Larry David and Hollywood come knocking
Photo by Ralph Stewart
Admit it. You've always wanted to go to Hollywood. Discovery. Fame. Fortune. Facelifts.
Well, if you missed the "Jaws" casting call 35 years ago, here's another chance.
Since there's only a 24-hour window to be discovered, the fame part could be dicey. And fortune? Not so much. Actually, the job pays minimum wage, so think two pizzas with everything and a couple of Cokes. Go to Edgartown Pizza, you might even get change.
Here's the good news. You don't have to go to Hollywood. Tinseltown is scheduled to be here on Saturday, Sept. 22, to shoot some beach scenes for "Larry David project," a currently untitled movie summer resident Larry David is making for HBO. Mr. Excitement is looking for extras of all ages to walk the beach and frolic in the surf.
The Times spoke with Kristan Berona of Sande Alessi Casting, an A-list movie and TV casting agency in Los Angeles last week by phone to get the lowdown. Ms. Berona was disturbingly non-Hollywood. She answered her own phone on the second ring.
"The schedule and our needs are not set in stone yet, but we know we need kids from 6 to 14 who can swim, older teenagers, and adults from 18 to 60 or 70. The kids will do a lot of swimming and running in and out of the water, and the adults will stroll the beach, be tourists," Ms. Berona said. "How many? We don't know yet. Could be 10 or 100, but I know that if they are planning wide shots, I need to fill up the beach.
"You have a bridge there, right, where people jump into the water?" she asked. "We'll probably be shooting there."
Ms. Berona emphasized that Saturday, Sept. 22 will be the only day of filming on the Island. "Most of the film will be shot on the North Shore area. We don't know yet precisely where," she said.
While Sande Alessi Casting has a website with a signup page for extras, Ms. Berona recommended that candidates email her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
"That's the best way. Send us your age, weight, height, a phone number/email, and a color photo of yourself. Not a professional photo," she cautioned, "We want to see what people really look like. That's important." Of course, applicants should observe the time-honored "don't call us, we'll call you" showbiz rule.
Extras will be paid minimum wage, unless they have Screen Actors Guild (SAG) membership cards, Ms. Berona said. The minimum wage in Massachusetts is $8 per hour. "Extras get time and one-half if shooting goes more than eight hours, and shooting almost always goes into overtime," she said.
You may be thinking, it's not about the money, it's about being in a movie. No question, moviemaking is exciting and zany and follows a line of reasoning that captivates us though we scratch our heads over movie making logic.
For example, the original "Jaws" was shot on Martha's Vineyard, to replicate a community on Long Island, and this film will be shot mostly on the North Shore of Boston to replicate Martha's Vineyard. Can't make this stuff up.
The movie is being produced by Mr. David, who will also star in it. Mr. David produced the award-winning "Seinfeld" TV series, and created "Curb Your Enthusiasm," a longtime HBO sitcom, in which he plays himself.
While the plot line has been under wraps, The Los Angeles Times got hold of a 40-page outline recently and published it. Published versions describe a plot featuring a marketing executive named Lenny (David) helping to market a new electric car. Lenny objects to naming the car "the Howard," after Howard Roark, the annoying protagonist in Ayn Rand's "The Fountainhead."
But Lenny being Larry, snits with the creator (Haney) and gives up his stake in the project and, in the Ponzi scheme that life sometimes is, loses his investment, then his home, car, wife, etc. Lenny moves to Martha's Vineyard, names himself Rolly, and works as an assistant to an elderly lady. So far, so good. We've certainly seen that here before.
The storyline evokes a continuing character of Larry David as Job with a bad attitude. The car, of course, becomes hugely successful. Years later Haney arrives on the Island trundling sacks of cash. Lenny is furious and plans revenge. More will be revealed.
The MV Times completed an utterly unscientific survey of potential extras this week. Their responses:
"I've got enough on my plate already, and I'm pretty sure my days of being discovered are over. I always thought I would be discovered once they saw my latent talent. Turned out it was too latent," said Tim Dobel, operator of Mocha Mott's coffee shops in Oak Bluffs and Vineyard Haven.
"Absolutely. Are you kidding? A chance to be in a movie? It'd be fun. Maybe my wife and I will both go. We'll borrow a dog and walk the beach." – Paul Sides, professional guitarist and guitar teacher.
"No! Me, an extra? I used to be big. Well, I'm still big. Or maybe movies are just smaller." – SAG member Holly Nadler from Oak Bluffs.
"I don't think I should talk to you. My husband knows Larry." – unidentified woman in Chilmark.
"Who's Larry David?" – a 60-year Island resident, on the street in Vineyard Haven.