Old hat to a lot of people who follow this blog, but here we go anyway.
First, a little back story. I’ve been working on a biopic off and on since 2008. It’s about a man named Bill Aalto who fought in the Spanish Civil War, was one of the founding members of what became the CIA, and lost a hand training guerrilla fighters for WWII. He was also an immigrant, a communist, and gay.
He was an incredible person—a troubled one, I don’t want to whitewash anything—who few people have heard of, and writing the screenplay has been incredibly difficult, largely because I keep getting caught up in OMG THESE ARE REAL PEOPLE’S LIVES WAUGH. But I knew what I want it to be and I know who I’d like to play certain parts—particularly, I realized last year, the role of James Foss, the man who wrote the memoir most of the screenplay is based off of.
There is no one I want to take the viewer through the story more, no one I want to play James more, than Misha Collins.
My friend Aspen suggested I come to Dragon*Con with her since Misha would be there, so I saved my pennies and went along to my first really big convention. It was awesome, but the focus of this story is what happened with Misha. I bought a photo op, wore my favorite dress, got a good picture (he’s very tan! he’s so tall! he smelled wonderful!) and then went to the autograph session afterward with Aspen and our friend Phoenix to be moral support for each other.
So, Misha. This is what I wrote in my LJ the day after:
Confession time again: I have the worst time looking people in the eye, particularly strangers, particularly beautiful people, and particularly celebrities. Looking into Misha’s face was very hard because it’s just so … there. You know? It’s Misha and his face and it’s right there and yeah, it doesn’t make any sense to me, either.
Anyway, here, in dialogue because it’s easier. I came to the table, his handler got my name, he got my picture, and SCENE:
Misha: Hello, Jenna. How are you?
Misha: Oh, no, why?
Me: Because it’s you. (I should have said “it’s not every day you meet God” but oh well, espirt d’la….staircase. You know.) (I then babbled something about it being my first Dragon*Con and finding the whole thing a little overwhelming, while he signed my picture. Then I took a deep breath and said) Okay, if I don’t say this now I’m going to hate myself forever. I’ve written a screenplay and I would dearly love for you to play the POV character. Do you have a manager or something that I could send it to?
Misha: (reaching for a Post-it, as Aspen pointed out to me later) I do have a manager. You can find it online. IMDB is a good place, though you may have to go to IMDB pro.
Me: Okay. Thank you. If this works out maybe we’ll work together.
Misha: Maybe. (AND THEN HE WINKED AT ME, Y’ALL.)
At which point we got out of line and I collapsed on Aspen for a while.
Let me point out something that’s made me giggle ever since: he was reaching for a Post-it when I asked about his manager’s email. Y’all, I think he was going to give me his email address. To some random woman who might have a screenplay to show him.
EEEEE, y’all. EEE.
I’ve been reading people’s confessions and reasons why they love him since this whole thing started, and some of those stories are so moving. I can’t say anything like that: Misha hasn’t saved my life or anything like that. But he’s so giving, in a way you don’t see very often from people in the public eye. He’s generous, he’s kind, he’s hilarious, he’s wicked, he’s human, he’s incredible. Seeing his face makes me happy.
And someday we might work together :). But even if we don’t, even if this screenplay never gets off the ground, I’m okay with that, because I know he was interested. That gives me a lot more confidence that I had before.
That’s my Misha story. He makes me want to be a better person, yes; but he makes me want to be a better writer, too.