We All Know Someone In LA LA LAND

I recently attended a screening of LA LA Land. I am still thinking about this wonderful new movie musical.  Friends of mine saw the film months ago at Sundance and raved about it.  I’ve read other tidbits here and there about how magical and wonderful this movie is so I am always skeptical when I hear this much fanfare.  I attended the screening not hoping for much but now, two weeks later, it is reminding me of a friend of mine from years ago who moved to LA LA Land with her new husband.

Barbara and I went to college together and stayed in touch for years afterwards. Marriages, Christmas cards exchanged, birth announcements, job promotions and…eventual death.  Let me explain.

Barbara seemed to have the perfect Hollywood life but we all know, especially as we get older, that this is usually not the case.  Barbara moved to Los Angeles, or as many call it, LA LA Land, and married a young screenwriter. He was part of the stable of fresh, young talent that wrote for TV shows around the clock for all of the major networks. Every night he came home and worked on his own masterpiece and eventually won critical praise for his own screenplay. At age thirty, and his first EMMY. Life was good.  Money flowed. Life was glamorous with all the trappings.  Big house, swimming pool, perfect son and daughter, a nanny, private schools, shopping trips to Rodeo Drive, Aspen in the winter, Hawaii for the holidays…and more.  Much more. There’s always more.

Barbara’s husband was an abuser. She hid it well for years .It was violent emotional and verbal abuse and accusations but there’d be the occasional punch when Scott was drinking. Of course I have changed their names as I am friendly to this day with their children. Not close, but when they pass through Boston, we see each other.  We always exchange holiday cards and the email updates here and there about the children or …Barbara and Scott’s grandchildren. Scott was a brilliant writer.  However, the liquor was not his friend. He would drink so much sometimes that he would black out or become too ill to get out of bed.  Work was beginning to pile up and deadlines missed.Money stopped flowing, things started changing drastically and Barbara was at the edge emotionally and financially and ready to “fall” or “jump” off.

Barbara took creative writing in college and loved it but when she met Scott in her senior year, he became her life. His soldier. His arm candy. She dropped everything. Fast forward and now the days became filled with unpaid bills, phones ringing all day and night and Scott’s writing jobs drying up. Barbara hatched a plan..she was desperate and had been thinking about it for a bit but didn’t think she could pull it off.  She began answering the phone herself, saying she was Scott’s new assistant Susie, shielding her own identity,  handling all for him with his “busy” schedule.  “Susie” would then have the assignments sent to her by messenger. She would then sit down and write herself with Scott’s byline. She’d always send the finished scripts back by messenger.  No one was the wiser…until…

To Be Continued…