"Oh my god, Ivan, what are you doing?" Miles thought he was being completely reasonable by not shouting the question at the top of his lungs. Also, he wasn't threatening to shoot Ivan, which ought to win him a medal.
Ivan turned and blinked at him, looking slightly confused. "Uh, I'm kissing Kareen?" He glanced at Kareen, who looked annoyed, but Miles had the weirdest feeling it was him she was annoyed at.
Miles gripped both hands in his hair and recited the words Ekaterin had told him. Don't hit anyone, don't throw things at them, and don't get yourself sued again for assault. "Of course it would be that part of the scene you remember," he ground out. "Did you happen to notice that you had lines as well?"
Why he'd agreed to cast his cousin, Miles had no idea. Except for the fact his cousin Ivan was tall, handsome, and charming -- and he'd actually had bit parts in commercials and even a sitcom which meant Miles' project might actually sell to the people with money. His parents didn't count, of course, and he'd done everything he could to get other -- real -- investors who weren't related to him by blood.
He'd only found one, but she'd seemed genuinely interested in the film and not because Miles was the son of two of the industry's biggest names in the business. The business behind the business, at least, his mother and father had produced over two hundred movies and television shows, including the insanely popular Empire and its spin-off, After the Fall both starring Greg Barra. Miles had known Greg since they'd been kids, Greg doing commercials and starring as the Newhart's infant son, while Miles had followed his father around with a toy camera.
Miles had never met Ekaterin before he'd stumbled upon her trying to find investors, and while he still didn't really understand why, she'd invested in the project and seemed sort of vaguely supportive whenever Miles told her about the story, including the changes he found he was constantly making. Was it his fault that as they filmed scenes he got ideas for how the movie should really go? But that's why he was the director as well as the writer, and so he got to tell everyone else what to do and what to say and if Ivan couldn't remember three freaking lines then Miles didn't know why he wasn't allowed to murder him.
Ivan was frowning at him, now, and Miles shot him a glare. "I don't care if your mother has won three Oscars and two Emmys and is up for a Tony this year. You agreed to make my movie, which means you have to deliver your lines."
Miles glared up at him for what seemed like long enough that Miles was willing to leap up and start strangling him, when Ivan finally shrugged. "Those are stupid lines for my character to give, Miles. I think he's the type to just rush in and sweep a girl off her feet." He gave Kareen an leer, waggling his eyebrows, and Kareen giggled politely.
Miles knew it was faked, though at least she could act, and act very well. Once his movie hit the screens she'd be getting offers and he'd be known as the director who'd discovered her.
Ivan, on the other hand, should probably be shopping for a new career. Miles scowled. "Let's start again, and Ivan, I don't care what you think, I created the character and I say what he does or does not do. Or you're going home and your mother can find you another guest spot on Little House of Spies."
"Whatever," Ivan said, sighing and rolling his eyes. Miles stormed back to his director's chair and gave Arde, behind the camera, a nod. "OK, let's try this again," Miles muttered. "Action!"
They got through the next take with no one, including Ivan, forgetting or changing their lines. Miles thought Ivan's kiss went on a little longer than strictly necessary, and he definitely hadn't written in the way he pulled her in for a second kiss before making his exit. But Kareen played it beautifully, staying in character and delivering her lines with the sort of talent that Miles thought, privately, was definitely wasted on an indie film. Well, that showed anyone who hadn't cast her before now, he thought, and settled back to set up for the next scene.
"All right, places everyone! No, wait, Elena I want you to come stand over here. Let's try it with you across the room so you can raise your voice when Ivan comes in. I think -- oh! Wait, let's see...." Miles fell silent as he realised what had been missing from the scene when Ivan's character came in and his childhood friend ratted him out. It had been flimsy, before, but Miles suddenly knew what was wrong. He grabbed Elena by the arm and tugged her into position, giving her her new lines as quickly as he thought them up. He walked her through the new direction, crossing the room and shouting about the dead car battery which had stranded her.
"And then you tell him it was because of your long-lost boyfriend, Barney!" Miles shouted, making a mental note to cast someone for the new role.
Elena was rolling her eyes. From behind him somewhere he heard Ivan muttering, "Barney? Who the hell is Barney?"
But Miles bounced off, grabbing his recorder and thinking how great it would be when he could afford an assistant to follow him around and make sure this stuff got written down. His recorder was dead, of course, he always forgot to get new batteries. After a moment Miles found the battered notebook under his chair and began scribbling down the lines and the ideas for what sort of character Barney was -- not a cad, though of course he'd have appeared like one but Elena's character would have misunderstood him and left him, only to discover his true nature once she'd gone.
"And then, the space station is attacked by aliens!" Miles cackled in glee, somewhat astounded at his own sheer brilliance. His film was going to be a hit.
"Hey Kareen, you wanna get a cup of coffee?" Ivan was asking.
"Not really," Kareen said, and Miles ignored them. He could have told Ivan that Kareen was more interested in Miles' brother, though God knew why. Mark was barely even around lately, following the surfing circuit and making a big splash -- literally, Miles thought. Why he'd given up a brilliant career in stage direction to become one of those Miles had no idea. But their parents seemed to approve, and Miles was mostly just glad it kept Mark out of his hair for months at a time.
When he was a famous director, someday he'd do a autobiography and he could get Mark to play him. Brilliant.
Miles kept writing out lines, then looked around for Ivan. "Hey, Ivan, do you think your character should get a sex-change in act five?"