Sunday, May 18, 2008

Salman and George Clooney

God, it’s been a fortnight since I hit the blog but I have been writing words in other places of course. Sometimes amusing jobs come up on the radar that allow me to dip into other worlds and have a play. Most recently this involved putting together a Q&A with a singer for a magazine belonging to the beauty industry. I got to ask girlie questions and mine the fertile topic of hair care. It was a pleasant distraction.

The most serious people still need their pleasant distractions … as I realised whilst listening to Salman Rushdie be interviewed by Ramona Koval on The Book Show ( . I deliberately downloaded this podcast but, as I walked through the wintry streets last night and began listening to it, I was initially a bit cautious. Admittedly I’d had a weekend full of family obligations including five hours serving drinks and grinning maniacally so let’s say my tolerance levels were low. I occasionally get a little browned off though with high-falutin’ writers and intellects banging on from their ivory towers. Sometimes they seem so far from the day-to-day woes of normal Joes that it’s almost obscene. I put Rushdie squarely in the domain of someone who could enter that territory.

Nonetheless, whether he is mellowing with age or whether Ramona is just a gun of an interviewer, she really had him curling around like a kitten and being completely human and amusing. He was discussing his newest book, The Enchantress of Florence, and both of them agreed he was writing a lot more about sex than politics and that this was a GOOD thing. (I have Amazon winging the book to me as we speak naturally.) It would be completely understandable that the journey he’s been on would lead Salman to hanker for the sweeter side of life. And hanker he surely does. Seeking out some photos for this post I discovered he’s had a string (four at last count I think) of hottie wives. I don’t follow authors’ lives like a groupie so had no idea what a goddess lover he was. Good to know that when all hell was breaking loose around him (the Japanese translator of The Satanic Verses was murdered for God’s sake) Salman had somewhere sweet to lay his head.

Talking about sweet places to lay one’s head, I had to read the George Clooney article in Good Weekend last week. Tragic, I know! It led me to think of an idea for a script. What do we think? A 45-year-old film publicist gets the job of handling the itinerary of an aging Clooney type character (let’s say he’s a very well preserved 50-something-year-old) while he’s in Melbourne promoting a project. They have to spend a fair bit of time together, she proves to be a wise cracking, highly competent, unflustered gal who’s seen his type come and go before and has actually only been pulled in at the last minute to do this job because, Michael Corleone style, she’s been trying to get out (“Just when I thought that I was out they pull me back in”) of the biz but she’s too good and people throw cash at her.

Circumstances throw the two together working late into the evening and they end up unwinding over a few drinks in the hotel. One thing leads to another in best schmalzy movie way and they get romantic. She has to travel to other States with him for the rest of the promotional tour and along the way a romantic friendship grows. He ends up asking her to hook up with him in Japan in a fortnight’s time where, after further promo work, he’s organised to have a week off exploring the culture/countryside. She goes.

Obviously there is much subterfuge required for anyone involved in this man’s life initially so that leads to things like chauffer driven limo picking her up at the airport where the Clooney type is hiding behind its tinted windows etc. I think we should throw in that the woman is recently divorced but has an 18-year-old daughter. When the relationship progresses this should make things interesting.
The progression towards the couple tooling around Japan in a luxury car and getting to really talk allows us to go further than normal famous person-unknown person love stories. Working around celebs for so long she understands some of the pitfalls and sometimes expresses sadness for him that, while she might pour out her heart willy-nilly or tell him true tales from her life he will find it hard to do the same with 99 per cent of the population because he can’t trust how they’ll use the info. I haven’t worked out how the rest of the story progresses but CLEARLY I am fleshing out a sad old fantasy that should be kept for those hours in bed when sleep evades me but, let’s face it, I could think of ten thousand middle aged women who would probably see the film. Hee hee!

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