Calling Jared Leto

What business did a young, 20 year-old, up-and-coming actress have with me, besides the fact that I was a wannabe filmmaker? None, actually. And yet, she still was gracious enough to give me some of her time. An hour and a half of her sun-filled afternoon, to be precise, walking together on Venice Beach.

We talked about her family, about our work, about what she was writing, about what I was writing. We talked about recent travel, and joked about things that we saw as we walked up and down Venice beach. She told me about a cross-country trip that she’d taken, and I asked her if she’d gone by herself, or with friends. Her voice shifted, ever so slightly, as if she was about to tell me of a medical condition she had. She told me that she went with her ex. I could tell she didn’t want to talk about that, so I changed the subject.

She told me about a time that she was at a fancy restaurant in New York City, with another friend of hers, an up-and-coming director. She told me about how she spotted a rock star sitting across the restaurant – the lead singer of her favorite band.

This guy wasn’t just any rock star, though. He was the kind of rock star that shows up on the cover of magazines every other week. The kind of rock star that takes a movie role every couple of years, and then wins an Oscar. The kind of rock star who walks out on stage to screams from hordes of fans, no matter what continent he’s on.

He gave her his number, written on a napkin, and told her to call him sometime.

We walked onto the pier and looked down over the waves, watching the gulls and pelicans. We laughed as a bird swooped down, landed right next to her, and looked at us, as if to say “You two make a great couple.”

She commented that she had to leave soon. We walked back to the street, hugged, and said goodbye. She smiled at me, I smiled back, and she left.

I hadn’t asked her if she was going to call the rock star, or whether or not she’d already called him. I had no idea when I was going to see her next, or if I even would. She was busy, travelling and acting. I lived on the East Coast, she lived on the West – and I didn’t know her well enough to buy a plane ticket just to see her.

I could imagine her finally deciding to call the rock star. How she might flirt with him and how he might praise her for being a beautiful young actress. I walked down the beach, back to a street where I could get a taxi to my dingy hotel on the other side of the city.

I wanted to make the kind of films that would land me on covers of magazines – The same magazines that her rock star was on. I wanted to have hordes of fans that would line up to see my movies. I wanted to win an Oscar. I wanted a young aspiring actress like her to have my number and to call me. But the one thing I did not want was to be so alone that I had to give my number away to a beautiful girl that I saw in a restaurant in New York City, no matter how damn fancy the restaurant might be, and no matter how damn beautiful she might be.

I reached the street, and hailed a taxi, and left Los Angeles.