By Erin Sherbert
By Rachel Swan
By Erin Sherbert
By Erin Sherbert
By Erin Sherbert
By Albert Samaha
By Erin Sherbert
By Erin Sherbert
On Feb. 15, Thomas Bruso's already unpredictable life took an abrupt detour. It was the day he ceased being Thomas Bruso and became Epic Beard Man, Internet sensation.
That day, Bruso pulled on his custom-made "I am a motherfucker" T-shirt, snapped on his fanny pack, and met the pot-smoking buddy he calls Ugly Bob at the bus stop at Fruitvale and MacArthur in Oakland. They boarded a San Francisco–bound AC Transit bus, planning to buy some weed in the city.
The two sixtysomethings sat near the front of the bus, where Bruso announced his plans to get his Stacy Adams shoes shined by a "brother" for his mom's funeral in Michigan. The driver would later tell police that Bruso had said that black people are good at shoe shining, but whatever the wording, it surely came out in Bruso's loud and gruff Chicago tones, and got people to pay attention. As Ugly Bob recalls it (though he says he wasn't wearing his hearing aid that day), an intoxicated black passenger named Michael Lovette said, "Why don't you get your own 'brother' to shine your shoes?"
Bruso is not one to walk away from a challenge — just ask the North Beach cops who drove up to where he was yelling obscenities at cars on Columbus Avenue one day, and billy-clubbed and pepper-sprayed the 6-foot-1, 225-pound hulk until he cracked up and cried. Or check out the video on YouTube, Bruso's first taste of Internet infamy, of the police Tasing him after he thumbed his nose at them at an Oakland A's game last August.
Lovette couldn't have known all that as Bruso walked to the back of the bus and sat opposite him. The tension was enough for a young black woman named Iyanna Washington sitting beside Bruso to start recording the exchange.
"Let's get back to business. How much you charge me for a spit-shine?" Bruso asked. Lovette, who is 50 but looks 20 years younger, with braids and wraparound sunglasses, replied in a low voice, "Why a brother gotta spit-shine your shoes?"
"You offered!" Bruso exclaimed, as though he were genuinely confused.
"I didn't offer you shit," Lovette answered.
"What did you just say when you walked by me?"
"I said, 'Why a fuckin' 'brother' gotta spit-shine your shoes?'"
"No, he don't have to!" Bruso yelled back.
"Why a white man can't spit-shine — "
"It could be a Chinaman — it don't matter!" Bruso shouted. "I ain't prejudiced! What? You think I'm prejudiced?"
Lovette pointed to the front of the bus, where Ugly Bob still sat. "Look, dude, take yo' ass back up there and get the fuck out of my face right now," he said.
Bruso stood up and started walking to the front of the bus, yelling over his shoulder at Lovette: "You ain't scarin' this white boy. I'm 67 years old. You ain't scarin' me."
A voice from behind the camera, which many think belongs to Washington, egged them on: "Say it again! Say it again, Pinky! Beat his white ass! Whup his ass!"
Lovette and Bruso continued to talk smack to each other. Bruso grunted, "I'm gonna slap the shit out of ya!"
"What?" Lovette shrieked, striding to the front of the bus. He lunged at Bruso in a sloppy attempt to hit him in the chest. Bruso swatted off the punch, stood up, and loosed a whirlwind of blows with his meaty fists that sent Lovette to the floor, hands up to shield his bleeding nose. Bruso grabbed Lovette's collar and screamed, "I told you not to fuck with me!" and then told the bus driver and Washington's camera, "He hit me! He fuckin' hit me!" before leaving the bus. Lovette lumbered back to his seat, dripping blood, promising to "kill that nigga."
The next day, Washington uploaded "AC Transit Bus Fight I Am a Motherfucker" to YouTube. The 3 minutes and 21 seconds of explosive footage got more than a million views in 24 hours. Web junkies dubbed Bruso "Epic Beard Man," and posted fan art re-creating him as a muscular cartoon character, a pimp in a Stacy Adams ad, or getting his shoes shined by Lovette. Others created videos of the fight as Mortal Kombat or Street Fighter parodies; another composed and uploaded an "I Am a Motherfucker" tribute song. Hundreds of people posted response videos breaking down the fight. Comedians used it as skit material, while high schoolers cracked up at the senior citizen's unlikely fighting prowess.
Epic Beard Man was a phenomenon. Of course, his new "fans" knew little about the man himself. Instead, viewers saw what they wanted to see. Some saw an elderly hero. Some saw a racist. And others — well, they saw dollar signs.
