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The Six Faces of Clarice

copyright 2003, by Bella Firenze

Disclaimer:    These characters were created by Thomas Harris.  They are used herein without permission, but in the spirit of admiration and respect.  No infringement of copyright is intended, and no profit, of any kind, is made by the creator, maintainer or contributors to this site.

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Ydani’s Bar and Grill, two blocks from Malibu, was relatively empty at this early hour (5 PM), and on a weekday there wasn’t going to be a big crowd anyway. Ydani especially loved movie people, since most of them were her neighbors here, anyway, and she tried especially hard to make the restaurant a comfortable and fun place for them to meet and socialize out of the limelight and away from the stress and strain of the movie set. With well-padded chairs, a gorgeous polished oak bar, and custom-made pool tables, plus a beautiful garden setting and the best food on the beach, Ydani’s was perfect for just about any use.

If you were to look around at those who were gathered around several tables on the terrace today, you might suspect a reunion of twins rather than a cast reunion party. But that is what Ydani was entertaining on this bright winter afternoon in Malibu (as if Malibu has a winter, of course).

One of the MGM production assistants had come up with the idea of a reunion party for all the cast members of "Silence of the Lambs" and "Hannibal" and their stunt doubles from the films. The idea was an instant hit with the casts, and they had all been at Ydani’s since noon that afternoon.

Jodie Foster weaved her way through the crowd, balancing a Tom Collins, a Coke, a Dr. Pepper and a screwdriver above their heads, and made it to her table unscathed. She placed the screwdriver in front of Julianne Moore, claimed the TC for herself, and gave the Coke to her double, Sharon Pilcher, and the Dr. Pepper to Julianne’s double, Marsha St. Clair.

“Ok, Julie, finish the story.”

Julianne chuckled. “It’s funny as hell now, but I was PISSED at the time. We had Tony over for lunch that day, everybody’s standing around munching and yakking, and here comes my five-year-old, doing this stalking catwalk that looks awfully familiar. Check out the closing credits of Silence if you can’t envision what I’m talking about.” A glance at the table behind her, whose occupants are now listening in. “So he stalks up to me, looks up, and does this horrendous “sllllluuuuurrrrrrrrrrrrrrppppppppppppp” sound right out of Guess What Scene? Now who could have possibly taught him THAT, may I ask?” She looked pointedly over her shoulder.

One of the four beach-bum-looking men at the other table now stands. “I categorically deny that, I did not teach your child any such thing, and I’m sticking to my story.” Mr. Hopkins did his best “wounded feelings” look and sat back down, to the applause of his tablemates, Ray Liotta, Tony’s double Frank Kelso, and Ray’s double, which just happened to be a robot.

“Tony, you lie like a rug,” replied Jodie in a mock accusatory tone. “Next thing he’ll want is fava beans and Chianti.”

“A NICE Chianti, Jodie,” answered Frank, “get your lines right for a change.” The three men break into a creditable rendition of the “Hokey Pokey” around Ray the Robot.

“Ok, that’s it.” Jodie jumps up from the table and chases Frank around the terrace, ultimately tipping him into the fountain in triumph.

“Full court press!” cried Julianne, and she, Marsha and Sharon took off after the rest of the beach bums, minus Ray the Robot, of course. He remained at the table, sipping broth and making faces.

Giancarlo Giannini and Frankie Faison neatly stepped aside in the doorway to allow the pursuit to pass by. Then they both crack up as Tony goes into his dead-on impression of Rocky running up the steps in Rocky II.

“It makes you wonder how they got one movie made, let alone two!” Giancarlo crows, wiping his streaming eyes.

“Tell me about it, GG – I was in BOTH and I still don’t know how we did it,” replied Frankie as he tried to catch his breath.

No one notices, at first, the strange glow that is slowly beginning to emanate from the north wall of the restaurant, or the weird shimmering effect starting to dissolve the east wall. Everyone is crowded around the plate glass windows on the south side, watching the pursuit as it races through the gardens outside.

The chase finally stampedes back into the restaurant – and slides to a halt at the sight before them.

Both the north and east walls are dissolving at their centers, extending a filmy path outward into the room.

From the shadows on the north walks a haunting figure in blue coveralls, accompanied by a lovely, dark-haired young woman in her twenties. From the east, comes what is apparently the same man, about ten years older, sharp and distinguished in a black silk suit and white fedora, accompanied this time by a beautiful redhead in fatigues.

Tony, Julianne and Jodie look at each other in bewilderment…

“Clarice?” says Julianne to the woman from the east.

“Clarice?” says Jodie to the woman from the north.

Tony looks north, then east, and simply says, “Holy SHIT.”

Hannibal-North smiles, his small, white teeth giving him a sinister look. “Nice change, Tony,” he says quietly. “The tan becomes you. Shows what a little outdoor life can do for a man.”

Clarice-North nods in agreement. “True, very true.” She looks at Hannibal-North and smiles. “But I must say that the absence of Plexiglas doesn’t hurt you, either, Doctor.”

