There's been much ado about how much nicer everyone in Hollywood
has been behaving lately. A lengthy article by Los Angeles Times
entertainment industry reporter Claudia Eller quoted several bigwigs as
saying more emphasis is being placed on compassion than the bottom line.
Even Scott Rudin, the notorious bad-boy producer, has allegedly mellowed
out. (Even though Rudin is based in New York, anyone who makes movies
with the major studios is part of Hollywood, like it or not.) I had a
couple of Rude-in encounters when I was a publicist at Paramount, and
they were not pleasant. But they were memorable.
Even Hollywood's entrenched adversaries - agents and production
executives, journalists and publicists - are exchanging condolences and
pleasantries before negotiating. But they're still not giving an inch.
For example: Editor: "Not that any of this matters in the least anymore,
my goodness, in the wake of what's happened, but we're not going to be
able to put your client, Steve Steveman, on the cover after all."
Publicist: "Oh, absolutely, what possible difference does any of that
mean now? I mean, a silly cover. Which, by the way, you will give us, or
you're permanently out of the Steve Steveman business."
There's also been talk that show business just doesn't seem relevant
anymore. In fact, it seems so unimportant that the Times devoted no less
than three articles to the subject on one day alone.
Experts say the best thing to do right now is to return to normalcy,
which is why I applaud the Los Angeles Dodgers. They got back to normal
by doing what they do best: hating the San Francisco Giants.
With the Giants in town for a four-game series, and their star
outfielder Barry Bonds chasing the single-season home run record, Giants
PR officials and TV network executives inquired as to the possibility of
having an on-field celebration should Bonds break the record. Fat
chance, the Dodgers said. What's more, Dodger hurlers walked the slugger
repeatedly. He left town three homers short of the record, and to a
less-than-fond farewell. Sure, thousands booed the Dodgers (even though
they were still in the thick of a playoff race), but they're accustomed
to that. So many people here are transplants who root for hometown teams
that when the Mets or Phillies play here, it's hard to remember which
city you're in.
The Dodgers are not the only indication of things returning to business
as usual. A certain high-powered studio communications director failed
to return any of my calls or e-mails this week. That's refreshingly
normal. So was my encounter with an impatient motorist on Wilshire
Blvd., where I was caught daydreaming at the wheel. Honk, honk. "The
light's green, moron."
I smiled, and waved in the rearview mirror. Ah, normalcy. It felt good.