Psycomic - 12.01.01
The Unholy Tale of Greasy Reese Witherspoon
It's Friday night at eleven o'clock, and me, my producer Scott Mosier and my wife Jen are sitting around the patio bar of the Four Seasons Hotel in Los Angeles with Cruel Intentions actress Selma Blair. What started as a routine meet-and-greet has now become a five-hour gab session, during which Selma has just let slip that she knows where Greasy Reese Witherspoon lives.
"You must tell me where," I gravely say.
"Why?" Selma asks, a little uncomfortable, due to the sudden change in my demeanor, brought on by the mere mention of Greasy Reese Witherspoon.
"Because I want to egg her house."
Yes. I so want to egg Greasy's house. Granted, I know she's married to Ryan Philipe, and they have a baby daughter now. But none of that matters to me. We're not talking about a drive-by shooting. We're talking about a drive-by egging. I mean, fuck it; it's Friday night, we're in L.A., and we've got nothing else to do. What could be better than whipping eggs at the home of a couple B-listers?
Now I've got nothing against Ryan Philipe, mind you. And their baby's in the clear with me too (so far). But Greasy Reese herself? Man, I don't like her. And I'm not talking about her work here (because, like any sane human being with a modicum of taste, I'm a big fan of Election; even - as much as I hate to admit it - Greasy's peformance in said picture); I'm talking about the person Greasy Reese Witherspoon is. I'm talking a personal gripe here - more personal than the shark's beef with the Brodys in Jaws 4: The Revenge (or did that infamous tag-line refer to the Brodys' beef with the shark? I could never tell). The reasons for this beef are sundry, and don't warrant getting into here.
Ah, fuck it. Yes, they do.
Waaaaay back when we were casting on Mallrats, Mosier and I are really anxious to meet Greasy Reese Witherspoon (who I then referred to without the "Greasy" moniker), because we're both huge fans of the coming-of-age drama Man in the Moon. Back then, our casting agent, Don Phillips, would meet with the actors and actresses before we'd audition them, precluding the meet-and-greets I presently am engaged in all week. For the Greasy meet-and-greet with Don, Mosier and I arrange a drop-in, as we're eager to see what she's like, this young actress who so dazzled us as Sam Waterson's daughter. So Don is meeting with her in his office at Universal, and Scooter and I pop in like we don't know she's there, and start jawing with her.
What a disappointment.
First, she comes off faux-erudite as all hell, and condescending to boot (personality traits that make for the kiss of death in my book). Secondly, she compares her Stephen Dorff-starring flick S.F.W. to Clerks, calling them "...the same movie, essentially." If you're me, and you've seen S.F.W., this is tantamount to saying Clerks licks balls. By meeting's end, we tell Don there's no reason to bring her back for an audition, as we're now non-Reese fans.
Now whether this registers at all with Ms. Witherspoon, I have no idea. But on two future occasions, I have run-ins with Reese which are not at all pleasant, and may reflect what one can define as a grudge being held against me for not letting her audition for Mallrats (a slight that she should've sent me roses for, all things considered).
The first such run-in takes place at one of Details magazine's "Young Hollywood' Parties. I'm dragged to the shindig, kicking and screaming (I hate parties, and I hate 'em even more when they're wall-to-wall with creepy young actors in L.A.), by my then-girlfriend, Joey Lauren Adams. We see Reese there, holding court, and Joey wants to extend her a congratulations on her performance in Overnight Delivery.
To understand the mammoth gesture this is, you have to know Joey's history with this flick. Many months prior, she and Reese were up for the lead in the picture, the script for which I did an uncredited re-write. It was being directed by the same guy who'd also crafted that contender for the cinematic throne of Citizen Kane, Bio-Dome.
While Overnight Delivery would eventually be unceremoniously dumped straight-to-video by New Line a year later, it was something of a hot project then, and Joey was up for the female lead (indeed, at one point, Joey was going to not do Chasing Amy -- the film that earned her a Golden Globe nomination -- and instead do Overnight Delivery; and people say there is no God...). Ultimately, Reese was cast instead, as New Line was grooming her for stardom. After the initial understandable bout of disappointment, Joey found peace with this decision, especially once she'd gotten Amy under her belt.
So it's a year later. We've shot Amy but it hasn't come out yet. Joey and I have seen an early cut of Overnight Delivery, and she wants to say something nice about Reese's performance to Reese -- a real stand-up gesture that you'd never catch me making, were I in her shoes. We jockey up to Reese (me, quite unwillingly), and Joey tells her that she's seen the flick, and she thinks Reese was really good, adding she's glad Reese got the part when all was said and done. And how does Reese react?
She sneers at Joey. Then turns away.
Children, I wouldn't say it unless I'd witnessed it with my own two eyes. Greasy Reese Witherspoon sneered at the compliment like the third grade girl with the most Valentines sneers at the third grade girl with the second most Valentines after all the Valentines have been given out, just prior to the distribution of the holiday cupcakes. It was an ugly, ugly moment. There was no offer of even an insincere, Hollywood-type "Thanks." Merely a sneer.
But that doesn't earn her the nickname "Greasy." Reese becomes Greasy when I'm later informed that, on the set of Overnight, she quite audibly mocked me.
Me! Radio Raheem!
The mockery was thus: Reese and Paul Rudd (the male lead) are doing the closing shot of the flick, where they walk away from camera. They're supposed to be talking playfully, but since it's understood this is the closing shot (and, presumably, end-credits music will be playing), no dialogue is written. So the director tells the actors to just make stuff up, as it's not going to be heard anyway. What follows is the exchange, as told to me and my elephantine memory (and ass), by someone who was there.
REESE: Who wrote this shit?
PAUL: I think Kevin Smith.
REESE: Ugh! Didn't he write Mallrats?
PAUL: Yeah, but he also wrote Clerks.
REESE: Who cares? No wonder this dialogue sucked.
Needless to say, when I'm told this, I am livid. Enraged. Mildly amused, yes (hell, it was a good dig), but more enraged.
And from that moment forward, I've never referred to her as anything but Greasy (pronounced "GREE-ZEE") Reese (pronounced "REE-ZEE") Witherspoon (pronounced accordingly).
So when Selma lets slip that she knows where Greasy lives, I'm agog. I'm begging her... BEGGING her to give me the address so I can drive by and egg the motherfucker (I'm talking about the house now, not Greasy herself; or am I...?). Selma insists I'll get caught and give her up as the address-provider in the process, but I counter that not only would I not give her up, but I'll endure hours of police questioning following my apprehension and still remain zip-lipped.
"So you're already sure you're going to get caught?" she asks.
I offer that getting caught is a must, because how delicious is it going to be to have Ryan Philipe chasing me down the block in his skivvies, all piss and vinegar, after the yolks have hit the fan? And how infinitely more delicious will the moment be when Way of the Gun catches my ass (which, assuredly, he would, as he's extremely physically fit, and I can barely find the energy to make it to the bowl; unless it's a bowl of Lucky Charms)? I fantasize about him tackling me on a lawn a few yards from his own home (no homoerotic subtext, mind you; the boy's no Affleck), turning me over to see my face, and discovering that the guy who made Dogma is the egg-man.
I harp on this for half an hour, but Blair will have no part of it. Sadly, she eventually heads home, without me having procured so much as a general direction in which Greasy lives.
It is the biggest disappointment thus far on the road to Jay and Silent Bob Striking Back.
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