The mark of a great film was a successful marriage between plot and chemistry. One could not sustain itself without the other and neither would survive without a precisely blended and beautifully talented cast. Despite the genius script and the massive amounts of money already being pledged by the studio, casting was the most painstaking and occasionally fatal part of the creative process.
“We’ve got the right story but we’ve got nothing without the right people.”
“Jason Morgan and Elizabeth Webber,” Francis Corelli countered without hesitation.
“You’re kidding right?” Sonny Corinthos asked his producer incredulously.
“I'm completely serious,” he replied firmly, “We’ve got the budget for it. You want to make a blockbuster, they’re your people.”
Sonny continued to look at him like he had two heads. Francis ignored the looks the director shot his way and plummeted into his proposal, panning his hands across the space before him as if to draw Sonny a picture, “Just think; Hollywood’s Bad Boy and America’s Sweetheart…unlikely? Sure. Never done? Not until now. Everyone flocks to their movies separately, imagine the crowds we’d draw by bringing them together. This has box office written all over it.”
“Yeah and it spells trouble,” Sonny groaned, “Elizabeth Webber... definitely. But Jason Morgan? They don’t call him the bad boy for nothing, Francis. Just ask Spielberg or Redford, Morgan’s difficult. Jesus, he made Russell Crowe cry…aggravation I don’t need.”
“The incident with Russell and the pool cue was completely blown out of proportion by the media,” the producer reasoned, “Plus from what I’ve heard Elizabeth is a gem, so it balances out. Everyone works with difficult actors, Sonny.”
“You think he’s that right for the part?” he questioned, already knowing the answer.
“Without a doubt. I've already run it by the casting director,” Francis nodded.
“Then offer it to him before anyone else. If he agrees,” Sonny sighed before continuing, “Go ahead and schedule a screen test and he can read in front of the executives.”
“I’d be stupid not to cast her,” Sonny laughed, “Give her agent a call. See if she’s willing to test.”
“Okay,” Francis answered as he walked toward the door.
“Oh and Francis?”
“Yeah?” he turned back toward the director.
“Don’t tell her that Morgan might play opposite her,” Sonny replied.
“Why not?” the producer asked in a confused tone.
“Because we want to her to show up,” Sonny answered with a flash of his infamous dimples.
Elizabeth Webber lowered the visor of her baseball cap as she continued her run through the park. She quickened her pace as she neared the end of her run, grateful that she had been able to enjoy her workout without being interrupted. Elizabeth couldn’t remember the last time she had gone for a run, gone shopping or gone to dinner without exposing herself to the world for scrutiny. But today she had been lucky, first an uneventful breakfast with her mother and now a nice peaceful run, free of paparazzi and gawking fans. As much as she loved her work, the lack of privacy was sometimes overwhelming.
The shrill ring emitted from her cell phone broke through her thoughts. She slowed her pace and stopped at a nearby park bench as she pulled the cell phone off of its clip on her black jogging pants to answer it.
“Hello?” she answered breathlessly.
“Liz, great news.”
“Hey Caroline, what’s up?” Elizabeth questioned her agent as she fiddled with a brown lock of hair that had fallen from her ponytail.
“Francis Corelli called me,” Caroline gushed, “He wants you for the new Corinthos directed film.”
“Corelli and Corinthos want me?” she asked as if the idea were preposterous,
“Gee, I don’t know,” her agent answered in a sarcastic tone, “It’s not like you’re the most sought after actress in Hollywood or anything.”
“That would be Julia,” Elizabeth corrected.
“Not since she became Mrs. Moder, it hasn’t,” Caroline retorted, “So that makes you the IT girl, like it or not.”
“Whatever,” the petite brunette rolled her cobalt blue eyes as if her agent could see her.
“Anyway, back to my original thought…Corinthos and Corelli want you as the female lead in their movie. They want you to screen test tomorrow.”
“Wait, Carly,” Elizabeth interrupted, calling her by her nickname, “Does this movie have a script…a title?”
“Dangerous Liaisons,” Caroline replied in an excited tone.
“What?” the actress shrieked, “Oh my God! Really? Dangerous Liaisons?”
“Uh huh,” she confirmed in an amused voice, “Only the most anticipated make this year.”
“That script was amazing…I couldn’t believe it when I read it,” Elizabeth said as she sat down on the bench to steady her nerves, “That was almost a year ago, I thought they had already started production.”
“Francis said that he hadn’t found the right director or actors,” Caroline explained, “He was willing to wait for the right time and people. Anyway, we need to be at the airport in three hours so we can fly you out tonight. I want you well rested for the screen test, I mean it is just a technicality but…”
“Yeah, yeah, I’ll go home and pack right now,” she cut her off,
“Who’s up for the male lead?” Liz asked curiously.
“You know what? I have no idea…he didn’t mention it, come to think of it. I guess we’ll have to be surprised.”
“I guess so,” Elizabeth agreed before hanging up the phone and heading back down the running trail to the side street where her fiery red convertible sat parked.
~ * ~ * ~ * ~
Johnny O’Brien looked up from his desk at the sound of the actor’s voice. True to his reputation, Jason Morgan stood clad in a leather jacket, jeans, blonde spikes and a scowl.
“Hey yourself,” Johnny nodded with a half smile.
“You called?” Jason asked his agent.
“Yeah, I called. Have a seat,” the slightly older man gestured to one of the two black leather chairs that sat in his office.
Jason sat wordlessly and waited for Johnny to explain. His agent was well aware that Jason didn’t like to be interrupted on what little time off he had, so someone had either died or they had gotten a really good movie offer. Either way Jason would rather have been riding down the Pacific Coast highway on his motorcycle.
“Remember the script you read a while back? Dangerous Liaisons?” his agent asked, locating the script from a file drawer before handing it to Jason.
Glancing at the cover page, Jason thought for a minute before answering, “A mob enforcer and the don’s daughter getting together during a mob war?”
“That’s the one,” Johnny nodded with a pleased smile, Jason always remembered the scripts he liked, “What’d you think of it?”
“Good development, nice story, great action…I liked it,” he replied with a shrug, “Didn’t they start producing that a while back?”
“No, they held off, Corelli couldn’t find the right director,” the older man explained.
“Francis Corelli, the producer from New York?” Jason asked, “This is his project?”
“Uh huh,” Johnny confirmed, “Anyway, he called me today. He thinks you’d be perfect for the role.”
“Sonny Corinthos,” he replied with a chuckle, “A new face for you to torture.”
“Torture?” Jason’s face darkened at the implication, “I do my job, if directors can’t handle it, that’s not my problem.”
“And what about Russell?” Johnny countered, remembering the incident with the cue stick all too well. A public relations nightmare.
“He got in the way of a perfectly good shot,” the blonde said nonchalantly of his former costar as he stood from his seat, “Eight ball, corner pocket.”
“Right,” Johnny rolled his brown eyes at the retreating figure, “Well you need to get out of here and pack, they want you there for the screen test tomorrow afternoon, we need to be at Los Angeles International in about three hours.”
“I’ll be there.”
Read more: Memories in the Making