J Gatsby's Murder on the Set Blog

This book, the discussions and videos on this website have some seriously funny elements, however, underneath it's crawling with the sober horror of what Hollywood wants to hide. J Gatsby rips the Band-Aid off before the reader can protest.

Bradley Shields

4/15/20242 min read

J Gatsby 2024 Photograph by Ted Thederahn


It's 1996.
Here's my audition at MGM for Species II:

I’m supposed to stand in the office in front of these two women with a camera aimed on me and pretend I'm in front of a mirror in the restroom. I put my hand down my pants to gather some wet aroma. The character they have me auditioning for is supposed to dab her fingers on her neck and say to the girl next to her, “It drives men wild, and they don’t know why.”

Next, my “character” walks into a bathroom stall, sits on the potty and while she is actively relieving herself, she is ripped backwards through the wall by the species creature and devoured. These two female casting directors seriously expected me and other actresses to walk into their office and act this scene out as if there was nothing inappropriate.

These are the women of Hollywood, the head bullies in charge. These women are the reason people like Harvey Weinstein thrived and got away with repeated rape for decades. And he is nowhere near the only one. He's the tip of the iceberg, or should I say the boiling fat dripping off the steak. I walked into the audition and threw the material on their desk. I said, “I want to thank you. You both have helped me realize this town has evolved into a tasteless wasteland of foul smut. After all the roles you’ve dragged me in here to audition for over the years, you couldn’t call my agent and just offer me this. You need me to act out being a whore after all this time for what purpose? Thanks for inspiring me to quit acting. You both have done your job well and effectively. Have a nice fucking day.”

I wished I’d said all this. I walked out, called my agent, and I let them go. They could have cared less. I was done. I was finished with the sham auditions and scrounging Hollywood for leftover roles nobody with an ounce of self-esteem wanted.

This is when I get into standup comedy and started performing at The Comedy Store. Of course, the minute I get a manager interested in me, his plan is to start sending me out on more auditions where whatever the story, screenplay or show; my character inadvertently dies. I say, “Over my dead body.”

I start doing rewrites on scripts for writers around town. I'm making some decent money for once and then my dad says he's giving me a huge break. After working for him and his production company, Larco Productions, Inc. for two decades, I'm going to get to produce my first major motion picture. He gives me my first screenplay to run with. It was called Captivity. Little did I foresee the foreshadowing, fool that I am! I was a witless, woman willing to do anything for Daddy!

"Don't call me that," he snapped.

From the book ...