I have now posted the original E-Mail to Diablo Cody here. To clarify, however, at least one person with some type of apparent problem has posted comments to the effect I have some type of unhealthy obsession with Diablo Cody. This both angers and hurts me and is not the truth. I simply find it interesting and even amazing that I have so much in common with a writer who is a strong unique voice and certain to win an Oscar. I'm not even her type-whatever that may be-and I know it. But why would I not want to be friends with a unique, intelligent woman I have so much in common with and would be someone who would be pleasurable to know as a friend? The real love of my life is the girl who is the central character in this film who I met under extremely strange circumstances and fate has played a part in that relationship since most likely the day we were born. One very unusual thing that has happened among the many is something that probably won't be in the film but will be in the book-both this girl, Tamar, and I have had in very recent years EMERGENCY LIFE SAVING SURGERY on our BIRTHDAYS (separate incidents) at Cedars-Sinai. Both of our birthdays occur on the 22nd. The mathematical odds of this are 1 in 365 times 1 in 365. One of the events that happened and it's written about in the film treatment/film script part of this blog is the fact that completely unplanned a short time after I had met this girl I ended up moving next door to her childhood home-what is unusual about this is the fact that we met under very strange circumstances. (Okay here's the deal and I have tons of proof this wasn't planned-in fact maybe a hundred E-Mails to various people-I answered a Craigs List roommate ad I still have the reply to and followup E-Mail. I did not even believe the ad was real at first because of the horrible grammar. When I learned that in a city the size of Los Angeles and neighboring communities that I had ended up next door to the childhood home of a horribly abused girl that went straight to my SOUL on first sight I was SHOCKED-mathematically this is like winning the lottery.) In addition to that from the very second I saw this girl I was completely mesmerized-I couldn't even move or close my mouth. Add to that how many millions of housing units exist in Los Angeles County and Orange County and you have the beginnings of a very unique story. She did not have a happy childhood by any means and is a woman who is a true anolamy in that she grew up highly privileged in Beverly Hills AND her father makes a fortune treating the misery of other people. In fact, he owns not only a pricey private Malibu psychiatric residential clinic-$40,000 a month-cash only-but also two group homes in West Hollywood. An immediate family member of a very well respected and known entertainment personality who has been very supportive of the WGA during the strike digging very deep-to the tune of thousands and thousands of dollars-into his or her own well lined pockets to support the members during the strike lives at one of those group homes because that family member requires round the clock care. Obviously I'm not going to say who it is. What irks me is that as well as this girls father treats his patients and disabled residents the same is not true of his own family. Tamar and I are both basically homeless at the moment and I know she has had to collect cans just to get money to eat at times while her father has deep pockets and this really upsets me. Had Tamar not been horribly abused as a girl and not come into my life in a magical way there would be no Cutting Confessions film and book project. By the way, her childhood home happens to be less than a block from the WGA theater in Beverly Hills.
This is an E-Mail originally written January 19th and sent to Diablo Cody describing nine things I have in common with her. Please note that at the time I had just watched Juno and believed that the film was autobiographical-and it is, to some extent but I wrote this letter really thinking Juno had been based on her (and in some ways, she was.)
First off thanks for accepting my friend request. I really wanted to E-Mail you and that was the only way I could. I don’t know if you read my profile page or just accepted me as a matter of course but if you did or had it read “If this is Diablo Cody, please read the about me section.”
So if you’ve already heard any of this stuff before, I’m just repeating some of it to be safe.
The bottom line is that you and I have a lot in common which was a surprise to me. I became aware of you after watching Juno (had heard your name previous, of course) and realized after seeing your photo I saw you Monday on the picket lines at Warner Bros. I wanted to talk to you but you were with your friend most of the time and he talked to me and I gave him a business card. I was the guy with that stupid U.S. flag red white and blue novelty hat (more on that later.) We have so much in common it’s worth an E-Mail and I hope we can form a friendship. Here are some of the things I know so far we have in common:
1. I am from Minnesota (Brooklyn Park, which is walking distance from the Starbucks inside a Target store where you wrote Juno.)
2. My father is also in heating and air conditioning as is yours (assuming the character is based on your real life father. He worked most of his adult life for Constrom’s Heating and Air Conditioning which is based in St. Louis Park. He was/is a member of the sheet metal workers union and later in his career he worked for other union companies. It would not be surprising if our fathers know each other-at least through co workers (assuming your father worked in Minneapolis.)
