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By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
Instead it went into “turnaround.” For a while it was shepherded by Bernie Brillstein, who was running a studio that year. I was attached as director. I even got a shooting schedule.
The chorus of this particular song is well-known in L.A., but everyone adds their own verse. Almost got made, then it didn’t. Lather, rinse, repeat.
For a while it moved from place to place. I rewrote it over and over. At some point, I threw up my hands in despair. If this movie ever got a green light, I promised, I would rush in and tailor it to the cast. Never happened.
Over the next few years I heard rumors that Lynda and Debra had hired other writers. Some of them contacted me. Lather, rinse and repeat.
In 1999, I met Nora Ephron. “Whatever became of that dog script?” she asked. So I jumped back onboard and we exhumed the original. This time it got all the way to a table read with Lisa Kudrow and Matthew Perry. Unfortunately it took place moments before the tabloids reported that Matthew Perry had entered rehab. Perhaps that’s why he couldn’t read a line of dialogue without having to start over.
I never heard another word from anyone.
A friend read that someone else rewrote it. I imagined it in the catacombs beneath Fox buried under dozens of proposed sequels for Marley and Me.
In 2005, sadly, Debra Hill died an untimely death.
By then, George W. Bush was president and I was writing novels and looking for an idea for my next one. I lived with four other dogs and still had a lot to say about the great, funny relationships I’ve had with my dogs over the years. I had written dozens of short pieces about talking to dogs, and also made a lot of videos. But I had never gotten to the heart of my feelings in print. It was time.
So I wrote a book called Walking in Circles Before Lying Down, about a woman in her 40s who worked at a doggy daycare center and her ability to talk to all the dogs she tended.
Because I don’t like to repeat myself, I went to a lot of trouble to make sure that I had brand-new characters, with new occupations and a whole different set of dogs.
It was slated for publication in August 2006. I had just gotten good reviews from the publishing trades, when I got a call from the legal department at Fox, where apparently my script was now interred. No, it was not in development. But someone heard I had written a book about a woman who talked to dogs and decided to try to stop publication.
This time, I went into shock. I was being accused of plagiarizing myself? Even though I had written a whole new, original story and it was a novel, not a screenplay or a movie? If Rupert Murdoch was so covetous of my unique voice, why had people been hired to rewrite me? And why, in 20 years, had the movie never been made?
So I had to pay a lawyer a lot of money to explain that writing dog voices was something I’d been doing for decades. And incidentally, I wasn’t the only one who wrote talking dogs. And that William Shakespeare wrote Macbeth AND RichardIII, but everyone agreed they were two different plays even though both were full of blood and talking kings.
By 2008, to my surprise and delight, my book was selling well enough to get on the bestseller list.
In 2009 Barack Obama became president. But don’t expect to see a talking-dog movie by me during this or any future administration.
ARE YOU OKAY?
By Laura Kightlinger
The fact that we had a sky box at the Staples Center didn’t sweeten the deal for me, even though fellow Will & Grace writers would be in attendance and I genuinely enjoyed their company. Apparently, the news of this small get-together spread and became swollen with network execs and corporate sponsors, and gradually the original group crapped out. I didn’t concern myself with the logistics, because I figured I’d weasel out of it — right up until my friend called:
“You ready for tonight?”
Oh, it’s tonight?
“Don’t be a dick. You need to go make connections.”
Yeah. I’m kind of looking forward to it. Who is it again?
I hung up and thought: “I’ve lost my touch. I used to get out of engagements the day of. I could get sick during a phone call; I’ve become slow on the draw. I’m like the ashes of The Rifleman.
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