I was being "politely asked to leave" a used bookstore the other day, because I was "disturbing the customers" when something on the shelf caught my eye. It was a used DVD copy of the Ashley Judd/Morgan Freeman smash hit, High Crimes. I told the manager to get his grubby mitts offa me, because I had six dollars and I wanted to buy the movie. Why would I want to buy this DVD? It's boring, it got bad reviews, and it's a sad follow-up (not a sequel) to Morgan Freeman/ Ashley Judd's Kiss the Girls fueled only by their star-power.
Why would I want it? Because I'm in it.
December 2000, around midnight-ish. I was walking through Union Square in San Francisco with two of my lady friends. (That's right, I said two.) I saw a bunch of guys setting up lights and trailers everywhere. They were obviously shooting some movie. So I walked up to a security guard. Here was our conversation verbatim:
Me- Hey, what's going on? Someone making a movie?
Me- Who's in it?
Guard- Ashley Judd and the guy who drove Miss Daisy, what's his face.
Me- I want to be in the movie.
(Guard stares at us.)
Guard- hold on...
Guard into Walkie Talkie- Hey Vince, you need more background?
Walkie-Talkie- yeah, send'em up.
Guard to me- go to the third floor in the Saint Francis Hotel, they'll tell you where to go.
And that's how easy it is to break into Hollywood and be a star of the moving pictures.
And so we went to the third floor where we were served a free buffet dinner with all the rest of the background extras and film crew. I mingled with all the top background extras: the stand-in for Whoopi Goldberg in Sister Act 2, an extra who had a close-up in The Nutty Professor, and the horse wrangler from Wild Wild West. The real stars of Hollywood.
In the middle of dinner, this guy slowly wanders over to our table, holding his dinner tray, like the new kid in school trying to find somewhere to sit in the lunchroom. Here's our conversation verbatim:
New kid guy- can I sit here?
Me (with my mouth full)- Ummm.....I think someone's sitting there.....
No one was sitting there.
New kid guy leaves, sad.
Lady at table- What are you doing? No one's sitting there....and that was James Caviezel.
Lady at Table- One of the stars of this movie.
Me- Well, who's the star now!? Ha ha! Pass the salt!
Only years later would I realize my horrible mistake. I single-handedly prevented the movie star that would eventually play Jesus in Passion of the Christ, from enjoying his shrimp cocktail and mini-burritos at our circular folding table.
I rejected Hollywood Jesus.
I only pray that someday, J.C. (James Caviezel) will forgive me for my sin against him.
Finally it was time to be an actor. It was 2:30 am, we were in Union Square preparing for the shoot. Here's what the background director told us verbatim:
BG Director- You guys start here, on 'Action' walk to the curb and try to hail a cab until 'Cut'.
BG Director- yeah.
Me- Can we stand closer to Ashley Judd?
(Her starting mark was 6 feet away)
BG Director- You're pretty close already.
Me- I want to smell her hair.
BG Director- Just hail the cab.
So that's what I did. I acted the hell out of my role as Taxi Hailer. In fact, one take was ruined because I actually hailed a cab and it stopped traffic. I don't want to toot my own horn here, but if there were some sort of award for background extras who specifically hail cabs....well, I'd think I would be a shoe-in but...I'll let you decide...
(By the way, I'm not that guy with the Santa hat and whistle hailing a cab, that guy sucked. His performance was lacking, and I didn't believe any of it. My cab hailing has emotion.)
Was my acting so good that it blended in and you missed it? Here. I slowed it down and added a big arrow so it's easier to see my performance for award considerations...