My First Movie Star

I was watching the season premiere of “Justified” the other night and saw a familiar face: actor Michael Rapaport. I’ve been a fan of Michael’s ever since he played struggling actor Dick Ritchie in “True Romance”. But there’s another reason I have a soft spot for him.

Movies take forever to get made and one of the reasons is that building momentum just takes time. It begins with a script, of course. But after that, you need a producer to assemble the team. You need a director to lead that team. You need a studio or an independent financier to provide the money. And of course, you need actors to bring the magic.

I love actors. One of my favorite things in the world is when an actor loves something I’ve written.  My first film, “The Air I Breathe“, was an incredible ride and one of the reasons is that so many actors liked the script. My director and co-writer Jieho Lee met with almost every actor who read it (including, funny enough, Justified’s Timothy Olymphant). We ended up with a stellar cast that was pretty unbelievable for a first time feature director.

But there was another script that was almost my first. Back in the late 90’s, I wrote an ensemble crime drama called “Shooting Blanks”. I optioned it to some ambitious Orlando producers who worked their butts off to get the movie made. They assembled a great cast and director and came very, very close  to putting the financing together. But alas, it never happened.

The first actor who formally attached himself to that script was Michael Rapaport. We never got to meet, and the movie was never made. But every time I see him in something, it makes me so happy.

Michael Rapaport was my first movie star.

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