“Don’t worry darling,” Olivia Wilde said to Harry Styles, speaking in her endearing punctuation-free manner. “I’ll layer my movie in so much disingenuous feminist commentary – just like you on the red carpet! – that no one will notice you’re no Marlon Brando.”
Harry stared back at her blankly, straightening the pussy bow on his blouse. “Will I get to sing?”
“Don’t worry darling. You’re going to make me sing. With your tongue. While a massively talented actress waits around getting pissed off.” Olivia smiled, more to herself, really. “How many Hollywood norms am I upending, vright? And showing this town that I’m not a one-trick pony that’s always going to churn out insightful, perfectly-toned films like Booksmart.”
Harry put the script down on the table. A stack of paper can get heavy for a man who fits in a ladies size 1. “I’m a slow reader. Can you just tell me what the movie’s about?”
“You play a handsome 50s businessman with a beautiful housewife who’s willing to be careless with her fancy china to get her pussy eaten. That’s called feminism, and there’s a lot more to come.”
“Cool so far. Who’s the lucky actress?”
“Florence Pugh. You know you only pretend to eat her pussy, right? That’s how acting works.”
“Oh, ok. I had to give my co-star a real blow-job in the fag movie I just did. The cameras were hidden so I would feel more comfortable.” Harry paused to think, but his thoughts were like his music, a waft of pleasant background sound that had the courtesy to never settle enough to be a distraction. “Florence Pugh is the girl from Midsommar? She has little boobs.”
“That’s feminism. I could have cast Kim Kardashian, which would have made more sense with you. Anyway, you and Florence live in Palm Springs but I call it Victory. Everything is orderly and perfect and scripted, like The Truman Show. All the wives are totally obedient to their husbands and seem brainless, like The Stepford Wives. But all is not as it seems, like Get Out. This world is actually a computer simulation, like The Matrix.”
“Ooh, is Keanu Reeves running the matrix?”
“No, Chris Pine. I need everyone around you to be a really good actor.” Olivia caught herself. She was a sharp woman, inclined to quick answers, without giving adequate time to contemplate the other party’s reaction. Slighting both her new pop star lover and a huge action hero was a potential headache she did not need on the heels of dumping a man who’d recently gone from SNL filler to the Television Academy’s favorite chuckle-getter. “It’s a quality thing,” she added.
“I’ve always wanted to spit on Chris Pine,” Harry said.
“Wait until we finish filming.”
Harry began flipping randomly through the pages. “Which character am I?”
“I don’t have a lot of lines.”
“To paraphrase Norma Desmond, great actors don’t need words. They have faces.”
Harry had no idea what this meant. “I think I’ll do my Cockney-meets-Scottish-by-way-of-Don Draper accent.” He was now poking around in the final act section. “Wait, you said my character was handsome. That’s what my fans want. Here it says ‘Jack, unshaven, pock-marked, with greasy hair and smudgy eye-glasses, turns to face his tired wife’.
“That’s because we find out at the end that you’re actually this unemployed loser jealous of his successful wife, who has no time for him and doesn’t want to be eaten out by a greasy slacker. So you drug her and hook her up to this computer simulation where she becomes your devoted wife in this misogynistic world. How you keep her alive when she’s lying motionless trapped in your device 24/7 or for that matter how the simulated world is physical enough that when someone dies there they die in real life too isn’t important.” Olivia had made this argument to her screenwriter, so felt Harry might need it as well. “Don’t worry darling, you look hot in 7/8 of the movie.”
“Maybe I flip her over every now and then to keep her from getting bedsores.”
“Good build.” Olivia smiled. Harry was sometimes capable of surprising her with more than his finger. “I think an incisive commentary on the pervasiveness of a misogynistic worldview wrapped in mid-century luxury, ironically-placed needledrops and six other film plots, held together for two acts solely by the talent of a great actress, then dissolving into muck with a purposely unsatisfying ending is exactly what fans of Watermelon Sugar will love!”
Harry nervously fingered his House of Chalamet pearl choker. “What if they don’t?”
“Then they’re anti-feminist.”