|The Last Blind Date
GENRE: Romantic Comedy Drama.
STATUS: Script written. Partial casting done. Seeking micro budget to film production in late 2024 or early 2025.
LOGLINE: A grieving widower who has had enough of disastrous blind dates set up by his friend, agrees to one for a final time, and finds this date is really blind, but also his perfect match.
Actress, comedienne, and producer Leigh Ann Kinghorn (see inset photo) became the inspiration for Eric Nemoto to write his screenplay, The Last Blind Date. Leigh Ann was one of the initial group of actors, along with Eric, who founded TAG – The Actors’ Group, and served as the organization’s first president. Leigh Ann was part of the original ensemble of actors who first started performing plays at TAG’s Yellow Brick Studio on Keawe Street, in a section of Honolulu called Kaka`ako, which became the start of TAG evolving and developing into a community theatre. These first set of TAG plays, in which Leigh Ann performed in either lead or featured roles, included: 1) the showcase of scenes, Dances For Two; 2) the very first TAG play, The Neighborhood; 3) the surreal flashback part fantasy, part drama, Letters To Cleo; 4) the drama about hurricane survivors lit only by candlelight, Trapped; and 5) the psychological drama, On The Verge. These plays occurred during the years of 1995-1998. Active also in film, she appeared in the feature films, Man In A Cage (2016), and A Boy, A Girl And A Dead Cat (1999), as well as the short film, Vent (2004). She also served as the executive producer for three other short films, Code Chaotic (2001), A Legacy (2003), and Seeking Rainbows (2003). Leigh Ann, an extremely passionate actress dedicated to the craft, relocated to Los Angeles in the latter half of the 2000’s to further her acting career in Hollywood. But as fate would have it, she was soon met with a personal challenge she had never anticipated. She developed age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a disease that caused a severe loss of her central vision. Undaunted, she became a comedienne, and used her situation as the angle for her routine. Honing her craft through comedy classes and practice, she developed an act that was witty, sardonic, and hilarious. One of her performances, at L.A.’s The Comedy Union, is captured in the video below.
Leigh Ann Kinghorn Performing At The Comedy Union
Inspired by her real life story and her comedy club video he saw on YouTube, Eric eventually wrote The Last Blind Date during the beginning and through the height of the pandemic. He completed it in the fall of 2020 (September 26th, 2020, to be exact), and given that the story was inspired by her, he did so while envisioning Leigh Ann in the lead role of Madison Plummer (see Script Treatment). A writer of numerous feature length scripts (it was number 139 on his personal life goal of 300), Eric felt that it was one of his better ones (others for whom he trusts their opinion would come to validate his viewpoint). However, the world being in the clutches of COVID, the thought was that this was one of those “eventually” productions, one that would be characterized as a movie that would be filmed “one day.” This was particularly so also because Eric’s attention was focused on other projected YBS projects Covid Release, Phaseland, and Shikata Ga Nai (all of which would eventually end up being completed), and also because the thinking of filming the movie would require a larger budget given the logistics of flying Leigh Ann in (should she agree to take the part), providing accommodations, etc., was beyond the means of YBS at the time. Then, seemingly quite serendipitously, Leigh Ann contacted Eric in the spring of 2023 to catch up on things. During their conversation, Eric revealed that he had written a script that was inspired by Leigh Ann, and she, in turn, advised Eric that she had actually moved back to Hawaii. All of a sudden, the project now seemed doable if she would agree to play the part of Madison, for which Leigh Ann expressed her great interest. Eric emailed Leigh Ann the script, which she immediately read, and responded that she liked it, and agreed to do the part. As such, The Last Blind Date, one of those “we’ll get to it eventually” movies, is now slated for production with a micro budget which Eric intends to raise using other projects he is committed to film in 2024.
