I'm in Hollywood

Chapter 15

“Eric, this is really amazing.” Drew who was sitting in the passenger’s seat, played with the T-shirt that Eric had converted into a dress with great interest.

After last night’s puking episode, Drew’s clothes were dirty and the two of them were both in a hurry to join the crew, so Eric thought back to how his wife had once used one of his large T-shirt to make a dress, the process was fortunately not too complicated.

Right now Drew was wearing a remodeled sky-blue T-shirt, with Eric’s three fingers-wide brown leather belt attached to her waist. This kind of dress-up in this day and age, was very avant-garde, so when they arrived on set, many people couldn’t help but stare at her.

Some of their glances turned even more meaningful when they noticed she had come together with Eric.

“Hey Eric, what’s up with that, when I saw you being so gentle and considerate to Annie a few days ago, I thought you were a good guy.” While organizing the day’s shooting schedule, Penny Marshall said to Eric. Her tone of voice was casual, in this circle, this type of thing was normal.

“Penny I still like Annie, as for Drew, it just kind of happened.”

Penny quipped: “And her clothes also ‘kind of happened’ ? Look Eric, I’m honestly too lazy to care about what you young people do, but you should still have a sense of proportion, Drew is only thirteen years old right now, you know ? Well, you get what I’m saying.”

“Thank you for the reminder, Penny.” Eric realized that Penny’s opinion had already been made and so he just helplessly said as it was better to end the topic.

A month passed and nothing really special occurred, the 17 Again shooting was going smoothly, and Drew still kept trying to entice Eric at every occasion she found. Aniston came on set from time to time and very easily noticed her behavior.

So when the girls appeared at the same time, infighting surrounded Eric; the crew became nervous during the filming process, and all his male peers envied him. The young man who played the bad boy Stan had even begged him for the secret of his “chick-picking technique”, to which Eric replied some nonsense that the guy actually believed.

And soon, something happened that completely dumbfounded our protagonist; the nonsensical stuff he had told the young man actually started to spread among the crew, and even to Drew, who confronted him during a break once, her voice half-joking and half-resenting: “Ah, so I was played from the start, you big bastard, playing with a girl’s feelings and not taking responsibility, you thief ! Give me my heart back !”

Aniston was still undergoing her harsh self-created diet, but it wasn’t very effective as she suffered more than she ate, and had only lost 5 pounds in a month.

Eric was really worried about her, but he decided to wait until the filming was over to talk to her about it again.

However, things don’t always happen the way we would like them to, and finally one day, in the middle of a shooting, Aniston fainted thanks to her low blood sugar. Eric dropped everything to accompany her, he didn’t have any scenes the next day, so he took Annie to the fitness consultant that Susan Sarandon had talked to him about.

It was a very high-grade fitness club that mainly targeted Hollywood actresses. When the two of them went in, they saw Sigourney Weaver, the lead actress of the world-famously acclaimed Alien, on her way out. Ah, another goddess from his past !

From Annie’s point of view, Eric looked like he was about to grovel to the woman’s feet and ask for a signature.

The fitness consultant was a Russian woman whose age you couldn’t see through, her name was very long so she just told the two to call her Natasha.

Giving this caucasian female a first glance, Eric noticed Annie eyeing her devilish figure with deep envy, so he gently took her hands and comforted in her ears: “Don’t mind it baby, one day your body will be better than hers.”

Natasha and Annie talked for a while, and the former patiently explained to the stubborn little girl that what she had done before would only harm her body. She then took her to do some tests and spent the whole morning coming up with a weight-loss plan that could easily fill a dozen pages.

When the two youngsters left, they started deeply contemplating the second word that should have been added alongside “high-grade” when it came to describing this club: expensive !

Aniston was adamant on paying herself, and the result was that her credit card balance turned negative. Fortunately, she would soon receive her 17 Again paycheck, that, while small, would still resolve her financial crisis.

At the end of October, the 17 Again movie was drawing to a close, and the last minute editing and promoting started at the same time. Eric would occasionally see some gossips about the film in newspapers.

When Drew had finished all her scenes and against anyone’s expectations, she voluntarily decided to go to rehab. The girl who had lost her footing turns over a new leaf on her own initiative, that kind of inspirational story, who wouldn’t make use of it ?