Bruso pulled his Chihuahua, Pinky, close to his face so she could lick him. "Would I ever hurt you, my lovely-dovely?" he cooed. The marijuana smoke was so thick in his room at the Altenheim senior residential home in Oakland — one of the nicer places a Section 8 voucher and $11,000 a year in welfare will get you — that you could get high just by walking in. A TV and radio played simultaneously. A note taped on the wall under a Marilyn Monroe poster read, "Tom, I am a local producer from Nash Entertainment. We had an interview scheduled with you for today. Please call me. I have some money for you."
The phone rang, and Bruso asked me to answer it. In the month since he became Epic Beard Man, he has become wary, and not just because of the kids who call to ask him how much he'll charge to shine their shoes. You can't have a gloves-off racial clash of the kind rarely seen by polite society and expect to avoid the fallout. Dozens of black men posted videos on YouTube taking Bruso's side, arguing that he was defending himself against a fool who read racism where there was none. Yet white supremacists commenting on message boards saw an all-powerful white man triumphing over a scraggly thug. The far-right Occidental Quarterly referred to Bruso as a "folk hero to hundreds of thousands of White Americans who are tired of being perpetual victims of violent hate crimes in their own land." Bay Area National Anarchists, which preaches white separatism, attempted to organize a rally to support him.
There's no doubt Bruso uses wildly politically incorrect terms, but people who know him insist he's no racist at heart. His best friend, Junior, who is black, will tell you so, and Bruso attends a Baptist church with mostly black parishioners. Even the bus driver, who is also black, told police that she didn't believe Bruso was making the racial remarks "in a mean way." According to the police report, she said he "didn't know his comments were insulting and ... appeared to have a mental disorder." When the cops arrived after the bus fight and arrested Bruso, he was committed for 72 hours to a psychiatric ward at the Alta Bates Summit Medical Center in Oakland. He was charged with battery resulting in injury of a transit passenger, but Lovette told police he wasn't interested in pressing charges. Yet as soon as Bruso was released from the hospital, white racists started calling to congratulate him, their salutations turning to threats upon finding out he didn't share their views. Black people called with promises of violence.
Bruso started to worry. In his big-talking moments, he'll say things like, "You're welcome to come to the funeral, girl. I've been threatened 17 times already. It's just a matter of time before they sneak up on me and blow me away." But behind the exaggeration, he got tired of the attention. Soon after the fight, he shaved off his epic beard. But then a video of him without his beard was posted online, too.
I picked up the phone. It was one of Bruso's sisters, calling from Wisconsin. She demanded that I leave immediately: "It's all a bunch of lies!" she shouted.
His sister in Minnesota, whom we'll call Anne because she asked that his family members' names be withheld, feels the same way. Anne says she could bring herself to watch only a couple of minutes of some of the news, man-on-the-street interviews, and documentary clips on YouTube in which her brother embarked on rants familiar to the North Beachers who know him as Crazy Tom, Vietnam Tom, or Touchdown Tommy, one of the neighborhood's most infamous unmedicated kooks: He was stuck in an oven by his mom, he beat up his father, he was a vet who turned into a pimp in Chicago.
Anne ripped the stories apart. No, their mom never put him in an oven. He was never a pimp, nor did he beat up his father. And contrary to what everyone believes, including people raising money online for Bruso, Vietnam Tom never went to 'Nam.
"If he has your attention, he can tell you all types of stories and make himself feel good about who he is for that moment in time," she says. Yet she's tired of him spinning and believing his own tall tales. "We're like, 'You're not going to be rich and famous, you're bullshitting them. And you believe it. You believe you're Vietnam Tom, that you're Epic Beard Man.'"
Anne says her brother, who says he is bipolar, gets out of control because he refuses to take his meds. He says the medication turns him into a vegetable, but she has another diagnosis: "If you're taking meds, and you're calm, you can't act out and blame others. ... He chooses to be in the limelight of negative attention."
Obviously he's getting plenty of it now. "It's a delusional life he's living through this media glittery-type attention," Anne says. "It's wrong to even pick up on it. I'm asking you not to glorify him."
Bruso's glorification isn't confined to the Internet. Tony Turino strode into Bruso's apartment on a March afternoon. Turino is what you can call a true Beard Man believer, a cheerful IT guy with a Beatles moptop who set up a Web site and PayPal account for people to donate to Bruso. He says he decided to help after he learned Bruso was a veteran who "was spit on." "We can all agree Tom is a patriot," he says. (Bruso was lying on his bed, resting his eyes, and remained silent.)