Leigh Ann Kinghorn’s decision to play Madison Plummer was, frankly, a casting coup, since the part was written for her, and her portrayal will undoubtedly draw upon her own personal experiences. While he had always envisioned himself playing the role of Kyle Kawada, Leigh Ann’s agreeing to take the part provided Eric Nemoto (see inset photo) with a renewed sense of purpose to film The Last Blind Date. He had acted with Leigh Ann on both stage (TAG’s set of original plays produced in the late 90’s) and screen (the short film “about” TAG, Vent, produced in 2004), and so he knew that with her casting the production would have an actress of great talent and professionalism. With the lead actors secured, the task of finding the supporting actors, thought to be something that could be placed well on the backburners, would come to receive priority attention due to a play that Eric wrote and produced at TAG called Building Permit. Based 50% on fact and 50% on fiction, the play conveyed the 100% lunacy of TAG’s six-year odyssey to obtain a building permit to renovate its theater. This riotous comedy drama played for 11 sold out performances during its run from September 15th, 2023 through October 1st, 2023. Cast in the play were veteran actors, Eric Mita and Lyana Atsumi, who both gave hilariously winning performances (Eric as a cynical building permit applicant, and Lyana as an unsympathetic city government employee). Based on their great portrayals, Eric Nemoto enthusiastically offered them the roles of Kyle’s friend, Edwin Tanji (Eric), and his wife, Gwen Tanji (Lyana), and both accepted. Their casting locks in the movie’s major roles. The remaining characters with brief speaking lines (waiter, Kyle’s disaster dates) and various background artists will be cast sometime prior to principal photography which, again, is slated for late 2024 or early 2025.
Eric Mita & Lyana Atsumi Will Play Matchmakers Edwin Tanji & Gwen Tanji
We begin with a narrator providing a brief history of dating as images appear on the movie screen. It is the voice of Edwin Tanji who waits by a coffee shop for his best friend, Kyle Kawada. As Kyle drives to him Ed’s narration explains that Kyle still grieves for his wife, who passed away a few years earlier. And while he explains that Kyle is not necessarily always sad, since he lost his beloved Melanie, he has never truly been happy. As Kyle arrives, Ed puts a football he had been holding into a plastic bag and waves to Kyle as he drives to the parking garage. Before he heads to the coffee shop Ed gets a call on his cell from Jason, his work friend, and his expression signals a bit of concern.
Later, after their lunch, Ed completes a story about his daughter’s gender reveal party. Kyle finds it amusing. He asks about Ed’s wife, Gwen, and is told she’s fine and getting ready to visit her sister in California. Ed mentions that Gwen was talking about this woman she met and Kyle cuts him off. He tells Ed that every time he tells stories about his family the subject later turns to Ed having some woman he wants to fix Kyle up with. He goes on to describe a litany of disastrous blind dates that Ed coordinated. Ed reminds Kyle that he’s stopped referring blind dates to him. Kyle reminds Ed, that yes, he hasn’t but suspects Ed called their luncheon meeting for that purpose. Ed denies it and takes out the football and tosses it to Kyle. Kyle catches it and squints his confusion and then curiosity. Ed explains that it’s from a high school game that he and Kyle played in. Kyle is fascinated by this but then returns the ball to Ed. Ed tells him to keep it but Kyle says no. Ed tells Kyle that he seems to think that their high school years were the worst time of his life. Kyle retorts that high school was a great time. He just doesn’t need to be reminded of it.
As they walk to their cars in the garage, Ed finally tells Kyle that he has one final blind date request. Kyle is beside himself and tells Ed he knew all along that this was the purpose for them meeting up. Ed swears it wasn’t. He said he called their meeting just to give him the football and the only reason that he’s bringing it up now, is his work friend, Jason, called him just as Kyle arrived for their lunch to say he couldn’t go through with the blind date that he arranged for him. So Ed pleads and finally Kyle accepts and realizes that the date is for that night and in only a couple of hours. As he looks at the piece of paper that tells him the name of the woman, Madison Plummer, along with her address, he starts for his car as Ed has already walked away. Kyle looks up and calls out for the woman’s cell phone number but Ed has already gone beyond hearing distance. Kyle sighs and gets in his car.
Kyle’s car arrives in front of Madison’s house. As he approaches the front door he relives all of his nightmare introductions with past dates. Wading through a sea of doubt he finally rings the doorbell, where he hears the voice of Madison welcoming him as Jason and telling him that he’s early so to please just wait in the living room as she’s still getting ready. Kyle obliges and as he waits, he and Madison talk. He tells her that he’s not Jason but a replacement so if she really isn’t feeling comfortable about this, she could just say so, and he’ll leave, no problem. But as she hadn’t ever met Jason before either, Madison tells Kyle that they’ll just continue on and see how things go. Kyle sighs reluctantly and agrees. Through their discussion we learn that Gwen was the one who suggested Madison to Ed to match up with someone. Kyle continues to wait and all through wonders if it was just best if he hadn’t even entered the door. But eventually Madison appears and Kyle is flabbergasted. She is gorgeous. To Kyle she is a 12 on a scale of 10. He fumbles through an introduction and they agree to take on the night. In his car later Madison asks Kyle if his car is new. Kyle chuckles, it’s 20-years-old although he’s kept it in great condition. Madison remarks that the car smells good. Kyle jokes that it could be the “new car air freshener” that he uses.
