Monday, May 26, 2008

Ahh Sydney....

An admission:

When I first arrived in Los Angeles, I interned at a production company that is to remain nameless. One day, I was asked to make a copy of the contact sheet the production company used for the directors of the films it had in production. After perusing the list of names, one stopped me in my tracks: Sydney Pollack.

I made an extra copy and drove fast down the 101 towards my apartment, half afraid that the cops would soon be hot on my trail, shutting down the highway, local television helicopters hovering overhead. I would then proceed on a low-speed chase throughout the city and on local airwaves. Eventually, in an exciting and harrowing conclusion, I would drive over a pre-set spike strip and come screeching to a halt. With unbelievable speed, the police would descend, guns drawn, asking me to get out of the vehicle. One, chiseled looking movie-of-the-week Blue shreiks: "HAND OVER POLLACK'S CONTACT INFORMATION AND GET DOWN. NOW!!!!"

Brushing aside the nightmare, I focused on getting home and sharing with Darren my new, priceless bounty. You see, Sidney had always been on our radar. We're talking about a filmmaker who not only made some amazing films, but he also created a career model that Darren and I had always talked about emulating. Pollack wrote, directed and produced some wonderful films and acted in scores of others. His directorial efforts, most of you probably (read: should) know. One of my favorites of his acting work, however, is his subtle, dark and poignant turn in Woody Allen's "Husbands and Wives" (perhaps my favorite Allen movie of all time).

So when I got home, Darren and I took out the contact sheet and dialed the number. We got his answering machine. His voice, unmistakable, told us to leave a message and that he would get back to us. We tried to be funny and gracious but, looking back, I think we most likely were bumbling fools.

Sidney never called us back. But the fact that he didn't did nothing to diminish his standing in our eyes. In fact, his resistance to engage a couple of boobs who stole his phone number probably impressed us even more.

To you, Sydney. You will be missed.

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