3. I have worked in strip clubs as a Disc Jockey at times.
4. We have both written movies with strong, intelligent, unique female lead characters (in this case the girl is based on a real life Beverly Hills girl who grew up horribly abused. Starting at the age of 12 she started seriously attempting suicide and became a cutter. Fate has brought us together and the things that have happened between us from the moment we met are acts of God/Forces of The Universe and there are quite a lot of them. That’s why I started writing (more later.)
5. Both of our films feature a similar unique line that is set up in a unique way in each case. In your film Juno/Ellen says “The baby’s heart beats faster when I’m around you. It’s because my heart beats faster when I’m around you.” The similar line towards the very end of Cutting Confessions is the result of a conversation that takes place during a Las Vegas thunderstorm.
6. In Juno, the adoptive couple is from St. Cloud. As an adolescent, I was a resident of the St. Cloud Children’s Home. It’s pretty nice-they have a barn with horses, a hill that ices over for tobogganing down to the Mississippi River shore in the winter, a lake house outside town with a speedboat and water-skiing, in house psychologists, psychiatrists, schooling, part time jobs in the kitchen and so on. I’m telling you this because if you’ve ever wondered if your son or daughter (in the movie-son) ever ended up there he or she would have been well taken care of. I am NOT telling you this to make you feel bad about your choices and I can tell you more if you like.
7. Both Juno and Cutting Confessions end with music and the friends becoming lovers (to a degree in each film.) Both also end with uplifting songs-in the case of Cutting Confessions that song is used twice-both the original and the remake at the end (you’ll see why when you read the film treatment and portions of the script at my blog which I’ll give you the address to later.)
8. If your connection to Wyoming goes beyond the name Cody, I also spent time in Wyoming-as a radio disc jockey in Casper.
9. Juno/Ellen/you is a very smart and personable girl. This is also true of Tamar who like yourself is unique. To escape the horrendous abuse she received from her mother and father she began reading. She loves books and is a college student. She has also worked with autistic children.
What happened that set me on the path to being a writer was that the girl, Tamar and myself met under very unusual circumstances. There’s no way we should have ever met if you look at our respective timelines (also at my blog) and from the second I met her I was completely blown away-she chose that moment to cut herself to the point she needed 86 stitches to close the wounds on her arms. But I didn’t even notice because I couldn’t tear my eyes away from her face or even close my mouth. This happened in February 2006 in a locked ward in a Pasadena hospital when she walked into my room seconds after I arrived. When I left that hospital I began an apartment search that covered practically all of Southern California. I have tons of E-Mails to prove I was looking all over. But where I ended up was RIGHT NEXT DOOR to Tamar’s childhood home where her abusive mother still loves today. I had no idea where that home was and ending up there was the mathematical equivalent of winning the lottery considering how many millions of housing units are in this city.
Several other things have happened that are nearly impossible just like that and fate has always had a hand in keeping us together-although personal relationships are difficult for her as you can probably imagine.
One such occurrence that works well in a book but probably doesn’t translate well to film is that last summer I had emergency surgery at Cedars-Sinai-paltes and pins were inserted in my left elbow following a 2002 rollerblading accident that had become infected and had to be removed. As a result of that, both Tamar and I have had EMERGENCY LIFE SAVING SURGERY on our BIRTHDAYS at Cedars-Sinai in very recent years. Both of our birthdays occur on the 22nd. Tamar also had a scare with a possible bone infection from broken glass from a mirror shortly after I did.
About that hat-I wear that because I’m trying to move this project forward and I wear it with signs proclaiming so usually on the Sunset Strip (but haven’t done it for three weeks now due to a broken suitcase last week and broken shoes this week-I’m homeless (you saw me toting a suitcase and sleeping bag) because things Tamar told me led me to believe she had been the victim if attempted murder in her childhood and I reported this to the Beverly Hills Police. Reporting your next door neighbors for attempted murder is pretty weird and I always felt angry at her mother which made it difficult to live next door (the father doesn’t live there because they are now divorced.) The circumstances of the alleged crimes however work well in another future project (characters based on these characters but a different story with different names.)
