Here’s to K’harma; sad and blue,
I sold my soul in casting you.
That poem’s not true. But, it’s almost true. Since I had now “tricked” the investors into letting me cast two complete unknowns for my male leads they demanded that the part of K’harma be given to a real Star. First we tried the A-List actresses. They all passed. Then to my utter astonishment we got a yes from Scarlett Johannson. When I flew out to LA to meet her I was in such a rush getting out of the hotel elevator I shoved some schmuck into the wall before realizing it was Leonardo DiCaprio.
Scarlett was delightful. She gave me some great suggestions for her character which I immediately incorporated into the script. I had my Star. I was on my way. FLASH FORWARD: A year and half later we still didn’t have the money and by then Scarlett’s star was way out of my orbit. We lost her to the stratosphere.
I met Jessica Alba. She said she wanted to do it. By the time we could afford to make her an offer her butt had become immortalized in Into The Blue and we could no longer afford it. I met Jessica Simpson. She, her mother and her then husband Nick were still wore their mikes from the reality show they were filming. The restaurant where we met wouldn’t allow the cameras in. Jessica never said a word to me. I think she might have been waiting for someone to say action.
Then the financiers decided the best thing for the film was for us to get a real pop diva to play the part of the pop diva. Now comes a very, very painful moment for me. Now I reveal something that I know will haunt me for the rest of my life. I wrote a letter to Britney Spears. I did. I admit it.
“Dear Britney,” I wrote. “I have long been a fan of yours. Many, many nights I’ve laid awake fantasizing about being one of your G-strings.” No, wait. That was the letter to Christina Aguilera. Thank god both of them never responded. Somehow I woke up and realized that what I needed for K’harma was a real actress. Someone who could lift her out of caricature and bring her soul to the screen. And that’s how I decided to cast Alison Lohman. I had seen her in Matchstick Men with Nick Cage and Sam Rockwell and was truly impressed at how she held her own against those two scene munchers.
The financiers agreed and finally early one morning in November of 2005, 6 years after finishing the script, I found myself on the streets of New York City screaming, ACTION!!!