Filming began…I found there were an infinite number of ways to cop a feel.

This is Lucille Ball, onetime fashion model, mother of the sit-com, actor-comedian, studio exec, TV pioneer.

She had her ups and downs, everybody does. What I find fascinating is that she nurtured friendships that lasted a lifetime with women in film and television. I must have been carrying that thought in my mind when I started my recent novel. Just how defining those friendships are, and how nobody in Hollywood really talks about them.

What also was clanging around in my consciousness was the inequity between men and women, not only in the film industry, but in the world at large.

It is said the #MeToo movement in Hollywood was spurred by the elevation of a demonstrable lout to high office, and the inability of women there to do anything about it, so they turned their focus to offenders in their own industry. As Linda Bloodworth Thomason said, via The Hollywood Reporter:

We don’t care anymore if you go to jail or go to hell. Just know at some point that you are leaving.

And then there’s this from the novel, the story of one woman’s ascent from Hollywood nanny to film mogul:

Filming began. Patsy Morris, checking in one afternoon as the crew broke for lunch cautioned me. “Remember, movies are like high school with a paycheck. The same juvenile behavior and more cliques than you can keep track of.”

However, there was a universal. I found there were an infinite number of ways to cop a feel. I counted off just a few of this infinite variety for Patsy. All the time trying to ignore that she appeared to have sunglasses welded to her face, the better to conceal the tiny stitches in the creases either side of her eyes.

The soundman’s favorite maneuver was to sidle up, ask an imbecilic question about which take was being printed, and reach behind my back for an unwelcome ass cupping. A camera operator, feigning concern about my stress levels, was forever coming up behind me and kneading my shoulders. By far the most innovative moves had come from the militaristic first assistant director. When I had approached him to see if I could get my stepson on his crew he clamped a hand on my shoulder and said, “I got a divorce last year. Best woman in the world. It was all my fault.” He engulfed me in a bear hug with a full pelvic press. “Any thing I can do,” he stated emphatically. I took that as a yes

Since mine is a light comedy, a kind of satiric novel packing some emotional wallops, I didn’t spotlight the more repulsive behavior that’s been making headlines recently.

It’s mostly the story of friendships and love — in all their glorious guises.

May the weekend see you safe and happy.

 

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