“No Autographs … PLEASE!”
“ACTION!” I am in a stretch limo that seats 12 on Hollywood Boulevard but the only VIPs inside are me & my 25 year old tall leggy Japanese Supermodel Fake Girlfriend in a short tight brassy Gucci number (her not me). I am booked as a “Red Carpet Celeb Type”. We pull up to this so-very-real-looking Movie Premiere just as a cute Extra dressed like a Valet opens the side door. Hundreds of my fans scream while my lovely companion & I smile and wave to our adoring throng. We’re famous pretend! I tip my top hat & the show biz crowd parts to make way for us down the long Red Carpet. A beautiful blond interviews us about our latest smash boffo projects for Extra Entertainment Insider News. The Background Performers booked as Paparazzi blind us with flash after flash (Why won’t they respect my privacy? Back off you vultures!). “CUT!” We get to do it Take after Take. Again again again again. Sadly no one asks me what I am wearing (I want to answer “Grandpa’s Tux”).
Last night’s Voice Mail Instructions said “Dress to Dazzle.” When I arrive at 6:00am today both Wardrobe Gals love my formal wear so I ask if I can show them a little something I hope is not too over-the-top. Voilà a Top Hat appears from my magic garment bag. They love it! “Approved!” No one knows this is from my Magician’s outfit. Shhhhhhhh. The guy in line behind me looks like Brad Pitt and is dressed hipper than hip. Heartbreakingly he is not Brad Pitt but another fake Celeb like me. Waah. He says he likes my chapeau. Thank you nice fake Brad Pitt. I totally own this look all day and boy do I work it brother. Do you like my black skinny Calvin Klein tie? 10 bucks at ‘Ross Dress For Less’. You’re welcome. These Tux slacks? Only 10 smackers at ‘It’s A Wrap’ in beautiful downtown Burbank (and get this, the store sells used Studio Wardrobe so maybe George Clooney wore these once). This silver tie clip was a Bar Mitzvah present. My white pocket handkerchief has a “S” embroidered on it (Mom gave it to me). Color me bedazzled. Color me Barbra.
My fake Japanese model girlfriend is actually a real Japanese model who speaks little English but we laugh all day & feel like we hit The Big Time. I run into a dear work friend from background land and she reminds me my waist black Cummerbund is worn up not down (“to catch the crumbs” per her well learned childhood cotillion lessons, who knew?). And this Cummerbund’s clasp is broken so I tie it up with a knot in the back, which my jacket hides. Hee Hee. Don’t tell. But please don’t slap me on the back. Owww. I said do not do that. Can’t you just be my “yes” man for today?
In the golden days of Hollywood the background talent who had formal wear were called “Dress Extras.” You saw them in all the 1920s-1950s Country Club Parties and Wedding scenes. Now there are much fewer calls for this, so today is a very lucky job. And I get a “formal bump” and 3 hours of overtime. Hurray! After the Red Carpet scenes we shoot the After Party. Because we are in overtime Production wants to wrap some people to save dough. I hear the 2nd 2nd AD tell a PA to “thin background by a third.” Literally thin the herd. Moo. They keep me. Because I’m dazzling. Hi Liza.
95% of the gowns worn today are from Wardrobe. Most look great but a few just do not fit the ladies. These gals hate their outfits and are not afraid to let everyone know (frankly some look pretty dreadful but I don’t care because I am selfish and look swell). Not that I would judge (repeat after me “Wardrobe makes the Extra”). There is a beautiful redhead who wears a black sequined mini-dress she bought on-line for $125 with a flowing chiffon collar that drips down her back. She is a sensation all day. So many other girls love her dress that by 7pm we hear the website has sold out of this irresistible Paris original. Let the cat fight begin.
During lunch a couple of 18 to-look-younger non-union male Extras booked as “bleacher crowd” make a few cracks about my hat. Under my breath I say “peons” & get a laugh at their expense. I feel bad about it. No I do not. Word to the wise boys…when you look like a schlub keep your cake hole closed, mine’s making money. That said one of the fake cameramen makes me laugh on-camera when he whispers “Hey Monopoly Man!” Well.
I have been lucky enough to walk 15 real Red Carpets over the years (plz feel free to catch up on my archive blog called “Famous Friends” http://iget2work.com/2010/08/john-starr-famous-friends/ ). So on-set I embrace my inner Stanley Tucci & glow all day. Several gorgeous female Extras ask behind me “Who is that guy? Is he really someone? Wow he rocks that teal shirt!” Hello lovely Ladies. Why thank you. Oh and my boyfriend bought this fabulous shirt for my birthday. We’re gay.
How much is too much fun? Today covers it. They are paying me for this. And…we are really truly shooting on Hollywood Boulevard so there are tons of real tourists watching and taking pictures and wondering who the hell I am. No autographs please. Okay just one or two. A dozen, and then that’s it. I mean it. Stop chasing me locusts. I have a life. Do too!
Today Fake Famous. Tomorrow booked as a Clown again. Slice of Ham anyone? As I used to say during 6th Grade Speech Class … “I’m not a Ham, I’m a Bacon!”