Foreword by Stan Lerner: “In Development” is a hilarious account of a day in the life of Stan Peters—Hollywood’s most powerful and scummiest producer. AND YES, “IN DEVELOPMENT” THE BOOK IS NOW AVAILABLE IN THE IBOOKSTORE FOR YOUR IPAD!!!
Breakfast at the Peninsula
The Peninsula Hotel ranked among Beverly Hills’ finest establishments. A modest four stories, its cream-colored exterior walls exuded European elegance. The motor court was paved with Tuscan cobblestone and it curved in a half circle around a spectacular yet understated fountain. Stan Peters arrived for breakfast like clockwork Monday thru Friday at 8:00 in either his black Rolls Royce Phantom or his diamond silver Mercedes Benz SL 500.
This particular morning, he was looking more impeccable than usual. The Ermenegildo Zegna boutique on Rodeo Drive had just taken delivery of its handmade suit collection for the fall season the day before. As always, Stan, the store’s best customer and Hollywood’s most powerful movie producer, had been there to pick up each of his 31 new suits. He would repeat this routine at several of the city’s high-end boutiques; rarely did Stan need or bother to wear the same custom-made suit twice.
The hotel’s bell captain, Rick Johnson, was a handsome young man of twenty-five—an aspiring actor. As always, he stepped forward to open Stan’s car door himself, rather than delegate such an important task to a valet. Opening the great producer’s door was not as optimal as being in one of his movies but it was a step in the right direction. Hollywood’s most powerful producer had come to know him by his first name.
The door of the Mercedes opened, as it always did, not requiring any of Stan’s own personal exertion. He never took this for granted. He appreciated not being bothered with such trivialities. It was certainly worth a twenty-dollar tip to not have to think about opening and closing the door of his automobile.
The air was just right. Not too warm, not too cold. Not too humid, nor too dry. Just right. Stan had no control over the weather of course, but he had chosen to remain in Los Angeles for exactly this reason—perfect year-round weather.
He stretched his six-foot-one frame as he rose from the 65-way adjustable, heated, and programmable leather car seat. The sound of the fountain filled his ears. Stan smiled the bright white smile of a man whose company was about to go public. A smile that said he was a man on top of the world. That he was talented. That he cared and wanted to encourage others to aspire to his greatness. Yet, he was confident that no man could really be his equal.
“Good morning, Mr. Peters,” said Rick amiably.
“Good morning, Rick. It looks like we’re in for some nice weather today. You have to love living in California!” Stan responded, already thinking about the healthy, delectable food he would soon be putting into his perfectly muscled body. A body that at forty was in even better shape than it had been in high school.
“It certainly looks like it’s going to be a great day, Mr. Peters. Enjoy your breakfast…Oh, would you like me to have the car washed while you’re eating this morning?”
Stan looked at the fine German automobile for a moment. It had just been detailed the day before but he thought it could certainly have gathered some dust not visible to the naked eye but was there nonetheless. “Yeah, better give it a rinse.” And with that he turned and walked toward the large double door entrance to the five star hotel.
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Again with no effort of his own, the door opened. “Good morning, Mr. Peters.”
“Good morning,” Stan replied. Other than Rick, he did not know the names of the ten or twenty people that managed his morning breakfast routine. If need be, he could always read their nametags.
“Good morning, Mr. Peters,” said the gentleman next to the doorman.
“Good morning, good morning.” And with just a few silent steps, he was at the entry to the Belvedere Room.
“Good morning, Mr. Peters,” said the lovely hostess. “That suit is beautiful.” Her dark hair was pulled back and her young eyes shone brilliantly with a nebula of possibilities. “It fits you perfectly. You always look so handsome, but that suit is even more perfect than usual.”
“Well thank you…Mary,” he said, quickly glancing at her nametag. “The Fall season just came in yesterday. I still have a lot of things to pick up.”
“Well, I’ll be looking forward to seeing all of it. The usual table or would you like to try the patio today?”
“The usual table would be superlative.”
“Good morning, Mr. Peters,” said Janet, the hostess’ supervisor. “It’s so nice to see you. I just noticed that the trades are not at your table. I’ll bring them right over.”
“Thank you, Janet,” Stan said, taking the final steps to his table.
He sat down on the soft green cushion and slid over just slightly. The silver was all set correctly and the white tablecloth was blinding, which was what he expected. The hotel knew that he expected this, so only new tablecloths were used at his table. Stan’s demeanor was always pleasant but there was no doubt that he would ask for his table to be redressed and set again if he detected even the slightest flaw in its appearance.
The room, which had the feel of a fine garden, blossomed with both Hollywood and business elite. Stan caught many of their gazes as he walked into the room and still more as he sat. When unavoidable, he would flash back a warm smile and give just the slightest nod of his head. He peered for a moment out the glass wall to the patio thinking that the star of his last movie was there having breakfast with her new husband. He had slept with her a few times and was strangely satisfied to see that she was now married.
