Every night, what usually goes on in my house, like so in many homes all across the world is the bedtime story for our kids; and like most households we have our collection of Dr. Seuss, Richard Scarry and Mo Willems stories. But tonight, as Charlie and I settled in for his bedtime story, something unexpected happened.
“Daddy, instead of the books we usually read, can you tell me more about the boy who could fix people with his kisses?”
I was a bit startled by this request. What Charlie was referring to is a spec screenplay I had written a while back, titled “Rudy Valentine.” It’s a magical coming-of-age story about a teenage boy who has the uncanny ability to heal people with the touch of his lips – and what ensues in his small town when his power is revealed.
“Rudy Valentine” has always been one of my favorite scripts and while it didn’t get picked up in Tinseltown, it garnered a lot of attention and led to the sale of my next script. At some point I had offhandedly mentioned to Charlie about this story and somehow it had stuck with him. So, I pulled this dusty script off my shelf and read the first few pages to him. Charlie was entranced.
I left his room a few minutes later feeling, I have to admit it, somewhat redeemed. Something that I haven’t really gotten into on this blog is the traumatic experience I had with the whole Hollywood scene. From the age of nine I had always wanted to make movies and basically nothing has changed. The passion for movies still remains, but my infatuation with the film industry does not. It was a heartbreaking experience to put my blood, heart and soul into the scripts I was writing, only to find at the end of the day that it was not meant to be – at least not that approach.
I have to say that making this film about fatherhood has been so much more meaningful than making a hundred Hollywood films. And yet, I have to admit that a part of me still longs to make big Hollywood movies, to continue with that dream in some form. Who knows whether that will ever happen the way I had hoped it would and if it doesn’t, I’ve made my peace with it. But I’ll tell you one thing: reading my script to Charlie was really redeeming for me and at the end of the day, telling a story to my own child and have him be captivated by it has a lot more meaning for me than showing a film to an audience of millions. Maybe beyond anything else, that’s what amazes me most about being a dad.