As some of you are already aware, not long ago I happened to be in the same room as Soup Boy when a message came in from a casting agent he knows. “Hey,” Soup Boy said to me, “you want to be in James Bond?” “Sure,” said I. Now, because of a simple accident of logistics, you will quite possibly see my mug on the silver screen, while interesting things happen behind me.
Recently friends of friends offered me cash money to sit in a bar drinking and being American for some direct-to-DVD movie of questionable pedigree. Drinking in bars happens to be something I’m well-qualified to do, so I agreed. I spent the morning drinking Bernard (yummy), flirting with a woman who may have been the bar’s owner (wasted), and listening while the czech actress struggled with her lines in English (awkward). The writer had tried for a literary tone for the dialog, and the vocabulary was completely out of her range. But I digress.
At one point that morning, the writer/lead actor looked at me and said, “How’d you like to play the bum?” (I must confess, when you look at me, you’re more likely to think “bum” than “Bond”.) Just like that I was cast in a speaking role in a movie that I will do my level best never to be associated with, beyond this post.
As a result of the James Bond thing, I have an agent now. I got a message from Athena last week inviting me to a casting for a commercial. What the heck, it’s only a few minutes out of my day. The waiting room was full when I got there; all around me were distractingly beautiful women and guys talking about the terrifically minor acting jobs they’d had lately. These were people who had taken up acting as a career — “Four years of acting school and now I’m auditioning for this,” lamented one. I tried to read but I couldn’t help but listen in. I recognized the game; the guys were sorting out the out-of-work actor cred pecking order. One or two of them would land roles in this commercial and perhaps move incrementally up the chain.
“I like the beard,” Athena said when it was my turn. “It makes you look like a scientist.” Better than bum, especially when the role is “Lab Assistant”. I posed for my still shots, holding a card with a number on it so they could sort us all out later. Lucky number thirteen for me, and we laughed about my credibility as a scientist when she had to tell me to hold the number right-side up. A couple of still shots, some video of me pretending to count washing machines and becoming puzzled when something doesn’t come out right, then I’m back out into the city — no blood, no foul. I had a very pleasant walk through the city center and after a few miles found a place to eat and write. A good use of a Prague morning.
I didn’t think much more about it until I got the call from Athena. “You got the role of Lab Assistant,” she said, and may have been surprised when I laughed. The Accidental Actor. I’ll be a bum on Monday, a lab assistant Wednesday and Thursday, and rent is covered for April, with beer money to spare.