This story first appeared in the Feb. 1 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
“As a new manager with a new expense account, I met with a peer from a production company at a place on Sunset. At the end, he asked if I wanted to rock-paper-scissors for the bill. We did. I was relieved upon winning. He looked at me and said: ‘Yep, you win. Guess you pay. I’ll get the next one.’ It wasn’t until I was in the car that I realized I was paying either way.” — BenderSpink co-founder Chris Bender, executive producer, The Hangover
“When I first took this job, I had lunch at The Grill with someone who was the head of another studio. We were eating and he said, ‘I’ll be right back.’ He got up and sat with somebody else. And I kept eating. And then I looked around, and he said, ‘It was great seeing you.’ And I said, ‘Good seeing you,’ and I left. He wanted something, and he didn’t get what he wanted early in the lunch. So he decided to leave.” — Steve Mosko, president of Sony Pictures TV
“When I was a model, Mike and I were introduced at Ma Maison during the lunch hour. He gave me his business card regarding a Bond movie, for a Russian Bond girl. I never called, but when we were set up years later, I walked in and he said, ‘It’s you.’ ” — Irena Medavoy, wife of Phoenix Pictures chairman and CEO Michael Medavoy
“When I was at Miramax, a friend of mine was eating at a Chinese restaurant with a potential hire. When the pancakes came for the moo shu pork, the girl daintily picked one up and wiped her face and hands with it. Apparently, they were so thin and light-colored, she thought they were cloths for freshening up. She had powder all over her face. The poor girl fled to the bathroom. When she got back, she found a way to cleverly acknowledge it, and they all had a big laugh. She got the job.” — Robin Jonas, executive producer, Swing Vote
“Several years ago, I was having lunch at the Beverly Hills Hotel with Rob Lee, who used to be a William Morris agent but is now the producer of Millionaire Matchmaker. Suddenly I was choking on a bite of my hamburger. He started screaming, ‘911, can anybody do the Heimlich?!’ I remember him lifting me off the ground. The next thing I knew, the paramedics were standing above me, and they told me that had they been 10 seconds later, my life would have been over. Rob Lee saved my life that day. As much as I like the Polo Lounge, I’m glad I wasn’t killed by their hamburger.” — Joanne Horowitz, manager
“I met my future husband [Jordan Roth, Jujamcyn Theatres president] at the Tony Awards and made a date to have lunch at Trattoria Dell’Arte. His office was in Midtown. I called and said, ‘Where are we going for lunch?’ He said, ‘I don’t go out in the rain, so if you want to see me, you have to come to me.’ What kind of person says, ‘I don’t go out in the rain, you have to come to me'? But what type of needy person would then actually go? It ended up being the best business lunch I ever had. We didn’t talk business the entire time. — Richie Jackson, executive producer, Nurse Jackie