Monday, August 29, 2005

On the set of Pursuit

A make-up artist is applying glamorous anti-glare to my imperfect forehead. She dabs concealer beneath my eyes and I start to blame the cosmetics industry for digging into people's self-worth with their products. I spot Will Smith's stand-in across the room. He's wearing a dirty gray Member's Only jacket torn wide at the elbow. He's extremely thin and sports a tight afro and a mustache that no father would dream of letting his daughter near. He speaks to the director and I now realize, of course, that this is Will Smith dressed in 1981 homeless wardrobe.

As a group of 30 actors we gawk without looking like we're trying to gawk. "Fly casual, " Han Solo might advise. In between shots he walks, jumps and keeps almost completely to himself. With the director as the exception, no one speaks to him.

In a boardroom scene with four board members WS makes a point of shaking each of their hands and introducing himself.

In my seven hours spent on-set, I never once see him crack a smile. Surprising, I think, given the friendly, likeable persona he works hard to maintain. The director asks him to do many takes of a difficult scene and Will's reply is curt and courteous: Yes, sir.

After fourteen hours dressed in bad ties, wool jackets and plenty of polyester, we finish the final shot of the day (the "martini") . Will Smith comes out and says:

"Can I have your attention please? Everyone? Your attention? I just want to say...thanks for being here. This is really all about you. Because without you...well, we would have had to hire some other guys."

Sunday, August 28, 2005


My latest project and my specific role are detailed below. I play a stock trader. My 1981 sideburns are coming along nicely as are my recovered Rubik's cube skillz. My hair could be too short for this part and I am certain there would be no hesitation on their part to cut me.

The wardrobe fitting detailed below has already taken place and I asked for garrish, tacky outfits so horrible they could be great. They delivered. For these two hours I was paid the princely sum of $13.50. Clearly I'm in it for the money.

What's interesting about a project like this is that people ask me the exact same three questions:
- Will you work with Will Smith? (Yes.)
- Do you have lines? (Probably.)
- Do you have an agent? (I am already working to capacity, so I do not need an agent to find work. I only see a need for an agent to get better work.)

Plot Synopsis

Pursuit of Happyness [sic]: a true rags-to-riches story of Chris Gardner, who turns his life around; from being homeless to becoming the head of his own brokerage firm. The story is set in 1981 San Francisco. This film is being directed by Gabriele Muccino & stars Will Smith.

Casting call text

Repeat DEAN WITTER Staff / Male or Female / Asian, Caucasian / 24-60
These are featured & repeated extra roles - Dean Witter employees: Interns, Secretaries, Stockbrokers/Traders, Partners. *Some to be selected by the Director, and will be needed for MANY scenes. All corporate types, Upscale, mostly appearing to be Caucasian. Think "Wall Street" Michael Douglas, Charlie Sheen.

Smoking Status: Men & Women, if you smoke cigarettes, note "smoker" or willing to for background purposes include "I am willing to smoke"

Wardrobe: FACIAL HAIR STATUS: Note if you "have a mustache" or would be "willing to grow facial hair." WARDROBE FITTINGS to be scheduled week of Aug 8!!! If you are not available 8/8-8/12, include a note.