“Hot girls who would hang out with rockstar musician.”
That’s the breakdown. Easy enough. Numerous friends of mine have had relations with rockstars and my wardrobe has ample amounts of miniskirts. A no brainer. In fact, the description hit so close to home that I put on the same thing from last night, keeping the smudged makeup on that didn’t come off with my Cetaphil face wash. Tre rock and roll.
I arrive in Santa Monica for my 10:30 call time. Fifty cents in the meter, Marni knockoff high heels in hand, and I’m on my way. When I step into the lobby there are only two others waiting, a lady and a gentleman. The boy is covered in tattoos. I’m fairly certain the ratio of virgin skin to inked is largely in favor of the latter. His hair is black and uber styled in the fashion of those hair books I used to flip through while my mom got her legs waxed at the salon back in 1993. Lots of product, quasi mullet type vibe. The girl wears a tight red dress and bodacious blonde hair a la the days of “Cherry Pie” music videos. For a moment I think I might look too much like an actual rockstars girlfriend and less like the cliche the client might be going for. Damn it, fashion sense!
We wait and wait and I go put more quarters in my meter. We wait and wait. Forty five minutes pass by and a casting director with gray hair comes in, pulling four of us out with him. In the room will be Jason, Rosalie, Tattoo boy, and myself. Jason has come in for the roll of “body guard” and he is size appropriate. He reminds me of a villain from Aladdin or some guerilla rebel who kills tigers in his off time. Mister Clean with a tan. No more than five minutes into standing in the room while the casting director fiddles with the camera, saying “What the fuck is wrong with this thing?” and Jason is off on some tangent about his Waterfall Action Company, a conversation that was somehow misdirected when he was asked about the absurdly large wallet chain dangling from his hip to his knee.
Casting Director: Whoa, that’s an interesting chain you’ve got there.
Jason: Thanks, man. Yeah, it’s actually the only one in the world. I had someone custom make it out of medieval chainmail. It’s the only one in the world, man. I got one around my neck, too.
Casting Director: Huh, I thought it was some kind of fiber.
Jason. No, man. Yeah, I’ve got this company called [blah blah blah] and we do waterfall action tours.
Casting Director: What are waterfall action tours?
Jason: We service about 183 hotels in the Los Angeles area, taking people out that will pay like $600 dollars a day to check out local waterfalls. You know there are [some inane number] within [?] miles of Los Angeles county? I can take you out there and we can dive off of a 30 foot cliff sometime.
Here is where I interject, hoping to somehow throw this train wreck off course and into the land of “Shut the hell up” when I offer, “Sure, if he’s so inclined.”
The topic changes. Success. The casting director continues to swear profanities and fiddle with the camera. He leaves, telling us to have a seat for a minute. The four of us are left with chatty McJason over here and Tattoo Boy is an obvious target because, well, he is covered in tattoos.
Jason: So man, where do you get all of those things?
Tattoo Boy: Umm, this place in Redondo Beach.
Jason: Are you sponsored or something, man?
Tattoo Boy: Uh, you could say that.
Jason: Cool man. Cool. How many hours you invest into that?
Tattoo Boy: Like a hundred.
Jason: Wow, man. That’s like $100…$200 an hour, right?
Tattoo Boy: $150
The conversation continues for another ten minutes. Early in, I realize this guy’s going to really make my blood boil if I keep listening to his version of amiable interactions which really just equate to a soft interrogation involving a never-ending barrage of questions, each one prefaced or ended with ample abuse of the word “man.” I feel sorry for Tattoo Boy because he must get people asking about them all of the time, like my friend Whitney with a tea cup Yorkshire terrier who cannot walk down the street without strangers squealing like kids at Christmas and asking “Oh my god! She’s so tiny!” accompanied by “Can I hold her?” or “How much does she weigh?” and followed by more “Oh my God!”s. But at least Whitney can make sure that her next dog is uglier and weighs at least 40 pounds; this guy can’t ever take these puppies off his biceps, neck, torso, stomach, and fingers. I see the rest of his life spurring into an eternity of interactions with people like Jason. At which point I also vow to never get a tattoo in an exposed area.
