Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A New Film

A few weeks ago my agent sent me a script for a new independent feature, sort of a cerebral 'American Pie,' if that makes any sense. A funny, witty, very clever script with the wonderful actress, Cathy Baker, attached. The role was the kind of part that Dabney Coleman would have done if it were twenty years ago. So I toddled over to Studio City and did the read and, in fact, Ms. Baker was in the room along with the producers and the director.

I've always admired Cathy Baker's work as an actress, particularly in 'Picket Fences' and a film she did with Michael Keaton called 'Clean and Sober.'

In any event, I read for them (a long, surreal monologue my character delivers toward the end of the film) and that was that. I knew I'd pretty much nailed it (sometimes actors can sense this...sometimes not), but I didn't hear anything immediately so, as often happens, I simply put it out of my mind and moved on to the next project. Sometimes, for various reasons, the producers will see a number of actors read for a role even though the role is already cast. Well, this is a very funny, very odd role, so I naturally assumed it was probably already cast.

Yesterday afternoon my agents called and told me they'd offered the role.

We shoot in September. It's what's called a 'low budget SAG' contract, so I'm certainly not going to get rich doing it, but nonetheless, it looks to be a lot of fun, at the very least. And it's a really quirky, eccentric piece of writing, intelligent and memorable stuff, so I suspect I'll have a good time doing it. Think the aforementioned Dabney Coleman in an old movie called 'Amos and Andrew.' It's that kind of role.

I suppose it's a busy time for film auditions (two more today), because they seem to be pouring in. A little while back I read for the new 'Batman' movie (didn't land it) and shortly thereafter things picked up quite a bit in the film world. That's the funny thing about this business, it can be dead for weeks, even months, at a time, and then all of a sudden I find myself bopping all over LA reading scripts. Angie says that's just the way it is. The work here seems to be quite 'seasonal.'

Also had an inordinately long callback for the play in Santa Barbara, 'Underneath the Lintel'...a one-person show. I suspect I'll hear something about that today, too. And to top things off, I was called in for 'Daddy Warbucks' in a production of that old warhorse, ANNIE. It's being done down south of LA somewhere. Nice, little Equity contract...but we'll see.

Any spare time I can find is spent re-writing the new screenplay (the producer is in Germany at the moment, talking to additonal investors) and waiting to hear about my new play going into workshop at The Old Globe. We haven't quite nailed down the exact dates for that, but it's starting to look like October. Once that opens here in LA, we're hoping to transfer it to NYC, possibly Manhattan Theatre Club. But, again, it's early and anything could happen.

So, things are busy and satisfying and I couldn't be happier about it. A far cry from a year ago this time when I had just finished a production of my own play, Praying Small, battered and bruised, discouraged and cynical.

Last night, in a celebratory mood, Angie and I sought out a new diner very near our home and were pleasantly surprised at how good it was. We're diner people, really, coming from the wilds of Missouri, so we're always delighted to find a new 'Joe's Place.' And once home I watched the ALI-FOREMAN fight in Zaire in 1974 that I'd recently saved from our new U-verse.

I've seen the fight about 50 times and still find it exciting. Angie...um...less so.

So it's off to do some more play-acting today. Unlike the rest of the country, suffering through blistering and unrelenting heat the past few weeks, LA has been quite temporate. Before dinner at the diner (nothin' could be finer') we took a very long hike on the paths around Griffith Park and The Equestrian Center with Franny and Zooey; Franny zipping around at full speed, exploring every little nook and dale, while Zooey trotted along stalwart beside us, holding up like a champ despite her advanced age (she's 13...that's 91 in people years - she pauses at every tree shadow and takes a short rest).

Life is good. The sun is shining. The world is in constant turmoil but here in our little corner, like Frodo's Shire, it's lovely and hopeful and green and peaceful and tranquil.

See you tomorrow.

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