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Love In The Time Of Cinema

Length: 202 pages2 hours


Part One: Celebrity Stalker

At 28, Jana Tyrell is already the most sought-after actress in the world. However, she cordially dislikes just about everyone in the movie business, including her current lover. After Guardian, her most recent movie, and Eric Feiglin, her lover and leading man, garner a slew of negative reviews, she searches the Internet for some kind words about it, stumbles upon the website of Tim Beaufort, an amateur commentator in New York, and is charmed both by his comments about the movie and by much else he’s written. She impulsively seeks him out at his home in Onteora County, in continental New York, and the two swiftly fall in love.

Part Two: Body Double

Director Darius Morgan, despite Jana’s firm contractual prohibition on ever appearing nude, inserts a nude scene into romantic comedy Atoll Extraordinaire, her next movie. Following the loss of his engineering job for opposing a “trans tolerance” agenda imposed upon his company by Human Resources, Tim accompanies Jana back to L.A. When they arrive at the studio where Atoll Extraordinaire is to be made, they discover that Morgan has tried to coerce body double Vanessa Stettin, a physical match for Jana, into actually having sex with her costar – former lover Eric Feiglin – while the cameras are running. Jana and her agent, former Israeli commando Shoshanna Litvak, force Morgan to relent, to remove the nude scene from the movie, and to omit Feiglin from the Guardian sequels. Jana and Tim settle into domesticity in her Los Angeles home, a top-of-the-line motorhome she keeps in a Thousand Oaks trailer park.

Part Three: Changing Trades

At the conclusion of the filming of Atoll Extraordinaire, Tim tells Jana that the script for Guardian At Bay is a stinker, after which she reads it for the first time and concurs. Much to her surprise, Tim is friendly with the author of the Guardian trilogy, and whisks Jana off to New York to meet writer “Eamon O’Shaughnessey,” real name Devin MacLachlan. Devin agrees that the script won’t do, and immediately puts Tim to work replacing it, though Tim has never done a screenplay before and a couple of unpublished short stories are his only fiction. Over the next two weeks, Tim bears down and produces a script Devin approves. Jana and Tim return to Los Angeles to present the replacement script to Morgan, who falls in love with it and hires Tim to be his exclusive screenwriter henceforward. Tim accepts the offer, but surprises Jana by telling her that he can’t write in Los Angeles – that he must return to Onteora.

Part Four: Half Life

Jana hasn’t seen Tim over the three months she’s worked on Guardian At Bay. Upon the instant the filming completes, she rushes back to Tim’s arms. After Mass on Christmas Day, she hustles the two of them to see Tim’s pastor, Father Raymond Altomare, and asks about: 1) becoming a Catholic, and: 2) marrying Tim. Tim is blindsided by all of it, but (of course) accepts this oddball proposal of marriage.

Jana and Tim fly to L.A. to deliver Tim’s script for Guardian’s Pledge to Darius Morgan. Eric Feiglin, who seeks cheap revenge on Jana, takes advantage of the opportunity to inform a gossip columnist about Jana’s motorhome, its residence, and her new lover. For the first time in her years in cinema, Jana lacks the privacy she needs.

Jana resists the urge to revenge herself on Feiglin. Instead, she prevails upon Vanessa Stettin to lease a new trailer park space under Stettin’s name, relocates her motorhome, and sends Tim back to New York. Afterward, she announces to her colleagues that henceforward she’ll make only two movies per year. Morgan, Litvak, and producer Gil Gianelli are devastated–Jana is money in the bank for them–but she stands firm. That gives her “half a life” in cinema, and half with her husband-to-be. It’s not everything she wants, but she accepts it with all the serenity she can muster.

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