“Your skinny latte Mr. Peters,” said the middle-aged-Pilipino server as he set the large white cup and saucer on the tablecloth directly in front of Stan. Then, with a great deal of concern and concentration, the Pilipino latte server moved the silver sweetener container just to the upper right of Stan’s cup and saucer so that he would not have to reach for it at the end of the table.
“And the trades,” said Janet, handing Stan both the Hollywood Reporter and Variety.
“Thank you, Janet.” Stan ripped the small yellow package of sweetener, which he preferred to the blue or the pink packages of sweeteners, and mixed it into his latte and raised the cup for his first caffeinated drink of the day.
“Good morning, Mr. Peters. Will you be having the usual today?” asked the intelligent looking waiter in his late twenties, an aspiring writer of some type.
He had mentioned something about writing one day while in the course of telling Stan that he was a great fan of his. Stan recalled his own empty offer to read some of the young man’s work. An empty offer not because Stan was being disingenuous but empty because Stan had observed that most people with aspirations were afraid to succeed. Meaning, no one really wanted their work to be judged by someone who could do something for them.
“Omelet, jack and cheddar…”
“Avocado, fire roasted salsa, Tabasco, and fruit on the side,” the waiter said, finishing Stan’s sentence. He pushed his round wire-rim glasses a little further up on his nose and smiled.
“No potatoes or bread,” Stan added, although he didn’t have to because everybody knew that he liked potatoes and bread but didn’t eat them to keep his simple carbohydrate intake to a minimum.
All this ass kissing is really something. They do it because you’re a powerful man in Hollywood. If they only knew what a lying, thieving, scumbag you really are. Maybe they do know and they don’t care. Could that be?
He took a sip of his latte. It tasted better than most because it was made from a coffee bean that was eaten by a small rodent, which then excreted it out in its feces.
Don’t be so hard on yourself. To be a successful motion picture producer you have to have talent. And you put in years of hard work developing that talent. Not that it mattered to anyone—fuckers. Be honest with yourself. You got to where you are because you have the most important ingredient—an inexplicable character flaw. Not the, I’m gay and my family won’t accept me or I’ll show everyone who should have been voted most likely to succeed. No, it’s way beyond that.
An old timer with an attractive young companion waved to him from across the room. Stan smiled and gave a nod.
To really be fucked up enough to succeed at this level you had to have been born a nice guy with a good heart. Twenty years of being screwed over, lied to, used, and unappreciated. And one day you were lucky enough to wake up and be you. It didn’t happen gradually. It just happened.
Janet returned with an apologetic look. Stan knew without her saying a word what the cause of her guilt happened to be. He handed her the green cloth napkin that had been stretched across his lap and then watched, quite pleased, as she laid the new black napkin in its place. “I’m so sorry about that,” she said, the corners of her mouth turned just slightly downwards.
“Not a problem. Thank you, Janet.” Stan watched her walk away. The well-fitted navy blue suit she was wearing left no doubt that her body, in spite of her being well into her thirties, was still in excellent shape. She had certainly been a dancer of some type in her youth, Stan imagined.
Sounds like a terrible existence the way you describe it. It’s not. Your life is a dream life and you wouldn’t have it any other way. I wish someone could just love me for me. Too late. You got the fancy cars, great food, the world-class pussy, the incredible houses in ten different countries, an amount of money in the bank that even you can’t spend. So many women, so little time…Wall Street loves you.
“Your omelet, sir.”
“Thank you. It looks wonderful.”
“Can I bring you anything else?”
Stan looked lustfully across the room at the attractive blonde with the old goat who had been pleasant enough to wave. “No, this will be fine for now.”
“Well then, enjoy your breakfast, sir.”
Stan’s fork cut through the well-whipped, triple grade A, cage free, grain fed, organic, brown egg with ease. The egg, cheese, avocado, fire roasted salsa, and Tabasco delighted his taste buds. And just as he swallowed it happened—a sickening moment of self-doubt.
The only thing that can fuck up the Peters Entertainment IPO is a bad project. In highly advanced industry terminology, ‘A piece of shit movie’. Not to be confused with a shitty movie the manipulative scumbags in marketing can save with some kind of bullshit MacDonald’s cross promotion. No—the kind of movie that gets fucked up by some tight ass, wanna-be- cool, college graduate, studio executive, a producer’s worst nightmare, maybe even a career killer. What a terrible thought. It’ll never happen to you. You’re Stan Peters for fuck sake. You don’t make piece of shit movies.
Stan decided it was a waste of time to let his mind continue to ponder the meaning of life. He reached for the Hollywood Reporter and began to read the horrifying news on the front page. Continue reading