“Casting About” for a Celeb, or two twenty
Do you watch movies like the amazing “Love, Actually”, or the horribly bad “Valentine’s Day” and ever wonder “How in the world do they get ALL of those celebrities to do such small parts?”
In 1994, not long after leaving The Walt Disney Company, I was offered the opportunity to produce a feature film. Awesome! Only problem? I’d never been on a movie set, much less produced one. This didn’t seem to deter the Executive Producer though. In addition to providing financing for his upcoming masterpiece, “The Misery Brothers,” this visionary was also directing, starring, and…he had written quite possibly the worst abomination of a script, ever! Sounds like fun, right? As I sat there thinking, “how can I save this?,” I realized…I couldn’t. But, I thought if I could get the mad genius’ blessing to “stunt cast” the thing, we might indeed end up producing an element of fun. I asked, and he said “yes.”
From there, it was “simply” a matter of reaching out to name actors, who had a few days free time on their hands and wouldn’t making a little extra pocket change.
In the early nineties, 70’s and 80’s era sitcoms were playing big on television. With a vengeance, I went after many of its stars. With nearly 100% success. What ensured from there were weeks of genuine warmth, surreal moments and the establishment of what for me have been many years-long friendships. And of course, drinking warm Popov Vodka from Dixie Cups at 3am while the “Director” threw a tyrannical hissy-fit. Erik Estrada from “CHIPS;” Debbe Dunning from “Home Improvement;” Dr. Joyce Brothers; Lou “The Incredible Hulk” Ferrigno; Abe “Fish” Vigoda; Tiny “Zeus” Lister and Roddy Piper; Norm Crosby and Nell Carter, and my especially good friend, Pat “Mr. Miyagi” Morita, may God rest his soul. And they’re still my friends, despite having roped them into what is one of the biggest cinematic abortions ever. And I loved every second of it!
The entire story appears in my upcoming book, “Been There, Done That,” as a Tall Tale entry entitled “Me, The Movie Producer. Or, how to produce an utter piece of crap on $800,000.”
Be the first to know when my book is published and available! Subscribe to my blog today!
[contact-form-7 id=”1638″ title=”Subscribe to My Blog”]