19 days of filming.
14 hour days.
this is it. the role of a lifetime he's been waiting for. where others might falter, he refuses to. he fights for the role, god does he fight for the role, and that's the main reason he gets it. the tenacity and force mirrors the films protagonist and he will stop at nothing when it comes down to making this film absolutely perfect.
the people who say perfection is unattainable have never worked hard enough.
"i won't stop until i get what i want."
with the privilege of a role like this comes the pressure andrew fiske places on himself and by day number eight the lines start blurring between andrew fiske and his character, andrew neiman, tirelessly working towards his drummer dreams. he eats, sleeps and breathes this project to a degree he didn't realize possible. this is the first true time he's felt such a vibrant passion for the art of making films. he and his character mirror each other in a way no other role has been able to offer to him and he swears he knows this character inside out to the point where he's no longer a character.
they are one now. he makes in character playlists, writers in a notebook as him, looks up what he thinks he'd look up, stays an hour or two after the day is over to keep on practicing his drumming. he sends some emails to the musicians he's been working with to perfect his technique and asks him questions at 4 am - two hours before he's supposed to be filming.
he's losing his goddamn mind.
on one day in particular there's a thrill in the air. excitement. everyone around him seems to be feeling it and andrew stays quiet for the whole day until it's time for the scene. he's supposed to fuck up the musical sequence, that's part of the script. they do a few takes of it and at one point it feels like andrew neiman the music conservatory student who just wants to be perfect takes a backseat to andrew fiske the struggling actor who doesn't want to fuck this chance up and knows all eyes are on him, and do those eyes ever burn.
" you know the shit i had to pull to make sure you got in that audition room, andrew? you could've faded into some kind of oblivion with the path you were going on. a fuckup nobody tale people laugh at. you need this and you better work your ass off for it. who knows, could be your last chance in this business. look at everyone around you, there's always someone younger and then they come on the scene as the hot young thing. this is it. your chance. don't you fuck it up."
take #3 of his scene is when it becomes personal and after he throws down the drumstick and he starts punching the drum he keeps going. and going. and going. anger let out, years of frustration being set free in that one moment but it's not enough. never enough.
"andrew, we got it. we got the scene... and you're bleeding."
he lifts up his hand slowly and only then does he notice the blood.
he didn't even feel a thing.
when andrew goes to victor to let him know that he's done with doing coke because, "it just fucks up my mind" and that he's ready to get clean, victor is his biggest supporter. he lets him know he'll get anything he needs, book him into a private group, give hime time to relax.
but words are just words.
when not being on coke makes andrew sluggish, unmotivated, foggy enough of a mindset to forget lines and throw him off his game to the point where his director sends an email to victor claiming andrew is on thin ice here, helping him out and sobriety isn't convenient for him anymore because if andrew is slacking then his projects will notice and if his projects notice they will fire him and if they fire him not only is it a bad look for his client, for him, he gets less money and no one messes with victor and his money.
a mysterious baggie just so happens to wind up on the counter of the bathroom sink andrew uses near his trailer. it's no coincidence.
"i'm just exhausted, you know?"
"you're exhausted?" victor laughs. "i got three meetings at the same time, ten phone calls to make, 4 sets to visit. don't even talk to me about busy, kid. get yourself to sleep earlier."
he's right. he has no reason to complain here. he's employed, he's doing alright, he needs to get some rest. go to bed earlier - no matter the insomnia victor knows about.
a few weeks later when he faints due to a mix of stress and lack of streep victor makes sure no one in the press catches it. andrew's back on his set the next day apologizing to the director for his lack of professionalism.
they practice his lines together and when victor shoots him a look or clears his throat he knows it's going badly. he doesn't even need to ask for clarification before he starts up with saying the lines again and starting over.
"let's start over completely."
"from the beginning?"
"no, from the end. yes, from the beginning andrew."
"um. okay. it's just. it's 2am, i film in 5 hours."
if looks could kill. andrew swallows hard and mentally berates himself for daring to say a thing.
"... and? you're shit right now. you go on set tomorrow doing what you're doing and you'll be fired on the spot. i spoke the that casting director who vouched for you in the beginning, did you know she was only one of three to even like you?" a lie. "that's right. it was her pull to get the others to have you onboard and they were already skeptical then but they're straight up not happy now." another lie. "you need to fix it or else this is all going to shit. it's on your shoulders here. they can have logan lerman there by tomorrow like that."
the prospect of failure, of loss, terrifies him. victor knows that. he sees the spark in his eye dim and he knows he's got him right where he wants him.
he'll beat himself up continuously for that later but for now...
