Creative Control

Miscellaneous Mental Musings of an Emerging Artist

Poker fates.

Must be a storm approaching. Trick knee’s acting up.

Have no trick knee, in actuality. But still feel as if the changes asked for in previous entry are now gathering at the gate, rumbling, reminding me that one should always be careful what they wish for.

Yesterday was my Big Audition, for Steppenwolf casting director Erica Daniels and “Homebody/Kabul” director Frank Galati. All of my lines were written in Pashtun, phonetically spelled out in English, and I had spent the last week or so trying to get these words to sound like an actual language. I may or may not have succeeded, but the important thing–I had to remind myself–was not to concentrate on the lines, but on the acting. And on this, I have no idea how I did. I realized an hour later that I had all but forgotten a few moments of my audition, which could be a good thing–it would mean I was far enough in the moment that I was no longer conscious of Myself as Actor. Here’s what I do know: I went in to read for two parts, and by the end of the first one, they said that was all they needed. So either:

1) They saw what I could do and decided they didn’t need to see more until the callback.
2) The exact same minus those last three words, because they can’t use me anywhere.

Mr. Galati and Ms. Daniels either liked my audition or are just very, very good at not letting me know that they’d eliminated me. I may not know until tomorrow morning if I have been called back, and the callback itself is set for tomorrow afternoon, meaning that if I am, I’ll need to duck out of work early to attend it. If I get cast, I’ll need to start looking for a new job that can accomodate a rehearsal schedule, by next June. And I haven’t even begun to think about [1] what would happen if I both get cast and then, in November, I find out that I’ve got the fellowship in Los Angeles.

In less introspective news, they still haven’t caught this sniper bastard.

Also, Richard Harris is battling cancer, which puts in motion a fear I’d had long before about Aging Bristish Actors attached to film franchises. With only Christopher Lee’s involvement in the last “Star Wars” film placing second [2] on the Worry List, Richard Harris’ involvement in the “Harry Potter” films seemed a genuine concern. To be fair, it’s not that somebody else couldn’t play Dumbledore well (as good as Harris was in “Sorceror’s Stone,” he didn’t define the part for me as well as, say, Robbie Coltrane’s Hagrid), it’s just sad to consider that the films may have to change horses mid-stream. Harris said he’s available to work on the third movie, but after that…? “Goblet of Fire” features the juiciest Dumbledore scenes to date, up to and including his stirring, Churchill-esque speech at the end of the book (“Remember Cedric Diggory!”) which hints at the greatness to come in the next book [3]. It will be sad if Harris isn’t allowed the opportunity [4] to be more than simply a wise authority figure, when clearly “Order of the Phoenix” is heading towards making him as badass as Episode II’s Yoda.

I’m signing up for a gym today. It must be done.

[1] This is a lie, of course I’ve begun to think about it; what I really mean is I don’t know how to begin figuring out what I’d do. On the one hand, getting an opening as an actor is an even harder path and the opportunity should be grabbed if offered, but on the other hand, so should an opportunity to get a heads-up on my scriptwriting career, especially if there’s a hefty salary increase involved. But on the other hand, I’m more scared of the latter, just because it’s been so hard to write lately. I’m frozen. And in a world completely swallowed by deadlines, could I produce good scripts for television in short periods of time? But then again, could I ever be anything more than an actor who got a break playing an Afghan? Could I ever be Tony Shalhoub, perhaps the most interesting, talented, and successful Middle Eastern actor working in America today? (Possibly not, since my ancestry isn’t nearly as nebulous as Shalhoub’s, a man who, although Lebanese, looks enough like an Italian, a Russian, and a Jew[5] to have played both at various times.)

[2] At a distant third is Ian McKellen, but the only franchise he’s currently attached to is “X-Men,” since LOTR is all in the can.

[3] Excuse me, Ms. Rowling? Where the hell is it? Sincerely, Another Rabid Fan. [6]

[4] Which would be different circumstances, but no sadder, than what happened to Billy Dee Williams when he agreed to play Harvey Dent in the first “Batman” film in the hopes that he would then be allowed to play Two-Face once they got to him, only to be placed out of the running when Schumacher began ruining the franchise in “Batman Forever.” On the other hand, considering what Tommy Lee Jones had to spout, I think Williams was better off.

[5] I’m making “Jew” sound like an ethnicity, I know, but let’s be honest–they do it to. All the time. And they don’t mind it.

[6] Or, as Dan Savage might call me, ARF.

Current music: Andrew Bird’s Bowl of Fire, “Oh! The Grandeur!”

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This entry was posted on October 16, 2002 by in Health, Movies, News of the World, Theatre, Work, Writing.
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