Hollywood (2020) s01e04 Episode Script

(Screen) Tests

Pitch me on slate.
So, we are moving forward
with Every Dame Needs a Fella,
a comedy where Gene Tierney,
posing as a nun,
tricks William Holden into marrying her.
Gene Tierney.
She's got an ass on her, right?
Then there's Tippecanoe.
Humphrey Bogart plays future president
William Henry Harrison
as he slaughters the Shawnee.
What's with the long face?
These movies are embarrassing.
They are not up to the standards
of this studio.
I run the studio.
Let me determine what
or what is not beneath the standards.
These are good pictures. They're hits.
I like them.
I don't mind making movies
that are popular.
I do mind making movies that are idiotic.
These movies are idiotic,
and you pay me to tell you that.
Richard has a picture
that we are very excited about.
It's about Peg Entwistle,
the young actress who jumped off
the Hollywoodland sign.
It's about fame and ambition
and what Hollywood does to people.
Yeah, my daughter wants a test for that.
Oh, Ace, imagine what it would be like
to see Claire win an Oscar?
It would be terrible! Can you imagine that
girl running around town with an Oscar?
I mean, she'd take it everywhere.
She'll figure out a way
to turn it into a dining utensil.
- No, no. I don't want it.
- Ace,
you could win an Oscar with this picture.
Dick, I just won two Oscars.
Let me tell you something.
After you've won eight Oscars,
there's no thrill
to winning another Oscar.
You know what the thrill is?
Money. That's the thrill.
This is what I want. Write it down.
Tits, sword-and-sandal,
and, uh, you can throw in, uh,
a picture with a boy and a dog.
Uh, maybe the dog dies at the end.
Maybe the kid has to kill the dog.
You figure it out.
Ace, I will make all of those pictures
for you, but you got to give me Peg.
- What's the budget?
- 400,000, all in-house players.
You got 75.
Ace, we have to build
a Hollywoodland sign!
So you have her jump off
the Hollywood Bowl!
Seventy-five is all you get.
Now, get out of here.
Let me finish my lunch.
Oh, Ace.
Raymond, I don't understand.
All the studio agreed to
was a screen test.
So you expect me to overhaul my script,
a script the studio was fine
with buying as-is.
It wouldn't be a complete rewrite.
Really just the
the main character's name,
from Peg to Meg.
Camille, I'm sure you're grand,
but with you as the star
and me as the writer,
it becomes a message picture,
for colored folks, limited distribution.
Now y'all know that.
Now, I didn't come to Hollywood
to make those kinds of pictures.
Just like I didn't set out
to play domestics.
I wrote Peg to prove my writing
was not limited by my race.
That I can write for anyone.
That I can write about a white girl from
London who grew up in New York City
I think we're getting a little ahead
of ourselves. It's just a screen test.
Stop saying that, Raymond.
Even if no one outside the studio
sees my screen test,
it's still proof that a woman of color
could carry a picture.
Miss Stinson!
I'm off.
What are we telling Mrs. Amberg?
You'll be at a distributors conference
in Fresno,
where they're testing out
a new movie format.
Great, and, uh,
you got the hacienda I like?
Yes, sir, and 100 roses in the bedroom,
like you asked.
- You're a genius!
- Thank you.
Have a great weekend, Mr. Amberg.
Who are you?
Uh, I'm I'm Raymond Ainsley, sir.
Uh, I'm directing Peg.
Camille Washington,
I'm one of your contract players.
- And who's he?
- I wrote it.
Wrote what?
I just don't get the impression
this Rock Hudson is very good.
I think we should give
the kid a shot.
If he's terrible, I'll talk to Henry.
A colored writer?
What the fuck kind of commie bullshit
are you trying to pull on me?
And were you gonna clue me in
on your plans to sink the fucking studio?
The script was a blind submission.
Have either of you fuckwits
ever heard of the Hays Code?
Ace, there is no deviant sexual behavior
in this picture.
There's no interracial relationships.
Repellent subject matter!
Anti-national feeling!