Hannibal-North arches his eyebrows at her, eyes glowing with potential fire. “Why, thank you, Clarice, but I didn’t have that handicap in Memphis.”

Clarice-North’s smile becomes mysterious. “True… and the uniform in Memphis was more, uh, complimentary to your physique, too.”

Hannibal-North’s eyebrows arch even higher in surprise. “Why, Clarice! I had no idea… I picked the wrong attire for this jaunt, I see. And I thought you liked blue.”

Clarice-East cleared her throat pointedly. “Hey, you two, I wouldn’t complain. At least you got a quick finger-grope out of it, and even a bit of suggestive pseudo-phone sex. I get laid in the book, but the damn movie gives me one measly kiss! I got GYPPED!”

Hannibal-East chuckles. “Now, Clarice, I thought we had settled that issue off-camera, book style.” His chuckle becomes a full-fledged laugh as she blushes scarlet and punches him in the arm. “Well, you didn’t even have to get as many shots!”

His companion relents and curls her fingers around his offered arm. “Well, they DID give me an excuse to, well…” She runs her other index finger up and down the center front of her black T-shirt. “Damn, I should have worn the cream silk, instead. Nothing's gonna pop out of this thing...”

The three actors, meanwhile, are huddled in conference.

“It has to be mass hallucination,” says Jodie, firmly. “No way this is happening.”

Julianne looks around suspiciously. “My money is on a huge practical joke. OK, who’s the funny one?”

Tony, stuck as the tiebreaker, walks a bit nearer and observes both pairs up close. Looking at the north pair, he asks, “Hannibal, how many other children were in the barn with you during the war?”

Hannibal-North freezes, his eyes darkening with barely disguised pain. “We started out as fifteen. We left as six.” Clarice touches his arm symjpathetically, but he doesn’t seem to notice her or anyone else. His face becomes expressionless.

To the east. “Hannibal, what is the main difference between a clavier and a harpsichord?”

Big mistake. After twenty minutes, Tony withdraws the question, leaving Hannibal-East quite offended.

Jodie mutters something about talking to hallucinations, but gamely walks over to the north pair. “Ok, Clarice, how much could you bench press at the Academy?”

Clarice-North laughed. “Trick question! Females at that time did pull-ups, not bench press.”

Jodie looked back at Julianne and Tony, stunned. “That wasn’t in the script, gang.”

Julianne calls over to Clarice-East. “What felt worse, the gunshot wound or the animal tranquilizer?”

Clarice-East shuddered. “Believe it or not, the tranquilizer. I’d take surgery for a bullet any day. You put the drugs you need to counteract the tranquilizer on top of what you already are carrying, and it feels like sea-sickness times a hundred.” The memory seems to truly shake her, and Hannibal-East puts a comforting arm around her and holds her to him, steadying her. This brings a smile from Hannibal-North, as he contemplates his future. Clarice-North looks nervous and totally self-denying.

“Ok, folks,” says Tony finally. “Joke or real, what’s the purpose of this little production number?” He plants his hands in his pockets and looks from north to east, speculating.

Hannibal-North gives another spooky smile. “Just wanted to see if you were all ready yet.” Hannibal-East and the two Clarices nod, assenting.

“Ready?” asks Jodie. “For what?”

In reply, each Clarice tosses a coin to each of their “real life” counterparts. “Break the tie, ladies, break the tie.”

The two couples bid farewell. “It has been totally fascinating, ladies and gentlemen,” Hannibal-East says in parting. “We might do this more often., as long as we don’t get stuck with another fifteen rewrites next trip.” He strolls back into the mist, asking his Clarice if she is still interested in Ridley-Scott-a-brochette.

Hannibal-North sighs and graciously gestures for Clarice-North to proceed him. “Back to the dungeon, my dear… or are we due in Memphis by now?” They walk away together, huddled over the script.

Tony, Jodie and Julianne look at each other in alarm. “NEXT TRIP?” they ask in chorus.

Tony shakes his head. “Well, there goes MY script.”

“Why, Tony?” asks Jodie and Julianne together.

“You think either of those Clarices would shoot Hannibal? Get real!” He stalks over to the bar and orders a ginger ale straight up.

Julianne and Jodie start flipping coins.

“Best ten out of twelve?” Julianne speculates. “I’d have to talk myself out of a contract. Maybe more than one, depending on how the Oscars go.”

“Better make it best forty-eight out of fifty,” replies Jodie. “I’m supposed to direct two pictures next year, AND guest-host on Saturday Night Live…. Don’t you have a Page to Screen on Hannibal coming up?” They stroll out, deep in conference. Sharon and Marsha follow, shaking each other by the hand. Another major job! HOOOO DOGGIE!!

Tony picks up the phone and calls National Car Rental. “Yes, I need another one-way from California to Pittsburgh…..”


FIN

Author's Note: My apologies to the real stunt doubles from these terrific films – since I don’t know their real names, I just made some up rather than keep calling them “so-and-so’s double”, etc. They have one of the toughest jobs in the movies, and I tip my Resistol to all of them!

copyright 2003, by Bella Firenze

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