The audition was at the director’s
office in Century City, instead of a sound stage or theater.
had intentionally set it up so that I was the last audition he would see that day,
the door a female voice told me to enter. It was a large office, even by Hollywood
standards. There was the usual ‘ego wall’ showing the director with stars that
he had worked with which included anyone you could think of. He had started in theater
and television before crossing over to film and he had won awards in all of those fields
putting him in that rarified realm of being an EGOT, winning an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and
Tony. He had produced and filmed a concert on one of the sixties legendary bands and the
gold record of the soundtrack also hung on the trophy wall.
His name was Warner Wexler, and
his name was said in the same breath with the other great late 60’s directors he
had come up with: Scorsese; Spielberg; DePalma and Lucas. His films were gritty and popular.
His secretary was
a grey-haired, steely looking woman, who I imagined had been with him for decades. She
gave me a big smile and said: “Max Hunt?”
I nodded and confirmed I was.
“He’s waiting for
you. Do you have a copy of the script?”
up the script and nodded.
pressed and intercom button. “Mr. Wexler, your
5:30 is here. Is it all right if I close up?”
A familiar baritone voice came
over the intercom: “That’s fine, Margaret, I’ll lock up when we are done.”
the door with a nod of her head.
“Go right in.”
I thanked her and went in.
was huge but spartan, no artifacts and only a large oak desk and a set of file cabinets
on one end, the wall facing me was all glass, lit red with the setting sun.
politician handsome, with salt and pepper hair, offsetting deep blue eyes and a craggy,
patrician-looking face. He had also made a career acting in movies and was quite good,
which only added to his aura.
was holding a sheet of paper; my paltry resume and I could see my head shot on his desk.
He did not rise or offer his hand.
“Hello Max, I am Warner Wexler.
I see you haven’t done much, some summer stock and a few small roles in TV and film,
but that might work in your favor, I would like an unknown in this part, someone who will
not distract the audience with prior baggage.”
“Well, if you’re
looking for an unknown, that’s certainly me.”
gave a generous laugh, as he picked up the script.
“You would be in
the part of…” he smiled and gestured with his hands, “if you got the part, of
Billy, a psychotic and deranged young man. It is a small but powerful and vital role.”
Wexler said: “I
will play the role of George—shall we begin?”
name doesn’t mean anything to you, does it?”
Confusion crosses Wexler’s
is not my first name, but I thought it might remind you of someone else. Maxine Hunt?”
Wexler still looks
film that brought you your first acclaim, THE RED GATE.”
I see recognition in Wexler’s face
mixed with a trace of fear.
filmed it in Mexico, remember? All about the black arts, ending in the climax where the
actress is hideously murdered—torn apart by the crowd.”
“My mother was in her first
leading role and was deeply troubled with that scene and came to you for consolation and
you preyed on her vulnerability and seduced her. The tabloids found out and wrote about
it. When my mother got home, my father, always a troubled man, shot and killed her. They
had the death penalty then in L.A., and my father was convicted and executed.
I grew up in a
shithole orphanage dreaming about this moment when I would make you pay.”
“Look, look, it wasn’t
like that—you know how it is on movie sets—we were attracted to each other.
We fell in love. She wanted to be with me—she was going to divorce your father so
we could be together. You must believe me. Please.”
I took out the gun I had behind my
try,” I say. “You really are a good actor.”
“Don’t do this,”
pleads Wexler. A dark mass begins to spread at his crotch.
look at that,” I say. “The great man has pissed himself.”
lay the gun on his desk.
“How is that for psychotic?
Do I get the part?”
When not writing, Brian Peter Fagan teaches swimming,
primarily to adults who were traumatized as children, through his organization, Flash Aquatics,
and the Rutherford Swim Association.
work has appeared in The Academy of Hearts and Minds,
and Down in The Dirt Magazine.
He lives in Lincoln Park,
New Jersey, with his wife, Renee, and is a member of the Montclair Write Group.
He is currently at work on his debut novel, Twist of Fate. His influences
are Ray Bradbury; Philip K. Dick; Arthur Conan Doyle; John D. MacDonald; and Stephen King.
He can be reached at FlashAquatics.com, Twitter at BrianB51, and