Clara Bow wasn’t the only one who found Hollywood depressing.
On a chilly, unusually clouded over, February afternoon in 2009 when I was 48, after the fourth week of shooting on the revived franchise, I received a call. It was Antoine. He told me he couldn’t make it to set on Monday. One could say that was unusual to the nth degree. Directors never miss work unless they’re stricken, for example, by a heart attack or family tragedy. I asked Antoine what the matter was. He was politely evasive, and almost robotic. Further, he was tampering with film protocol making his first call to me, a studio head, instead of his producer (who would, in the normal course of events, alert the studio and arrange either a temporary work stoppage or a fill-in). However, we were on the phone. I was his friend. There was something so alarming about the intonation of his voice, and the nature of the call that it was as if I heard in my ears a cloud of invisible bees, miles away, swarming, buzzing, dangerous, and on their way to sting.