Chapter 39 – City of Angels
Renly Hall’s head was pounding from the all-night St. Patrick’s Day celebration. The party lasted until around 4am, with various alcoholic drinks mixed together. At the time, the party atmosphere was intoxicating and there was no real sense of the pain and suffering until the morning after.
However, Renly didn’t have any time to sleep in. He woke up at 9am and rushed to the airport to catch a flight to Los Angeles at noon. In two days, on March 20th, the premiere of “The Pacific” will be held at the Chinese Theater in Los Angeles, and all the cast and crew will gather together once again.
After boarding the plane, Renly drifted off into a daze and slept until he was awakened by the flight attendant. He then collected his luggage and quickly exited the airport, standing by the street looking left and right, his gaze unfocused and disoriented. The view in front of him was vast and expansive, with golden sunlight, blue sky, wide streets, and deep blue waves all exuding a casual and spacious atmosphere, presenting a completely different appearance from New York. Even the oxygen seemed to be filled with vitality, and Renly’s headache seemed to have eased a bit.
Renly Hall was contemplating whether he should take a taxi or rent a car. As expected, despite starring in “The Pacific” and receiving the highest salary for a newcomer, Renly was still a complete pauper. He had already received the first and second payments of his salary, which totaled around $55,000 after deducting taxes. This was indeed a considerable sum of money, and it could even be said to be the highest income Renly had earned in his two lifetimes. However, in the entertainment industry, it was nothing to boast about.
After the official screening of “The Pacific,” Renly’s life under the spotlight officially began. This also meant that he had to start dealing with cameras everywhere, even if it was just a precaution. There was a high possibility that Renly might not receive any attention even after the TV drama was released, but this investment was a long-term plan. There was no margin for error.
Renly did not have an agent, nor did he hire a professional stylist, he took care of it all by himself, for the next premiere and associated publicity, he first purchased several sets of clothing, ranging from suits for formal occasions, to clothes for casual occasions, and of course, matching shoes, ties, socks and so on. This cost nearly twenty-five thousand, and that’s if you don’t need to consider jewelry for men.
After that, Renly paid two months’ rent, got his hair done at a high-end salon, purchased round-trip airfare to Los Angeles, and covered the expenses of holiday parties… not to mention the costs of his time in Australia which would require some detailed accounting of income and expenses. However, in no time, his earnings were reduced to less than $20,000.
Renly had originally planned to buy a new car but considering the potential unexpected expenses during the upcoming promotional tour, he had to put that on hold. Moreover, after “The Pacific”, he had to be prepared for a long period of time without work, and this reserve fund would give him more confidence to continue to persist in New York.
For a big-name actor, HBO might send a specialized car to pick him up, but for Renly Hall, an unknown small fry, he had to meticulously plan his expenses to pay for the $50 taxi fare.
“Renly! Hey, Renly!”
During his hesitation, a voice came from not far away, accompanied by the sound of wind, and someone stood up through the sunroof of a car, waving his hands vigorously. It was none other than Rami Malek, and the driver was James Badge Dale.
“What are you waiting for? Come over here!” James shouted at the top of his lungs.
Renly picked up his luggage next to him – to avoid creasing his suit, he had to carry his luggage with him. He signaled the traffic in the inner lane and quickly crossed the zebra crossing. Rami had already opened the door of the back seat and threw the luggage inside. Then Renly quickly got into the car, closed the door, and they set off smoothly.
“Hey guys, how come you’re here?” Renly’s eyes showed surprise, it had been two months since they last saw each other, but their familiarity with each other had not diminished at all. It was like the brotherhood formed by enduring hardships and fighting side by side.
“Rami said you were here in LA for the first time, so as a local, I decided to show you the beauty of the City of Angels!” James said as he skillfully maneuvered the steering wheel away from the bustling airport terminal. “Honestly, a cold, damp, and faraway place like New York really isn’t suitable for actors to develop in the long term.”
“Did the Mayor of Los Angeles told you to act like the city spokesperson?” Renly’s response made Rami burst into laughter. The relationship between Los Angeles and New York is also an interesting one and it is full of ridicule and sarcasm towards each other. “Why didn’t you guys go inside the airport to pick me up? What if I just took a taxi and left?”
