Teaser 047: Script Changes
Next up was script changes. There were quite a few, some minor, some not so. The first major change was the rape scene. The team wanted the script rewritten so Cecilia's blouse is torn off and her breasts are bared by Pedro, the lecherous ranch hand who sneaks into the house and attacks Cecilia. I sat and listened without comment. The consensus was it would seem more vile and make Cecilia's hysteria and demand Gustavo kill Pedro right there more believable, and Gustavo's eventual escort and release of Pedro more poignant, as Will put it. Since I hadn't said a word about it in five minutes, John asked me, “Are you still there, Gregory?”
“Oh, yeah, John. I'm listening.”
“Well, I want to hear your opinion. What do you think?”
“I wish I'd never written the scene, John. That's what I think.”
“Why?” Gloria asked. “I think it's a very critical scene in the movie.”
“Here's something to chew on, Gloria, was it Gloria?”
“If I had never written the scene, which one of you would suggest we include a rape scene?” Dead silence. “By your silence, in your heart of hearts, none of you want to even consider rape, but I included it for the reasons you have all spelled out. I had reservations about including it, and I have reservations about magnifying it. They're personal. I've had far too many relationships with women who were raped, none reported it, none ever sought counseling. So who serves as rape counselor? I do. Do I have a certificate? No. Any training? No. Any experience? Yeah, all disastrous. Rape is not funny nor something to take lightly, and from my experience, if I have another relationship with a woman who was raped, I would insist she undergo counseling, or it will ruin us.” I didn't know it because I wasn't physically at the meeting, but John and Drake both told me they noticed Serena sat with her head bowed during my monolog and only lifted it when I addressed her next. “Serena?”
“Yes,” she replied softly.
“Are you on board with this?”
“It was my suggestion, Gregory.” This was something of a shock to me but I didn't let on.
“Okay. I only asked because they're your breasts.” Nervous chuckles.
“It's just acting, Gregory,” she said, still with an unusually subdued tone. “I think it will help the movie so I'm fine with it.”
“All right. John, the question is, where do we put it in? My suggestion is Pedro tear off Cecilia's blouse on the landing, drags her into the bedroom, forcing her onto the bed where they struggle until Gustavo and the other two arrive. For more shock value, should I call it so, we can have the two girls witness their mother assaulted and run out of the house.”
John said to everyone, “What do you think?” There were murmurs and some acknowledgment. “Everyone thinks it's the way to go, Gregory.”
“Okay. I'll rewrite it by striking where they reach the landing and this will be the 'A' page insertion. Good enough?”
“Perfect,” John announced.
Gloria couldn't leave it though. “Why do you think rape victims should undergo counseling before you would consider continuing a relationship with them, Gregory?”
“A woman who is raped is scarred for life. She may hide it well on the outside, but she is scarred on the inside and will never be the same. Every rape victim I have ever met has two things in common. First, they all have a sense of shame, some more than others, but they are all ashamed, even though they are victims of a violent crime. Second, they blame themselves. They let their guard down, they let themselves get caught in a vulnerable situation, but, again, they're victims of crime. Rapists are criminals. Criminals look for opportunities to perpetrate their crimes. You can't go through this world without letting down your guard at times, without finding yourself in a vulnerable situation at times, but I cannot convince them of it. It goes in one ear and out the other and they only nod like they're numb, because they are numb. They're all insecure to some level, especially insecure with men, and they all do the most heart wrenching thing you can imagine when they have a fight with me, or an argument, a heated disagreement. They give me their bodies to make up, because, after all, isn't it what every man wants?” I considered adding more but we were off subject for the meeting. Let's move on. After a short pause when no one said a word, I added, “Well, we're in agreement on the scene change, so what's next, John?”
There was discussion of other script changes, some which I defended successfully and others to which I conceded. We had been going on for close to an hour. Now came the role of Gustavo, since it wasn't cast yet. Immediately I suggested to Serena the screen test be the scene when Esteban is bucked off the first horse Gustavo helps him try to break, and I provided the page number and starting paragraph. Serena read it silently while there was discussion about how soon we could get to the screen test and I suggested I could be ready early next week, maybe Thursday. I wanted some time to work with Serena until we both had it down and I thought it wouldn't take much time, an hour or so.