Thus, under the Fox’s Publicity Department’s planning, Drew’s change was completely attributed to the 17 Again movie’s influence. A newspaper’s author had a field day, as he recounted how the disoriented teenager who had lost herself to drug had finally gotten her head straight during the shooting of a movie that tackled on subjects such as love and the true meaning of life, which featured a warm and inspirational story that helped her find the courage to change.

The article was written so realistically, it was as if the guy had witnessed everything himself. If Eric didn’t know better, he would have taken it at face value.

Another publicity stunt that was put in place was about how he himself, was only eighteen years old, and already a scriptwriter and actor. The newspapers wrote about how from the script delivery to the final process by the Fox’s studios, everything single twists and turns had been written by Eric.

Producer James Brooks and director Penny Marshall had also emphasized numerous times on how outstanding his performance was, and on how talented he was.

With so many praising him, controversies were also bound to pop up. Some newspapers started to question Eric’s screenwriting skills since he was just too young, and inferred that the 20th Century Fox had make a huge blunder by rushing into making 17 Again because of BIG’s success. They said that the 20 million dollars budget would likely go to waste.

This kind of prediction was not unfounded, after Universal produced the 1985 sci-fi comedy Back to The Future, that made more than 200 million $ at the box office, the aspirations of many started to run wild as they tried to follow the trend, but all, without exception, failed miserably, which anybody could see by simply checking the 1986’s box office.

Towards those controversies, the 20th Century Fox didn’t mind as long as they didn’t go too far since it could help balance the good reviews and maximize the feeling of anticipation of the audience.

Meanwhile, Eric’s novel Jurassic Park was also benefitting from the propaganda.

Originally, thanks to Michael’s efforts, the novel had sold more than twenty thousand copies in its first week alone, which was pretty good for a newcomer. After a few weeks of followed-up publicity and a good reputation, the novel’s sales started to slowly rise, albeit not to the extent of being amazing, it was in line with Eric’s expectations.

But with the 17 Again publicity stunt, Jurassic Park became one of its focal point. Michael Klaus was ecstatic the whole time, having so many media talk about the book was more than what he and the staff of his small publishing house could have done.

Ever since then, the novel’s sales directly shot up as 17 Again had aroused people’s interest towards this mysterious and miraculous youth.

Unfortunately, the movie wasn’t out yet and although they could guess bits and pieces about the content thanks to the title and the crew’s gossips, those were just hypothesis, and so as people’s curiosity grew, they naturally turned their sights towards Jurassic Park.

On the first week of October, the sales directly broke one hundred thousand, successfully granting the novel the eighth place on the New York Times bestseller list.

Although the ranking wasn’t that high, if you looked at the other authors on it, they were all well-known and experienced. Jurassic Park was the only novel in the top ten that had been written by a newcomer.


Because there were some evening scenes today, Eric didn’t return home until past ten.

As his car drove past the Runkle’s family house, their courtyard door was pushed open, and a small figure came out. The door was closed again as the imp-like shadow ran away under the dimly lit street, then slowed down and started to walk in circle, apparently bored.

“Hey Stu, running out of the house isn’t something a good boy should do.” Eric was curious as to what this young neighbor of his, Stuart Runkle, was doing out so late at night, so he stopped and asked.

“Then Eric, how do you think good parents should act in front of a seven-year-old child ?” Stuart replied as he glanced at his house’s courtyard.

Eric was a little surprised that the little guy could argue so clearly and logically, he didn’t remember anything about this kid being so smart. Perking his ears up, he could hear the muffled sounds of what seemed to be the Runkle’s couple fighting.

“So, what are you doing ?” Eric resumed his attention as he asked.

Stuart leaned against the side of a street lamp as he adopted a small adult-like appearance and said: “I pretended to run away from home.”

“You pretended ?”

“Yeah, that way when they realize I’m gone, they’ll stop fighting.”

Eric also thought that the couple arguing in front of the child was a little too much, so he said: “Alright little fellow, it’s dangerous to stay here at night, so come to my house.”

“Well, thanks Eric.”

Eric parked his car, opened the door to his house and let the little guy in.