The Lowest Rung On the Hollywood Ladder, Part 2
"Excuse me," I bravely and drunkenly pipe up. "If I'm going to be topless, I want more money."
"I don't think so."
So I'm bundled back to wardrobe, fitted with band aids and bundled back to set. It takes about 5 minutes to shoot the scene, which features me slamming a pay phone receiver down over and over and over, angstily and angrily. I've got my back mostly to the camera, but you can see a little bit of undercleavage from my left tit.
Then, the director pronounces that the gate should be checked (more technical tomfoolery: it's to make sure that there was nothing, like hair or grit, on the camera lens for the final shot.) and I'm done being topless.
I turn around to quite a crowd of crew. Who all start applauding. One gentleman hands me my trench coat, which I put on. Then, I take a big bow. And the applause increases. Which draws the attention of the other extras. And the band members.
Rob Thomas has seen most of my tits. My mother is so proud.
Oh shit. My MOM! My mom is going to FREAK OUT!
Well, she never watches MTV. I'm safe if I don't tell her.
Why Jim Carrey is a God Among Men
The Man on the Moon. The Andy Kaufman biopic. I was already rolling my eyes in dry-heaving anticipation of missing this one, as the casting rumors circulating were that Nicolas Cage was playing the part of Andy. And, sorry all you fans, I find Mr. Cage unutterably boring. He, like Sandra Bullock, just doesn't grab me the way a movie star should.
Then, intrigue and mystery, Jim Carrey snagged the role. And up went my eyebrows when I heard the call on the line.
"Here's the deal. Once you work this movie, you can't work it again. Period! So if you go today, don't call again. We will remember." This coming from Lizette, the meanest and bitchiest casting director at Central. But then, I knew something that the others didn't; give Lizette food on visiting day. Cookies are her favorite. She will then cut you copious amounts of slack.
"Hey! Beth! You wanna go on out to Long Beach for Man on the Moon? It's a cattle call, be warned."
"Sure. What's this about never working it again later, though?"
"Oh, don't worry about it. You won't be seen in this crowd. I'll just say you weren't really there."
So I toodle on out to Long Beach Community College at 4:30 in the morning, and pull into the parking lot around 6. (This is LA, remember. Traffic is getting so bad that you have to take a sherpa with you to survive the commute.) The parking lot resembles the lot at a sporting event. Or Disneyland. It's that full. This isn't just any cattle call, this is the great grandMOOther (ahahah get it?) of all cattle calls. There are nearly 700 extras there that day.
My hopes of being fed a breakfast that morning, or even a decent lunch, dwindle rapidly.
It takes a full two hours to get all the extras checked in, then another three to get everybody made up and in costume. Late 70s chic! Oh man, my hair was so feathered that day I looked like badly permed poodle. I was not alone in looking like a freak this time, so I just kept a low profile and an eye on my stuff. (Which is the only way to survive on a set. I got more passes than the Rocky Mountains when I was working. Which I studiously ignored. Or, even better, I took along my copy of Atlas Shrugged to ward off any would-be studs. If they were naughty, I'd hit them with it. If they really pissed me off, I'd start reading aloud.)
Finally, we're all herded into the theater there, and sat down. We're filming the scene in the movie where "Andy" reads The Great Gatsby to the crowd, and they hate him.
Jim finally arrives. Or, I should say, "Andy" does. Jim has made the decision to stay in character all the time. During lunch, between camera reloads, ALL THE TIME. He won't even answer to Jim, only Andy. And I must admit, as an actor, it's amazing and kind of chilling to watch somebody be "ON" all day, for 16 hours straight. That takes talent, and energy, and it was a wonderful thing to witness. To this day, I've never seen anybody even attempt it other than him.