Bill Birney Screenwriter
Synopsis - Day 3
An early morning phone call from actor Lester Ward’s agent (Murray) awakens him with a harsh reminder that he’d better be on that plane to Paducah, Kentucky or else. Les barely makes the flight and checks in to the hotel. There, he meets two others who are working on the movie, Vanessa the star, and Joel the writer/director. They make sure Les understands his place at the bottom of the pecking order. In the movie, Les plays Roy, who’s married to Irene played by Vanessa. As day 1 of shooting starts, we discover the movie is a “true” story about a famous Olympic star (Irene), who goes off the rails when Roy is run over by a bus, which happens on day 3 of the shoot. Production goes swimmingly on the first two days, despite a growing animosity between Joel and Les. However, on the third day, everything changes.
When the camera rolls on Roy’s death scene, Les decides he’s had enough humiliation from the movie industry and refuses to walk in front of the bus. The cast and crew can’t believe what’s happening and Joel throws a tantrum, but Les is unbending. He feels he’s taken enough abuse from an industry that consistently hands him stupid, demeaning acting opportunities. Joel refuses to replace Les or rewrite the script – which he can’t really because it’s history – and Murray and various crew members fail in persuading him. Vanessa tries but ends up in bed with him. But finally, after a heart to heart with Les late at night, Joel convinces Les to give up his fight and the shoot continues.
The next day, the company prepares to reshoot the bus scene, but no one shows any enthusiasm except Joel, who is on a caffeinated high. On the first take, the cameraman Steve calls cut halfway through because he felt the actors’ performances were lacking. Joel reacts by exploding at Steve. When the next take starts, Steve refuses to start the camera until Joel apologizes. Joel throws the biggest tantrum of his short career, prompting the crew to walk off, just as the backers arrive to monitor progress. Despite his misbehavior, Les and the backers have a nice conversation. Apparently, Les’s big hit Men with Laser Vision is a cult classic in Taiwan, where the backers are from. A party is held for the cast and crew to announce the firing of Joel and a delay in production, and Les is asked to rewrite and direct a movie using the current cast and crew to be produced in 3 weeks. Cast and crew reluctantly agree to help Les and see it through. He writes the new movie – a low-budget send-up with aliens and ray guns – and the crew prepares for day 1 of Laser Conspiracy.
In the new movie, Irene is hit by the bus and taken to a hospital. The doctor (a local guy with no acting talent) tells Roy her only problem now is blindness. Roy and the world are grief-stricken by the news. However, we discover Irene was a spy for the U.S. during WWII and two agents appear with top-secret mechanical eyes that they offer to implant in her. (Behind the scenes, most of the important members of the crew see the writing on the wall and ask Les to remove their names from the credits.) So, the fake eyes are implanted, and we discover something the agents didn’t mention upfront. The eyes can shoot a powerful laser beam that explodes things.
Irene gets her first test of the eyes as she’s leaving the hospital, when she easily dispatches a hostage situation. Meanwhile behind the scenes, Joel attempts and fails to abduct and kill Les, but Les agrees not to press charges if Joel agrees to do one thing for him. Back to Laser Conspiracy, Irene faces her biggest challenge as she proves her strength and courage by exploding a band of aliens bent on taking over the planet and killing everyone. The most powerful alien of all, played by Joel, proves to be the most difficult, but love of Roy gives her the extra jolt of power to wipe the alien out and save the world. The movie ends at a big cast and crew screening in Hollywood. Everyone is happy and Les’s new career path is all but assured.