(A group of EXTRAS from Cecil B. DeMille's latest extravaganza 'Samson and Delilah' crosses the stage. JOE thinks he recognizes a man with a false beard and gold helmet who's accompanied by a gaggle of scantily-clad DANCING GIRLS: SAMMY. HE raises his hand in a priestly gesture.)
Bless you, Joseph
That you, Sammy?
How do you like my harem?
How come you get such lousy breaks?
One learns to grin and bear 'em.
This is the biggest film ever made
What're you playing?
Handmaiden to Delilah
Let's have lunch, gotta run.
(The FINANCEMEN, meanwhile, settle down to watch and wait. JOE moves swiftly towards a sharply-dressed middle-aged man, MORINO , his agent. MORINO is with a very much younger man and does his best to pretend not to notice JOE. When he realizes the encounter is unavoidable, HE makes a great show of pleasurable surprise and greets JOE with effusive bonhomie.)
You've got to find me a job.
I'm way behind with my payments
I thought you were meant to be my agent
I need some work
I only wish I could help
This town is dead at the moment
There's been this slowdown in production....
(JOE interrupts, indicating the YOUNGER MAN)
Who is this jerk?
He's my wunderkind from Broadway.
Every major studio wants him .
Playing one against the other....
What I need is three hundred bucks.
Maybe what you need is a new agent.
(JOE spots a friend of his, ARTIE GREEN, a fresh-faced assistant director in his mid-twenties)
Joe, you bastard!
You never call me anymore.
Found a cuter dancing partner
How are things?
Not so great.
Will this help?
(ARTIE hands JOE a twenty dollar bill; JOE hesitates then accepts it.)
Thanks, you're a pal.
Good morning, Mr. De Mille
Good morning, C.B.
(During this exchange, the lights have come up on SHELDRAKE's office. SHELDRAKE, a mournful, dyspeptic figure sits behind his desk, speaking into one of an array of phones.)
This is Sheldrake
Bring some water
Get me that shithead Nolan.
(HE puts down one phone and picks up another)
Great to talk
This draft is so much brighter.
You're the best
I've hired another writer.
(HE puts the phone down as his SECRETARY shows JOE into the office, handing Sheldrake a tumbler of water as she does so. SHELDRAKE seems surprised to see JOE and makes some unconvincing stab at conviviality as HE shakes some bicarb into the water.)