At the restaurant that had been prearranged, Kyle is surprised to learn that Madison is actually the owner. As she excuses herself to use the restroom, Kyle calls Ed. Back at his house, Ed and Gwen are in mid argument over the fact that he failed to tell Kyle one vital thing about his date tonight, when Ed’s cell phone rings. It’s Kyle and they both fear the worst. But what Ed hears is something totally unexpected. Kyle thinks the world of Madison and refers to her as a “goddess.” Ed and Gwen high five each other in relief and Ed comments that he thought Kyle was calling him to cuss him out. Kyle asks why and it dawns on Ed and Gwen that he doesn’t know and they ask him. Kyle asks doesn’t know what? Ed finally tells him. Madison is blind. The news jolts Kyle and as he watches Madison return to their table it dawns on him that she is actually counting her steps to return to their booth. They have their dinner and Kyle is absolutely fascinated by Madison and admits that he had no idea at all that she was blind. They go on to have a wonderful time together.
As they arrive back to Madison’s place, she prevents the awkward “seeing her to the door” moment by saying that she had a wonderful time. Kyle thinks he gets it and nods his understanding. But Madison then mentions that neither of them had dessert since they ate so much so why don’t they go get some. Kyle smiles and agrees and asks her where does she want to go? She says for them to go to McDonald’s. Kyle chuckles and starts his car up again.
As they snack on sundaes at McDonald’s they talk about how Madison was born in Wisconsin and contrary to what Kyle may think, it wasn’t in the capital of Madison. She was born in Oshkosh and the Madison connection was because her parents were both college students at the University of Wisconsin who likely conceived her there. Kyle tells Madison that after learning of Melanie’s dire illness, he told her that she wouldn’t be the first to go, and she told him that he would be all right. Kyle sadly says that they were both wrong. The conversation turns to Madison’s age when Kyle blurts out that in describing her to Kyle, Ed said she looked like she was in her early forties. Madison asks Kyle to guess her age and Kyle does say the early forties and Madison scoffs. Kyle incredulously thinks she’s younger. Madison contends that Kyle is joking. He swears he’s not and asks Madison for her real age. She tells him she’s in her early fifties. Kyle can’t believe it and Madison happily blushes. As the tables are reversed and Madison attempts to guess Kyle’s age she takes her hands and puts them on Kyle’s face. When she does that two things happen. She correctly guesses Kyle’s age as being in his early sixties and a connection is made between them, the first tinge of subtle intimacy. Madison pulls her hands away and soon is suggesting that it’s getting late. Kyle, a bit unnerved, agrees and starts the car up once more.
Arriving back at Madison’s house the two again go through their comments about what a great time they had. But this time it is Kyle who suggests they keep the night going. He asks Madison if she would want to take a walk with him somewhere. She smiles and says she would love that.
They walk in a park and then sit at a bench to talk, where Madison talks about her blindness setting in and how her busy, not enough hours in a day, life suddenly changed, and how it was the straw that ultimately broke the camel’s back of her relationship with her boyfriend. Kyle tells Madison about his late wife Melanie, and how he knew she was the one for him as soon as he met her, and because of that proposed to her on the spot. Melanie, shocked by the proposal couldn’t come to say yes immediately, but she did so six months later. As the wind makes Madison a bit chilly, they decide to return to the car.
Back once again in front of Madison’s house, Kyle believes this is actually the night’s end. But Madison surprisingly asks Kyle if he would like to come in for a drink and Kyle eagerly says yes. He gets out, goes around his car, opens Madison’s door, and escorts her to her door.