And then they're gonna throw us out
of every movie theater in the South
for a generation!
Ace, he's the writer.
He isn't a face up on the screen.
Never, in the history of Hollywood,
has there ever been a motion picture
made by a motion picture studio
for a mainstream audience
written by a colored person!
And I'm not gonna be the first!
All right, look.
We're gonna tell this guy,
"Thank you very much for your services,"
and we go find a new writer.
This script does not need a rewrite.
then we slap somebody else's name on it,
we pay him to sit on the set
and nod approvingly
while the actors don't fuck up the lines.
And last time I looked, it doesn't say
the "Dick and Ellen Studios."
It's Ace Pictures!
Now get this the fuck done, okay?
Into each life ♪
Some rain must fall ♪
But too much is falling in mine ♪
- Hey Arch, need a hand?
- Hey.
- Uh, no, I'm just replacing the fuel pump.
- Oh, well, let me do that.
Listen, I've been meaning to talk to you.
Uh, I know you're just the writer,
and the director and producer,
they call the shots, but
I got an audition for Peg.
The boyfriend, Sam Harrington.
- Great role by the way.
- Yeah. Uh-huh.
And and I was wondering if, uh
If maybe you'd feel comfortable
putting in a good word for me.
I know Rock Hudson's also auditioning
and I don't want to come
between you and him, but
I just got a feeling, you know?
I got a feeling I'm better for the role.
Why you think you're better than him?
You seen him act?
Well, no
- But
- And I haven't seen you act, so
how can I put in a good word?
All I'm saying is
Rock's taken care of, you know?
He's gonna be fine.
He's got that big-time agent, you know?
I got nobody. I'm just
I'm alone in this town, so
- All I got is a dream.
- Jack.
What about my dream?
You think you're alone?
Ain't nobody more alone
in this town than me.
I barely got my foot in the door,
you asking me to help you!
Choose you!
Well, ain't nobody ever chosen me, Jack.
I just
I got a wife at home.
I got twins on the way, and
I'm out here turning tricks.
If Henrietta ever finds out about this,
she's gone.
I wanna provide for my family.
I wanna do it the right way.
I don't wanna do this anymore.
You can help me do it the right way, Arch.
I hear you, okay?
But what you need to do
is go into that audition
and be so good, they can't help
but give you that part.
You hear me?
Now, that's not in my hands.
That's just gonna be up to you.
Slap that bass ♪
Slap it till it's dizzy ♪
Slap that bass ♪
Keep the rhythm busy ♪
Zoom, zoom, zoom ♪
Misery has got to go ♪
Slap that bass ♪
Use it like a tonic ♪
Slap that bass ♪
Keep your Philharmonic ♪
Zoom, zoom, zoom ♪
And the milk and honey will flow ♪
Slap that bass
Slap away your trouble ♪
Learn to zoom, zoom, zoom
Slap that bass ♪
Hey, what are you doing?
I told 'em to do that.
Yeah, nothing says romance like
fishing rose petals outta your kitty cat.
And why do you still
have all your clothes on?
- Well, always such a gentleman.
- Yeah.
- Missed you.
- I missed you.
How's work?
Dick Samuels, he wants me to do
some colored picture.
Sounds interesting.
It doesn't sound interesting at all!
I want you
to talk to Len Schlossen.
- Who?
- The director, silly!
- Mr. Cooper's Widow, my picture.
- Oh, yeah.
He keeps smearing
more and more Vaseline on the lens.
Well, babe
you're not exactly a spring chicken.
How dare you!
Does that make you my big cock?
Boy, I hope so.
Here we go. Yes.
But the thing is, you know, I
I am getting to a certain age,
and I don't really like having to,
you know, just
- just fight it.
- Yeah.
Yeah, there we go.
Ace! Oh, my God! Ace!
Oh, look, there's a tube down his throat.
What's going on? What happened?
I'm so sorry.
He had a heart attack,
but he seems stable now.
Was he eating a pastrami sandwich
that went straight into an artery
like I told him it would
a million fucking times?
