I hope you’re well.
You’re going to love this
After a long day walking around Kho san road, bartering with store owners and eventually buying nothing. I do think I left a lot of pissed off store owners in my wake and will never be welcome back even if I really wanted to buy something. I settled down for a quiet beer and Pad Thai ( which I eventually paid the full price for.)
While sitting at the sidewalk noodle store, minding my own business and thinking about a happy ending, I was approached by a casting director who was looking for “farangs” to act as extras in a Thai move. As you know I’ve worked in the film industry in Cape Town for the last 10 years and I had thought I had escaped the whole industry bulls….t. Early call times, endless egos, late nights etc. But Pang as he was called was a very good salesman…just stopping short of “I love you long time,” he managed to convince me otherwise. So there I was at 5 am the next morning waiting to be picked up to be taken to set.
Along with myself were 19 other “farangs”. I was the last to arrive and knowing how the day would pan out, lots of waiting around, plenty of takes, more waiting around, lunch, even more waiting around, I smiled inwardly as I knew their excitement would soon turn to frustration and eventually pissed offness. Shortly after my arrival breakfast was served and instead of bacon and eggs, muesli, muffins, biscuits and anything else one can imagine eating for breakfast which is what I was used to on a film set, we were presented with chicken broth and rice. Not worrying too much as I knew there would be crisps, biscuits, drinks, fruit etc to follow, imagine my disappointed when that was all we were going to eat until lunch time. As it was only 6 am I wondered to myself how else I could gain 2 kg between now and lunch. Besides the very healthy, probably slimming breakfast , we were served instant coffee with nothing short of 6 spoons of sugar, probably to hide the taste of the coffee.
The PA asked me,” You want me to stir the cofeee?”
“No, thanks,I don’t like it too sweet.” I replied sarcastically.
Shortly thereafter the speed and volume of the conversation definitely stepped up a notch and soon every extra was known by name. Actually we stopped just short of hugging each other…which is another whole story entirely.
I quickly became the most popular extra on set when the director found out I was from Cape Town. They all want to go there to shoot as they hear it’s the next best thing to Hollywood. Milking it for every bit possible, I am now the man to contact if they ever come out…which I doubt. By the time I was finished with them, they thought that I single handily started the industry and along with being a director, I have a production company, Hair and make-up agency, casting and model agency, studio and camera and lighting hire company.
If there was a throne they would have sat me on it and bowed down to me all day.
The movie is called ………wait for it, THE HEADLESS FAMILY and I can’t believe my acting debut is as an extra in a movie where aliens can take off their heads are trying to convince us locals on earth that they are human. The scenes were so strong and the plot so detailed and exciting that I think if this movie was released in time it would have knocked Indiana Jones off the top spot worldwide.
But it gets better…….
So there I am as an extra acting as part of an audience while these characters are being interviewed on an Oprah type of show. We have to clap, cheer and laugh when instructed to. They are filming us when the lead actor says to me, “Hey you aah an aahlite acta”
“Thanks, I’ve worked on a lot of films sets and I know how it works ” I explain to him,” and as nobody knows me here I don’t mind acting like a dickhead.” By the look on his face I can see that the obvious humour went straight over his head. He just pats me on the shoulder and replies,’ velly good kally on”
“Thanks buddy, for the vote of confidence” I say to the Thai equivalent of Mo from the 3 Stooges. But a very cool guy indeed who has an obvious eye for spotting raw talent.
Later on after an appetising lunch of vegetables, noodles, countless cups of more coffee and absolutely nothing else, Pang calls me over away from the others for a quiet meeting. By now my possible weight loss is becoming a serious concern and I’m hoping his going to offer me some sweets on the side. He quietly says to me,” The main staah thinks you a good actah and because the uthah actah not available he wants you to leed his lines”
Basically what he was saying was that there was a part where a talk show host is meant to stand up and goad these talented aliens, who can take their heads off to actually take their heads off in front of an audience of which I was previously part of.
So now from a mere extra, earning 800 baht (R200,00) a day, I’m now trying out for a featured role for the total sum of 1000baht (R250,00) a day.
“Wait until I get my hands on my non existant agent, I’ll show her a thing or two about negotiating. “This is no way to pay an upcoming star….. I refuse to work like this” I think to myself.
“OK,” I say to Pang.”But I demand some sweets and biscuits as payment.’ Taking on the role of a spoilt star.
I’m handed the short script which goes something like this:
Line one: “ We don’t believe you can take your heads off, you’ve been lying just for the publicity”
Iine two: “ Oh my god, look, they’ve taken off their heads, can you believe it?”
What I can’t believe is that my acting debut, which is sure to turn into a glorious career filled with hot women, parties and fast cars, probably not my own, is starting out on a movie called “The Headless Family” in some back street studio in Thailand.
Geez, thinking about it this smacks of a snuff movie.
“What actually happened to the guy I’m replacing?” I ask to no one in particular.
After 3 takes in which I tried to impersonate, Gene Hackman, Jack Nicholson and Justin Timberlake, the last one to see if I could really act, they called it a wrap and I’m sure that is where my acting career ended.
But I do think that if ever you are able to get your hands on a copy of what I’m sure will be a blockbuster cult classic, it is definitely not one to miss.
So now I’m in the market for a reliable agent with strong negotiating skills who is able to up my rate from 1000 baht (R250) per day to a sum that we both agree to.
And if ever I’m booked as an extra (internationally) my terms are that I won’t work unless there is a constant supply of coffee with at least 6 tablespoons of sugar in it along with sweets and biscuits.
Send the contract.