Cornwall ON – It’s amazing how peoples paths intersect in this world. If it wasn’t for Jodie Foster’s film company at the time, Egg Pictures, I probably wouldn’t be writing this piece.
I’m not sure what I’d be writing or where, but it was that chance crossing of our fates that leads me to write this celeb birthday greeting.
A million years ago (the 90’s) I was a young, (alright not that young) bright eyed struggling writer in LA. I had some juice and momentum. I’d moved to Los Angeles; I had my agent, lawyer, manager, accountant, shrink and ……my 12 step group.
I met this (lying stealing cheat) man by the name of Stuart Sender who was like the older brother I never had. We both wrote, but his path was different.
He fell in love with a piece of work of mine entitled “Herr Direktor” which became the 2003 Oscar nominate Prisoner of Paradise.
Now what does this have to do with Miz Jodie Foster?
Well Stuarts wifey, Julie Sender Bergman, was an exec for…Egg Pictures, Ms Foster’s production company.
While in LA I got a call to attend a pitch meeting at Egg Pictures with Meg Lefauve, Ms Sender Bergman’s something or other or replacement…
Suffice to say as things mysteriously became rocky while developing Prisoner of Paradise the trades released that Ms Fosters next directorial effort was one “Flora Plum” to star the very hot at the time Russell Crowe and my all time fave Meryl Streep.
The only thing was that it was shockingly similar to my screenplay “Bingo the Monkey Girl”. (which you can read an early version of on Triggerstreet.com) The key difference being that they changed the roles of the Girl and the Carny owner. Flora Plum even kept the same deformity. (Bingo the Monkey Girl is about a deformed girl in a Carny circa WWII)
Now Hollywood is a small town. I’m not sure Jodie ever even knew the genesis of her Flora Plum script other than what her lawyer Matt Saver submitted to us, which was that they bought FP as a pitch in 97 with a first draft in 98. Bingo the Monkey Girl was registered in 94 and made the studio rounds in 96 while I was in LA.
Well I had the choice of suing. As a matter of fact I had four of the biggest firms in Beverly Hills willing to take the case which in itself is a testimony to the integrity of the claim, but $25K retainers to struggling writers are big cheques to write, and these types of cases usually only make the lawyers money. not to mention get you black listed.
So I went to work with on Darkroom which helped Ian Thuillier get his career going and him an Irish Oscar nod.
Jodie struggled for about 10 years to get Flora Plum off the ground, but couldn’t get E&O insurance which in the biz is death to any project. Hollywood is a small town. Russell pulled out of FP to do A Beautiful Mind and won himself an Oscar. Egg Pictures folded and it took Jodie over 15 years to direct another piece, the about to be released The Beaver.
I pulled back from a biz that makes it really really hard to bring your product to market without it getting ripped off. People don’t realize it’s not even illegal to “steal” an idea. Only the “expression of the idea” can get you in trouble unless it’s a case of malfeasance like this situation where that dastardly Stuart Sender ripped off a script. Stuart was last with a credit for a short that was on Funny or Die…..
Fate takes us on mysterious twists and turns. Happy Birthday Ms Foster.