Bad publicity is always good. After limo driver Ken Tipton lost his job after trying to pitch a film to Renee Zellweger he did what any out of work screenwriter would do — he hired a publicist! Now he’s trying to cash in and get attention for his script. We’re guessing this story is better than the script he’s pitching but you be the judge. Here’s the “press release” unedited for your entertainment:
In Hollywood, you can’t wait for a break – you must make your own breaks. When a struggling character actor and screenwriter slipped a note asking for permission to pitch a film project to Renee Zellweger, girlfriend of funny man Jim Carrey, it cost him his job.
On Sunday, March 12, 2000, Ken Tipton was the Music Express limousine driver for actress Renee Zellweger (“Jerry Maguire”, “The Bachelor”). After pleasant conversation and a smooth trip to the Los Angeles International Airport, Ken turned down the “tip” offered by Renee because she was a “fellow entertainment industry member”, as he has done with many others he has driven such as Gregory Peck, Jesse Martin, Chris O’Donnell, Mike Porcaro (the band “Toto”), Brian McNight, and Producer Gale Anne Hurd. Ms. Zellweger graciously insisted the tip should be accepted and Ken put it away.
Ken remembered what a friend had recently told him. The friend’s daughter is co-starring with Jim Carrey in the film, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”, and told Ken how disappointed the crew and Jim were when he was not nominated for an Academy Award in the film “Man on the Moon”. The consensus was that perhaps he should find a solid independent film project like Kevin Spacey did in “American Beauty” and Tom Cruise did in “Magnolia”, which resulted in nominations for both. The idea seemed to interest Jim, especially if it was a project that he and Renee could star in.
For eight years, Ken has pursued the making of a film based on the true story of how he lost his family, his multi-million dollar video store chain in St. Louis, and almost his life – when he refused to remove Martin Scorsese’s controversial film, “The Last Temptation of Christ”, from his video stores. A religious group called the “National Federation for Decency” (NFD) called for the film’s removal, then blackmailed the Prosecuting Attorney into taking him to trial. Ken won his case but the negative publicity cost him everything. He later learned about the blackmailing from a former prostitute, who was now a “reborn” member of the NFD, and who used to service the Prosecutor. A “sting” was setup that exposed the Prosecutor who pleaded guilty to pandering charges and embezzlement from a “Crime Victims” fund. Attached to the film are Ed Asner, Michelle Phillips, and RuPaul (in a male co-starring role).
“Heart of the Beholder” info – [ http://moviefund.com/beholder/home.htm ]
Knowing that Jim and Renee are looking for an independent film project, Ken slipped a note to her asking permission to pitch the project, along with the “tip” she had given him. The next day, Ken was fired.
Immediately, Ken sent a letter of apology to Renee through her publicist, Nancy Ryder, expressing his sincere regret for upsetting someone he truly admired and respected. As Ken was told in an email from a Director who has worked with Ms. Zellweger, “Renee is a great person, and I wouldn’t take it personally”. In the short time Ken was with Renee, he agrees. “She was so nice and extremely polite. She knows how hard it is to get ahead in this business. I don’t believe a fellow member of the Screen Actors Guild would have had me fired, someone else must have overreacted. I wish that the matter would have been handled with a written reprimand or suspension, like other drivers who have exhibited worse behavior then asking permission to pitch a film project. The income from this job helps support my ex-wife and four children, my roommate who has Multiple Sclerosis, as well as myself until residuals come in from four national commercials that will air in the future.”
When asked if he would have done it again, Ken smiles, “The only thing worse then failure, is never knowing what could have been – if only you had tried. Besides, I owe it to my family to get this movie made. And one more thing to Renee – I’m sorry.”