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What You Do is Who You Are: Irena’s Vow Screenwriter Dan Gordon on Telling the Story of a Teenager Who Saved Jews During the Holocaust | Interviews


What You Do is Who You Are: Irena's Vow Screenwriter Dan Gordon on Telling the Story of a Teenager Who Saved Jews During the Holocaust | Interviews


I loaded up my car on a Thursday. On Friday, I got into my office and the phone rang; a female voice said, “Please hold for Mr. Wasserman. I was positive that was one of my friends playing a joke on me because Lou Wasserman didn’t know I was alive. So, I said, “You know what, Lou, I’m too busy for this shit, f*ck you,” and I hung up.

Phone rings again, there’s no secretary, the receiver leaps off the cradle, wraps itself around my neck three times, goes off, and I suddenly realize it’s Lew Wasserman. I said, “Oh my God, Mr. Wasserman, I’m so sorry, I thought it was one of my friends playing a trick on me, and I would never speak disrespectfully to you. But honestly, if all you’ve got to worry about on the 15th floor is me taking office supplies, life has to be pretty good. I’m writing this great movie, you’re going to love it, you’re a busy guy, I’m a busy guy, it’s been an honor talking to you, and I’m going to get going. You have a wonderful day.” 

I hung up. And the phone didn’t ring. And I thought, “Whoa, all right, I handled that. That was good.” 

Monday, I come into the office and my name is off the door. My stuff is piled up in a box and the locks have been changed. They had revoked my parking pass and I had to pay to get out. 

Cut to 20-plus years later. I’ve got a picture in turnaround from Fox called “Gotcha!” that starred Anthony Edwards and Linda Fiorentino. I’m meeting with Frank Price, head of productions at that time, 14th floor. We’re coming out of Frank’s office, elevator doors open, out steps Lou Wasserman.

And Frank said, “Oh, Mr. Wasserman” — everybody called him Mr. Wasserman — nobody called him Lew. I think his mother called him Mr. Wasserman. He says, “This is Dan Gordon, we’ve got a picture of his in turnaround.”  I see that the wheels are turning, and he’s trying to place, “Where does he know that name from?” I’m pushing that elevator button, and I’m just like, “Come on, get me out of here.”

Lew was a tall, skinny guy, and he reached out and grabbed me with this bony, old guy grip between the muscle and the bone. He doesn’t look at me; he looked at Frank, and he said, “Just make sure he doesn’t steal the office supplies this time.” 

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