Movies are magical, mystical and mythical tellings of stories. Whether based on real life or the creation of a talented writer, the words and set direction comes to life on screen.
My father took me to my first movie, The Shaggy Dog. Later, my mother and I would go to all the Doris Day movies. Sunday afternoons, we would watch the old movies on TV. The movie was hosted by a local reporter, Leonard V. Cohen, who would tell you about the stars, the plot, all the interesting little details.
Movies were a mental escape for me. I wanted to meet those people and be in a movie. Well, it took many years, but I finally got my chance about twenty years ago.
Hollywood had discovered that the Pittsburgh area was great location to film. My first experience was during the filming of a George Romero horror flick called The Dark Half. It starred Timoty Hutton, Amy Madigan, Julie …, and some guy who on the day I was on set, took 20 takes to get his lines right. I swear all of the extras were ready to shout them back to him.
I was a background artisT, an extra. Didn’t make the final cut but it was a long exciting day. In time I was ready to do it again. Once you are on the list, you get calls. Especially when you fit an age group or look. Often, I couldn’t work it in my work schedule but when Richard Gere came to town to make The Mothman Prophecies, I was ready. Even if you rent the DVD, you’d hard pressed to see me. But I didn’t really care, I got to sit across the bar from Richard Gere while he and Mark Pellington, who played the bar tender, acted out a scene. Laura Linney stood beside me and acted as the Director. My character was supposed to be having an after work rendezvous.
While The Mothman was about a mythical creature who roamed the Midwest, wreaked havoc and was responsible for a 1967 bridge collapse, my next role was strictly, up to date Mob America.
In the short lived series Smith, I can be seen, yippee, walking backing and forth in front of an important looking building. The best part of that long day was getting to talk to Ray Liotta. As a fan of his since his Another World days, he was very nice and congenial.
If you are a movie lover and you have the opportunity, try it. The business of making a movie is a complicated and sometimes a boring one.
Yhe food is good though.