Maybe it would be best if Claire
- uh, stepped
- No, I want to hear it.
Ace was, um
He was in Palm Springs for the weekend
engaging in some, um
- extracurricular activities.
- We're keeping it under wraps.
- Who are you?
- Red Tettemer.
Head of Publicity.
No one can know about this.
My reputation is at stake.
So is my family's.
There, there, darling.
Is Daddy going to die?
My screen test is on Friday.
This is what I was worried about.
Your father's on his death bed
and the thing that upsets you
is a screen test.
This is what I wanted to spare you from.
So what are we looking at here?
Is he going to wake up?
We don't know yet.
Hello, Mrs. Amberg.
Mr. Samuels.
I'm Lon Silver, Ace's attorney.
You're what?
How have I never met you before?
Well, you're meeting me now.
Ace made for some very specific
in case of incapacitation,
to ensure that everything would remain
business as usual.
Mrs. Amberg, Ace has given you
durable power of attorney
over all of his financial assets,
savings, real estate, and the studio.
I, on the other hand, am in charge of all
decisions related to Ace's healthcare.
I'm sorry,
but I think you have that backwards.
Mmm. No, no, no. It's all right here.
So, let me get this straight,
Avis is now running the studio?
Well, you'll still handle the day-to-day,
Dick, as you do now.
Mrs. Amberg will oversee the finances,
uh, payroll, budgets,
giving the green light,
that sort of thing.
Why would he do that?
I don't know anything
about running a studio.
I imagine Mr. Amberg felt that
moving Dick to the top spot
would be seen as a kind of
changing of the guard.
Your taking over as interim caretaker,
Mrs. Amberg,
will better protect Ace's return
to the studio.
So I'm expected to keep
Ace Studios running,
produce a slate of films,
but I can't green-light a picture.
That's right.
Mrs. Amberg
will have sole green-light authority.
Here's to a speedy recovery.
You're very talented,
and you've written a wonderful script.
- Thank you.
- But, unfortunately,
Ace Amberg has recently
become incapacitated.
- I'm sorry to hear that.
- Well
before he became ill,
he became aware of your, um
now we need to replace you.
Peg is still your movie.
It's your
It's your voice.
You're gonna get all your fees.
You'll be on set.
But another writer's name
will be appearing in the credits.
I'm sorry.
This is simply the way that it has to be.
I appreciate you, Mr. Samuels,
just coming out and telling me all this.
I'm guessing you didn't enjoy
having to do that.
Absolutely not.
this is the world that we live in.
If Ace Amberg wants
to take my name off this picture
he can do it himself.
Fair enough.
As long as you're prepared
for the inevitable.
Ain't nothing inevitable, Mr. Samuels.
When Madam Pompadour
Was on a ballroom floor ♪
Said all the gentlemen, "Obviously ♪
The madam has the cutest ♪
Personality" ♪
What did Romeo see in Juliet? ♪
Or Figaro in Figarette? ♪
Or Jupiter in Juno? ♪
You know ♪
And when Salome danced ♪
And had the boys entranced
No doubt, it must have been ♪
Cinch it tighter.
Personality ♪
Hey, Rock.
I know we both want the part,
but good luck.
Thank you.
Thanks, Jack, you're a class act.
Guess it's out of our hands now, right?
Yeah, all we can do is show up,
do our best, and pray, right?
Now remember, this is the big
climactic scene, all right?
You are the boyfriend
of a woman on the verge.
She's about to end it all,
but you don't want that.
Got it.
Okay. "Sam!
What are you doing here? Leave me alone.
This is my destiny. Mine and mine alone."
"Peg, I won't let you do it.
You you know you love you,
and I know you love you."
Oh, "You know I I love you."
You know what? Let's just try it again.
But remember
"Peg! I won't let you know I love you!"
Sorry, that's Hold on. That's not it.
All right, what is going on here?
Did you go out drinking last night?
Were you out sucking dick?
Because we talked about that.
No, it's just
There's a lot of you's and I's.
The words are real similar. They
Well, frankly,
you should have this memorized by now.
