The call from the new producer of “Something’s Got To Give” Henry Weinstein concerned the screenplay.
Cukor had spoken. He wanted the NunNally Johnson draft scrapped. He hated it. He despised it. He wanted it thrown out.
Worse, the famed director felt collusion between Johnson and Monroe. That they had worked on it together. That Marilyn had unduly inserted herself into the re-write. That there were scenes added that he and Johnson had not agreed to nor even talked about before the veteran screenwriter had left in January for England to produce his draft.
Cukor smelled treason amongst the crew. And he needed to come down with an iron fist.
And he was right – Marilyn and Johnson had collaborated on the script prior to the screenwriter’s departure to England. They had discussed a lot and Marilyn had gone through the entire story with him and offered her ideas regarding her character. Many of which Johnson actually liked. Marilyn’s influence was in the screenplay because her suggestions had been well thought out shadings to her character and punched up the plot line as well.
And Johnson was too much of a consummate professional merely to allow an idea into his screenplay simply because the suggestion came from a beautiful lady.
Even Marilyn Monroe.
It was his name on it.
But Cukor sensed betrayal and he wouldn’t stand for it. Incidentally, the writer of the original story “My Favorite Wife” Garson Kanin was Cuukor’s best friend. And he wanted the current draft returned to the flavor and stylings of the original.
Cukor wanted to set an example from the outset who was in charge. Who was giving the orders. And who would not tolerate any dissension in the ranks!
Besides, Cukor had full script approval.
Marilyn did not.
And this is what Greenson now had been instructed, as a ‘consultant’ to notify Marilyn about.
That Cukor was throwing out Johnson’s draft and bringing in a new writer. Which meant, too – he was throwing out everything Marilyn had contributed and wanted in the script.
All of it – out!
“So who’s the new writer?” Marilyn asked when Greenson had informed her of the Cukor decision.
She asked calmly, directly, no sign of emotional bitterness. As he had expected.
In return, he answered straight forwardly: “Walter Bernstein.”
Monroe nodded:“What’s he done?”
He hadn’t done much. He’d penned four straight semi-disasters. The last a very failed “Heller in Pink Tights” directed by Cukor and thoroughly forgettable.
Not one good film to his credit.
“And who’s this new guy, just called. Weinstein?”
“The new producer.”
”Never heard of him.”
“He’s from New York. Did some theater.”
“How much,” Marilyn probed.
”I’m not sure,” Greenson answered guardedly.
There was a long moment of silence.
“And how did this Weinstein come into the project? At the expense of David Brown being excused?”
Greenson wasn’t sure how to answer this.
“Doc – how did Weinstein come aboard?”
“Well…” Greenson started, giving up trying to be circumspect. She’d find out eventually. “He’s a friend. I recommended him.”
Marilyn nodded quietly to herself.
“So let me get this straight, doc.” Marilyn nodded to herself, collecting the information she had just received. “You throw away the work of one of the best writers in the business – and bring in a hack who has yet to write anything decent. And you let a veteran producer go and replace him with someone who’s never produced a film and only a few theater people in New York have even heard of….”
She paused, her eyes narrowed on Greenson, who seemed to be squirming.
“And then they hire you – doc, to be the one to keep me grounded, while they do their best to keep sabotaging me…?! Is that what I’m seeing, doc? Is that what’s happening here?
“Marilyn, please – you’re over-reacting….!”
She stood up and paced around the couch, thinking…..it was suddenly becoming very clear to her now…what was happening…and there was only one word for it.
Pure and simple.
And the sabotaging efforts were clearly underway.
The new producer – who would only serve as a lacky, a ‘yes man’ for others.
And now Greenson seduced into the fold to manage her. To keep her under thumb.
All a betrayal.
Pure and simple.
“Doc, she said, “can I use your phone?”
Puzzled by the request, Greenson nodded to the phone on his desk.
To which she picked it up and dialed a private, very private number in Washington D.C.
As it rang through, she addressed Greenson, still sitting at his desk. “Doc – you wanted to know how the weekend went…. well listen in … this’ll probably give you an idea.”