Our two lead art department people were already a couple.
Stan was, as I have suggested before, old school, which included ways that would seem chauvinistic by today's standards. This was not to suggest that he ever acted as anything but a gentleman with the younger ladies who worked for us; he was, in fact, quite charming. I do remember, though, one funny incident on Lucky Stiffs.
Stan was a stickler for budget, as is a line producer's want, so I was surprised when, after filling our quota of production assistants, he told me that we had one more. As AD, I was hardly going to complain, and understood when I saw our newest addition, a fit and attractive young Asian girl with a big smile. When I looked at Stan for an explanation, he said "You know. Someone for the grips to play with." He meant it mostly in jest, but later told me that male crews worked better with pretty women around, as it made them want to show off and work harder, and generally kept them happier. I can't say that he was wrong.
Adam, our director, was happily married at age seventy, and he and Isabella were clearly an amorous couple, but he had not lost his eye for the young ladies. Indeed, while he was pleasant on most days, he was in especially fine spirits on days that Debra, our lead actress who was quite attractive, was working. Additionally, when he told me that they had a large pool of potential production assistants, he originally failed to mention that so many of them were co-eds from one of the local college. My crew had no shortage of play companions, as Stan would have suggested, and they were quite the happy lot.
In this atmosphere, I thought I could bring happiness on more than a few fronts. Natasha, who had acted in my staged reading, was a model who was quite pretty and all legs without the insane heels she wore on even casual occasions. I suggested that if she came to set, there might be the possibility of getting some background work, as we were shooting a party scene that required attractive extras.
Natasha jumped at the opportunity, and told me that she could do me a favor, and drive me up to set. I was happy to hear she had transport, as I never much liked crew rides. I was even more pleasantly surprised to see her pull up in a late-model sports car that seemed out of her price range on her earnings as a aspiring model, and I was correct. The car belonged to one of her sugar daddies.
It may have been while we were discussing one of them that she slowed as we approached our exit, and by slowed, I mean took us from warp speed to Mario Andretti on a practice run. We couldn't have hit the exit at anything under 65 mph, when I heard a siren. She smiled at me and surmised, correctly, that we should pull over.
New York City police can,on occasion, be forgiving; state troopers, not so much, and so it was that I was worried when the lone male trooper asked for the obligatory license and registration. Natasha handed him her license, and then suggested I look in the glove compartment for the registration. A quick search of the glove compartment, passenger sun visor, driver sun visor, and, then, with considerably heightened concern, other areas of the car, failed to produce registration. When the trooper asked her if it was her car, she explained that it was not, it was her friend's. The trooper looked at me sternly. Not this friend, she explained, another friend.
While the trooper was considering exactly how many "friends" Natasha had, he asked us to step out of the car, which is usually not a good thing. In this case, though, it proved to be to our advantage. Natasha took off a sweater she had on, and, when she got out of the car, heels, legs, short tight dress and all, the combination had a surprisingly numbing effect on the trooper. She was talking, but I don't think he actually was comprehending any of the words until she got to "if I can give you my number" (followed by the now irrelevant "I'm sure we can clear this all up").
As Natasha got back in the car, she smiled at me in that knowing way that suggested she had no doubt of the positive outcome, one I am sure she had encountered before.
I wasn't wrong about Adam's reaction. Natasha not only got background work, but he added lines and a scene for her. At one point, JR turned to me and said, "Like he wasn't distracted enough. Did you have to bring her?"
Having Natasha as a companion for a few days also made me a little more popular with the Adam, as well as the crew.
Haight-Ashbury may have been the center of the Summer of Love in 1967, but in 1992, the quiet town of New Paltz became home to the Fall of Love.
***For the absolutely best exploration of the toxic mix of relationships and the film industry, again, from the Juicer, Industry Romance