I'm sorry, I'm just really scared.
When I think about the director
sitting there watching,
I keep picturing my stepdad
telling me I'm nobody. Saying he's
gonna beat the shit out of me.
I'm no psychologist
or whatever they call it,
but if you came to this town
so that your stepdad
would finally love you
The director ain't your daddy.
He ain't your mommy.
He is a friend.
And he's there to guide you.
- Yeah.
- Okay.
- Let's try it again.
- Yeah.
"Sam, what are you doing here?
Leave me alone.
This is my destiny. Mine and mine alone."
Sorry, it's my line then?
Hello, Jeanne.
Avis, there's something
I need to talk to you about.
I was with Ace
in Palm Springs.
We've been having an affair.
For how long?
Ten years.
Ace always told me that he loved me
and that he was going to leave you,
and he said that you were
having an affair with some guy
who ran a gas station, so it was all okay.
Do you love him?
In the beginning, I believed I did.
But after a while,
I realized that that was just a fantasy.
If I tried to break it off,
then it would be over for me.
So, I
I just
Avis, I know how you must feel.
I know you hate me,
but I am truly sorry.
And I will be resigning from my contract.
I'll be cleared out of here
by Monday morning.
Where will you go?
I don't know.
Television, probably.
The Kraft Television Theatre
has expressed an interest in me.
You're not going anywhere.
And I can't be angry with you, Jeanne.
If I were,
I'd be a hypocrite.
Avis, thank you.
In this scene,
she's been drinking, right?
But don't play it drunk,
she has to drink at this point
just to feel normal, remember.
"Oh, Sam, Sam, Thirteen Women,
isn't it wonderful?"
Were you expecting somebody?
They're taking my name off the script.
- What?
- Yeah.
Dick just told me.
This film won't get made if they find out
a nigger wrote it.
And I just sat there,
taking it nice and civil 'cause
that's how we supposed to act.
Well, you know what?
I am finished with patience and civility!
- Nobody's taking your name off anything.
- Fuck this studio head.
Fuck these white people in charge!
They don't play fair, so why should we?
I felt like an Uncle Tom
even writing this goddamn script
about this dumb-ass white girl.
That ain't my life!
That ain't my story! That's their story!
And then, still
it ain't good enough.
Archie, listen to me.
I'm not gonna let
any of that happen to you.
You hear me?
I want you to get this part.
Go on and get it.
Go on and get it. I'm sorry I fought you.
I was fighting their fight.
But now it's time to fight ours.
- Okay?
- Yeah.
Y'all was in the middle of something.
"Why, there you are.
We were meant to meet for lunch at RKO."
"Sam, Sam, Thirteen Women,
isn't it wonderful?"
"But you finished filming it months ago."
"Yes, I know, silly.
But, the thought that it'll be
in the cinema soon
Me up there, on the silver screen.
Well, I just had to read
the script again."
I'm gonna stop you. Remember,
she's been drinking. She's loose.
I thought you told me
not to play it like that.
Yes, but I I mean she's
She's roiling with anxiety.
The next scene, she's going to finish
a bottle of Scotch,
race to the Hollywood sign
and jump off of it,
so she has that inside of her.
Try it again.
"I just had to read the script again,
and this time, Hazel Cousins
simply jumped off the page.
Wait, she's not a supporting role
at all really, she's in
I I counted 'em, 20 20 scenes.
This film will really be the start
of something, Sam.
At long last,
I'm going to be a movie star."
- "Peg, have you been drinking?"
- "What?
Well, just a little to take
the edge off because I got so excited."
More emotion.
"What? Well, just a little to take
the edge off because I got so excited."
"Peg, I have some sorry news.
I saw Mr. Selznick today.
He told me you've been cut from the film.
You'll still be in two scenes, sure,
but it's a cameo now, Peg.
You're barely in it at all."
"And suddenly
everything goes dark again.
All of my hopes and dreams
lay in a heap of cut-up celluloid
on the floor of an editing room
to be tossed into the trash bin.
