Monday, May 20, 2013

Discovered... maybe?

While in the role of a hot-dog man ("roll" pun intended) during one of my movie stints last week (in this case it was American Hustle), one of the bystanders came up to me and asked about the movie being shot on this particular street corner of NYC. He struck up a conversation with me and two of the female extras nearby -all the while we were waiting for the "ACTION" announcement from the crew filming down the block.  My instructions were to go "deep" (that's movie talk for "you'll never be seen in this shot because you're way too far away from the camera").

But our curious bystander was "curious and curiouser" as we filled him in on who the principals were and what the movie was about.  I was giving him the back-story on the plot and he was fascinated.  Our banter eventually turned to talk about Broadway and the fact that I had seen Frankie Valli on American Idol's fantastic finale.  He immediately perked up and mentioned that he was with Frankie the other night and that he was a producer.  In fact, he was the producer for the Broadway show of Jersey Boys, which I was lauding to the stars for it's high entertainment quality and story line.

After several name droppings and anecdote exchanges between us he mentioned that he was reviving a musical based on "The Honeymooners" TV show from the 1950's and he began to rattle off the names of the stars who were already being cast for the main parts.  As I listened to him in awe he became inspired and said I looked like I could be one of the types in the cast... that I would fit in.  And then the main question was put to me: "By the way... can you sing?"

Me and Ralph Cramden statue near Port Authority
I immediately responded in my usual dopey flabbergasted manner..."Uh... yeah...I do folk singing -with my guitar!?".  I felt like smacking myself for not being more aggressive about the response... but his question caught me off guard.  Still, he persisted and asked me for a card -indicating a possible audition.  And then I felt like kicking myself because I didn't have one of my showbiz-cards with me in one of my hot-dog man outfit's pockets!  So I quickly tore off a piece of paper from the nearby garbage can's contents and penned my name and cell number on it.  And as "ACTION" was suddenly called, I hurriedly pressed the scrap of paper into his hand and excused myself to "play my role" of "hot-dog man crossing the street".
To my surprise, after looking back from across the street, I saw that the principals, along with the camera entourage, were standing on my original spot.  I guess that was a pretty hot corner after all... "deepness counts"! But I was way too engrossed in my new showbiz buddy to really care.

When "CUT" was called, I returned to my "number 1 position" and saw that "the producer" was still waiting there to let me know that he appreciated chatting with us and put my paper into his pocket.  We shook hands and he left me with the faintest of impressions that there might be some follow up. The two female extras nearby overheard everything and were now commenting on my luck and were offering me some bits of friendly endorsements by saying "'re lucky!  See, that's how it happens sometimes... good for you!". Great!

Yeah...just great.  Had I been a good singer, I would have been a shoo-in for an audition.  My imagination soared at the remotest possibilities of ME ON BROADWAY!  And I enjoyed that for a while but logically brought myself into reality as the day ended.  And later at home, I checked the web for the guy's name, "Rick Garber", but just couldn't find it anywhere... not even the slightest association with either the Jersey Boys or The Honeymooners musical (which was cancelled earlier this year before it ever got a chance to get started).  But I did find a face that resembled him ....  and his height and build was very similar to that of David O. Russel -the director of this project!!!?

So at the thought of having been "played"... my ego balloon was released and I watched it fly away... high into showbiz heaven... accepting that I'll never know the truth about this encounter.

Epilogue: I found an interesting quote from David O. Russell...
"... That's why I start every day in the van. I have a van, like the van that they drove me to the set in, and I want the actors, I want the head of every department to come with me in the van at the very first moment I arrive there, and let's talk about what the day is, so that everybody has a very intimate feeling of what we're doing. Because the movie's not out there on the set with all those extras trying to look at the camera. ..."