Documentary Now (2015) s02e07 Episode Script

Mr. Runner Up: My Life as an Oscar Bridesmaid, Part 2

When last we left me Cue music.
As 1966 began, I was determined to bring my studio, Pinnacle Pictures, an Academy Award.
First, I needed the material.
"She Cried for Justice" was the novel of 1966.
It told the story of a Jewish girl who escapes Hungary during the Holocaust and comes to America.
Years later, she sees her former Nazi guard living under an assumed name in New York City.
I knew from the moment I read the first page this story had Oscar written all over it.
I called the author, Edna Bach, and convinced her to meet.
She was a recluse who was not interested in dealing with Hollywood.
So I wined and dined her.
We sat at my favorite table in the candlelit gardens of the Chateau Marmont and I laid on the Wallach charm.
"Edna, I simply must have the rights to your memoir.
" She was tough, "This is a sacred story "of my life, Mr.
Wallach.
"Why would I ever trust a Hollywood producer to do it justice?" "Because I promise to treat your story with the utmost respect.
You will be involved every step of the way.
Your novel is beautiful.
Just like you.
" "Oh, Jerry, I haven't had a warm embrace since the Taft Administration.
" By the next morning, she had agreed.
Then I got to work.
For the lead role of the Jewish refugee, Hannah Novak, I wanted to find an actress who was vulnerable, yet resilient.
Someone who, when the audience looked into her eyes, they saw the horrors of the Holocaust.
But she had to be hot.
Bridget Bailey was the "It Girl" of 1967.
She drove men wa-wa-wa-wild.
She was like whipped cream and whiskey.
Fluffy, and God damn dangerous.
She had just the right va-va-voom to play a Holocaust survivor.
And for the male lead, the Gestapo officer, I was blessed with the best method actor of his generation.
You better believe I went with my main wop, Enzo Entolini.
At first, Enzo wasn't up for it so I called him up.
Enzo, wipe that spaghetti sauce off your mouth, because I got another project for you.
" But Jerry, I too common, I don't know nothing about no Nazi.
Enzo, I own the property.
We can have our way with this book the way we did with those girls from Reseda.
I like that memory.
I had the cast of my dreams, and we were ready to bring the novel to life.
Sometimes you throw in the right ingredients, and out of the oven comes a perfect movie.
Hannah Novak escaped Nazi Poland only to find her tormenter here.
This young, Jewish refugee comes to this court seeking justice.
You say my client was a war criminal? That man.
That man was Gestapo.
And I know because I am a Jewish refugee.
Can't you see that I love you? Come here, ma.
Their chemistry was undeniable.
There was just one problem.
Our corporate owners had no interest in owning an art house studio.
Pinnacle Pictures was independent for 40 years.
But in 1951, it was bought as a tax shelter by the CIA to funnel South American money.
It was an open secret in Hollywood.
Like how Kevin Costner is three different people.
Officially, United Papaya of Uruguay controlled the studio.
They didn't want me futzing with their slush funds and assassinations just to win an Oscar.
They wanted to dump Pinnacle Pictures all together.
And sell off everything I had built.
But I knew how to appeal to them.
Through the magic of movies.
I called down to the sound stage and told them to get the cameras ready.
Hello, agents of the CIA.
Señores.
I'd like to tell you a little bit about Pinnacle Pictures, and what we have going on here, and why we think this movie studio isn't a front, but something with a front and a back and sides.
We have a lot of films coming up on our slate at Pinnacle Pictures.
One of which is "Swashbuckler's Island," a children's movie.
And here's one of the stars, now.
Puffin, the bird.
Puffin says he hopes you like the film.
And that it comes out in June of this year.
We're very proud of it.
Puffin's proud of it, too.
Another picture we're very proud of is "She Cried for Justice," and Oscar contender starring Bridget Bailey and Enzo Entolini.
Now I want to show you one clip from it.
Just one.
And you'll see why Pinnacle Pictures is the bet to make.
It speaks for itself.
We need your money.
But I promise you, your name will be on an Academy Award.
Or if you don't want your name on any documents, that's fine, too.
Maybe that's how you guys work.
The next morning, we had the money in a black duffel bag, all cash.
Had some blood on it.
Very upsetting for the woman at reception.
The movie opened just in time for nominations.
And sure enough, we were in the running for Best Picture of 1967 Two years of work, assembling the finest cast, changing most of the plot of the novel, banning Edna Bach from the set and completely changing the title but we were here.
I knew we had the most revolutionary film of the year.
We've seen excerpts from the five films nominated for Best Picture.