That's me, Sam.
Lost and soon to be forgotten."
I'll cry on the day.
I'm just not going to do it right now.
That's not gonna work.
If you can't bring the emotion
to the rehearsal,
you're not gonna be able to
in front of the cameras.
Well, maybe I'm not a crier, Raymond!
Maybe I just can't manufacture
other people's emotions.
This is your shot, Camille!
This scene. You need to bring
every ounce of pain you've ever felt.
Every rock that's been thrown at you,
every word that has been spat in
your face, I need you to take that rage,
that sadness, and put it into the scene!
This is your chance to really act,
to be an actress!
You know all about pain, don't you?
Passing, every day of your life.
Fucking jerk!
How about you and I,
we rehearse the kissing scene?
I'm sorry, I really want to, but, um
I'm trying to be a good person.
You are a good person.
Why do you have so many doubts about that?
I'll see you at the screen test.
Thank you, dear.
Miss Crandall, thank you so much
for agreeing to read for these tests.
My pleasure.
If I were 10 years younger,
I could be testing for the lead myself.
It could have been
the picture that made me a star.
You're not a star
because you didn't sign with me.
That's right, Henry, because you're awful
and you treat your clients like dog shit.
On the bell.
Ready when you are, Mr. Ainsley.
Right this way.
So, Miss Crandall will be reading
this scene with you.
This is the climactic scene
right before she jumps off.
Should do it to her,
not right into the camera?
That's right.
This is the Hollywood sign.
I'm sort of hanging off of it.
It's very, very high.
Oh, boy.
I see it.
I haven't been this nervous since
Junior Durkin's first screen test.
And you know what?
He got the part.
And so will you, kid. Just breathe.
Roll camera.
And action.
Sam, what are you doing here?
Leave me alone.
This is my destiny and mine alone.
Peg, I won't let you do it!
You know you love you, and you know
I won't let me throw it all away!
Sorry, I screwed it up,
can I try it again?
Cut. That's very good, Rock. Just relax.
Peg, you won't let me do it!
You know I love you,
and you know I won't let me throw
That's not right. Damn it, that
Peg, I won't let you do it.
You know I know you'll throw you away.
Damn That's not right. I, uh
Rock, it's, um
"Peg, I won't let you do it.
You know I love you, and you know
I won't let you throw it all away."
Yeah, I got it.
Sorry. I My my throat
My throat's a little sore.
I need some water.
We need water. Get him water. Now.
- Water.
- Just a little bit.
A glass of water
for a tall drink of water.
You too.
Peg, I won't let you do it! Shit!
Sorry, one more time.
- That was right.
- That was it.
- Oh, are you serious?
- Yeah, you got this.
Peg, I won't let you do it.
You know I love you and you know
I won't let you throw it all away.
I can't, Sam.
I can't! I can't do it anymore!
That was my line, darling.
All right, one more, Rock.
I can't, Sam.
I don't want any part
of this life anymore.
And that includes you, Sam.
Well, what did you tell me about
killing yourself?
When all those Wall Street so-and-so's
lost their fortunes and ended it all,
you told me, "Sam, they picked a long-term
solution to a short-term problem."
And that's what you're doing now, Peg!
And cut.
That's uh That's all we need.
Well, thank you so much
for the opportunity.
Thank you.
I'm real sorry, Miss Crandall.
Oh, no. Don't worry about it.
Please, we've all been there.
Come on.
You got it right in the end,
and that's what really matters.
How do you feel?
Like I want to run away
and never come back.
At the end,
he wants us to really cry, and
I've tried, I just can't.
Here, uh
rub a little
VapoRub under your eyes.
It's not a prank. It works.
But just use a tiny bit.
We're ready for you, Miss Wood.
Really, it, uh, gets the waterworks going.
This film will really be the start
of something, Sam.
At long last,
I'm going to be a movie star.
"Have you been drinking, Peg?"
Just to take the edge off
because I got so excited.
"I saw Mr. Selznick.
He told me you've been cut from the film.
