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Most Favored Nations

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They say that birth order affects the personality of the child. In Timmy’s case, the description of the youngest born fits him to a “T.”  Often equal parts charming and manipulative, silly and funny, highly competitive, friendly and outgoing with a terrific sense of humor, occasionally displaying risk-taking behaviors. 

One of his mother’s earliest memories of Timmy was as a toddler trying to make everyone at the family dinner table laugh. He was a born entertainer. 

In elementary school this served him well, making friends easily and charming the teachers. By middle school, his constant need for attention was a distraction. He was called into the principal’s office often, getting scolded for his disruptive behavior. He took on the rebel personality of” Lil’ Timmy Tim”, the misunderstood rapper who just wanted to have a good time and party with his friends.  This front served him at least for a while. But the truth was that he was gifted. An IQ off the charts, a deductive, inquisitive mind that was frankly, bored at middle school. It wasn’t until he tested and auditioned for the performing arts high school that he started to find his place. The audition was unremarkable, but something about the energy and charisma of the baby-faced 14 year old charmed two of the admissions committee.  He was chosen as an alternate and luckily for him, a spot opened up right before his freshman year. That’s when things changed. He was surrounded by kids not unlike himself. Extroverts with developing talent. Some were incredible dancers, others could sing like they were born Broadway belters. A few possessed that elusive charisma and focus that would lead them to a path of stardom or obscurity and destruction. 

Freshman year was spent trying to find his way among the sub cliques in this elite high school.

There were the beautiful self-obsessed dancers who agonized about every morsel of food and real or perceived injury, the driven and nerdy but likable techs who often literally held the keys to the kingdom.  The confident and sexy senior girls who took a liking to Tim, making him their mascot and treating him like a sexless cutie who they could harmlessly flirt with and tease. Little did they know, they were fodder for his late-night wankings and fantasies.  The older kids who were acting majors fell into two distinct groups. “The Leads,” Timmy called them in his mind, the select few who could sing, who could dance, who had bone structure that didn’t quit. These were the top of the food chain at LaGuardia. In other high schools, it was the jocks, (or the brains, if you went to Bronx High School of Science) who ruled the school, but here, it was the Leads. These are the kids who got excused absences for auditions, who took a leave to do a guest spot on a TV show, who got modeling contracts and ended up in Milan for senior year.  Everyone else was a character, equally encouraged by the staff, but whatever glow they’d have in their future was earned, not given automatically due to confluence of genes and luck. 

Tim observed everything he could about The Leads.  Who they dated, how they walked, what music they listened to. He was obsessed. He looked around his class and tried to parse out who the leads would be - he had no clue. But what he did deduct after his intense study was that it wasn’t only looks. It was how they interacted, their focus and engagement. Even though their personas were not fully formed, they were acutely aware of their effect. These few elites realized that the more they intently focused on others, the more attention they got, it created this circle of admiration which fed on itself. Timmy witnessed it first hand when a senior Lead asked him how it was going and made an effort to check in on him. Tim became a devoted fan for life. 

He studied them. He aspired to be one of them.  Meeting Lola sophomore year didn’t hurt. They were friends first, in a few classes together, liked the same music and tv shows. When everyone started pairing up it seemed pretty organic. It didn’t hurt that her mom was one of the world’s biggest pop stars. He tried to be cool around Madonna.

 What impressed him most was the aura of fame that she carried with her 24/7. Even when she was just being ‘mom’ there was this slippery ease that made Tim ache with envy and admiration. He observed the bustle and intensity around their household and knew deep in his core this was something he wanted. The longing to be something extraordinary. 

As a young actor living in New York City, Tim booked his fair share of commercials and bit parts even before he attended LaGuardia. The seed was watered and planted by the time he was 15.  

 When the arc on Homeland came up, Tim was ecstatic. 8 episodes of work on one of the hottest shows on cable. The chance to work with Claire Daines and Damian Lewis on location in Washington was an immense thrill.   Finally, he thought, this is what I want, what I worked so hard in school for. 

When Damian recommended him to his agent Brian, things got ramped up to an entirely new level. Suddenly he was reading scripts that weren’t just NYU grad shorts.  Fucking Christopher Nolan!! Nevermind he hardly appeared in the final cut. At the time it was devastating, but he got to observe and befriend Mathew McConaughey on location. An experience he wouldn’t trade for the world. 

A series of films followed. Some good, a couple of awful ones, each time he picked up a skill, knowledge, self-awareness that he didn’t have before. Soon, all plans to attend college, to put his career essentially on hold for four years became waylaid. He was on a roll, nailing the auditions and getting better and better scripts. Somewhere along the line, he decided to model his career on a calculated mash-up of Leo and Daniel Day-Lewis. 

He didn’t really have time for relationships. Things with Lola petered out. He was always discreet though, and never spoke about her or her family to anyone. This was out of character as he usually said what came into his mind first. One can assume that the non-disclosure agreements he signed scared the shit out of him. 

The Lead that was kind to him freshman year had minor success on Broadway two years out of Julliard. They crossed paths a few times and started hanging out. He was gorgeous, funny, smart, and Tim was smitten. 

His sexual awakening came later than many of his peers, and he still wasn’t sure how he identified. If he had to pick, (and no one was pressuring him) he might say pan, but for now, he was just going to have fun.  And he did. The sex with his re-discovered crush was exciting and bordered on dangerous, as both of their rising stars were too nascent to be thrust into a preconceived category. Tim wasn’t fully invested, he was one step removed, observing how it was different from being with Lola: the feelings, the actual sex, the stealthiness of it.  This was, in fact, the first of many affairs he had, learning something new each time, enjoying himself but remaining slightly distanced. His conquests were varied: a Broadway casting director, a realtor in his Mom’s office, even one of the senior girls that found him so “cute” when he was a freshman. His drive to become a major star superseded any attraction he felt or any pressure he received to commit.  There were vapid ingenues, adorable 2nd ad’s, hunky teamsters and beautiful art department coordinators in his bed at different times. With each person, he learned more about what turned him on and how to be a better lover.  

One thing that never changed was his respect for his fans and growing cadre of followers. He still considered himself a fan, feeling it most when he was on the red carpet, the thrill of being introduced to Meryl Streep or Glenn Close. He loved the rush of hearing people call his name when he got out of the studio provided SUV.  He became known for being ‘fan-friendly’ and making an extra effort to connect with people that had waited in line to see him. So many photos, hugs, and lots and lots of eye contact. He vowed to never forget what it felt like to stan someone. 

2019 proved to be a turning point as he was on every list of the top ten rising stars in Hollywood. Scripts were pouring in, fan websites were being created daily.  He had his choice of young leading male roles, be it a studio picture, low-budget indie, or high-end streaming service production. Literally, hundreds of scripts passed through Brian’s office earmarked for Tim. 

He read the ones that made it past Brian’s second assistant, otherwise, he’d have no time for work. When The Brave was sent to him on location, he read it three times.