In a cyber world, even virtue is virtual

In his first on-camera interview, Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o tells Katie Couric about spending all night on the phone with his online girlfriend, who never existed.
Mike Wise
Columnist January 24, 2013

Somewhere in the cybersphere, around 1 a.m. Wednesday:

@SofCoppola to @MikeWiseGuy: Hi Mike. Didn’t have an email for you, but looked you up on Twitter. Can you follow back and I’ll DM [direct message] you?

Mike Wise is a sports columnist for The Washington Post. View Archive

@MikeWiseGuy: Sure. Just followed back.

D@SofCoppola: We’d like to commission a screenplay for my new movie and we’d like to speak with you about it. Interested?

D@MikeWiseGuy: I’m flattered. Definitely interested.

D@SofCoppola: Great! Have you done this kind of work before?

D@MikeWiseGuy: Technically no, but I did help pitch a basketball movie to Bob Weinstein once at Miramax. (He passed on it.)

D@SofCoppola: No worries. You’ll be a natural. Would your bosses at The Washington Post be okay with you working for my film company?

D@MikeWiseGuy: They’ll be fine with it. They let me do a radio show for 31 / 2 years. Since that sort of, well, “ended” recently, I’ve been looking for something else.

D@SofCoppola: Good. Do you have an agent?

D@MikeWiseGuy: I work with a literary guy but no film agent.

D@SofCoppola: We pay a flat rate of $500,000 per accepted manuscript, so I wouldn’t bother with an agent if I were you.

D@MikeWiseGuy: Okay. So what’s next? Conference call with your film company people?

D@SofCoppola: We’ll get to that. Right now I just want you sit down and write, pour your heart out like you do in those long-form stories you write.

D@MikeWiseGuy: And e-mail it to you?

D@SofCoppola: You could, but I prefer you just paste a Twitter link here. More personal.

D@MikeWiseGuy: Okay. Have to be honest. This sounds fishy. I’m sure you’re legit and all, but how did you end up choosing me for this project?

D@SofCoppola: I read the story of you and your dog falling through the ice several years ago. Since then, I’ve probably read 20 stories a year from you. You have the gift.

D@MikeWiseGuy: I’m speechless, especially because I’ve really respected your film work. I haven’t seen “Bling Ring” yet.

D@MikeWiseGuy: But your adaptation of Jeffrey Eugenides’ “The Virgin Suicides” novel was masterful. I’m sure you’ve been told that.

D@SofCoppola: Never. : ) Let’s just say I have an eye for spotting unknown talent. Your career is “Free Willy” to me. I want to buy scuba gear, unchain you and let you be all you can be.

D@MikeWiseGuy: Your mouth to my boss’s ears. I’d be remiss if I didn’t say you are responsible for reviving Bill Murray’s career in “Lost in Translation.”

D@SofCoppola: I always thought leading men did their best work in middle age. Hint, hint. : )

D@MikeWiseGuy: Yeah, well, I loved you in “The Godfather III.” I don’t care what anyone says. You actually read my Post columns?

D@SofCoppola: Yes, though I think you were too hard on Mike Shanahan earlier this year.

D@MikeWiseGuy: Okay, this is too unbelievable. Sofia Coppola reads my columns about Redskins coaches? I’m not buying this.

D@SofCoppola: Told you, after the dog story I was hooked. I’ll be in touch. Off to the Super Bowl for a location shoot.

D@MikeWiseGuy: I’m in New Orleans all next week. You want to grab coffee or food at some point?

D@SofCoppola: Sorry, can’t. I’m in and out on Monday. Back to L.A. and the editing room.

D@MikeWiseGuy: You mind if we talk on the phone for a couple minutes, just so I know this is real?

D@SofCoppola: I’m crazy busy and getting a new cell tomorrow. But is next week okay to talk?

D@MikeWiseGuy: Sure. While we’ve been messaging, I looked up your Twitter account and it says you have just 2 followers while @Scoppola_News has 5,000. Kinda weird.

D@SofCoppola: I just got a personal account literally Monday. It’s me, I assure you.

D@MikeWiseGuy: Just curious, are you at home in Paris now?

D@SofCoppola: No. I’m in Italy at Palazzo Margherita, the family villa where I got married. We go back to Paris tomorrow. So glad I got ahold of you.

D@MikeWiseGuy: Me too, Sofia. Okay, again, this sounds too good to be true. An academy-award winning screenwriter wants me to write her next movie?

D@SofCoppola: I know it’s random, but I have felt strongly your voice is what’s needed for this project to really work and feel 100 percent believable.

D@MikeWiseGuy: I guess we can take care of contractual things later, but tell me one thing: What sort of screenplay do you want me to start writing?

D@SofCoppola: The Manti Te’o story.

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