"and we'll keep going until 7 until you get it perfect. from the beginning."
"from the beginning," he repeats. they finish at 4 and he doesn't sleep at all.
"you've been speaking to my mom"
victor shrugs, checking his emails while andrew is standing right in front of him, fuming.
"what do ya want, kid? mama knows best, right? and she managed you for the first couple of years of your life."
he sees red. that's off limits. victor knows about their fractured relationship, knows he doesn't want to mix her in his business life, they both know.
"what do i want? i fucking told you that if there's anything you wanna talk about, you come to me. the fuck are you doing talking to her? you're my manager, you have a professional relationship with me and that's the fucking extent of it. end of discussion."
"don't get loud with me, she said you'd get loud with me too. isn't that funny?"
he could strangle him right here and now. shove him out the window. stab him with his pen.
instead he shrivels up, says nothing anymore, just shrugs and lets it be. weak.
"you wanna know the truth, andrew? you're a mediocre actor who has the luck of timing and history on your side. nostalgia. you played some teen psycho fuck that girls circle jerked over so they follow you and not many people know your name. you know what would get you on the map? whiplash. and look what you did with that! you couldn't even handle that. who the fuck do you think you are mouthing off to your director? i'm furious. fucking furious. you could've gotten your ass kicked off the project, you know that? the biggest gig of your career. shoulda figured you couldn't handle it. that you'd crumble. you're not important enough to care about. you weren't anybody worth getting in an audition room before this and there's a good chance you still won't be if you keep up like this."
victor's been talking up this party for days and as much as andrew doesn't want to go because why on earth would a fourteen year old be interested in hanging out with a bunch of boring industry people, he comes along because that's his duty as a client. there's a mention about a ton of different popcorn machines with all different flavors and he's sold.
hours pass and people have started filtering out, barely anyone else his age around. he spots two sisters in the distance he knows from some of the auditions he's been on. he locks eyes with one of them who's wearing a blue lace dress clutching a small beaded purse in her hands tightly. he can't pinpoint the exact expression she's got on because he can't read her and he distinctly remembers how it bothers him that he can't read her expression when he prides himself on being visual in such a way but there's no time to think about that as someone sits down beside him and starts talking to him, asking him questions.
he doesn't want to engage at all so he gets up to try and find victor, dodging anyone else in the area with his mission in mind but he's nowhere to be found. he calls, he texts, now he's getting frustrated. when he runs into someone he knows as a friend of a friend of victor's he asks about his whereabouts.
"victor left an hour ago, kid. it's alright. come here and sit down with me, we'll hang out. have a good time."
to fill in the blanks: andrew threw hundreds of dollars at the man driving the taxi in exchange for getting to use the car for the night. money talks so the man agrees and andrew promises he'll have his car for him at the agreed upon parking lot in the morning.
there are some things deemed as a necessity for andrew fiske that night:
• he goes to a sketchy dive bar and scores some pills
• he pairs those pills with alcohol
• he goes to a pay phone to place a bunch of erratic phone calls
• he gets in the taxi, plays some of his favorite music, and lies down in the back seat with his feet propped up against the window. he closes his eyes and the music becomes a low hum while his thoughts take over. he thinks back to being pulled out of school to practice acting. he thinks back to sitting at the dining room table crying over lines he didn't remember and his mom hovering over him furiously until he got each word, each syllable, each intonation exactly correct. he thinks back to sitting on one set in particular and watching two of the other kids play together but knowing he couldn't because what if he got his shirt dirty, god forbid he got his shirt dirty before a scene.
he thinks back to the dispute over finances. he remembers firing his own mother and that being the end of their relationship, professional and otherwise. he thinks back to the manager who made him feel like not only was he disposable, like anything and everything he'd do wouldn't ever be enough. he thinks back to relationships that ended because of him, relationships that never had a chance because of him. he thinks back to fucking up his one big shot. he thinks that maybe it's best if he stops kidding himself. he doesn't even know if he ever wanted to be an actor, did he ever want to be an actor or was he just a cash cow? was he merely a tool for greed? he spirals. quickly. now that he doesn't even know his purpose, his meaning, his true state. worthless, worthless, worthless. nothing, nothing, nothing. done for --
he's no one.
you're nothing without me.
in that numbness the darkness takes over.
