So I’m driving in my car, and I’m late for an appointment. There’s a Hollywood tour van stopped in the middle of an intersection, the kind with a cut off roof that invariably cuts you off at the worst possible moment.
“What the fuck?!” I’m thinking. “Beep Beep!”
Then I notice that all the tourists are not just blithely baking in the hot sun, they are pointing their cameras at something across the street. So I turn my head in the direction of their lenses, and lo and behold, a vision. Fabio, in all his glory, gold locks waiving in the wind, is waxing vogue in a convertible Bentley, blowing kisses and waiving to his adoring fans.
I’m like, “Christ,” this is all I need!” But then …
The rainbow connection! As it would happen to any budding movie mogul in Los Angeles, I see the light. “I’m about to shoot my next film and I need a gun wielding fashion model as one of my characters! Holy shit! Fabio would be PERFECT!”
So I quickly do an about face on my attitude, and a u turn in my car, (the honks are not coming from me now), and I chase Fabio down at the next light. Waiving my arms frantically, I call out, “Fabio! Fabio!”
After several long moments, Fabio hears something above the din of his radio, turns to me and stares.
I hold my script out. “Fabio! Fabio! I’m directing a movie and there’s a part in here that I think you would be great in! You’d be playing a gun wielding fashion model. Actually, it’s not an action movie, it’s a comedy, a comedy with meaning, and it’s really well written and it turns out your character is gay, not you Fabio in real life, but the person you would be playing!"
Silence. Fabio hasn’t blinked. It’s dawning on me that I lost him somewhere, but I’m still determined.
“Would you read my script?!” I ask.
Still nothing. I’m on pins and needles, and they’re digging into my skin at this point. And then, politely, he says, “I’m sorry, but I can’t take anything from you. You have to call my manager.”
I think it was the first moment I realized the absurdity of what I was doing. I nodded graciously and drove off with my tail between my legs.
But the struggling film maker in me was tenacious and Fabio had giving me an opening.
Manager’s Voice Mail # 1:
“Hi, this is Chris Livingston. I met Fabio at a traffic light and talked with him about being in an independent movie I am shooting. It’s low budget, but a great script and he asked me to call you to discuss. My number is …”
Manager’s Voice Mail # 2:
“Hi, it’s Chris Livingston trying you again. Not sure if you got my message. I met Fabio at a …"
Manager’s Voice Mail # 3:
“Hi, it’s Chris Livingston …"
I never heard back.
So, on to the next phase of my life I went, embarking on the journey of a lifetime--directing a feature film set in the Big Apple. But the interesting thing is that the Fabio story was not over.
I cast another model, a big name in the fashion industry who I had never heard of, Hoyt Richards. Hoyt did a great job in the movie, and as I learned later, Hoyt just so happened to be great friends with Fabio.
Anyway, Hit and Runway premiered at The Los Angeles Film Festival. And guess what? Hoyt invited ... Fabio.
It was the first public event Fabio attended since he was smacked in the face by a goose while riding a roller coaster at the opening of an amusement park. It was the second time I was meeting Fabio ... but interestingly, it was not the last time I would meet him.
Many years later, Hoyt contacted me about a project he was working on. It was called Dumbbells. He asked me to direct.
As we were casting, Hoyt decided to ask Fabio if he would play himself as a celebrity appearance in the film. I thought it would be pretty ironic if Fabio actually ended up in a movie I was directing considering our encounter so many years earlier.
Much to my delight, Fabio agreed to do it.
We shot the movie, and never once did I bring up the story of our first encounter. And he clearly didn’t recognize me.
Now here’s the really crazy part. All my life, I’ve dreamed of having a movie up on a billboard in Hollywood, a movie that I had made for all the world to see. I’m sure I’m not the only one in this town who’s had that fantasy.
The interesting thing about dreams is that they never manifest in the way we expect. A picture is worth a thousand words …