Cult Caravan: A Shot At Glory
The wind roared outside the window of the stuffy Lions Gate Entertainment building in Vancouver, adding yet more character to an already glum, wet day in the early summer of 1999. An unnamed bigwig producer sighed, his eyes darting between the clock on the wall and the weather outside. Forty minutes to go, he thought. Forty more minutes without any interruptions and he could head home after yet another astoundingly unproductive day. After 2 years open, the studio was still looking for its first big hit. An unread copy of the future seven-figure profit machine Dogma lay on the desk, the bigwig promising himself he’d read it some day soon, just not today.
From the hallways outside, he could hear a commotion brewing. The secretary was arguing authoritatively with somebody. Early evening shadows were spasming across the cloudy glass on his office door, voices and tempers were rising. The air was punctured by a high-pitched ‘you can’t go in there!’ The door flew open. There stood Pawtucket, Rhode Island’s own Michael Corrente, slumped against the frame. The smell of alcohol was as pungent as the Exxon-Valdez disaster. His suit jacket was dangling off of one shoulder, a half-empty bottle of Cork Dry Gin grasped in his right hand.
‘Actually, it’s half-full,’ said Corente, breaking the fourth wall before taking a long swig.
‘What are you doing here, Michael?’
‘I am here to pitch to you the greatest sporting movie of our lives, commissioner!’
‘I’m not a commissioner, I’m a producer.’
‘SHUT UP! Now listen. Here’s the pitch, alright? There’s a Scotsman, alright? And his name is… Jackie McQuillan, or something. He’s a Scottish superstar soccer player whose life has become a mess because he parties too much. He’s getting on in years and has to go back to his roots to find his form and become a great hero again and he’s going to be a former Celtic legend and stuff. And he’s going to be played by Ally McCoist.’
‘Ally McCoist isn’t an actor, he’s an actual footballer. Besides, he’s a Rangers legend. Having him playing a Celtic legend would be as bad as casting Admiral Ackbar as Darth Vader in a biopic.’
‘SHUT UP! Now, right, listen. Jackie’s going back to play for his local club, Kilnockie, who are gonna be managed by that guy from Apocalypse Now who loves the smell of napalm in the morning. And the twist, right…’ Corrente collapses to the ground in a fit of laughter at this point. Bigwig looks at the clock. Thirty-eight minutes to go. At least this is killing a bit of time. “’The twist is: he used to bang Smell of Napalm’s daughter! That’s genius!’
‘SHUT UP! Now, ok, this woman, let’s call her Kate, is going to be played by some chick who can simultaneously be impossibly gorgeous and a incredibly bad actress. People watching the film won’t be able to understand why Jackie is so in love with her, so obviously they’ll believe that he has much greater depth of character than he actually does, because he can see something in her that we can’t. It’s going to be amazing!’
‘Michael, I have some…’
‘SHUT UP! I mean it! Now, Kilnockie are going to be in a lot of trouble because their chairman wants to move them to Dublin in Ireland, because he thinks the Irish are horny for a Scottish 74th division team with Ally McCoist in the squad to play there, and Andy Gray is going to act in it too, and the chairman is going to be BATMAN! And…’
‘Michael! I think you’ve had enough.’
‘SHUT UP! But what about my film?’ He throws the rest of the gin down his gullet.
‘Michael. I’ve got to be honest. It sounds like the worst film ever made. As it stands, it would be the worst film ever made. No one is possibly going to greenlight this. I’m afraid you’re on your own.’
‘SCREW YOU!’ screamed Michael Corrente, who turned and marched out indignantly. ‘I’ll make it myself!’
And he did. Exactly as pitched.