R.F. Simpson is a movie producer at Monumental Pictures, who, uh, isn't the most imaginative guy on the studio lot. In one of the film's best jokes, he responds to Don's lengthy, elaborate, extremely detailed "Broadway Melody Ballet" pitch with a matter-of-fact, "I can't quite visualize it."
Ridley Scott, He's Not
Unlike most senior movie executives, R.F. isn't a visionary maverick. He initially dismisses talking pictures as just a fad. "They'll lose their shirts," R.F. says of Warner Brothers as they get ready to release a little movie called The Jazz Singer. You know, the talking picture that would go on to revolutionize the movie industry and relegate silent films to the history books.
Maybe "R.F." Stands for Really Frightened of Lina
He's not an especially commanding leader, either. He's particularly scared of Lina. When R.F. wants to hire Kathy, knowing that Lina had her canned from the Coconut Grove, he's unsteady:
DON: Now look, R.F. The owner of the Coconut Grove may do what Lina tells him to, but you're the head of this studio.
R.F.: Yes, I'm the head of this studio. She's hired! But don't let Lina know she's on the lot
Way to stick it to her, R.F.
Later in the film, when Lina releases a bogus interview to the press that falsely claims R.F.'s totally on #TeamLina, he doesn't know what to do. When Lina presses on, threatening to sue the studio if they don't yank Kathy's credits from the film, R.F. gives in to her demands. Sure, she's got him over a barrel, but he doesn't have to dive right in. He could fight.
We Still Love You, Mr. Simpson
Ultimately, R.F.'s not a bad dude, though. He wants to do the right thing. He's just indecisive and cool with letting other people do the talking and the plan-hatching and the risk-taking. And while he may be a suit, he's not totally without a sense of humor. In the end, when he helps Don and Cosmo expose Lina as a fraud by raising the theater curtain, R.F. is having one heck of a good time.