Film Producer shares secrets on Hollywood and the casting couch.



My dear friend Jalal Merhi of Film One Productions, came into town and we reminisced about the good ‘ol times of Hollywood.


Jalal Merhi is famous for producing action movies such as “Tiger Claws.” With the likes of Lorenzo Lamas, Olivier Gruner, Loren Avedon, Billy Drago and Michael Blanks. He was a world champion martial artist himself when he was cast as the lead in movies for Universal Pictures and went on to own his own massive library of films and TV shows.

Jalal and I met at the Cannes’ Film Festival back in the late eighties, where I was representing a small sci-fi film I had produced and Jalal was there with his string of action movies. He says when we first met, he was interested in casting me as the lead in one of his movies and he presumed I was “just a wanna be starlet.” He said he was shocked later when he came to my ranch and saw I had a budding enterprise going on with, “like a studio lot with buildings and staff and a real business.” Jalal of course was talking about my naked photo business selling layouts to magazines like “Penthouse.” At that time the Internet had just launched and our photo production for the wed was insane.


Jalal and I became great friends. I ended up being the leading lady in three of his movies; The Circuit I, II and III as well as co-producing with him. And Jalal would often shoot scenes for his movies at my ranch. He’d blow up cars, produce action fight scenes with stunt men falling off the bridge all on my “back lot,” while my naked photo business was going on along side it.


Jalal remembers how his film crew were shooting at my ranch when some of his grip guys came across a storage room of nude girl photos. Then they couldn’t believe their eyes when they saw some naked models shooting for a nude magazine. “Oh, don’t mind them,” Jalal instructed his crew. We laughed.


Over the years, he got a really good glimpse of the crazy goings on at the ranch and Gail’s business world.


Jalal has also seen me through some of my crazy relationships including the one in the book about the producer who all the actresses were throwing themselves at. “You knew that was trouble going in,” he laughed.

“People are shocked when they learn about the real Gail,” Jalal says,
“She wasn’t just an actress, she had a real business operating!” He goes on to say,
“I have a lot of respect for Gail. She was an incredible business woman. Many guys in Hollywood give you their word about doing something and it means nothing. But Gail has always come through, no matter what, she has always kept her word.”

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© 2019 by Gail Thackray