After finding Bruso in the weeks after the bus fight, Turino took him out for barbecue or burgers, gave him a laptop he didn't know how to use, and generally delighted in everything Bruso said with a golden retriever–like enthusiasm. He kidded Bruso: "You're Italian, right? You're a wop like me?"
"Yep," Bruso replied.
"Bruso, you can't fool me with a name like that, you greasy wop!" Turino chuckled.
(Anne laughed over the phone: "He's not Italian." Bruso comes from Brousseau — Anne says their ancestors were French Canadian.)
Turino came up with the idea to have Bruso make a "thank you" video to post online for anyone who donated at least $5. "Might as well give them what they want," Bruso says. He took out the PayPal receipts Turino had printed out for him: One guy from Philly had sent $15, asking Bruso to chastise a friend for staying in with his girlfriend instead of going out with the boys.
Bruso put on his full Epic Beard Man voice: "Cut him loose from the titty," he said to the camera, and Turino cracked up, later saying, "That's gonna go huge on YouTube!"
While Turino wanted to make money for Bruso, more people saw ways of making money off him. Several T-shirt sites popped up, only one of which cut Bruso a check. In the days after the fight, Washington appeared on the news, created her own Epic Beard Man T-shirts, and signed away nonexclusive rights to her cellphone video to an agent who wanted to farm it out to blooper shows. Matt Loughran, a North Beach resident and green office consultant, knew Bruso from his San Francisco days, and approached him about managing him and producing some T-shirts. Bruso offered him 33 percent of the profits; Loughran kindly shaved his take down to a more standard 15 percent. Loughran says he sent a video of Bruso to Howard Stern and made some follow-up phone calls, but Stern hasn't bitten yet.
Then there's Terry "The Fridge" Burton, a 6-foot-5 former Army medic and bodyguard for North Beach strip club owner Sam Conti. Burton, a mixed-martial-arts fighter, wanted to impress his team by getting a photo of Epic Beard Man, so he found Bruso's address through a bail-bondsman connection and staked out the Altenheim for three hours. Burton got his picture, but thought there might be other ways to market Bruso's larger-than-life persona. (He filmed Bruso expressing his support for gay marriage: "Let the gays sperm on each other.")
Bruso signed a "life-story contract" with Burton and his teammate and business partner, Ryan Villarante, who soon after signed a co-manager agreement with Loughran and Burton. Three managers? "Tom's a lot to manage; he needs three," Burton says. Soon after that, a producer and a writer from Los Angeles (who recently collaborated on the spoof The 41-Year-Old Virgin Who Knocked Up Sarah Marshall and Felt Superbad About It) arrived at the Altenheim to sign Bruso to a $6,000 contract for exclusive rights to his life story, guaranteeing him 10 percent of the profits from any future production. The writer, Craig Moss, says that the producer, Todd King, discussed the main tenets of the contract with Bruso, but Bruso was more interested in getting paid: "He said, 'Let's get this over [with] so we can buy my bag of weed.'"
Bruso says he went through the money in about a week, smoking pot and handing out large bills on the street (and flashing the money in interviews with random people that were later posted on YouTube). He even offered a wad of cash to former Supervisor Aaron Peskin to run for mayor after spotting him in Caffé Trieste. (Peskin turned him down.)
The managers didn't even find out about the $6,000 deal until the money was all gone.
I'm in the hole, bro," Burton told Loughran, as Bruso dug into a chicken parmigiana his managers were treating him to at a North Beach trattoria. "No, we're in the hole for sure," Loughran said, chuckling.
The three managers had taken Bruso out for his birthday — his 63rd, according to an expired driver's license; his 68th, if you believe everything he says on YouTube — and tried to both indulge and protect the uncontrollable. Bruso had decked himself out in sneakers and a fire-engine-red suit fit for a pimp, and scurried into doorways to smoke weed he said Loughran had slipped him as a birthday present. He brayed at women in passing cars, "Tarzan wants Jane!" Taking stiff but quick strides that left his managers struggling to keep up, he passed the old haunts that had stay-away orders against him — Saints Peter and Paul Church, Washington Square Park. He yelled obscenities into bars he'd been kicked out of more than once. A couple of male fans dribbled out of Columbus Cafe to greet him on the sidewalk.
"AC Transit!" one yelled. "We're just talking about you tonight. We're worried about you over there in Oaktown, man. ... You're high profile. We were concerned."
"Hey, hit first, talk later!" Bruso said.
"Oh, shit, man."
"Hey, ladies, how are you tonight?" Bruso asked some passing women, who replied with a faint-hearted "Fine." "I'll see you on the rebound, okay? Maybe rock and roll on Friday?"
"He's like a rock star right now," one of the Columbus Cafe guys said.