Because we are the first group to audition for this commercial, the casting director has admitted that he has “No idea what [he’s] doing.” Comforting. By the time lunch comes around, the direction could change completely and my chances of booking this damn thing diminish considerably. I can just hear the client say, “I thought she was supposed to pretend to be drowning in a jacuzzi and the rockstar saves her…” and my tape is just me swigging liquor out of a bottle and giggling like an idiot.
I stand in between TB and Jason while we slate our names. The CD asks us to get really close together, which I don’t want to do because the closer I am to Jason, the more distinctly I can smell his breath. His arms stick out from his body because his trapazoids push them out at 25 degree angles. His right one refused to not touch my left and I feel the course hair on his arm brush against my own. I adjust my body so that I can successfully avoid vomiting.
It takes a considerable amount of “hmm’ing” and “haw’ing” on the part of the casting director to figure out what the hell we are going to improvise about in this audition. The idea is that the chicks are groupies, Tattoo boy is the rockstar, and Jason is serving triple duty as the chauffeur, the bartender, and the bodyguard. When told that this was going to happen to his role, Jason’s response was a chipper, “Cool, man.” Yeah, super cool, man.
Casting Director: [Having an imaginary conversation on his cell phone] I won’t do it for less than $5,000 dollars. Fuck Prague. Fucking Prague. I hate Prague. [To Tattoo Boy] Like that, okay? And actually, let’s make it $100 grand. That works. And you guys are on your way to Argentina. Talk about a restaurant you love there. Say, “They’ve got the most amazing Argentinian beef. Grass fed, even! Like beef sushi. Beef tartar.” And then you girls. Talk about his tattoos, talk about his piercings. Where’d you guys meet? Hmmm…New York. Yes, New York. At a party. Perfect.
All of these directions fall on deaf ears because Tattoo Boy is also a nervous wreck and a pretty abysmal actor. When we roll tape and he starts talking I hear the insecurity pouring out of his shaking sentences. You’re a rockstar? No freaking way. He sounds like a librarian that got a bunch of henna done, went to the bar, roofied two hookers, and was now figuring out what to do with them.
Knowing that TB is drowning, the CD offers multiple olive branches in the form of spoon-fed improv. When he mentions that the spot is based off of Russel Brand, I know this guy is doomed to failure. Brand is enigmatic, boisterous, ridiculous, brash. This kid whimpers and I can’t wait to get out of the room. My female compatriot doesn’t offer much Meryll Streep chops either, leaving me to fend for myself in a room full of people who should just move back to Iowa and keep waitressing in a diner somewhere.
Our scene ends up as follows: Jason walks into the room, “casing the joint.” TB follows, flanked on either side by us two hot babes, while talking on the phone to his agent about “Fucking Prague.” TB puts his sweaty armpit on my shoulder and mumbles something about Argentina and a beef restaurant. I giggle and protest that I am a vegan. Rosalee puts her leg on his leg and asks about his tattoos. I yell at Jason that I need liquor to put up with these two. Jason comes around with a cold bottle of Chardonnay and proceeds to fake fill our plastic cups. TB and Rosalie continue awkwardly. I mention how classy wine is. Jason gets out of frame. And SCENE.
The CD thinks that it’d be a swell idea if we improv a dancing scene, although he is a little distraught he doesn’t have any music. The problem is solved, however, when he realizes that he can just clap a beat and Jason will offer up his beat boxing skills. The menage toi I’ve found myself in jumps and laughs and then I slam my head into TB’s head and I slam it hard, laughing. We cut the scene and I rub my throbbing temple and hope I didn’t give myself a concussion. We slate again and I run out of the room to my car with an expired meter, praying that I didn’t get a ticket because of our hour long audition guinea pig session.
I peel my heels off, turn on the car, pull out of the spot. Out the window I see Jason and Tattoo Boy talking again, surely about his body art or waterfalls. Further down the street I catch the back of Rosalie’s giant mane of golden hair, running towards her car, her tits and ass fully exposed to any excessive bouncing.