“Rami was about to call you.” James raised his chin and gestured, “To park here is too troublesome, and the traffic in and out of the parking lot is terrible. It’s faster to go around the airport boulevard.” James looked back at the cars behind him, “You must thank my wisdom, otherwise we would still be stuck in traffic.”
“It seems that there’s no difference between Los Angeles and New York.” The terrible traffic made Renly speechless, while Renly’s words made James dumbfounded. Renly ignored James with a smile and turned to Rami beside him, “When did you come to Los Angeles?”
“About two weeks ago,” Rami took over the conversation, “It’s awards season now, so there are always more opportunities in Los Angeles. How about you, how was Australia? The Gold Coast seems to have become your second home?”
Renly started sharing funny stories from the past few weeks with his friends, and they also chatted about their recent developments. The commonality between the three was that there was not much change. After the completion of “The Pacific,” they didn’t get many opportunities. Now they have to see what opportunities the television series premiere will bring them.
“With the names of Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg, there is bound to be a big difference,” Renly said expectantly.
HBO held a grand premiere for “The Pacific” like they did for “Band of Brothers”. This is a treatment usually reserved for movies. Just this alone is enough to make people excited, and even Renly was no exception. He never expected to have the opportunity to attend the premiere so soon.
“Which hotel are you staying at?” James glanced at the roadside sign, “The magazine interview this afternoon is arranged at Sunset Tower Hotel. If you’re heading in the same direction, we can drop off your luggage at the hotel. Otherwise, we can head straight there. We need to meet up at 3 pm.”
“Isn’t the interview at six o’clock?” Renly was taken aback. It was only quarter past two now, and he thought he had enough time to rest and avoid any unexpected situations, but why did they need to gather at three o’clock? The time was now extremely tight.
Rami and James looked at Renly in surprise. James couldn’t help but smile, while Rami met Renly’s puzzled gaze and explained, “Renly, you should know that we need to get ready before the interview, right?” Seeing Renly’s dumbfounded expression, Rami knew the answer, “And the main cast will take photos and interviews in turn. The estimated time is six o’clock, but they will probably start preparing at five o’clock.”
Renly had to admit that he hadn’t thought about all of this. No matter how many movies he had seen, the actual situation was still different.
“This just proves once again that Renly is indeed a newcomer with no experience,” James gloated, making Rami laugh as well.
After the laughter died down, Renly took out the address and scanned it, “I’m staying in…um, the Central City area?”
“Ah, near Koreatown?” James immediately recognized the location. “Rami also lives around there. The security at night isn’t great, so you should be careful.” As a landlord, James was quite familiar with the area. “Let’s just head to Sunset Tower Hotel, as we’re not going in the same direction. Arriving early would be good, as the production team should already be there. We can prepare in advance, so we have time to get ready for the interview.”
For Renly, everything was new. Unlike acting, the premiere and press events were part of the movie industry but were not directly related to performing. Although Renly was not very interested in all of that, the experience was still intriguing. It was like standing outside a walled city, finally getting a glimpse of what was inside. Even if he wasn’t interested, he still wanted to take a good look.
As they arrived at the Sunset Tower Hotel, Renly was a bit surprised. The entrance, which looked like it could only accommodate two cars, was rather unimpressive and hidden behind a simple flower bed. It wasn’t grand or luxurious at all, and even compared to many four-star hotels, it was slightly inferior. So, why is Vanity Fair’s annual Oscar night held here?
James parked the car at the entrance, and a black-suited attendant came to open the door. Seeing the luggage in the back, the attendant called out for a luggage boy to come over. Renly, who got accustomed to such situations in this life, walked straight ahead, but after a few steps, he hesitated and stopped. For the past twenty years, he had always relied on the doorman to handle all the trivial matters when entering and leaving such places. He had forgotten that he was now a poor man, and more importantly, he wasn’t here to stay at the hotel.
Turning back, Renly saw the porter carrying his luggage with a smile and following him. Since the service had already been offered, he decided to just go along with it. So, Renly resumed his steps and walked into the somewhat shabby Sunset Tower Hotel, stepping into the heart of Hollywood for the first time.
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