"What's with the entourage?" another asked.
The managers took Bruso into Little Darlings strip club and offered him dollar bills to tip the dancer gyrating in a thong onstage, but Bruso's claims of being a snake turned out to be all talk. He refused the money ("No, I ain't goin' out there!") and parked on a couch against the wall, saying he wanted pizza. He later explained to his managers, "I respect women. I'm not a pervert. I get plenty of poontang, man. I got plenty of girls waitin' in line." Burton just laughed.
The night wouldn't be complete without a visit to the North Beach location Bruso was perhaps the most familiar with: Central police station.
"Let's go to the police station and say hi to the coppers, man," he said. "Let's give 'em some fucking doughnuts. The coppers love me. They fucking love me."
Bruso walked into the station and yelled at the officers on the other side of the glass window. "They want to know how many times I've been in jail here," he said. "104 times, right?"
"At least," said one officer who stepped out to greet him.
Bruso and the cops have a bit of a love-hate relationship. He would fight like hell and yell profanities at them when they arrested him for screaming at passersby, violating restraining orders, or, once, slapping a waiter on Columbus Avenue. "When we'd come up on him, he'd be a big fighter and we'd have to wrestle him and cops got hurt and shit," Officer Carl T recalls. "He's a big old dude. Once we'd subdue him, he'd start crying like a baby. ... He's a little bit of a drama queen."
"There's my boy!" Bruso yelled when he saw Officer Mark Alvarez, a night beat cop with a trim mustache.
"Wildman Tom, wazzup?" Alvarez replied calmly, walking out of the station on a call.
Once Bruso was out of earshot, Alvarez said that there is little the city can do about guys like Bruso — court records show he's been on a repetitive cycle through behavioral court, pretrial diversion programs, and trips to jail. "At the end of the day, you can't force people to take their medicine," he says. "All in all, he's just another man with mental problems."
Bruso's run-ins with the law began early, Anne says. In his teens in Milwaukee, he robbed liquor stores and stole cash and cars. He was in and out of juvenile correctional institutions, where Anne says doctors experimented on him with LSD to calm him down.
"I was a mean kid. I had a death wish," Bruso says. "I was like a yo-yo — up and down." Anne says she was in the courtroom where a judge told him he could go to jail or go in the military. There, for whatever reason — Anne says he mouthed off to an officer at Fort Polk, La.; Bruso says he showed up drunk at the intake center — he was billyclubbed in the head. Both say he was discharged for psychiatric problems. (He has a Xerox of his honorable discharge certificate from December 1969.) Bruso admits he was relieved: "I didn't want to kill nobody."
Bruso moved to Chicago soon after, where he worked as a cab driver for two decades, picking fights with police on the side. Bruso first came to San Francisco in 1989 — he says he came to see the hippies (although Anne says it was to chase a woman). He recalls living homeless for two years, before getting disability payments and a room at the Casa Melissa hotel alongside Washington Square Park.
Flip through Bruso's photo albums and you'll see scenes of a self-styled badass: a black-and-white photo of a woman, the "love of my life," lying nude on a bed; random girls in bars; a Polaroid of four rifles; a shirtless Bruso directing traffic as flames burst out of a second-story Columbus Avenue window. Stuffed in one sleeve of the album is a plastic bag full of dark hairs labeled "Carol's Pubic Hairs. I Love It!"
Bruso was evicted from the hotel in 2006 for, among other nuisances, letting homeless people sleep on his floor. He got a Section 8 voucher and moved into the stately Altenheim in 2008. Some North Beach regulars began to wonder where he'd gone — although some were just plain glad — until the video of him being Tased surfaced on the Internet last August. Anne traveled to California to bail him out of jail again, and helped him fill his psychiatric prescriptions. She warned him that if he didn't calm down and get his life in check, the Altenheim would kick him out.
But then came the last straw: Bruso never made it to his mom's funeral after the bus fight. Instead, he was handed over to the local police in Wray, Colo., for smoking onboard an Amtrak train. He wasn't charged, and won over Police Chief Adam Srsen with his tall tales. "He told me he was taking me to see a New York Yankees game and we were going to sit in the owner's box," Srsen recalls. "Is he worth the millions he says he is?"
Anne was not amused. She says she and her sister have considered having Bruso committed to a mental institution. "He's burned all his bridges with the decent people in this life," she says. "He's truly alone now. I have empathy for him, but I'm out of sympathy."
The day after Epic Beard Man's birthday carousing in North Beach, reality hit hard. Bruso was being evicted. Again.