You'll appear in two scenes, sure,
but it's a cameo now, Peg.
You're barely in it at all."
And suddenly it's
dark again.
All my hopes and dreams
to be tossed into the trash bin. Lost.
That's me, Sam. Lost.
Lost and soon to be forgotten.
Thank you so much, Mr. Ainsley.
Camille Washington.
All right,
you heard him. Set up.
No, Camille. Camille, no.
I'm not gonna let you cheat.
Baby, I know you can do this.
This is your shot
to make this role your own.
But it's you who has to make that happen.
Go get 'em.
Okay, let's slate.
Avis, I am so sorry.
You have my deepest sympathies.
- How did you find out?
- Through the grapevine.
Don't worry, it's still very hush-hush.
But, I am so excited about this Peg movie.
You know, my client, Rock Hudson,
would be perfect for it.
His acting is just
Honestly, he's like a Barrymore.
Anyway, I cannot imagine the strain
you must be under right now,
which is why I was very glad to be able
to take a little something off your plate.
What, Henry?
You don't know?
Oh, dear.
Tattletale Magazine is in possession
of some photographs
of you leaving that gas station
with various gentlemen.
Now I, of course, bought back the photos.
I would never want that to get out.
What do you want?
My client in the picture.
I want you to cast Rock.
You're a real snake, Henry.
But you already know that.
to be tossed into the trash bin. Lost.
That's me, Sam. Lost.
Lost and soon to be forgotten.
Thank you so much, Mr. Ainsley.
- That's odd.
- Nerves. It happens.
Camille Washington, take one.
And suddenly, everything goes dark again.
All of my hopes,
and dreams,
lay in a heap of cut-up celluloid
on the floor of an editing room
to be tossed into the trash.
That's me, Sam. Lost.
Soon to be forgotten.
Next one.
Who are these, the Sams?
Rock Hudson, take one.
And action.
Peg, I won't let you do it.
You know you love you, and you know
I won't let me throw it all away.
- Sorry, I I screwed up, can I
- Cut!
Peg, you won't let me do it.
You know I love you, and I know
I won't let you throw it all away.
Peg, I won't let you do it.
You know I know you'll throw you away.
Pig, I won't let you do it."
Sorry, I just called her "Pig."
You're not.
Oh. Good God!
- How many takes did he do?
- Sixty-seven.
I've seen enough.
I like him.
Let's cast him.
Sixty-seven takes, Avis.
I think he's right for the part.
We tested other actors.
Can we at least watch one of them?
Jack Castello, take one.
What did you tell me
about killing yourself?
When all those Wall Street so-and-so's
lost their fortunes and ended it all,
you said, "Sam, they picked a long-term
solution to a short-term problem."
Well, that's what you're doing now, Peg.
He's good.
Let's give it to him.
What did I say?
I have to go. I'm late for a luncheon
with Eleanor Roosevelt.
Avis, what about Peg?
Who are we going to cast?
Well, it's obvious,
we have to give it to Claire.
She wasn't as good.
Believe me,
casting her pains me more than anyone.
She's my daughter. I can't stand her.
Uh, Mrs. Amberg.
Please tell your girlfriend
she was stunning.
She gave an amazing screen test,
but she's not right for the part.
Well, with a slight rewrite, she
she might be right.
She's a movie star.
Don't make me into the bad guy here.
What do you want me to say?
What's Ace going to say?
Ace isn't here.
This is your decision to make right now,
And my decision is to not bankrupt
this studio, Dick.
We will reap the whirlwind
if we cast that girl,
and everyone in this room knows it.
I am not about to take that risk
when we have a perfectly fine alternative,
who's going to become
so goddamn unbearable
- you have no idea.
- Avis
You don't keep
Eleanor Roosevelt waiting, Dick!
Josephine, call Jack Castello
into my office, please.
Yes, sir.
Well, Jack, you got the part.
Yes! Yes!
Uh, sorry, thank you.
Congratulations, kid,
you've proven me wrong.
Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Samuels.
I will not disappoint you.
Thank you.
I got the part.
I got the part!