For the record, they are: "Bonnie and Clyde," "Doctor Dolittle," "The Graduate," "In the Heat of the Night," and "Blondes, Blondes, Blondes, and a Millionaire!" Based on the novel, "She Cried for Justice.
" And now for the Best Picture.
May I have the envelope, please? Thank you.
The winner is "In the Heat of the Night," Walter Mirisch.
Mary Poppins screwed me.
I was so distraught at the after party, I could barely speak.
The only highlight of the evening was that I discovered flan.
"Blondes, Blondes, Blondes, and a Millionaire!" was a victim of its time.
I'll be honest, I had no idea there was all this, "young people are angry and Black people are this and that" going on.
I hung out with Enzo and Playboy Bunnies and wealthy crooners.
We talked about boats most of the time.
But I vowed never again to be behind the times.
I would dive into the changing America.
At age 41, I embraced the revolution.
I started smoking pot and wearing leather vests.
And that was it.
So I I think it was late '67.
It was just after Jerry had done "She Cried for Justice.
" At any rate, I I came up and I said to Jerry, "A writer writes, a director directs an actor acts.
Tell me, just what is it that you do?" And he just laughed and said, "Snakes" He called me Snakes for no reason.
I don't get it.
"Snakes, I'm the guy who keeps the money men hard while making sure you don't get fucked.
" I always liked that answer.
Far out.
As a new decade began, I was more determined than ever to bring home an Oscar by any means necessary.
The 1970s saw the greatest cinema boom in history.
"The Godfather," "Annie Hall," "Jaws," and 700 other movies that don't hold up at all.
And the Oscars were changing, too.
Oh, my God.
The winners is George C.
Scott in Patton.
Accepting the coveted award for Mr.
George C.
Scott is the film's producer, Mr.
Frank McCarthy.
George C.
Scott boycotted the Oscars and the son of a bitch still won! Meanwhile, Pinnacle Pictures continued to turn out cutting edge films.
I was determined to keep up with the times by telling the grittiest, most progressive stories about a year after they were told in different movies.
"French Connection" too intense? How about the heavily focus grouped, "Plan to Sell Dope"? "Love Story" too sad? Try "Going Steady," where no one dies at the end.
"The Exorcist" too scary? How about "Detective Rabbi"? He'll chase the Dybbuk right out of your room.
The Academy loved a political film.
But more importantly, it loved a political protest on Oscar night.
When Marlon Brando sent the Land-O-Lakes Butter mascot to refuse his Oscar, I knew the bar had been set.
If he was gonna bring one Native American, I was gonna show up with a whole tribe.
When a Pinnacle film was nominated in 1975, I arrived with seven Brazilian men from the indigenous Yanomami Tribe.
If we won, I promised the fellas they could rush the stage, grab the award, and say whatever the hell about the rain forest.
The nominees for the Best Picture of the year are "Chinatown," a Robert Evans production, Robert Evans producing.
"The Conversation," a Directors Company production, Fred Roos, co-producer.
"The Godfather: Part II," A Coppola Company production, Francis Ford Coppola, producer.
"Lenny," a Marvin Worth production, Marvin Worth, producer.
And "Kenny," a Pinnacle Production Jerry Wallach, producer.
And the winner is - "Godfather: Part II.
" - God damn it! Francis Ford Coppola, Gray Frederickson and Fred Roos.
I'd been making films for almost ten years.
And not a single statue graced my mantle.
It was at that low moment that my indigenous friends introduced me to the cocaine leaf.
Ten times more potent than the stepped-on powder sold in L.
A.
For the rest of the 70s, I lived like a jacked-up koala.
I felt great.
And a little violent all day.
I worked harder than I ever had, turning out more and more Oscar contenders.
In 1977, Oscar-winning screenwriter Michael Walters told me about a new psycho-sexual drama he was writing.
Walters was a mad genius, writing only at night and only typing with the front ends of handguns.
I bought the script sight-unseen.
And then I called the one guy I knew who could direct it.
The Roman Polanski of Italy.
My best friend, Enzo Entolini, who had never directed anything before.
Entolini needed money.
He'd invested every dime he had in the sparking water business.
The Caps weren't shut tight enough, and the whole supply went flat.
They worked night and night in a special mirrored office I had made for them.
We were determined to make the coke-iest movie ever.
In an effort to add to the whole, "What the fuck?" of this production, we decided to cast no-name actors who can improvise dialogue.
And on top of that, Enzo and Walters insisted on shooting on real locations with no permits and with no green lights at crosswalks.
I put every dollar we had behind the project.
The press was gunning for me.
We were now in the era when overages and release dates were the stuff of the nightly news.
Still, I knew we had the goods.
A bondage-themed, improvised movie with borderline-unattractive no-name actors.