The eviction letter from the Altenheim's management cited Bruso's numerous high-jinks. He was "aggressive" at a management meeting and stepped on plants in the garden; he smoked in common areas and extinguished cigarettes on his carpet; he pilfered newspapers and notices from other tenants' doorways; he made "unnecessary loud noises" after curfew, walked around barefoot, and made "improper advances and suggestive remarks" to female residents. Furthermore, there had been "events on and off the property that have made other residents feel afraid and unsafe." The letter doesn't explicitly mention the YouTube videos, but Bruso guesses that's what it was referring to.
He has to leave his apartment by May 31.
Two days after getting the notice, Bruso got yet more bad news: The Oakland Housing Authority wanted him to report his income and assets to get recertified for Section 8 housing. That could be standard procedure, but Bruso claims he told his building manager about a $12,000 inheritance from his mother. Plus, with the constant parade of managers and movie producers in and out of his room, "I think they think I'm making a lot of money on this."
Bruso spiraled into depression. Over the next few days, he couldn't eat and didn't want to leave his room. "I just feel safe right here, right now. This is about all I can take right now." When I came to visit, he stood uneasily, shifting his weight side to side, and his blue eyes looked wide and worried. This was not the Epic Beard Man the Internet had seen: not high, not hamming it up, no profanity-laced tirades. "It seems like you can't avoid being homeless, once you've been homeless," he says. "It just sucks you right back down."
For the first time, Bruso seemed pissed at his mental problems, for having squandered $6,000 on strangers and pot, and for signing every contract put in front of him. "I can't even remember yesterday, to tell you the truth," he says. "Half the time, I don't even know what I'm saying. I ramble and ramble. I get high and happy and I just start talking, and a lot of things come out distorted in the wrong way."
He continues, "I am so tired of trying to get through life, trying to be happy, trying to enjoy it. And when I do enjoy it, it seems something comes along to destroy all that. I keep bettering myself, and keep going backwards. ... I'm out of my mind and can't think anymore. I don't know anyone who will help me figure this out."
Being Epic Beard Man had long ago lost its thrill: "I just feel like everyone wants a piece of me," he says. "I'm just so tired of it all. I wish the phone would stop ringing. All the guys I do know now, I don't know who's who when they call."
Bruso mulled his options. He said he didn't want to move back to Wisconsin to live with his sister. Actually, at his age, he didn't really want to be uprooted at all.
Pinky sat up on his seat, wagging her tail. "I know you're goin' crazy, too," he told the dog. He even thought he might have to get rid of her, because taking her out seemed an insurmountable hassle.
He looked away from the TV, where the news was playing in the background, and apologized for being so down. "This story is starting to get bad now, huh?"
Internet stars often can cash in on their fame. Tay Zonday, the singer behind the "Chocolate Rain" video, went on to star in a Dr. Pepper commercial and record an album. Obama Girl appeared on Saturday Night Live. Yet people who never intended to be famous, unwittingly plucked from anonymity and thrown into the limelight by the Internet masses, tend to fare worse. A stoned-looking Oakland guy who called himself Bubb Rubb became famous for a clip in which he told a KRON-4 reporter he was getting whistle tips installed on his exhaust pipes that would make a "Woo wooo!" sound. Though people made a documentary about him and sold Bubb Rubb thongs and mousepads online, he says he never made squat.
"We like to see people melting down," says B. Remy Cross, a Ph.D. candidate at UC Irvine who studies social media movements. "It's like America's Funniest Home Videos for the Internet generation."
"Most people are doing this in their free time when they want to be entertained," says Chris Menning, who helped write the extensive entry on Epic Beard Man for the Know Your Meme Web site. "Most users are less concerned with getting to the bottom of it than perpetuating the myth of it."
Yet in Bruso's case, the same mental problems that incited him to kick a dude's ass on a bus in the first place have made it hard for him to handle fame.
In early March, King hired Nathan Maas, an S.F. State film school grad who had made an online documentary about Bruso, and his coproducer, Aaron Curry, to return to Bruso's apartment to ask him some questions on camera for a screen test. They lobbed softball questions — What's your favorite kind of pot? Do you have any girlfriends? It was soon after Bruso had missed his mom's funeral, and he mostly gave one-word answers.
"His whole demeanor had changed; he was a completely different guy," Curry says.
But in the week after Bruso got his eviction notice, King and Moss flew up from L.A. unannounced to pitch him some good news. They wanted him to come to Southern California for three weeks to film an Internet movie in which Bruso avenges the murder of a black family member. During the meeting, Bruso seemed worried about his eviction, Curry recalls, and was fearful of talking to them without his managers present.
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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