kernals before they hit the ground.
“Left? To do The Mutant Chronicles 2?” I sneered. “For years, I’ve felt like the only thing keeping the possibility of a 2nd Punisher film possible was Mr. Jane-Arquette’s tenacious involvement… his insistence that they’d ‘get it right the second time’ after the wet-fart missfire of the Ought-Four debacle…”
My wife shook her head. “The Punisher I know would never do something as petty as play tricks with a fake fire hydrant. Unless the fire hydrant was packed full of semtex and C-4,” her eyes widened and she pulled her feet underneath her on the couch, starting to bounce a little.
“In fact, that is exactly the kind of thing The Punisher should do!” she exclaimed breathlessly.
“The kind of thing The Punisher should do if he was played by the actor who gave the only decent performance in Antoine Fuqua’s lamentable King Arthur?” I asked.
My Wife’s eyes got even wider, Anime Wide. “Stellan Skarsgard? That is really weird casting, but he’s so good it could-”
I was shaking my head, picking up a piece of popcorn and swirling it around the bottom of the bowl to pick up stray salt crystals.
“No-no, honey. Let me rephrase: the one with the crew cut, not the one with the viking hair.”
She giggled and tossed her legs out from her, spilling backwards and throwing her feet up in the air, nearly upsetting our pitcher of LA Beer. “Ray Winstone? Blimey! The Punisher as the ultimate bloke!”
I sighed, running my fingers through my rapidly greying mustache. “The tall one that died in the movie, on the ice. Was on that over-rated HBO show with all the killing and fucking,” I salvaged the pitcher, drinking straight from it.
My wife laughed and picked up the Boy, spinning him around in the air as she whirled, he giggled. “Tim Olyphant was in King Arthur? He’d be good, kinda skinny… but he is tall: remember that time he ran past me in your old office because he thought his car was getting towed?”
I started gently denting the coffee table with forehead. “Ray Stevenson, dearheart.” She stopped swinging and the Boy shot like a RPG from her arms, grabbing onto a heavy 17th century Claymore hanging on the wall next to a 20th century Claymore mine, and swinging like a spider monkey.
“Huh. Yeah, he’d be a pretty badass Punisher. Confirmed?” she queried, and I nodded.
“This is really boooooring to me,” said Perfect Tommy from the love-seat, where he sat curled around Miss Twist. Our friends are visiting from up North, way past the Winterline.
“Aren’t you supposed to sound more… nautical?” I asked our ex-Navy pal. “Naw, I kinda got all Salty Dogged and Avast’d out by the time those fucking Pirate movies came out,”
“The Pirate Movie? Fuck, I LOVED Kristy McNichol in that,” screeched my Wife. I reached over and pushed her back onto the couch. “You’ve never even seen Empty Nest, let alone The Pirate Movie, you drunken sot!” I gibbered. My wife snarled low in her throat and launched herself at me, knocking me into a rack of beaver traps.
“I always thought it was silly to display those open,” began Miss Twist, nonchalantly dragging the lemon twist from her martini and popping it in her mouth. “BleaRGH! Fuck! Why… why don’t you people have any olives?”
“But I’m still confused,” began Perfect Tommy. “What does ‘The Day of The Rope’ have to do with which actor I’ve barely heard of plays The Punisher in a sequel I didn’t even know existed?”
I disentangled myself from the mess and handed my wife a screwdriver so she could disengage the trap on her left leg. I limped over to PT and clapped him on the shoulder. “It’s a day for people getting fired, or ‘exiting due to creative differences’, Tommy my man. Why, the Missus and I have ourselves kicked our management to the curb this day!”
My Wife nodded, packing the wounds on her leg with a white moss found only on the southern face of Mt. Shasta. “Useless swine, utter fucking tossers. Lying ass-bitches,” she spat.
“And we take no truck from no new scum! We accept no shit from no suckheads! All leeches must perish!” I bellowed, grabbing up a 6th Century cudgel and brandishing it vehemently.
“It was a creative difference, in that they were fucking passive-aggressive, and never actually listened to any of the information we were giving them… that, and they only wanted to be Manager/Producers,” said my Wife sagely, grabbing the Boy before he could work back the hammer on the old Hawkins muzzleloader I keep behind the couch for vermin: it’s only a .30 caliber.
“We have no need of someone who brands his or herself ‘creative’ helping us develop a project from the ground up. I’m a fucking development genius, it’s what I’ve done for years. I’m not discounting the development process: we’re currently going through it on three of our projects, the pitch with a production house, and the two spec-rewrites that are both for producers… all of these have been developed up one side and down the other,” I said, now standing astride the coffee table with an 18th Century Sergeant-of-Foot’s saber in hand. I glanced around for a flag to wave with the other.
“You see,” began my Wife, climbing up beside me and expertly flipping the Boy to Miss Twist. “These fucktards didn’t bother to listen to us, they were viewing these projects as projects that they could jump on board as producers, that they could ‘develop’ -and I use that word with air quotes! These shit monkeys had ideas that Albert Pyun would toss out of a room for being too goddamn idiotic to go in front of a camera… unless he had Ice-T and Christopher Lambert available, then it would be totally boss.”
I took up the tale, handing my Wife the saber and crouching down so that my eyes were at a level with PT and Miss Twist. “Besides, they stank of desperation and failure. Plus, here’s the real crux: a manager, or an agent, works for his talent. It isn’t the other way around, and these guys were too busy playing producer to remember that. We wasted 2 months. It’s a tragedy, and we were insulted by idiocy and I was driven to violence. But what else is new? There are, even now, two managers circling us like rabid buzzards…” my Wife climbed up on my shoulders and outstretched her hands as I stood up. She’d get the grand finish.
“I want a goddamned Agent, someone who is happy with their percentage and doesn’t feel the need to tell you that a simple tongue-in-cheek, spam-in-a-cabin, horny-teens-vs-monster movie should be rewritten (page 1) as an adult-centric eco-thriller with land developers and protesting hippies getting killed by an Indian Folk-loric monster that is sympathetic… if someone thinks that is a good idea, they can write it themselves… or, hell, they can pay us to do so. But suggesting a complete rewrite based in one’s own agenda? Pedantic. Pathetic. Insulting. Also: tends to show utter lack of comprehension of what a manager-client relationship entails,” She stretched a little to far and her fingers almost got lopped off by the ceiling fan.
I decided that I wanted the final word. After all, it is my blog.
“If I represented Mr. E, and he told me he wanted to write and direct a feature about 7 twisted, and possibly sinisterly magical little men living in Central Park who befriended a brain-damaged alcoholic stripper who had lost custody of her beloved daughter… I would be a shitty fucking manager, whether I liked the idea or not, if I told him it should be about a hot young artist living the Boho existence in SoHo who was beloved by a vampiric (but very clean) homeless man who was part of a cult in Central Park trying to find a virgin to sacrifice to the elder gods. My job would be to help him make it the best goddamned movie about a brain-damaged boozin’ titty dancer that ever met a baker’s half-dozen dwarves on Sheep Meadow. This is what these fucking yahoos (a failed writer and failed actress, respectively) didn’t comprehend, and So It Is, Has Been, and Will Be!” I finished in a roar. Miss Twist and Perfect Tommy nodded sagely. My Wife pressed a button on a remote and recorded applause and cheering pumped out of the hidden speakers.
“mmmmmMMMMMMMMmmmmmnnnngggggg!” Karloff’d the Boy. Last word. Little bastard.