The anticipation for our masterpiece kept growing and growing.
On May 25th, 1977, "Fisting" opened worldwide the same day as "Star Wars.
" Was "Fisting" a better movie? You bet it was.
Can you rent it anywhere? Not really.
One store has it.
The point is, we lost a ton of dough and once again, I had to go beg for money to keep Pinnacle running.
Hello, agents of the CIA.
Señores.
Me and the fellas would just like to apologize for not getting you the Oscar.
Look, if it isn't Puffin.
From our newest film, "Swashbuckler Island," from 12 years ago.
Puffin You're the only one I trust, Puffin.
Rosie, Dale.
This is the the team that's gonna put Pinnacle Pictures back on the map.
This time, the film didn't work.
And I got the shock of my life.
After 13 years working to rig an Oscar for Pinnacle Pictures, I was fired.
Some men would see this as a bottom.
I saw it as the top of a new and weirder mountain.
I was going solo.
I ran my production company out of my beautiful home, Villa Casalati.
The future looked as good as a blonde with long, flat buttocks.
Little did I know, what lay ahead of me was 10 more years of losing.
The winner is "Chariots of Fire.
" In '82, I lost to "Chariots of Fire," which is, at best, a soundtrack that your mother has in her car.
In 1988, I made $200 million with "Robot Bachelor.
" And the winner is "Rain Man," Mark Johnson, producer.
And lost to "Tootsie Counts Cards in Vegas.
" Throughout the 1980s and '90s, I made millions as I pivoted to win the gold.
Here's a period piece.
No dice? All right, a biopic.
Not this year? How about an underdog sports movie with Meat Loaf as the coach? Get out of your office? Whatever you say, lady.
The breaking point was in the mid-1990s, when my Wyatt Earp movie, "Mr.
Old West" went head to head with "Tombstone" and "Wyatt Earp.
" None of us were nominated and "Forrest Gump" won Best Picture.
"Forrest Gump.
" I'm sorry, but what the fuck is the message of that movie? If you're dumb enough, you can meet three presidents? It was all too much.
My heart couldn't take it.
My doctor told me I could be happy with the millions of dollars I had, or I could chase Oscars and die.
My life was a mess.
I needed to get smart, wisen up, kick the stupid out of my brain and rev the Corvette.
Clean and sober, I dedicated my life to doing good.
Here we go, everybody.
We're doing charity work.
With some donations from AFI and every major studio, I started Lights, Camera, Hope! The first charity to give state of the art cameras and boom mics to L.
A.
's most dangerous gangs.
Something magical is happening down here in God knows where, South Los Angeles.
Hardened youths are putting down their guns and picking up a different kinda weapon: A movie camera.
It's Lights, Camera, Hope! Lights, Camera, Hope! helped me get over my Oscar obsession.
All I wanted to do was charity work.
So much so, that I simultaneously lobbied the Academy to make a special award for showbiz people who do charity work.
The proudest moment of my life was when the Jerry Wallach Humanitarian Oscar was presented for the first time.
And now, presenting the Jerry Wallach Humanitarian Award, please welcome, Anne Hathaway.
Hello.
It is my honor to present the first ever Jerry Wallach Humanitarian Award.
- We at the Academy - I was about to receive an Oscar.
The bald boy from Brooklyn who only wanted to make people smile.
It was finally Jerry Wallach's night.
To read the nominees for the Jerry Wallach Humanitarian Award.
Sidney Poitier, for the Poitier Center for Racial Harmony.
Paul Newman, for the Newman's Own Foundation.
Hey, Paul.
Jerry Wallach, producer of "Fisting.
" And Enzo Entolini for his Italian Don't Litter campaign.
And the Jerry Wallach Oscar goes to, of course, Enzo Entolini.
Leave it to Julie Andrews' little minion to fuck me over.
Grazie mille.
Grazie.
Was I mad at Enzo? Not on your life.
Enzo saved my ass many times.
Enzo was the longest relationship of my life.
Forget my money.
Forget my wives.
Forget my four sons.
Enzo was truly my best friend.
And I miss him every God damn day.
Now I spend my days awash in a cologne cold memory.
It stinks of regret like a diaper in a hot car.
Each spray a jolt to the past.
So many missed opportunities.
So many awards given to my lessers.
My career is in the past.
The door is closing.
The curtain is falling.
The waiter is bringing the check.
The masseuse has stepped out of the room and reminded me where my robe is.
I will never make another movie again.
It's over.
Fin.
Next stop death.
Or Hold on.
Hold on everybody, I got an idea for a movie.
Racism.
We do a movie about different people of different races not getting along.
Put a lot of movie stars in it.
Right? That's a thing.
Right? Am I right?