I waddle through the back lot of Paramount Studios, six months pregnant with my second child, Miss Katie. She kicks and rolls as I wend my way in the dark to the restaurant where I am meeting two young writers to discuss a possible new film project. It is the winter of 1979. The air is cold and damp. I am tired. I gather my coat around my big belly as I approach this landmark eatery where the old ghosts of Hollywood hover and the new players meet, share ideas and gossip unceremoniously about one another. I'm at the end of a long week spent on a dark looping stage, re-creating every word I spoke in my last film, Trip with Anita. I am sick of looking at myself day after day trying to make the words fit in my mouth as each scene moves along silently with just a click track in my headphones. Thank heavens it's almost over and I can just concentrate on having my second baby and returning to my so-called normal life for a while. Maybe it's not too late to make my marriage work, I think to myself. Maybe if I spend less time working, doing films back-to-back, and more time at home with Daddy Bill and little Oliver, we'll be okay. If my new production company takes off, giving me a little more control over the movies I star in and can make for other people, then I can rein back a little. I open the door to the restaurant and see Nancy Meyers and Charles Shyer sitting in a booth near the window. They are animated, energetic, inspired and full of youth. I like them immediately. "Hey, thanks for coming all the way into Hollywood to meet with me," I say as I peel off my coat and slump heavily into the seat opposite them. "I've been looping all day on this film I did in Italy last year. They don't use sound over there. Go figure." We laugh about the archaic way that that particular Italian director makes movies. The menu comes, and I order my weekly dose of liver while my companions jump right in explaining what they're up to. "We've been working on this idea for a script and want to talk to you about it...to see if you and your company might be interested in helping us get it made. We'd like you to play the lead role." I settle into my seat, ready and eager to hear. "Okay, guys, shoot." "It's a story of a spoiled Jewish girl named Judy Benjamin who joins the Army on an impulse after her husband drops dead on their wedding night," Nancy says. "While making love," Charles chips in. I laugh out loud. "Oh my God, that's funny. Really funny. Then what?" "Well, of course, she's a fish out of water in the Army," Nancy continues. "She can't believe what she's done or how she's living. She can't wait to get out and go back to her comfortable life. But, guess what?" "What?" I'm on the edge of my seat. "When the chance finally comes, she decides to stay." I laugh and laugh as they tell me the whole story. I can't believe what I'm hearing. The concept is so fresh, so brave and original. The female lead carries the whole movie, almost by herself. She embarks on a personal journey and becomes empowered and independent and strong. It couldn't be more different from my last movie. I can feel a flutter of excitement in my belly that has nothing to do with my baby. This is a dream role for any actress. My fatigue melts away and my heart races at being asked to play one of the best characters I have ever been offered. "What's the film called?" I ask Nancy and Charles. "Private Benjamin," they reply. Feeling the warmth of my baby resting on the tops of my thighs, I shift in my seat, wondering, praying Judy Benjamin will wait for me. Finally, I pop the question. "When do you plan on shooting this?" "We aren't sure yet. We want to write the script on spec first." "Oh, I see." I nod. "You haHawn, Goldie is the author of 'A Lotus Grows in the Mud' with ISBN 9780399152856 and ISBN 0399152857.