Late Saturday night, I was cruising the craigslist jobs section with the hope of figuring out where my life is headed, when I came across the following ad:
Grant Wilfley Casting is seeking Extras for the feature film "Julie and Julia" starring Meryl Streep, Amy Adams, and Stanley Tucci. We are seeking the following:
French and European-looking people for scenes set in Paris circa 1950.
Seeking men and women with 1950s hair. (Men should have short, neatly-trimmed hair and women with chin- or shoulder-length hair. Pixie hair cuts are also good. Or must be willing to have hair cut by the productions stylist. Must have natural colored hair, no highlights. Seeking all ages.
Men and women must be comfortable smoking on set and/or being around smoke. We are looking for the men to be 5'10 and shorter and the women to be 5'6" and shorter.
Please resond with a current candid photo or snapshot, not just a headshot. Also include your sizes and the best number to reach you. If you don't fit these requirements, are not comfortable smoking or are not willing to have you hair cut, please do not respond.
I would of course never call myself anything less than 5'7", but figuring that this was maybe the only time that my boyshort hair would be considered desirable, I decided to give up a piece of my self-respect and give it a shot. I wrote an e-mail describing my pixie cut that grows into fat sausage curls when allowed and of course included this photo, 'cause nothing's more 1950s Paris than a sleeping bag coat:
I imagined that I'd never hear from the casting agency, since I have no experience with this sort of thing and don't exactly scream with movie star good looks, but lo and behold, a guy named Rich left me a voicemail yesterday with his cell number and asked me to call him back to schedule an "audition". When I did, he asked me to describe my hair as it is and asked if I would be open to having it cut. I naturally told him, "You can shave it off if you want to." He asked if I'm okay with smoking and being around smoke, and I laughed as if I've been smoking all my life. He asked me to come in on Friday to have some pictures taken and to have a chat. Whee!
I started planning what I'd wear–the cape, of course, and maybe this black-and-white polka-dotted dress
with a pair of not-at-all 50s pointy boots–but then I got sidetracked with worrying about the possibility of having to smoke at my audition. I've had a cigarette in my mouth all of two times in my life, and although I certainly thought it was amusing to hold it the European way those times, I'm not sure I looked very suave doing it. And sure I've spent plenty of hours smoking candy cigarettes with trrrracey, but I don't know if it translates to the real thing.
With all of the worry comes all of the excitement, though. I've pretty much spent my entire life in school plays and church programs and a little local theatre, and I've always imagined that I'd become famous somehow, but I've never actually considered doing anything to make it happen proactively. But suddenly, I'm thinking things like, I should quit my job and start temping so I can easily take days off for casting calls! I'm reading other ads for extras that say things like "not a speaking part but will look good on your reel" and thinking, Yeah! I need to get to work on my reel! I of course don't really know what a reel is.
I've realised that it must be terribly heartbreaking being an actor, because this guy hasn't promised me a thing, and I'm already planning my new life as the next Meryl Streep. I don't at all expect to actually get hired–either my look or my job will get in the way, I imagine–but I also feel like I'll be really let down if I don't. I'm hungry for superstardom.