Sunday, May 09, 2010

RUBICON bears crossing at AMC

James Badge Dale and Miranda Richardson
My agent finally sent a bunch of castcall notices, one of which was for an upcoming summer TV series called Rubicon. She’d been out sick for quite a few months, leaving us to dig in the dirtpile offerings of Craigslist. With Craigslist you never know what’s reputable and what’s not. Unfortunately, the “what’s not” portion is the larger pile. So when my agent’s notices arrive I’m relieved to know that it’s a real gig.

I did my usual research of what the series was about and clipped a few pix from the internet of the principal actors (so I’d know who they are when I’m on the set). I find that by doing this little chore, I’m looked upon as the “more experienced one” among my fellow background peers during our chats. For some reason, very few bg people do this –but I find that it gives a much greater appreciation of the work I’m involved in.

It was a 10:00 AM call near the South Street Seaport. But this was only for checking in and getting your wardrobe approved. We could either wear a dark suit or a tux. I brought both and was approvingly told that the suit I was already wearing was perfect. The wardrobe guy asked if I had a comb. This was a question I hadn’t ever been asked yet. But when I answered in the affirmative, I was told:

“Good! Just keep combing yourself every now and then.”

And an hour later we were taken to the set near Wall Street. It was an old building with old-money furniture. We were to be background guests in a drawing room at a cocktail reception for a millionaire’s fund-raiser. The plot of the series was about a young think-tank worker who discovers that the organization he’s working for is somehow involved with influencing word affairs (in many ways similar to another TV series called “Alias”). Be that as it may, I was paired up with a distinguished looking gentleman with a long silver ponytail. While chatting, he told me that he was a well to do businessman selling cosmetic products and that he’d done some bit parts but wasn’t a member of SAG yet. One of his anecdotes dealt with an altercation he had with Julia Roberts. Apparently Julia was snippy to him and he told her off. Probably an argument over the SAG vs. non-SAG people at the lunch counter.

The principals in the scene were Miranda Richardson and James Badge Dale (lead). But as the scene kept getting shot from different angles, a couple of other familiar looking actors joined the entourage of principals. And this is where things started to get frustrated –because we’ve seen these minor actors before but we just didn’t know their names… and the problem was that none of the crew knew them either. Angst! The good news is that my co-starring extra and I were positioned close to the action –right where the principals were walking by. Then suddenly one of the PA's came over to clarify the "unknown" actor's name: David Rasche -a very active actor (most recently in Ugly Betty). And the other one was Arliss Howard, who plays Ingram, JBD's boss on the show.
Anyway, it was episode #5 entitled “Connecting the Dots”… and the airing date will be around late August – September 2010 on the AMC channel. And I, for one, will be crossing the Rubicon (unless I wind up on the cutting-room’s floor)!

Epilogue:The episode aired Sunday, 8/22/2010:

As James Badge Dale walks by on the left, I'm chatting with the silver-haired gentleman on the right. Even got a decent closeup...yesssssss!

EPILOGUE: During my stint on Man on a Ledge, as I was waiting for my car to be brought out of the garage, there was a man in front of me on his cell phone saying "...and RUBICON got cancelled!". And sure enough... sadly, it was.