“What? You liked that article in People that described me as the 24-year-old ‘Hollywood Wonder Boy?’ Thank you, Steven. But People got it wrong. I’m only 22.
“Did you get that treatment I messengered yesterday, Steven? It’s based on an old unproduced play from the 1930s. Of course, we’ll have to update the setting. What? You’re looking at it right now? Great!
“Here’s the way I see it. We’ll get A.J. from the Backstreet Boys to play Rick. Britney Spears will play Ilsa and I’ve got a verbal from *NSYNC’s Justin to play Victor. Yeah, I know, we’ll have to update the nightclub setting. I’m thinking along the lines of a combination rave and gambling casino. I figure this will give us tons of soundtrack possibilities. Yes, that’s right. Jo Dee Messina and Aerosmith are already interested. What? Captured By Robots? I was just thinking of them. Yes, great minds do work alike.
“We’ll set the film about one, maybe two years before the online music licensing battles heat up. I picture Rick as a Shawn Fanning type who runs this joint where everyone comes to party and trade illegal MP3 files of bands like Rocket From The Crypt and Rod Stewart. I’ve already talked to D12 and they’re hot to play the house band. I’m telling you, Steven, this is fresh. We’re talking high-concept stuff.
“Anyway, one night Rick’s long lost love, Ilsa, shows up. And she’s married to Victor, who’s on the lam from the RIAA. You see, Victor needs the independent record label licensing contracts to get out of the country. Uh? That’s right. Only Rick can save him. I see you’re way ahead on me on this one Steven. No, there isn’t a role for a shark, but I might be able to work in a couple bit parts for extraterrestrials.
“What? The scene with Rick and his piano player? Yeah, I agree. We’re going to have to change some things. We’ll update the piano. Make it a synth and get one of the guys from Depeche Mode to play it. Oh, it will be a great scene. Rick will be brooding over Ilsa, the camera will zoom in for a close-up and he’ll say, ‘Sample it again, Sam.’ Oh, yeah, this will be classic.
“There’s only one problem, Steven. I’m not quite sure where we should set the film. I’m thinking of some backwater place like, oh, I don’t know, maybe Bakersfield or Fresno. Uh? What’s that, Steven?
“Casablanca? Who ever heard of Casablanca? Like, is that anywhere near Palm Springs?
“Hello? Steven? Are you still there? Steven? Steven???
“Damn! And to think this could have been the start of a beautiful friendship.”