Before the big cast BBQ tomorrow Nicole (yes we are on a first name basis) hosts a meeting with the cast. To relax the atmosphere Mr. Gordon Lightfoot gets his guitar out and sings “The Wreck of The Edmund Fitzgerald”. Bosco, Dylan the Westie and I are so pumped up!
Mr. Gordon Lightfoot then plays a tape of the theme song he has composed for the film called “Paco a Girl’s Best Friend”. It is a haunting song backed up by Inuit throat singers from Northern Canada. The attendees clap and holler and Nicole hides her tears well. Mr. Gordon Lightfoot is not known in Australia. But he will be known very soon. The song has been out for a couple of weeks and is rising like a bullet on the Billboard carts. “MR. GORDON LIGHTFOOT YOU HAVE A SMASH HIT! “
Nicole stands up and speaks, “Hello everyone. It is so good to see you all here. We are going to make the damn best movie ever. It better be just that as executive producer I am funding it. You out there are part of this exciting project so I am counting on you.
Yes, you have read the script through many times but let me give you my take on it. The film is called “A Dog Saved My Life” and I am the lead character Alice Springs. The co-lead is Reggie that marvelous dog sitting in a chair at the back of the room with his name on it. Reggie will be called Paco a rescue dog from the Dominican Republic. Reggie is a newcomer to acting although there are two Disney films “Reggie the Egyptian Rescue Dog” and “Reggie the Egyptian Rescue Dog is Back”. Together these two movies are the biggest grossing movies ever. There is also a series “Reggie” on the ABC network in the United States that is syndicated in 33 countries including Australia.
Alice Springs is a rich Australian girl living in Melbourne. She has had three disastrous marriages including the last one where she was severely beaten by her deranged husband. No amount of money can fix her broken soul. So she comes to rough and tumble Darwin Australia to heal. Neither drugs, alcohol, yoga or mindfulness can fix her broken soul. Alice sinks into a deep depression which is so severe neither psychotherapy or anti-depressants can help. She overdoses on pills and survives. Medical intervention saves her but she feels this is really the end of her life.
One day while walking on the beach just over the road from where we sit now she is taking a moody walk with her head down until she sees Paco who she tries to shoo away but Paco stays close sensing danger and Paco is right as a huge saltwater crocodile starts slithering towards Alice who lets out a horrifying scream and starts to run but we Aussies know it is difficult to outrun those brutes Paco jumps out and heads towards the croc. Imagine the bravery of a 20 pound dog defending Alice against this brute. It will be a fatal bloodbath for him but as a Habanese dog he is an incredible jumper and as the croc now sees a smaller meal he heads towards Paco who jumps high over the croc giving time for Alice to run to safety. A crowd gathers on the beach horrified by the scene. Paco realizes Alice has run to safety and takes one last leap over the croc whose massive jaws just nip his tail. Paco is cut and runs back to Alice to the roar of the crowd. Beach Rangers shoot the croc. Alice is somewhat of a spiritual being and believes in the Buddhist concept of auspicious connections namely that there are no coincidences in her life and that Paco has a role to play in her destiny.
Our special effects guru Martin Malivoire from Canada is here. He promises that he can create a realistic croc attack battle between Paco and the beast and this is a crucial part of the film. He must make it perfect as it might make or break the film.
Paco like Alice is a bit of a reject. He was beaten and abused in the Dominican Republic and we have built a set 15 miles from here to replicate Paco’s village in the Dominican Republic. There will be some 20 minutes shot about Paco’s past which will serve the purpose of establishing that Paco is an outsider like Alice due to his life experiences.
Paco refuses to be touched by Alice who is so shaken up she is escorted to her beach house by two Beach Rangers with Paco following behind. Paco follows her to the door of her house but despite her pleading he refuses to enter her house. There is a big scene with Alice pleading with Paco to come in as she sees a role for him in her future but she is unsure what it is. Paco refuses but he is tormented by his distrust of humans so still refuses to enter. This is an important scene for Russell Crowe who is Paco’s voice as Paco feels a connection and a tremendous amount of sympathy for Alice but through flashbacks, he recalls the abuses he suffered at the hands of humans. Paco feels that he needs a sign that he can trust Alice. Alice goes inside and brings back a bowl of water and some chopped steak and tells Paco just bark when you want to come in. Her actions of kindness may be the sign that Paco is looking for. Well at 4 in the morning he barks waking up Alice who opens the door and Paco jumps in and hides in a broom closet. For the next 10 days we see Alice trying to show Paco she is trustworthy and just like that one morning as the sun is rising he goes up to Alice’s room and jumps on her bed. Alice gestures for Paco to come for a cuddle but he growls at her. Russell again this a key scene as Paco wrestles with the idea of establishing a safe relationship with a human. Paco is on the edge of making a reconnection with humanity and is wrestling with suspicion and distrust rather like Alice.
The rest of the film is about Paco and Alice learning to trust each other. Alice finally makes a connection with a living being and devises a plan to introduce dog therapy in abused women’s centres. She opens 6 of these shelters in Australia. The therapy programme gets thumbs up from the Australian government. Alice finally finds a purpose in life and Paco learns to love Alice and trust humans again.
So there we have it mates. Let’s party at the barbie tomorrow and take a day off then start rehearsals the next day.”
I feel I have a great responsibility as an actor to portray an abused dog that learns to love and trust humans and to the abused women of Australia. And Nicole is so great I simply can’t disappoint her. A successful film will bring Bob and Fay lots of money but they already have so much so money is not the issue here. I also can’t let Martin Malivoire or Mr. Gordon Lightfoot down. “IT’S SO HARD TO BE AN ACTOR! I HAVE SO MUCH RESPONSIBILITY!”