Starring in a movie…

Did you catch Kate Amara’s story about having a bit part in a tv show yesterday at five? It was really funny, and Kate did a great job remembering her lines under what I know can be quite a bit of pressure. Seriously, to deliver a long standup with movie cameras rolling is nerve wracking…I know because I’ve done it.

Movie producers often turn to real reporters to play reporters on tv, because it’s a difficult rhythm for actors to get down…so I’ve been in a few. “Head of State” starring Cris Rock, “Meet Joe Black” starring Brad Pitt(in both of these my stuff was shot in a studio and I was never on set), and Line of Fire with Clint Eastwood.
But my most memorable turn in a movie…was also the best film I’ve been in….Philadelphia, which went on to win an academy award for best picture!

The really cool thing was that my scene was with Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington…so I was introduced to both of them…both very sweet, by the way, and yes, both great looking guys.And it’s true, that if your scene is with the stars, you are sooooo much less likely to end up on the proverbial cutting room floor.
But the funny thing that happened I thought of when Kate was to go to hair and makeup. The day of shooting was dreary and a little misty, and the scene was outside, on the steps of the Philadelphia courthouse.
My hair was a little longer than shoulder length then, so the hair stylist asked would I usually wear my hair up on a day like that that….I shrugged, and answered, “Sure, I guess.”
So, he put it up.
We get to the set, nervous but ready to do the scene, and the director, Jonathan Demme of Silence of the Lambs fame, came over, looked at me and asked, “What happened to her hair?” (kind of like I was a mannequin… You’ve never seen a stylist appear so rapidly.
Is there a problem?”, he asked…
Yes“, said Demme, “She had hair…I wanted her to have hair!”(remember this was a largely male actor movie-we need a little hair)
No problem“, gushed the stylist, who whisked me over to Tom Hanks chair, took out a thousand hair pins, teased my hair(of course I can’t see what’s going on with no mirror to protest), sprayed it and sent me back over for inspection.
“Better, much better…….Action!”
And so I am immortalized in a great film, in a truly frightening but mercifully brief closeup in which my enormous head fills the whole screen, with HUGE hair that would have made Hairspray proud. Reshoot, anyone?

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