So that's it.
No notice?
That's how you thank your old pal Ernie?
Listen, Ern, you've been a big help,
you know that.
But I have been having moral reservations.
Oh, you have, have you?
No prude like an old whore.
You're just like the rest of them, Jack.
Suddenly, you're all squeaky clean, huh?
You know damn well deep down
you're just as seedy as the rest of us.
So you can shove that halo all the way up
your ass as far as I'm concerned.
You're full of shit.
I'm sorry. I'm sorry, Jack.
I'm happy for you. It's just that
I thought I found my way out
of the game, too, you know?
It was all bullshit!
- What are you talking about, Ernie?
- Vivien Leigh.
I was reading lines with her all night
at Cukor's.
I try to give that to people.
Don't turn the light on!
I was fool enough
to believe you were straight!
Oh, Ernie. You are fantastic.
So honest and unveneered.
You should be acting.
- What are you talking about?
- No, I'm serious.
You should be in this production.
She said I should be in the play.
She was gonna set a meeting
with Tennessee Williams.
He never called me.
I had dreams too, you know.
What am I talking
Congratulations, Jack. Here's
- Ernie
- No, no, no.
Here's 50 bucks to tide you over
until you start shooting, okay?
Come back when you're a big star
and say hello, okay?
Okay. Thanks, Ern.
I knew it when I saw you in that bar.
You were going places, kid.
I knew it before they did.
And so
it has very much lifted my spirits
to see that over $3,000
has been raised in a single afternoon.
Thank you so much for your support,
and please enjoy your lunch.
These fucking shoes.
- Those heels are one inch.
- Well, that one inch is killing me.
How's Ace?
He's out of commission
for a little while, actually.
Probably just a virus.
- He's at home resting comfortably.
- Who's running the studio?
I am. Very much in name only.
Oh, Avis,
that is positively divine.
What's it like?
What movies are you working on?
we just did some screen tests
on a film about Peg Entwistle.
Oh, yes, I remember when that happened.
- Oh, that sounds gripping.
- Yes.
But, well, I feel guilty.
The girl we're going to give the lead to
wasn't the best.
There was a girl that was far better,
but she's colored.
Office of Dick Samuels.
Wait, who?
She's coming now?
- Eleanor, this is Dick Samuels.
- How do you do, Mrs. Roosevelt?
- Ellen Kincaid.
- So wonderful to meet you.
It's a pleasure.
- Right this way.
- Thank you.
These past few years I have been
traveling all over the country,
and what I have seen going on
in the South
has positively shaken
my faith in this country.
Here I thought we fought a war
for freedom,
basic decency.
Then, to see Jim Crow up close, those
the beatings and the lynchings.
I have begun to realize that this country
is actually moving backwards.
I understand that
you have the opportunity
to cast a girl of color
as the lead in one of your pictures.
I am here to encourage you to do it.
Mrs. Roosevelt
I couldn't agree more.
Miss Kincaid?
I wholeheartedly agree with Richard,
Mrs. Roosevelt.
Okay, I'm sorry.
While I greatly admire the bleeding hearts
of my dear colleagues here,
if we cast this girl in the lead role,
the picture will not run in the South.
- Run it in the North.
- The picture will face a boycott.
Production on our slate of films
will grind to a halt.
This studio,
as well as everyone who works here,
will become a target of the Ku Klux Klan.
That's the long and short of it.
That's why we just
We can't do it.
Yes, it will be
a big to-do.
Think about it, what it might mean to a
to a dirt poor
little black girl living
in a shanty in some
cotton town where she's told she's free,
but really her life is no better
than that of her grandparents,
who were the owned property
of another human being.
Think about her, what it would mean to
to see herself up there on that screen.
Vaunted, dignified
My time in Washington taught me
a lot of things.
I used to believe that good government
could change the world.
Well, I don't know that
I believe that anymore.
However, what you do,
the three of you,
can change the world.
Now, if you will excuse me,
I'm meeting Hick for dinner at 5:00.
Thank you.
So, what are you going to do?
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