After King and Moss headed back to the airport, the three managers filed into Bruso's room and sat down. The place was immaculate. No weed. No cigarette smoke. Bruso said he had quit cold turkey two days earlier.

Bruso paced the room. He turned down their offer to go to Giant Burger; he could still hardly eat. "You're losin' weight, bro," Burton said. Bruso got out a tape measure to size up his quickly vanishing paunch: "Holy fuck! It's down to 39 and a half," he said. "I've lost 8 and a half inches since October. It's not because of trying; it's because of the stress."

Burton told Bruso he needed to stop worrying, and promised to help him find a new place (and in the following weeks, his managers did, indeed, scout out housing and visit Bruso regularly to try to pull him out of his funk). "They want you in L.A. in two weeks if we can get your mind right. They want you there next week if we can get your mind right. It happens when you want it to happen."

Yet there's a paradox here: Epic Beard Man is a character that happens only when Bruso's mind is not right, and Bruso is no actor. His depression must be coaxed to the right level of madness. And this may be his last chance: Views of the fight video have plateaued at four million, and Google searches for "Epic Beard Man" have flatlined. Producers have rejected as too incendiary the fight video Washington's agent was trying to sell. Turino grew tired of the managers bickering over the control of the donation Web site and shut it down.

"How are your prescriptions, Tommy?" Loughran asks.

"I'm not taking anything," Bruso answers. "I don't have a doctor right now. I don't want to take any medications."

"Are you better without it?" Loughran asks.

"Yeah, I'm better without it. If I take medication, I'm going to be like a fucking zombie. I'm not going to be able to do anything. I'm not going to have no action, no anything in me. ... That psychiatric medication is no good."

"The highs are the highs and the lows are low; that's manic depression, you know," Loughran says.

"You know, the best medication is some good weed."

"I'm not saying no," Loughran chuckles.

Bruso continues, "But I don't want to depend on that because that can get you superdepressed if you smoke too much of that, too."

Bruso says he's sick of all the prank phone calls. "These little kids telling me I'm their hero — I'm not a hero, man! You look at my prison record, I'm not nobody's hero, you know."

"People judge who their own heroes are, you know," Loughran says.

"You think I can do this?" Bruso asks, sounding like a man with no confidence left.

"You can do this," Burton says. "We're gonna walk you through this, bro."

The guys say they'll go with him to the filming, and Burton makes one last attempt to rally Bruso. "You're going to be in a movie, bro. Girls will be like, 'We want your autograph – on my boob.' They'll be like, 'Sign my boob!'"

Bruso isn't buying it. "No, it's not gonna be like that."

"It's never like that, Tom," Loughran adds.

"This is a new start," Burton says. "You'll get the new movie, you'll move into a new place, it's a new start." The phone rang. Bruso answered it, and asked whether the caller wanted to talk with his manager. He passed the phone to Loughran. "Where you from?" Loughran asked. "Universal Studios?"

"Do you think he's bullshitting?" Bruso asks.

"Yeah," Burton says.

Bruso shakes his head.

Internet movie it is.

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