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Sex and Éclairs in Hollywood

Sometimes this town really makes me wonder. Just the other day I was leafing through a pile of new casting notices when I came across one in particular that made me scratch my head. Without giving away the project’s name let’s just say that it was about a convent full of very “naughty” women, if you get my drift.

Now I like to think of myself as an open-minded, liberal person. There’s not a whole lot of anything that bothers me – except for what seems to be most everything these days. A nunnery full of naughty nuns, I thought? After meditating on it for the better part of an hour I decided I needed a second opinion. So I brought in the big guns to see if I was over-reacting.

“A convent full of naughty nuns?” my best friend sat opposite me, fork in midair; a look of total indignation on her face.
She had rolled out the word “naughty” with a conviction she normally sets aside only for those things which are of serious threat or consequence to her intelligence. Some people have WMD’s; my best friend has a look when she’s appalled that could reduce Jerry Springer to the size of an insect. A kind of revolted glare if you will, that she stockpiles and then strikes out with when situations like this arise.

“That’s right”, I said.
“You have got to be kidding me.”
We both sat there, sipping on our glasses of Alsace, wondering where it all went wrong when the idea of leaving the business to become a real estate agent flew through my mind. That’s when I knew it was serious. I shook my head one more time before downing my wine. Naughty nuns running around a convent naked flirting with one another – I have finally heard it all

For the serious actress, navigating the Hollywood maze can be a daunting task. Particularly when after a while you realize there seem to be fewer and fewer roles that don’t require you to squeegee an SUV in a cutoff shirt or have you running around naked underneath your habit. It’s just one big, bosomy cliché.

Now I know what people in the business would say. Sex sells. These types of scripts are flying all over Hollywood these days. In fact, this is tame compared to some of the stuff that goes on in this town. It’s also the ugly side of the business which I so love and always manages to throw me into one of my existential crisis that makes me ask myself what it is exactly that I’m doing here?

I don’t understand exactly what’s happened to Hollywood over the last decade or so? In the eighties we had women like Jessica Lange, Glenn Close and Angelica Houston to captivate us on screen. They were sexy, they were bold, and most importantly of all they did a lot more than provide a little eye candy for movie goers. It was a monumental moment when I heard Glenn Close would be heading the cast of her new television series, Damages. Let’s hope it sets a precedent for the new generation of Hollywood actresses coming on the scene.

An actress is like a firefighter – she goes where the work is. But remaining firm in her convictions can be difficult with so few choices. It’s not just a matter of working it’s about doing good work. Work that, at the end of her career she can look back on and rejoice and celebrate because she knows she was a part of something worthwhile. It’s not about being a ‘good’ girl either, if the nun happened to be a well developed three-dimensional character I may have been inclined to wear the garters accompanied by the little pistol too.

“That is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard.” My best friend looked at me with gruff seriousness.
“Naughty nuns…?” We repeated together.
Even in Hollywood it is possible apparently, to still be shocked.
“Well, look at it this way”, she turned to me. “If you’re not going to be walking around the screen naked we can order dessert.”
We both looked over our shoulders at the two girls munching on a chocolate éclair.
“I knew there was a reason you’re my best friend.”

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