Notting Hill: The Pitch Meeting
[it is a CONFERENCE ROOM at Polygram in 1997]
Film Executive Man: Listen, kids, we need a vehicle for Julia. Something cute, something smart, something that really lets that million-dollar smile loose.
American Screenwriter: Those teeth! God, I could lick them.
Film Executive Woman: Don't be vulgar.
British Screenwriter: How about something with her and Hugh Grant? His hair is sufficiently floppy for women to swoon over.
American Screenwriter: Hugh Grant? I mean, I kind of get the appeal, but isn't he a little...gay? Because he seems a little gay to me.
British Screenwriter: He's just British, you clod.
Film Executive Man: Okay, settle! Settle. So we've got Julia and Hugh.
British Screenwriter: Right. And Hugh is just this very ordinary man who lives over the shop he owns. It's a...bookshop.
American Screenwriter: But it's a quirky bookshop. People love specifics. Like - he only sells travel books. And people always come in asking for regular books! It's so wacky.
British Screenwriter: And he has an idiotic Welsh roommate. Those Welsh! They're so stupid! Film Executive Man: They are?
British Screenwriter: Yes. It's important. For my comedy.
Film Executive Man: Uh, okay. And Julia fits in here...how?
American Screenwriter: This is the beauty part! She's a movie star! And they meet, somehow, doesn't matter how, and they are instantly attracted to one another.
British Screenwriter: Because they're both beautiful!
Film Executive Man: Beautiful people DO often fall in love. Sounds great!
[he CLAPS his FAT LITTLE HANDS]
American Screenwriter: But wait! There's a problem.
Film Executive Man: Isn't that always the way?
British Screenwriter: Their lives are so different! He has some friends - they should be pretty quirky, too, to contrast with Julia's glamour - maybe someone in a wheelchair? Write that down.
Film Executive Woman: I'm not a secretary.
American Screenwriter: So Hugh wants to see her again, but she's on a press junket! And the only way he can see her is to pretend to be a reporter for - get this - Horse and Hound magazine!
Film Executive Man: That doesn't even sound real!
British Screenwriter: It is, though! That's the beauty part. Specifics.
American Screenwriter: So they end up seeing each other again. But then it turns out she's got a boyfriend!
British Screenwriter: A boorish American boyfriend! Someone who looks and acts like a pig. You know, a typical American.
American Screenwriter: To contrast with the slight gayness of the British.
[they GLARE at each other for FAR TOO LONG]
Film Executive Man: But what happens then? This boyfriend sounds like a jerk.
British Screenwriter: He is! So no one feels bad when he gets kicked to the curb.
American Screenwriter: That's the beauty part.
Film Executive Man: Oh good! So she's free to pursue Hugh!
American Screenwriter: She is, but...
Film Executive Man: Oh no! What now!
British Screenwriter: Nude photos! Everyone knows how actresses always have a nude photo scandal! It'll be ripped from the headlines.
Film Executive Man: And then Hugh Grant doesn't want her, because she's a whore, right? A dirty, dirty whore?
American Screenwriter: No - and this is really the beauty part - he doesn't care.
Film Executive: What?! But the whole world has seen her cans! Her sweet, sweet cans!
British Screenwriter: That's how you know he's a good guy.
[they all SIGH]
Film Executive: This is all sounding great, guys, but contractually, you need to provide us with at least one more car chase scene this year. Can you fit that in somehow?
American Screenwriter: No problem. We'll just create a last-minute conflict, where maybe...okay, MAYbe, HE rejects HER!
Film Executive: But she's a movie star! Who would reject the chance to bang that?!
British Screenwriter: Well, first of all, he's British, so he doesn't "bang" anything. Except maybe bangers and mash! What-ho!
[everyone GLARES at him]
British Screenwriter: Sorry, sorry. He's too intimidated by her fame and beauty! So he freaks out!
American Screenwriter: Right. And just as she is literally about to leave for America, he races to the hotel and declares his love for her in a press conference. Because that is a real thing that actually happens.
Film Executive Man: And then they kiss, maybe she gets knocked up, I love it, I love all of it.
Film Executive Woman: Why do I even come to these meetings?