are you ok? i saw what happened
fiske can you tell me you're fucking alive already
fuck you tooSENT BY WENDY HELLARD
You really think you can fire me via text? What the fuck are you doing, Andrew? I left you six messages. Pick up your goddamn phone. I've already gotten call after call about the little stunt you pulled, where the hell are you? We have damage control to do here.SENT BY VICTOR EVANS
uhhhh thanks for showing up for drinks with my friends tonight when you know how important that was to me. not. asshole.SENT BY NORA REYNOLDS
will you steal me an ashtray from the betty ford center like it's so kitsch that you've fully lost your mind
am i next? please god not before ntmt drops
andy i heard you bailed on rent for the fucking month because violetta keeps texting me about it like she thinks i still live there or something? gross send help she's dating a "wall street guy" which is just code for "date rapist" let's be sensible here
are you ever going to reply to me because i hate this vincent gallo look for you
the group chat seems to think i have intel on where you are and if you don't reply to me in the next 24 hours i'm gonna tell them you got involuntarily checked into bellevue because you tried to cannibalize somebody
it's been 72 hours so i told the group chat you went crazy on bath salts and tried to eat meadow's clitoral hood which is like perfect timing because she's at a silent retreat in bali for the next month and who's gonna believe her when she comes back and tells everyone it's not true? i already set up the perfect lie that she was getting reconstructive surgery
i love myself
btw you still owe me $73 from that time i paid for your salad at the ivy... interest adds up bitch
live laugh love xxSENT BY NAZ ESFAHANI
he started off with some anxiety but right now this evening is going perfect. even better than expected. he sees some familiar faces, stands side by side with bastian and there's a strength to that. it's like a new era of industry events. he wonders why he was even nervous to begin with, he thinks to himself that he could get used to this.
he's deep in conversation laughing and then out of the corner of his eye he sees him.
him. jet black hair slicked back, dark eyes, that fake smile. he freezes. the conversation he's having becomes background noise and he swears he can hear his heart beating loud as ever. he's thought of what he'd ever say to victor if he saw him again. he thought out so many scenarios and in all of them he winds up the hero: he walks right off to him and tells him off in a way he's never been able to. he ignores him and feels the strength in being able to be the better person. he shows off by way of the success he's achieved. he stands tall and walks by him with a glare that cuts through him.
in every one of his visions he's the hero but a vision is just that: imagination.
the reality of the situation is much different than his idealized version. his face goes white, he feels the hairs on the back of his neck stand up, suddenly he's that tormented 21 year old buckling under the pressure with no help from anyone he confided in. he's not only a reminder of yet another person who betrayed him but of all thos who came before him. a reminder of one of the lowest points in his life. he should've known better. he wanted to be the one with all the power and yet here he is and he's powerless.
coward, coward, coward. out of control.
victor doesn't see him and he should take this as an opportunity to walk away but he can't. he moves in closer, still hidden. to hear him speaking to someone else. boring industry talk but then. but then.
"... andrew? god, yeah. what a disaster. when we --" that's all it takes before he walks up to him and shoves him.
"keep my name out of your mouth."
victor laughs, tries to downplay it, cutting words exchanged. it gets harder to play nice and then everything becomes hazy from there. fist against cheek, continuous. filled with rage that can't be reasoned with. reason. what is reason? a blur of people, some grabbing and victor and others grabbing at him. he's wild. let loose. he swings and swings, hits someone else in the process. protecting that 21 year old who never had anyone protecting him. fighting for all the times his hands didn't work.
note left saturday morning on the bedroom door
that fell off and slipped under the dresser
where are you?
andrew please turn on your fucking phone
no you are NOT fucking doing this to me again IT'S IN THE CONTRACT
i'm coming to find youSENT BY WENDY HELLARD
Andrew, answer my voicemails please. Just want to check up on you.SENT BY VICTORIA TAYLOR, PUBLICIST
you're starting to freak me out andrew, call me back. it'll be fine.SENT BY NOAH CAPLAN, MANAGER
we should go to joshua tree again. before you leave for filming. i think the break would be good for both of us.
hey, where are you?
i'm going to assume you're on a drive. call me back when you're not driving, yes?
wendy's here. and the rest. where are you?
andrew, this is serious, please call me back.
you can't just leave without saying anything. i left a note.
are you safe?
can you at least confirm you're safe?
are you fucking serious? andrew. come on.
thumbs down react to this if you have to.
you can't do this.
i'm staying in your house until you get back, alright. so unless you want me squatting here for months, pissing off your neighbours. you better fucking come back soon. i'm going to stop calling now. i think you have enough missed calls to get the message.SENT BY BASTIAN BENTZ
see you soon.