At the last minute, the meeting with Talal to discuss construction of the Fortress gates/wall was given the go-ahead. A meeting took place at 5pm in Talal’s boardroom. The model was conveyed to his office and since I cannot show a photo of the finished model, this blurred image will have to suffice. All I can say is, it looks pretty cool.
Chris postponed his flight so he could attend. I was not invited, but at Chris’s request I attended anyway. For the Art Director not to be there was ridiculous.
Fozan was there. He sat next to Talal and barely said a word. Instead he looked rather sad and afterwards he confessed to me that he found the tone of the meeting unpleasant.
The meeting did not go so well. Simon – the director – did an enthusiastic pitch which led to Talal rather rudely calling him a “used car salesman”. He then proceeded to rubbish the idea of building the set despite Simon pointing out that this was a $7,000 set being built for a series with a $37.5 million budget. Not building this set was clearly ridiculous. The entire UK crew knew it. But then Talal started to accuse the UK crew of repeatedly interrupting him despite his seldom allowing people to speak! And when he did not feel he was getting his way, he left the office in a childish huff. He finally came back after much persuasion. The meeting ended with no decision having been made. But that alone said plenty.
This was the first time I met Talal. At one point he referred to me as the “mysterious art director”. Clearly, he wasn’t sure about me yet – my silence making me an unknown quantity.
Talal was friendly and warm at first, but I noticed how all the ATG crew (with the exception of Fadi) sat with their eyes glued to the floor and their hands clasped, afraid to look Talal in the eye. I was reminded of my suspicion that this company seems to operate more like a cult with Talal as its figure-head.
I wasn’t impressed by Talal, but figuring out what he is up to and why is something else and abut that I am curious. Only time will reveal his “master plan” and for now at least, I’m prepared to wait and find out what it is.
FOOTNOTE ADDED MAY 1st 2016
I don’t recall if it was this meeting or the next where Talal said Ahmed did not know what he was doing. But I have a recording of him doing so, so it will be clear which meeting that was when the audio recordings goes live.
FOOTNOTE ADDED MAY 5th 2016
The recording of this meeting can be found by clicking here in which Talal claims – more-or-less – that Ahmed does not know what he is doing.