In the trailer with Laurie
In between scenes. She is playing a character who is about to find out her son is dead. I am not in this next scene; so, I am eating potato chips and watching Laurie prep. She is rolling on the floor, moaning, sobbing, grasping her stomach, crying her eyes out for real. Then she sits in a kitchen chair and looks at photos of her screen-son.
They call places.
In the beginning of the scene, her character doesn’t know anything yet. Laurie takes the runny mascara off her cheeks, fixes her makeup and goes out to sit on the set.
Assistant Director looks at Laurie; says,
“Here, you might want to put some pepper in your eyes to make them look red.”
What? What? What? You huge, fat, idiotic loser! Can’t you tell a real actor who can really feel the emotion from a fake-ass phony loser who needs glycerin tears? Even if you can’t tell the difference, can’t you give an actor a chance–at least one take, you effing moron–to get it right, before you haul out the cayenne?
I would like to put my steel-toed work shoe so far up his ass that my knee socks roll down. Strictly on Laurie’s behalf, of course.
In a script meeting about a week before the shoot
My character was Gerte, a German immigrant girl. Yes, I’ve been going around talking in a German accent for months. And I have been remembering the elaborate back-story for my character, for myself, for Gerte, for me–for I am now Gerte–about how she left Kraut-land; about how she/I got to Chi-town; about who met me/her at customs; how I/she got that first job; about who my friends are after work. I AM Gerte.
Now, all of a sudden, my name has changed to Luz and I’m a Mexican immigrant girl. WTF? Now I have a week to become Luz.
“Just for curiosity,” I hazard to the director, “what was your thinking in changing this character? Was there something about the way she is in the world, her back-story, her interactions with the other characters–something–that made you change her to Luz at this time?”
Sez the director,
“No, nothing. I just like the Spanish sounds. I always try to have a Spanish or French speaker in all my films. It doesn’t change the character’s back story at all; don’t worry so much. Just change your accent.”
I swear to you, dear readers, I truly do not know if I should laugh or scream. Or put my anthurium-red, patent-leather, ankle-strap, 4-inch, skinny-heel pumps up the director’s ass.
At the wrap party
Producer says to me,
“You’re the best actress we’ve ever had.”
I beam inside and feel so VALIDATED about my work. Yet, I try to remain cool on the outside.
“Thank you for mentioning it.”
I really want to jump up and down and scream,
“Yes, yes, I am the best; the tops; I’d like to thank the Academy.”
“I was very impressed that you remembered your lines.”
Shoot me now. Sob. Why, why, has this calling chosen me? Why did I answer? I tried to run away from the life, but my studded golf shoes tripped me up and I fell down and the Director caught up with me and dragged me back to the set and then I got all involved with the next script and then someone asked me to co-write a script and then…and then…