don't ride public transportation: contagion!
last friday, my movie opened, so i went to see it. now, i’d never actually been behind the scenes and felt a connection to a major motion picture before, so this warranted a big bucks movie theatre, urged my movie-mania hollywood-follower doppelganger, susie. sure, why not? off we went, tickets reserved, enjoying bloody marys at the bar before we were shown to our seats. (i meant it when i said it was the fancy kind of theatre…knowing what i now know, i’d rethink those bloodies). reclining in plush orange barcaloungers, we ordered an outrageously large plate of home made chips slathered in blue cheese, a tray of organic beef, medium rare sliders to share, and of course, the movie must have, diet coke. the previews wrapping up by the time our smorgasbord arrived, we dove hungrily into our feast as the credits rolled and the movie began. so exciting! my day on the set with matt damon last winter rewarded me with not only free breakfast and $66.00, but the totally cool feeling of being connected to one of these blockbuster hits that i’ve basically given my heart to for my entire life. i really dig movies. susie and i were riveted to the screen: things get kicking right away with poor gwyneth getting a sick greenish color, and then things go downhill pretty much from there. did i mention that, while gwyneth was turning green (i won’t be a spoiler, so just see the movie. and if you have, i’ll bet you’re laughing right around now..), susie and i were digging into that mound of chunky blue cheese, greedily chomping down on those juicy burgers….when all of a sudden… o m g, i mean….o m g. later, when our muffled screams and hysterical laughing subsided, susie quietly leaned over to me and said, “that last slider has your name on it” as the big screen ahead showed more and more of the surprising and graphic symptoms of a mass virus wiping out the earth’s population, one person at a time. no spoilers, again: but do not eat anything during this movie: or do so at your own risk! later, while looking over the cozy lap blankets that the fancy theatre supplied, we both had the same thought: this blanket and it’s subsequent hidden germs could kill us. where was hand sanitizer when you needed it! yes, it’s contagion and it’s my movie. so, last november, when i didn’t have anything better to do, i tricked my friend eileen into signing up at a casting call in chicago. it was kind of mean of me, i know, but she had fun and she’s a great sport, thank goodness. the drive to a huge warehouse with a line of shady looking people snaking around back did slow down her stride, prompting her to comment, “i thought we were going out for lunch and shopping?” not when you’re hanging around with me, i said! she got the giggles, really, a banker, a high roller in the world of the staid financial world, filling out an application amongst a pool of eager thespians on a cold november chicago morning. “am i a member of sag? what’s sag? of course i sag, i’m nearly 50” “do you think jude is inside waiting to hand pick us for this role?” “i think we’re going to get the role.” and then i got the giggles, these impossibly odd and totally off the mark questions bouncing out of her and off of me: i could barely keep up. and people were starting to stare. and not in a good way. our excitement built as we got closer to the big warehouse doors, impressed with the efficiency of these hollywood people. turning the corner finally to step inside, we were met by a fascinating sight. piles and piles and piles of bodies were stacked along every available aisle. bodies in blue bags, mannequins missing hands, bald plastic forms haphazardly strewn atop one another. suddenly, our hopes that this matt, gwyneth, jude and kate movie was light & lovely rom-com lark were thrown out of the window. clearly, people are going to die. for a fleeting moment, dark worry met our gazes as we sized up the dead, spotting a few army trucks rounding out the rest of the props on display for us. this is scary! then, we were back onto the lucy and ethel-like train of fun, totally ignoring the sign that read, “do not touch the props”, and touched the props. we even gave our camera to another thespian and while pulling one of the corpses up to pose for a candid shot, sort of got in trouble. okay, on to the table, turned in our forms, had to get a head shot taken (that’s hollywood folks, always the cameras blinking and flashing), and then would be free to go. what? no interview? no q&a from the casting agent? no casting couch? seeing our chance for top billing slipping through our fingers, i decided to chat up the totally cute casting man…this tactic worked in college, and i’ll just betcha it’ll work in a cold warehouse too. eileen looked incredulously at me, just shaking her head, as the casting man and i exchanged our business cards, nearly hugging goodbye. yes! so, thinking that this was it, that we really didn’t have a chance of getting “the part”, we left feeling silly and satisfied with the hilarity of our day of “auditioning” (translation: waiting in line and turning in a form). besides, the day of the chicago “shoot” wasn’t going to work with our important schedule: we had already booked a really great getaway. little did we know that stardom was just a phone call away….. to be continued (i have to meet my niece w/custom designed french themed notes as she leaves for paris in the morning….will continue this post later)