GUESTWORDS: Hard Up in Hollywood

By Dianne Moritz

    Aren’t you sick of the lame, violent, and techno-heavy dreck Hollywood’s been dishing out for the past couple of years? I am. With movie attendance at an all-time low, it’s time for drastic measures. Hollywood needs a hit. What Hollywood really needs is a sequel to “Pretty Woman.”
    Let’s demand a meeting, A.S.A.P., with the powers that be: the director, Garry Marshall, the screenwriter, J.F. Lawton, and the silver screen’s most lovable couple, Julia Roberts and Richard Gere. If they’re not available, what about Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst?
    Has Hollywood forgotten how it feels to exploit a good thing? “Pretty Woman,” by all accounts, was a very good thing — one of the top-grossing films of all time, with $463 million at the box office, according to the trade mag Variety. Not to mention all those $19.95 DVD sales in discount stores across America.
    A few years ago there was a rumor afloat that another film was in the works. I’d even heard of this plausible plotline: Gere’s character plans a run for the Senate but is worried about how his live-in relationship with an ex-prostitute would affect voters. Hmm, sounds like a winner to me.
    Richard and Julia think the characters have not evolved and grown in mature fashion in the intervening years? Simple — let them sit in on rewrites. Then, before you can say “Mrs. Roberts-Moder,” they’ll be scouting locations for “Pretty Woman III,” IV, and V. It’s what we need. It’s what we want.
    Megabucks talk. At least they’re talking to me. I’m joining the ranks of those Hollywood hopefuls. Today, I’m a screenwriter after a piece of that delectable dollar pie. I’ve just completed several synopses for possible sequels to one of the most moneymaking movies in history. Here’s a glimpse:
    Idea I: In the heat of passion, one steamy night in the sauna, they forgo the practice of safe sex. After some mild symptoms, they visit the doctor. Diagnosis? S.T.D. Seven days of treatment with tetracycline cures both, but he continues to feel betrayed. He moves to the Hilton. She gets the penthouse. It could have been worse.
    Idea II: Lately, he’s gotten bored with walking barefoot through the park with her, along with all those other spontaneous activities she’s prone to. Then, giving in to impulse once more one morning, he punctures his big toe on a rusty nail. A tetanus shot is in order. But wait. Add fear of inoculations to his ever-expanding list of phobias. As jaundice sets in, he lies dying. His last words: “No one ever really changes much. But I tried.”
    Idea III: Anxious to cure his vicious acrophobia, he seeks therapy with a well-known Beverly Hills psychiatrist. After only weeks on the couch, he discovers he suffers from low self-esteem. Hence his attraction to hookers from Hollywood Boulevard. After months of aided and intense self-examination, he is encouraged to attend a few networking functions to ease those feelings of social isolation. As luck would have it, he meets an assistant executive officer and V.P. for Estée Lauder. They run off to Australia for a scuba vacation and fall deeply in love. “I was ready,” he explains.
    Idea IV: Always told she should have been a model, she first, through his connections, secures a contract with the Ford Agency. Next she is chosen for a spot in Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit edition. While on location for the shoot in Curacao, she takes up with ___ (fill in the blank), a member of a rich and famous rock group who is partying nearby. “He may not be as cute,” she says, “but he’s got more money. Plus, he sings.” (Might not ex-hubby Lyle Lovett, “music’s quirkiest and most talented un-hunk,” as Time magazine put it, be cast opposite Roberts in this meaty role?)
    Idea V: Generous to a fault, she asks her best friend from “the Strip” to join them on their next weekend getaway to Aspen. Over a bottle of vintage chardonnay at Pinons, he is simply smitten by this prostitute with a heart of gold. He confesses: “I live life for rescuing.” Back home in Los Angeles, Julia splits and he takes his new love on a spending spree — yep, you guessed it — along Rodeo Drive. She buys nice clothes, too, except this gal eschews the hats.
    Idea VI: Unable to curb her fascination with the low life, she secretly walks the streets in the wee hours of the night. In an attempt to control insomnia, he takes long drives, and gets lost, in the city most evenings. They bump into each other, literally, on Sunset and fall in love all over again.
    Venturing a guess, I see idea number six as a shoo-in. Sap sells. And Hollywood loves a happy ending. Now, if Garry and Julia can discern potential talent when they see it, I’m willing to write up a complete script. For a small percent of the profits. And a bit part.
    Look for me in the credits.

    Dianne Moritz is a regular contributor to “Guestwords” who lives in North Sea. Her second children’s book, “1, 2, 3 by the Sea,” is forthcoming from Kane Miller.