“I’d like to buy the movie rights to your book Whale Warrior”, Andrew says to me, as he hands over a glass of Bollinger champagne. I take a sip, and the liquid is dry and rich, as I swirl it around my mouth.
“Now why would you wanna do that”, I reply finally.
Andrew considers me for a few moments. “Well, I’ve read your book, and I think it is an extraordinary story… and I think it’ll make a great movie.” He places the bottle in an ice bucket, leans back, and spreads his arms across the back of a luxurious leather couch.
I glance around the setting. We’re in Chateau Marmont, an iconic Los Angeles Hotel. I’ve heard about this place, but never been here before. It just smells of power and money, and I feel somewhat out of place in my tattered camo cloths and grubby backpack.
I look back at Andrew, who is waiting patiently. “The trouble for you is the story has already been told. Whale Wars covered it in season 3, so there is probably no point in retelling the same story.”
Andrew leans forward. “Look Pete, I’m not here to fuck around. I think there is a movie in it. I think it will help the anti-whaling cause. And I want to know if you will sell me the rights.” There is a harsh Aussie twang in his accent – Like he went to a rough school in the outback somewhere.
I consider the large man in front of me that I know so little about. There is a certain brashness and confidence about him. He seems to dominate the room. Maybe there is more to this guy – Although he hardly seems like a Hollywood mogul – A rough and ready Australian trying to make it in the movie business perhaps?
I sit there considering my options. A movie about what happened in Antarctica and Japan might help the cause. Certainly Whale Wars has done a lot to promote the issue of Japanese whaling in Antarctica, but ratings in the last two seasons have declined somewhat. Maybe a movie would be helpful in moving the issue forward. Is this the right guy to sell to? Well it is not like there is a queue of production companies looking to do a movie on it, so maybe I’ve got nothing to lose. I still have the dilemma of whether this guy is just another wannabe executive producer with no real substance.
“I tell ya what”, I say finally. “I don’t know if you are for real or full of shit. And I still have my doubts on whether you can pull this off. Or even if it is worthy of a movie.” A small smile creeps across Andrew’s face. “But I have a campaign starting soon in Africa, and I’m still seventy grand short of what I need to run it. You give me seventy grand in the next 5 days, and we have a deal.”
Andrew is silent for a long time, but the faint smile remains on his face. “Seventy grand? And I get the movie rights to Whale Warrior.”
“Done”, he says thrusting out a big hand. I reach forward and shake it. Hopefully I’ve just sorted the final funds for a seriously good campaign in Africa… and a movie that will air in Cinemas around the globe. But doubts remain in my mind. Does this guy really have the ability to pull off a fully funded Hollywood movie? Or is he just another fraud parading around Hollywood and drinking costly bubbles?
Two days later, $70,000 turned up in our account.