Zhadi's Den

Random essays on wine, writing, moving to San Francisco, surfing, cats (exotic and otherwise) and zombies...depending on my mood.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Pale Dreamer

Sigh...One of those projects I've worked on that came just soooo close...but couldn't quite go the distance. Brian and I wrote the script, a dark-humored sci-fi horror, in a couple of weeks for a friend and producer, Jeff Varga. He'd gotten a connection with a guy who had a spacecraft set, and Jeff wanted to film something cheap and easy. So...Pale Dreamer evolved.

Quick and dirty synospis: A pair of spacefaring junk dealers discover a mysterious derelict ship in deep space, bearing a female android with a hidden past and a pair of sinister aliens intent on playing a deadly game of cat and mouse with their ‘rescuers.’

Status: Originally optioned by Soldiers of Light Productions. One sheet and short trailer made with cult horror stars: Ken Foree (Dawn of the Dead, From Beyond, Texas Chainsaw III); Josef Pilato (Day of the Dead); and Brinke Stevens (scream queen). Rights reverted to writers.

Look at my curly dark hair...can you say 'perm?' Hey, I was playing a 'New Israeli.' Plus I liked having permed hair 'cause it was no fuss, no bother.

The gal in between Ken Foree and Josef Pilato is Angel Boris, who some of you might recognize as a former Playboy Playmate. She was our original Zoe, the android, but dropped out of the project when her manager decided that she should move away from low budget sci-fi and horror. Thank goodness Leprauchan 3 was there to help her career. Meow.

I liked Angel quite a bit, actually. She was a sweetheart to work with and it was a real pisser when she left the project. The original cast had fantastic chemistry. Everything worked. Her replacement, someone that Jeff got for the trailer, was damn good. I don't have any pictures of her and I'm ashamed to say that I don't remember her name.

I think if there's one project in my life that I would have chosen to achieve completion, Pale Dreamer would have been it. Writer/actress...getting to work with three of the nicest cult horror movie stars ever...

I mean, you all know I'm a zombie fan. Peter (Ken Foree) from Dawn of the Dead. Captain Rhodes (Josef Pilato) from Day of the Dead. For someone like me that aces out working with Johnny Depp any day.

Not that I don't like Johnny Depp. I think he's brilliant. But he hasn't done any zombie movies yet, so he still has some chops to prove to yours truly.

Ken called me Spaghetti Arms. He made me work out at the gym at 5:30 in the morning. I did it 'cause it was Ken, even though I truly wanted to punch his lights out some of the time. "Stop whining," he'd say when I didn't want to try and free-lfit 20 pound barbells. I'd threaten to hit him with one. The off-screen wrangling translated perfectly to the contentious onscreen relationship of Jake and Jeanette. And...well...c'mon! Peter from Dawn of the Dead! Geek out time for Dana!

Josef was (is) probably one of the best improvisors I've ever worked with. The greatest compliment Brian and I got as a writing team was that Josef rarely felt the need to try to improve on our dialogue.

He also did a bit part in one of the lowest budget movies ever (Bloodbath, vampires running a film studio in Hollywood) for one of the cheesiest productions company ever (VistaStreet) for practically no pay because I'd written the script. He did add to his part (the cantankerous police detective), but that was okay with me. I'd written it in about a week while temping at Disney, had to follow the insane directions of the executive producer ("let's have a b-story with one of the characters obsessed by vitamins...yeah! And let's have the hero be a werewolf who has a magic sword that can kill vampires! Yeah! oh...and more titties!'), and saw about a third of the script go unfilmed because a: we had 6 days to shoot it, $3,000 to film it with, and a director (I love the man dearly, but I swear he's a vampire) who hated to get up in the mornings. He also played the werewolf. Not a good idea to play the lead when it's your first directing gig. But it was a fun shoot, much wine was drunk during the filming (we had no stage blood...) and I got to work with Josef, along with a pretty much 100 percent fun cast and crew. Never mind that it has lower production values than the original Dark Shadows or that you can see the boom mike in shots...that's not the point!

But I digress. This is about Pale Dreamer.

Brinke Stevens. The most down-to-earth, steadily working scream queen in the world. I've only gotten to work with her on the trailer of Pale Dreamer, more's the pity...but we became friends during the shoot and we've shared many a bottle of red wine. My favorite of her movies will always be Slavegirls from Beyond Infinity, just for her delivery of the line 'You're an inhuman fiend.'

So we made a trailer. I still have it. Have the one-sheet too. But the movie never got financed. Another casualty in Hollywoods graveyard of Scripts That Got Optioned, But Not Made. It's next to Forest Lawn, in case you're wondering.

Ah well. Great memories. Great people. Great script. Hey, I don't have to be modest. It's my damn blog!

Sigh. I don't want to perm my hair again. But I wouldn't mind my old waist-size.


  • At 8:24 PM, Blogger zhadi said…

    So, will perming your hair give you your old waist size?? Then go for it!!!

  • At 8:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Well, I forgot to take your name off the comment from when you used my computer, so you can either pretend you are making comments to yourself, or ----not.

  • At 8:27 PM, Blogger zhadi said…

    Oh, thank goodness. You just gave me a heartattack, MOm!

  • At 12:12 AM, Blogger Malnurtured Snay said…

    How did you get into writing for Hollywood? Where can I submit a resume? :)

  • At 9:49 AM, Blogger zhadi said…

    Er...did a lot of writing, read a lot of scripts for format, worked in the 'biz for a bit, submitted spec scripts...the usual. I suggest Final Draft for a good scriptwriting program in terms of user-friendly. I actually suggest only trying it if you love to write...it's a sucky business and I still have a day job!

  • At 2:18 PM, Blogger Other Lisa said…

    And if you REALLY love writing, write novels!

    from An Entertainment Industry Bureaucrat


  • At 2:17 AM, Blogger Mr. Fabulous said…

    You may scoff at this, but I think you have a pretty cool life.

  • At 1:53 PM, Blogger zhadi said…

    I don't scoff at it most of the time. I realize that I"m lucky enough to have gotten further than other people with similar dreams...and I'm trying to look at things that didn't go the distance in terms of the fun that I had trying to go there. In fact...I may just blog about it!

  • At 8:36 PM, Blogger Malnurtured Snay said…

    Your life would be so much cooler if you'd ever slept with Bruce Campbell.

  • At 2:37 PM, Blogger zhadi said…

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • At 12:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Spotted this rather late Dana... Guess who :)


    Bring back some memories :)


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