Serena spoke up. “I think you chose this scene so you could call me a mule.” She laughed.
I spoke Gustavo's line word for word. “'I only meant you're as stubborn as a mule. There's no doubt in my mind you don't look like one.'” After a moment I added, “And I look Cecilia, Serena, up and down, as she walks away patting at her hair, smoothing her dress, and looks back. I like the scene.”
After some laughter, John announced, “Good, Gregory, because we need the part cast as soon as possible. We're changing things for the movie.”
I thought we had finished script changes. “Let's hear it, John.”
“First, we all think the love scene with Cecilia and Octavio should be mild, low lighting, camera angle revealing nothing, no nudity at all, only suggestive.” This is why Serena was so willing to bare her breasts during the rape scene? John continued. “We're considering now to expand the love scene with Gustavo and Benita and the scenes in her room with the two of them and this is where we think we should have the nude scenes. It's closer to the end and we like this idea better than the scene with Octavio and Cecilia.”
“Which means if I'm cast as Gustavo I'm going to appear nude, correct, John?” I asked, a little delicately.
“That's the gist of it, old man,” John said, with a chuckle leaving me with a bit of discomfort.
“I think you're all wise to have it so close to the end, so the audience will see most of the movie before they leave in disgust having seen my naked body.” Laughs all around.
“I think you have a good body, Gregory,” I heard Serena comment.
“And, you would know this, how, Serena?”
John jumped in. “We saw your legs the other day when you were wearing the cut-offs. I thought they were pretty cute.”
“I'm sure the ladies will be drooling when they see those. Well, as Chris Rock likes to say, 'Nuthin' like pressure!'”
“We need to complete the screen test soon,” Serena advised. “I spoke with Jennifer, because we told her you were under consideration as Gustavo and she knows this is the major nude scene in the movie, but if we cast you as Gustavo, she won't accept the part until she meets you and...approves.”
“We'll fly you to Spain immediately if you pass the screen test, Gregory,” John advised.
I had to be honest now. “If I'm going to spend hours in a love scene and in Benita's room, there are times when I will have an erection, John.”
“We should cast someone else as Gustavo!” Gloria stated loudly.
“If the camera likes him, Gloria,” Serena announced as loudly, “I want Gregory as Gustavo. I have to spend most of my screen time with Gustavo and I want Gregory in the role.”
“Are you really sure you'll have an erection, Gregory?” John asked.
“I know who I am, John, and most importantly I know what Junior will do, so if I'm lying naked with Jennifer who's also naked, he'll be in full salute.”
“You have a name for your penis?” Pat asked incredulous.
“Lord Pacifico was taken.” It brought huge laughter from the “boys” and Serena.
“There are things you can do, Gregory,” John advised. “You can work with the director and your co-star on positioning, camera angle, the like. You can also wear a strap. It's been used before although they are uncomfortable.”
Drake dropped the bombshell. “And you can perform sexual intercourse.” He said it like it was an everyday occurrence.
“You mean, fuck Jennifer right on camera?” I blurted. I was shocked.
“It's not like it's never been done before, Gregory,” Drake calmly replied. “It happens quite often.” This answers my curiosity about nude scenes in mainstream movies. How does the guy avoid having an erection doing this scene? Answer: he doesn't. Sometimes they're really fucking each other.
“No wonder Jennifer has to meet me. She has to meet my penis, too. Hope she has an electron microscope handy.” More laughs. I was taking this well. I was not looking forward to performing sexual intercourse with anyone while six or more people watch. I had no idea I was going to do a porno, because there's only bad lighting and a camera angle which doesn't reveal much as the only differences.
“We have to get the screen test done soon, Gregory,” John advised.
“Can we rehearse Wednesday, Serena?”
“Let's schedule for Thursday, John. I'll be ready.”
I left a lot unsaid, about the rape scene, rape, and this little revelation. I knew one thing though. I was going to say it sooner or later. I thought later was better. I wanted it discreet and I didn't think it belonged during the meeting.
- Just Desserts, Segment Six “Let’s Get This Party Started” by Gregory R. Schussele, © 2021
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