Later inside, Madison brings out a bottle of wine with two glasses and sits on the couch next to Kyle. Kyle is then shocked to find that Madison has brought out a 1974 Robert Mondavi Estate Bottled Cabernet, a classic red. They begin drinking and sharing stories and in their discussion Kyle tells the story of how he made an interception in the State High School Football Finals and came within a half yard of scoring the game winning touchdown. And when the team’s offense couldn’t punch it in on four straight downs, his great play was all but forgotten. The memory serves as a metaphor for where Kyle is in his life, merely living in a state of joyless existence. As the night goes on, Madison and Kyle go on to polish off more bottles of wine until they are both completely drunk. Madison refuses to let Kyle drive home. Instead he will sleep over but they both agree that whatever affections they obviously might have developed over the night that they won’t sleep with each other for they know that it shouldn’t happen that way. Kyle does asks Madison, however, if he could tell her the one thing he’s wanted to say since the moment he first saw her. Madison tells him okay. Kyle tells her she’s beautiful. Madison melts and can’t help herself. She tells Kyle to come over and they embrace in a passionate kiss.
The next afternoon his ringing cell phone awakens Kyle. He comes into the living room to answer his cell and talks to Ed, who wants to know what happened. Kyle, confused, looks around and tells Ed that he will call him back for he needs to use the bathroom. They hang up but in reality Kyle searches for Madison. In the kitchen he finds a note that says she went out to buy them lunch and will be back. Kyle calls Ed back and tells him that he never left Madison’s house and yes they slept together. Ed, shocked and yet ecstatic, tells Kyle that this is a good thing… right? But Kyle is still entrenched in his grief over Melanie and emotionally tells Ed that he still misses Melanie. Ed tells Kyle that this “is” a good thing and the last thing that Melanie would ever have wanted was for Kyle to never go on with his life. Accepting his friend’s advice, Kyle begins to worry about Madison. It is well past three in the afternoon and she hasn’t returned from going out to retrieve their lunches. He asks Ed for Madison’s phone number and Ed explains that he doesn’t have it. He got it on a note from Gwen and merely passed it on to Jason at work. Kyle tells him to call Jason, but Ed explains that Jason’s cell got covered by a wave at the beach, that’s why he called Ed to break the date, he couldn’t remember Madison’s number. Kyle tells Ed to contact Gwen then, but Ed explains she’s on a plane to visit her sister in California. What rotten luck Kyle says he seems to find himself in. But Ed assures him that Madison will likely return soon. As they hang up, Ed again admonishes Kyle to not make things too complicated, that it is okay to fall in love again.
Kyle spends the next hours cleaning Madison’s place up. He empties the bottles of wine, makes the bed that they slept in, brushes his teeth with a toothbrush Madison left him, and showers and shaves. After that he is an anxious, worried soul. Outside, he looks up and down the street and contemplates driving off to find her. As he just starts towards his car he notices something in the distance. He holds his hand up to shield his eyes from the setting sun, and sees that it is Madison, walking towards him with her cane. But as he does so, he notices his wedding ring. This makes him put his hand down and take a moment to contemplate. Looking off into the distance, seeing the struggling Madison, he then takes off his ring, puts it into his pants pocket, and begins to trot up the street towards her.
As they enter the house, Madison explains that she went down the street to a nearby steak take out counter where she waited in line behind three other customers. While she waited she realized that if she bought the two steak plates, plus soft drinks, that she actually wouldn’t be able to carry it back to her house given she also needed her cane to help guide her way. The moment saddened her and she decided to walk away and seek the park that they were at the previous night to go and do some thinking. Only thing was that the park was very far away and after a while she eventually got lost. And while she could’ve called to get an Uber ride to take her home she began to feel depressed thinking what if she got home and found that Kyle had not stayed but in fact had left. Kyle lectures her that he was in fact worried sick about her and was distraught because he had no means of contacting her for he never got her cell number. Madison levels with Kyle that they had spent a wonderful night together, but at the end of the day, he still grieves for his wife and she will still be blind. Kyle responds that he just decided to move on with his life and to prove to her that her blindness was not a problem, he asks Madison to marry her. Madison, shocked and shaken, tells Kyle continuously that people just don’t meet and get married. But Kyle continues to repeat his proposal. Finally electing to take matters literally into his own hands, Kyle pulls Madison in for a long passionate kiss to which she responds too with passion until ultimately breaking away to tell Kyle if he keeps on kissing her like that she won’t be able to answer him. Kyle smiles and tells her he presumes that’s a yes. Madison returns a smile and nods. They kiss again.
Weeks later Ed and Gwen are having a get together at their house with family and friends. There, Madison and Kyle are a happy couple and she shows off her engagement ring. As everyone is having a good time we hear Ed’s narration again of how sometimes love does happen at first sight and that this time Kyle was not about to stop until he crossed the goal line. We get an ending shot of the football that was brought out to the party. As the ending credits ensue we see other images of the practice of dating.