Undercurrents

Lights! Camera! Conspiracy! A local filmmaker blames Hollywood’s mayor for Gus Boulis’s untimely demise.

 Mike Myers emerges from a nondescript office building, adjusts his toupee, and strides toward a sleek BMW in the parking lot. It's night and the lot is dark. He reaches into the pocket of his Christian Dior slacks, fishes for his keys, and spills change onto the ground. "Goddamn it!" he mutters, then stoops to grab a quarter rolling in concentric circles on the asphalt. The quarter eludes him, but Myers perseveres. It finally stops, and he snatches it. "Heads, I win!" he shouts. "I always win!"

He slides the quarter back into the pocket of his slacks, taps it appreciatively, opens the BMW with a touch of the keyless remote, gets in the car, and squeals out of the parking lot. Speeding down a two-lane road through a light-industrial area, Myers divides his attention between driving and cueing up track seven on his Mikis Theodorakis CD Canto Olympico.

He doesn't notice the car slowing down in front of him until he is almost on its bumper, and then he stomps on the brakes. "Move it, buddy," he shouts through his open window. "My time is money!" There's no stop sign, but the car ahead brakes anyway. Myers pounds the steering wheel with his fist. "Drive, dammit, drive!" he shouts. He's so angry he barely notices the dark blue Ford Mustang that has pulled alongside his car, heading in the opposite direction. Then he realizes the Mustang has stopped.

In one sickening second, the scenario becomes crystal clear. Myers turns his head to the left just as the driver's window of the Mustang drops, revealing the barrel of a gun.

If the story sounds familiar, it should. With a nod to cinematic license, it's the tale of the last few minutes in the life of Hollywood (Florida) multimillionaire businessman Konstantinos "Gus" Boulis, who was murdered gangland style in Fort Lauderdale in February. Boulis's death launched a thousand conspiracy theories. And now it has launched a screenplay by Hollywood activist and filmmaker John Lundin.

"It's fascinating," says Lundin, age 47, taking a break from his job running the audio-visual equipment for conferences at the Embassy Suites in Fort Lauderdale. "You've got public figures, politicians, made-for-TV violence. Not to mention that he was an arrogant motherfucker."

The story does have the makings of a decent TV movie. Add to that Lundin's naked political agenda, and Undercurrents is thinking minor splash. "It's a political tool to destroy [Hollywood mayor] Mara Giulianti," says Lundin. "She has all the money, and the people who oppose her are always at a disadvantage."

That reduces the project -- working title Hollywood Gambler: The Gus Boulis Story -- to the level of propaganda. But don't hold that against Lundin. It's a case of art imitating life, and political life in Hollywood is as seamy as it gets.

For the most part, the plot sticks to the facts of Boulis's life but occasionally detours into the kind of dark fantasy that inhabits the mind of every conspiratorial Hollywood activist. (Lord knows plenty of them reside in Tinsel Town East.)

Lundin's choice of Myers in the starring role is questionable; Austin Powers as a Greek tycoon? The only rationale Lundin gives is that Myers wears a toupee about as well as Boulis did. Hey, it's Lundin's movie.

The script opens with the murder of Boulis. After a swirling montage of news coverage, it moves back in time two years to find the tycoon on his SunCruz casino ship meeting with a pair of sleazy lobbyists (Hollywood, California, typecasting). The lobbyists urge Boulis to pay off Giulianti if he wants to do business in Hollywood, and the gregarious Greek acquiesces. The three men share a hearty laugh, and the camera pans out to reveal a newspaper reporter (Undercurrents believes we would be perfect for the role) hiding in the shadows, watching the meeting.

Subsequent scenes involve heroic beach activists battling a corrupt mayor, who can't pocket Boulis's cash fast enough. In one scene the sheriff swoops in and confiscates the multimillionaire's gambling machines, but the mayor pulls a few strings and gets the charges dropped. As payback she demands Boulis build a high-rise on the beach.

Soon a greedy Washington, D.C., developer jumps into the cesspool, throwing his weight behind the high-rise. But vociferous activists save the day when they shout down high-rise backers at an emotionally charged city commission meeting. Meanwhile Boulis hits hard times when he's forced to sell his casino boats because he lied about his U.S. citizenship to the feds. Depressed and angry, he physically attacks the man who buys his boats, unwittingly sealing his fate.

A murderous cabal of the mayor, the developer, and the boat buyer convene in a closed-door session to discuss the Boulis "problem." A few days later, across town, Boulis meets with his confidants in a scene reminiscent of the Last Supper. Both the boat buyer and the D.C. developer are there, dual Judases ready to betray their friend.

Boulis gets in his car after the meeting, and the rest is bloody history.

Entertaining, yes. But will it get made? Undercurrents has doubts.

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