Saturday, February 1, 2014

February 1, 2014

Photo by Relah Eckstein from her film "The Room"

February 1, 2014

Checking my bank accounts, I can see clearly that I am going broke.  Not working for the past year and a half has been a fantastic time spent writing and thinking, but now it is high time to think about going back to the work force.  Checking my skills, the most logical occupation for me would be an actor in films.   Never mind the fact that the last film I was in “French Toast” hasn’t been finished yet.  Nevertheless my filmography is very impressive, being a child actor in Andy Warhol’s “Tarzan and Jane Regained... Sort Of” and turning down a role in Dennis Hopper’s “Easy Rider.” Plus being the star in Relah Eckstein’s films. I felt I had a better chance to get maybe a role in a situational TV show or even probably a commercial.  

I chose to avoid the middle-man, and I approached a movie studio, The Black Maria, to see if they were doing any hiring for film work.  I was realistic in knowing my chances to be a star in a film was pretty glum, but for sure I could get a second or third billing role in some film.  The only photograph of myself in a film was in Relah’s “The Room” which was made in the 80s, but I sent it with a resume.  Within a week, I received a letter from a producer at the studio by the name of William Taylor.  He asked if I could fly out to New Jersey (where the studio was located) for screen tests.  I said sure, and I was on my way.

When I showed up two days later at Mr. Taylor’s office, bright and early in the morning, he looked over the one image he has of me from “The Room.” he told me that I didn’t look anything like the photograph.   Which I replied “Well I’m an actor sir, and I really don’t have an identity.  I can melt into any character or role. That is my speciality.”  

He then commented that as far as he could tell, I have only worked on four Relah Eckstein films, plus an early Warhol, and a cameo in Anna Biller’s “Viva.” I told him that I was very choosey.

He looked at me and then laugh, and he said “you got the spirit man, and I like that in a male.” He asked me to take off my shirt.  I thought that was odd, since I was 59 years old, but on the other hand I have been known to make women swoon to this very day.   He did a series of photographs of me without the shirt on his I-Phone, which I thought to myself. “Wow technology is so fantastic. ”

After he finished taking the photos, he came to me, and put his hand on my knee and said “I think you got something.” He went back to his desk and threw me a script.  I was trying to catch it, but it landed in a gold fish bowl.    He just glanced at me with his eyes and made a movement with his hands that I should get it out of the fish bowl.  It was just a little script. In fact it was only five pages long.  I asked him “Is this the entire script?” He shook his head up and down.  

“It was written by the great S.J. Perelman for a Marx Brothers film, but Groucho didn’t want to play it.” He told me that the script was in his drawer for numerous years, till Takashi Murakami came to visit the studio and told him he just wanted to make his first American film.  By chance, Taylor showed Murakami the script, which he also threw at him, and he missed catching it, and again, it landed in the fish bowl.  Murakami loved the idea that the script was only five pages long, and basically silent, except for some sound effects.  

As an actor I was turned on to the fact that this was a silent film, and in reality I specialized in silent movie work.  Relah refused me to speak in her films because of my squeaky voice.  I told Taylor that I loved Murakami’s paintings, and was ready to work in this film.   Taylor just starred at me for a minute or so without saying a word then he said “we got a deal! ”
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