I crave your pardon in advance if I’ve already told this story. I think I’ve shared it in bits and pieces over the years (and mentioned a little on my bibliography page), but do not believe I’ve ever posted the entire story at once.
When I was in high school, I dated a guy named Kyle1 through the end of his senior year and the start of his time in community college. Kyle was taking a media issues and television production class with Professor Parker2, whom he got to chatting with one day and confessed his love for the work of director Sam Raimi. It turned out that the professor knew Dr. Octavius at Michigan State, who’d had Sam in class many years ago, so Professor Parker put Kyle and the doctor in touch. To Kyle’s great joy, Dr. Octavius still talked to Sam from time to time and promised to get Kyle an interview with him the next time he came back to Michigan3.
Not the real Professor Parker and Doctor Octavius. Sorry, y’all.
I want to say, “I don’t know why I said this”, but I do know. I said it, but I also thought there wasn’t a snowball’s chance in hell that it was going to happen.
I had the audacity to say, “Maybe you should ask Sam if I can be in one of his future movies.”
And Kyle had the temerity to do it.
I need to step back from the story a minute, because I believe it’s important to tell you: I have absolutely no reason to believe Kyle was lying to me. Not then, not ever.7
First, because he was deeply in love with me. If I had loved him in return, we would’ve been married several years ago, and his children would also be mine.
Second, I made him tell me the number he was calling, and my friends and I have both verified that it belongs/belonged to Renaissance Pictures (Sam’s production company). It wasn’t some audio spoof that Kyle set up somehow—not only is he not that clever, but the calls I mentioned happened at random times over several years, making it difficult to maintain a phone number and recording for that long. (Plus, this went down in 2001—before the era of Skype, Google Voice and a zillion other such apps.)4
Not that that explanation makes it sound any less crazy when I say “they agreed”.
When Kyle called the first time, he spoke to someone who claimed he was Grant Curtis (pictured with co-producer Laura Ziskin), Sam’s assistant.5, 6 Despite having no demo reel, no resume, no headshot, no audition video or screentest, “Grant” claimed they could use me in the third movie as the Green Goblin‘s long-lost daughter. (I don’t know how they’d stretch the following story out so far, but I wasn’t thinking in terms of that at the time.)
The story would go that—ever paranoid—Norman Osborn had prepared for the event of his death by not trusting his son (Harry) with his fortune. (Nice father, right? But if you’ve seen the Raimi movies, you know this is normal.) Instead, ownership of his company and all his assets reverted to the sister Harry never knew he had, and it would be up to Harry to track her down if he wanted his inheritance. Nothing was ever decided on whether he’d know how to find her, only that she was living in Australia (which I later asked to be changed to Ireland).
I also recall submitting a list of names from which they could choose a forename and middle, and they settled on Ophelia Rhiannon. (I’d hoped they’d settle on Ophelia…it looks So Very Proper next to her brother’s name.)
He could've been my first movie daddy. Seriously.
Sidebar: if you’ve seen the Amazing Spider-Man movies, you’ll know that Asher8 was involved in the Spiderverse, however briefly. We’ll get to that momentarily. He deserves his own separate rant, after all.
2020 sidebar: and rant it shall be, because my note to myself reads (profanity intact): I am NOT KILLING OFF ASHER, so you can STICK THAT IN YOUR FUCKING PIPES AND SMOKE IT, BITCHES!
But here’s where my memory gets fuzzy, since this was 2001 or so.
I know they stalled.
They eventually decided they were “going a different way” and they didn’t want me anymore.
Most people would give up, but you can’t give a novelist a storyseed and expect her to ignore it because of copyright.
At least not if you’re me!
Page 2: Ophelia, a revision of Ophelia and Sevens
(+ “No, I’m not killing my Hollywood crush!”)
(I’m making these a link now, so you don’t have to look for the tiny pagination.)
1Name changed to one of his favorite characters (Modern Age version, according to Wiki) less to protect his identity and more because his real name is boring. Plus, I had a long-term crush on a guy whose name was actually Kyle, so it kind of all fits?
2I don’t know these professors’ real names, so I’m using Spider-Man characters.
3Sam grew up in Michigan, and one of his brother is an emergency room doctor in the Detroit area. The other is a frequent guest star in his movies.
4During the course of writing this, I realized that I’d never asked Kyle if he ever lied to me. So I finally did, and he said no. Which I believe, because—as I said before— I know he loved me.
5That doesn’t make too much sense now when you check his IMDb page and discover that he wasn’t credited as Sam’s assistant back then; but you could also argue that it was meant as “assistant producer” or some such, and you’d be partially correct.
6Kyle spoke a few times with another gentleman who said he was Grant’s assistant, but I can’t remember which times anymore, so I’m leaving him out.
7The numbers got mucked up because I started this in 2018 and didn’t want to rearrange them when I came back to work on this in 2020. Anyway, I found out in 2019 that he was lying and had possibly lied to me by the time I started this post. But probably not about this. (If anyone was lying it was someone on the other end to him.)
8I have such a massive crush that it renders me into painful shyness…to the point where I don’t want to say that I have a crush on Chris Cooper. So I call him by a nickname; or rather, the name I came up with for a storyseed after I discovered my affections. His character’s name was Asher, and it stuck—especially when I discovered that the Hindi word for “blessing” is aasheervaad. (And my Patroness is a Hindu goddess, so it fits. 😉 )