I am very worried about Tamar who is basically homeless as I am and much of what I am doing I am doing for her. She’s the heroine of the film and book and I want to be able to jump start some really terrific career paths for her and would like to see her doing better. She needs a great deal of medical and psychological help but in the worst case of government incompetence I have ever seen she is mostly denied the things she needs including Medicare which limits her options in the health care department. Meanwhile the father makes a fortune operating group homes for the disabled (which the government pays for) and also owns a Promises type facility in Malibu that charges $40,000 per patient per month-cash only-but he barely helps his daughter at all. When she was growing up he ignored all the abuse she was getting (along with her older sisters) from their mother. I met him one morning outside Kinko’s in Beverly Hills (I didn’t remember him at first from the hospital) while we were waiting for them to open. He was driving a brand new two door light blue BMW I estimate to cost $90,000. I was really pissed off because I knew Tamar had had to collect cans just to eat at this time. That eventually led to me contacting the police. The attempted murder, etc. have been removed from the current script because there’s already enough drama and I’m positioning the story as a love story between two misfits who find each other by fate (in the vein of Leaving Las Vegas but with a happy ending-also similar in some ways to One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest but the bottom line is that like Juno it is a true original.
The blog with the film treatment and portions of the script is here:
By the way one of the characters (and someone I met in real life) is an ex-stripper. There is a really memorable stripping scene in the film that is very dramatic (much more like Quentin Tarantino than Showgirls.) Also, I would be honored if you read it and liked it-there is one really fun scene (not the stripping scene) that it would be extremely cool to work with you on and polish.
The self promotion thing I am doing us similar to what Dennis Woodruff does in some ways. He’s the guy with the day glo painted cars that say “Hire me I’m an actor” all over you see driving around town. The differences are I’m not completely crazy, I try to be polite and personable while self promoting and I have a very specific project instead of being all over the place. I do NOT like wearing that hat and those signs, I do it because I HAVE to. But hopefully by meeting and making friends with people like you I’ll be able to move this forward and not have to do that.
I really have a lot of respect for what you did with Juno and I realize I’m watching in a little over 90 minutes what you really went through for nine months. The other thing our films have in common is that they’re meant to be uplifting-especially to girls. In your case for tons of women who have made the type of decision you did, and in my films case that there is always hope no matter how bad your childhood may have been and that happiness and love can be found.
I’m really glad I had the chance to write this letter and I hope you like Cutting Confessions and we can form the basis for a solid friendship based on our many similarities even though we are different in many ways (just as you and the Reitmans.)
Again, I wrote that thinking Juno was autobiographical and she really did have a child as a teenager. Since that time two more commonalities can be added to the list. The tenth is an easy one-we’re both screenwriters and the eleventh is that both Cutting Confessions and Diablo Cody’s next film Jennifer’s Body share a similar and very unusual major story element.
My sign today on the picket lines at NBC:
SIDE 1: "ASK ME ABOUT NINE THINGS I HAVE IN COMMON WITH DIABLO CODY"
SIDE 2: "IF IT'S MADE BY GE...AND IT'S NOT A MISSILE...IT'S A PIECE OF CRAP!!!
(The idea behind the signs and writing about these commonalities is not to say hey look at me I'm weird and I have a thing for this girl-are you kidding?-they're to use that commonality for positive promotion and to encourage a positive response from her and those around her.)
Another thing I'd like to address here is the fact that WGA Vice President David Weiss has promised to read my script for a possible agent referral. This is exciting in many ways and is something that boggles my mind a bit because many things that are dear to his heart are included in this story. Number one, our heroine is Jewish and David is a man with a deep history of religious conviction and study and very knowledgeable of Judaism. I'm not Jewish but I've been deeply and instantly attracted in a very strange way to a beautiful and terrific talented Jewish girl and that plays heavily in real life. David has written some very good films, including Shrek 2, and like that film this film has many moral elements-in fact the moral elements can be endless at times from my perception as the person living the male half of this story. It's almost as if I've been chosen for something very special-the unexplainable and instant attraction to Tamar, the deep religious undertones, the connection to a new and exciting Hollywood screenwriter, and a guy I met purely through my personal efforts of walking the picket lines every day by my own choice who is not only a labor leader but a family guy with deep religious convictions now apparently thrust right into the middle of a very symbolic story and the lives of two very unique people-one a Jewish girl and the other a non Jewish guy who loves the Jewish girl with every fabric of his being and is overwhelmed by all that has happened and is happening (Actually it appears as if David Weiss is a hypocrite-he has never contacted me and part of me believes it possible he along with other WGA board members could have taken bribes to settle the strike in a less than favorable fashion for the writers, paricularly with regards to favored nations clauses, because the excuse they use for failing in regards to that clause is suspicious.)