I recently returned from another whirlwind work trip to the West Coast where I was lucky enough to be able to cast an animated pilot for Turner Classics Movie Channel called AL ROACH: PRIVATE INSECTIGATOR.
Al Roach is to film noir what Anna Nicole Smith is to,… Well, Anna Nicole Smith. An animated series with twists and turns only a true crime bug could navigate. Where the fly on the wall IS the fly on the wall. Where stars like Beetle Davis and Humphrey Buggart reign supreme and dine at the Brown Der-Bee and attend the premieres of their latest Wormer Bros. or Metro Bugwyn Flyer epics at the famed Groundworm’s Chinese Theatre. Plumb the depths with Al as he digs deep beneath the tinsel and into the tapeworm infested belly of the beast.
In the role of AL ROACH, an ex-chain smoking, gin soaked, weary, wise, witty, cynical but absolutely irresistible Phillip Marlowe type private dick, we cast James Garner, for DE DE DRAGON FLY, a sexy, sultry Femme Fatale caught in a deadly game of Gnat and Louse, we got Michelle Forbes (24, Wonderland, Star Trek: Next Generation), for BETTY EARWIGGINS, Al’s devoted and trusted secretary who in the years she’s spent with him has seen it all ain’t shy about telling you what she thinks about it, Kathy Kinney (Mimi on the Drew Carey show) and for the FLY ON THE WALL, informant extraordinaire who you’ll find wherever the action is, Freddy Rodriguez (Six Feet Under). It’s a brilliant bunch and we’re ecstatic to have them.
The project is the brain child of Obie Scott Wade, creator of the brilliant animated series JULIUS AND FRIENDS starring Jason Schwartzman.
Upon my arrival into L.A. I had the bright idea to drop all of the CSA member Casting Directors an email letting them know that I was in their area and would love an opportunity to introduce myself should they have the time so, as a CSA member myself, I decided to utilize the new and exciting CSA website.
Well, I discovered on the site a service they provided enabling members to contact each other via emails sent directly from the site. It actually makes it possible to send one email out to every other existing CSA member en masse. My God, pay dirt! I mean, just think of all the time it was going to save me. So I wrote my little introductory email, clicked send, logged out and took a bath.
Fifteen minutes later the phone rang. It was one of the many Casting Directors I’d emailed welcoming me to his fair city and alerting me to the alarming fact that he’d received my email 15 TIMES! I apologized profusely, hung up and waited for the deluge!
I turned on my computer to find that I had 250 new emails!!!! Casting Directors from all over the West Coast pleading with me to stop the madness! One of them had actually received the email 50 times! I was mortified. All I’d wanted to do was introduce myself and make an impression. Boy did I! I spent the day writing individual apologies to what felt like the entire world.
You’ll be extremely happy to discover that the majority of Casting Directors in L.A. are very nice, understanding and surprisingly sympathetic. They proved to be incredibly generous under the circumstances, because there are desperate people in this business who do that sort of thing purposely to get our attention. Believe me, they get it! And not the way they’re hoping to. Nobody enjoys opening their mail and finding 50 repeat emails from somebody. It’s rude! Not to mention a terrible inconvenience.
While there I also dined with Bob Wieland and his wife Jacquelyn. I have been commissioned to write a screenplay based on the life of this extraordinarily inspirational man. As a young man he was considered one of the two top athletes in his home State of Wisconsin and considered destined for the Major Leagues when his country called him to active duty and shipped him off to the jungles of Vietnam. One day on a mission his unit was ambushed and in the midst of the fire fight Bob stepped on a land mine and his legs were blown off. Bye bye baseball.
His return home proved more difficult than he’d expected so he moved to Southern California where he received his Physical Education degree from Cal State, L.A., met and married a 6 foot, African American, professional model and set about changing people’s perceptions about the disadvantaged among us, ultimately spending four years of his life walking across America on his hands to the Vietnam Veterans Wall in Washington, D.C.
I attended the Los Angeles premiere of Eli Roth’s exceptional CABIN FEVER at the famed Egyptian Theatre. I’m happy to report that the audience was one of the more enthusiastic crowds I’ve had the pleasure to spend an evening with. Everyone loved the film! The cast; Rider Strong, Jordan Ladd, James DeBello, Joey Kern, Cerina Vincent and Arie Verveen (who, in my humble opinion, is a genius) is fantastic! Producers Lauren Meows and Sam Froelich have a huge hit on their hands and I can’t think of any two people who deserve it more.
The film was also screened in Greensboro, NC at the Carolina Theatre (which I also attended) to an equally appreciative crowd. NC actor Robert Harris (hysterical as the general store owner/proprietor in the film) absolutely sparkled in his role of local celebrity!
So, that’s what I’ve been up to. Now I’m off to Paris again for another five week workshop!