EXT. HOMESTEAD SET. DAY.
Holly burst out of the saloon, shotgun in hand, ran across the wooden planks, up towards the north end of town. She grabbed a hitching post outside the bank, coming to an abrupt stop. Holding up the gun, she aimed at one of the two men across the street and fired.
Holly ran a hand over her forehead, whipping some sweat away. It was a hot, humid day and this had been their seventh take of the scene.
Walsh and the director were in close conversation. Alan, who was the man she hadn’t been aiming at for the past hour, meandered across the street towards her.
“How are you doing?” he asked, leaning against the hitching post.
“Good. Tired,” she admitted. “I’ve been in scenes they’ve done multiple takes off before, but it’s much easier when you’re just in the background serving drinks.”
“You get used to it. When I was shooting White Crusader the director made me redo the scene where I find my murdered family twenty-three times. It can be exhausting having to summon that level of emotion twenty-three times in a row but you learn how to do it.”
“Yes. Though I think the last five were only because on take eighteen I entered the scene, said deadpanned ‘oh no, I’m so shocked. My family’s dead. Who saw that coming?’ and walked right back out again.”
“Some directors take onset jokes better than others,” Alan grinned. “This guy wasn’t a kidder.” He looked a little closer at her. “You look really hot…” He hesitated for a second, looking a little embarrassed and then clarified. “As in hot temperature wise. Not that you aren’t….I’m going to shut up now. But you might want to get some water now, Walsh looks ready to announce another take.”
Holly tried to hide a smile. “Sounds like a good idea.”
INT. SOUNDSTAGE. DAY.
Peter sat in a foldout chair, his feet propped up a on a stack of boxes, as he doodled in the margins of his script. He stifled a yawn and glanced up at the set where the director was conferring with the cinematographer and assistant director. It was going to be a long day.
Peter turned in surprise to see Matt coming towards him. He straightened up, bringing his feet to the floor and looked a little accusatorily at his friend.
“If you’re going to make snarky comments, I’ll remind you whose idea it was I take this part.”
Matt held up his hands and chuckled. “I didn’t mean anything negative.”
Peter reached out and shook Matt’s hand. “So what are you doing here Matt?”
“I wanted to give you a head’s up about this.” Matt pulled a glossy magazine out of his back pocket.
Peter stared at the magazine for a moment, a familiar feeling in the pit of his stomach. It had been a couple of years since he’d been important enough to rank much attention in the gossip magazines, a few pieces here and there, but most people considered him old news now. But he still remembered the avalanche of stories five years ago. Every magazine with his picture slapped on the cover, Layla’s picture on the side, headlines which grew increasingly more hurtful…
“It must be something pretty interesting for you to bring it down here,” he said, keeping his voice even.
Matt shrugged. “I don’t know how much attention it’ll get you. You might fly under the radar alright as there’s bigger game.” He flipped the magazine open to a marked page and handed it over to him. “But since Ryder’s the current leading man of choice in most women’s daydreams, it might get you a little more notice than usual.”
Peter scanned the page. There was the picture of him arriving at the after party with Holly. They seemed to have chosen the most intimate looking one, with his hand under arm leading her inside. He knew this had made the tabloids already but only barely. For a second he didn’t understand the importance and then noticed the two pictures on the other page. There was one of Holly and Alan sitting in a car, and a second of the two kissing outside a bar. He also noticed that for the first time, Holly’s name was given and was mentioned as working on Homestead.
He shut the magazine and tossed it, with a little too much force, back to Matt.
Matt cleared his throat. “Gist of the article is asking if she’s stepping out on you with Alan, or the other way around.”
“Holly and I are friends,” Peter snapped. “That’s it. There is no ‘stepping out’.”
“Good grief, don’t tell any reporters that with this tone, or everyone will say it’s true.”
Peter chuckled wryly.
“Look,” said Matt, “I have gotten one call about this, but so far that’s it. Chances are this won’t get you that much unwanted press. I’m guessing the people who’ll get it will be Holly and Alan.”
“You think they’ll hound Holly because of something like this?”
“She’s Ryder’s girlfriend,” said Matt. He noticed Peter’s expression. “Maybe not girlfriend exactly, but she is seeing him, Peter. And now they’ve got her name I expect the next couple of months will be a bit of an education for her.”
“If I released a statement maybe they’d pay less attention to her.”
“They’d pay more,” said Matt seriously. “The more statements made, the more this story will be in the public awareness and the longer it’ll take to become old news. Let it lie.”
Peter nodded reluctantly. There was a loll in the conversation and shifting in his chair feeling suddenly uncomfortable, Peter tried to change the subject. “Want to stay for the next scene? We’re filming an ‘epic’ battle with a bunch of crocodiles…in space…you can watch the great Shakespearian Tragedy you’ve got me into.”
Matt grinned. “I wouldn’t want to spoil it. We’ll watch it together when it airs.”
“Deal,” said Peter. “I plan to make you stick to that.”
The two men shook hands and Matt walked away.