More Personal Movie Memories (from my working days)

Here I continue my movie memories of films I have worked on based on recollection and an old resume I found.

PRESUMED INNOCENT: I hadn’t noted this before but on all the films I worked through my teenage years my father came to set with me, which was actually a requirement. You had to have a parent and/or guardian with you. You could come by yourself as well and have a parent sign out entrusting you to the set, but my father and I had a great relationship and he got to vicariously live out his own dreams through me. What else was he going to do? He had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s when I was 10 and my mother was the breadwinner, much more dedicated to working. I think my dad loved getting to spend all that time with his son and getting to see me do my thing on a set. I know he must’ve gotten a blast over the fact that me being so gregarious, easy going and brave almost always wielded me time with the stars and/or director of the film instead of just sitting around with my fellow extras and the production assistants. On this film I took the opportunity during the amazing super spread lunch to go up to Harrison Ford and get some amazing face time. He ended up inviting my dad and me to sit down with him for lunch and proceeded to tell me stories and such. It was actually a truly great experience, not the greatest one I would have on a set, but a truly good one.

THREE MEN AND A LITTLE LADY: The scene I worked on was right in the beginning of the film at South Street Seaport. It was shot very quickly and there was practically no down time. I don’t remember getting meet Tom Selleck at all, or Ted Danson, or even Steve Guttenberg. I’m not really sure how that’s possible, but I have no memories of meeting them, just seeing them working on the set and filming. I did get to meet Ted Danson many years later though in an even cooler situation. His daughter was taking a tour of my college and he decided to come sit outside the student lounge and just relax. Back in college if I wasn’t in class or shopping that is where you’d find me. My home was too far away to go back to in between and the lounge was a chill place. I noticed Ted and we just got to talking, him asking me questions about the school and such and then just proceeding to other topics. I got to see Danson one more time after his daughter decided to attend the school and he was picking her up and he remembered so we talked some more. I’ve had other interactions with him since, related to other friends and acquaintances connections to him, but I still have yet to meet Tom Selleck and unfortunately not even Steve Guttenberg, who I freaking LOVE.

PRINCE OF TIDES: This was one of the only experiences of a film set where I felt such hate and animosity. Barbara Streisand obviously didn’t care about the extras and broke many Union rules. Our “trailer” was a bus with no air conditioning, our lunch were tuna salad sandwiches or peanut butter & jelly, both which had melted sitting inside the hot bus. We were kept waiting hours on end. I almost left this film out, but I decided to keep it in since I have those horrible memories. It has soured me to Streisand ever since. I wouldn’t mind getting a chance one day to be proven wrong.

THE PICKLE: I played an alien in the movie within a movie part of this production. My mom was Isabella Rosselini and she was a wonderful woman. Such a beauty to be around. Working on this film was an amazing adventure. I got to hang out with Donald Trump, Little Richard, Meg Ryan. I got a lot of life lessons from director Paul Mazursky. My mom hit on star Danny Aiello. She wasn’t really hitting on him as my dad was there too, but it made her day to flirt with one her favorite actors. I got to spend a lot of time with Aiello too. It was awesome. I also got to hang out with one of my regular extra buddies, Mario Bosco, who I’d done film work with before and would again. You might know him from The Hard Way and/or Maury Povich, Jimmy Kimmel, NYPD Blue, etc. This was just an awesome experience.

A BRONX TALE: Equally this was another amazing experience. Mario was on this set with me and the two of us spent a lot of time with future unfortunate convict Lillo Brancato. I had another friend of this set who also was with us a lot. Lillo brought some of his girls around the set so I got to have a temporary female to neck with. A lot of my time was spent talking to Chazz Palmintierri for hours on end as DeNiro as a first time director would take hours on end to set up a shot before filming. I got to learn how to play poker from some legit mob guys as well. I was amazed when I met Joe Pesci and I felt like I stood a foot taller than him. It was probably just an inch or two, but I was 16 and felt short at the time and he was Joe Pesci. DeNiro was a fascinating figure, but he really is as quiet as everyone says. Unless when it’s one on one and then he talks as much as anyone. I would not replace my time working on this film with anything I think.

A few more movies to go, but this is a good place to stop on memory lane for now I think.

Personal Movie Memories (from my working days)

I recently came across my old acting resume which stops right about when I started at City-As-School around 16 years old. I thought it’d be interesting to look over it and share whatever fuzzy memories I have.

The first film I recall working on which is amazingly not on this resume is CHINA GIRL. This was a David Caruso feature filmed in Little Italy. It was a twist on the Romeo & Juliet tale if I recall. All I remember is Caruso being very rude to everyone around him and difficult to work with, forcing constant unnecessary takes, which meant poor little me sat around for hours on end. It paid well though. My first pay stub says I made $104 after taxes for one days work.

Let us move to the resume, staring from the bottom up in order of film productions. This is just the film work, not the television, commercial or stage work, which would unload too much memories and information. I have noticed that a few films I have fairly vivid memories as well as photographic evidence of working on didn’t make this old resume, but as I remember them I’ll be listing them.

ENEMIES, A LOVE STORY: I think this was filmed in Brighton Beach or somewhere along Coney Island. I recall being crazy enough to jump into frigid cold water, as they were filming a beach scene in Winter. I became an honorary member of the polar bear club. I believe you can see me in the opening scenes if you freeze frame. My mom loved this film which had nothing to do with me being in it, it just featured subject matter which fascinated her. I wish my memories were either more vivid or I knew more about how to approach the actor’s on the set back then. Angelica Huston and Ron Silver would be some great memories to have. This film is really dramatic, telling a compelling story of romance, infidelity, corruption, lies and mysterious twists. I haven’t seen it as an adult and I think now would be a great time to do so.

A KISS BEFORE DYING: I honestly don’t recall working on this film. I’m guessing it was pick-up and secondary shots since the majority of the film was done in England. Meeting Matt Dillon would’ve been awesome. This is a pretty f’ed up movie, all about a stuck-up rich kid willing to murder to keep his livelivhood and then to be sick enough to try and replace that murder with a twin. It’s a bit perverted. It was also quite a good thriller.

LINE OF DUTY aka U.S. Marshalls:Waco & Rhinehart:  I don’t recall on this television movie either.  I do remember the scenes I did being in a school and that I wore the most horrible tie-dye shirt and stupid cap.  I really only remember that because I have a photo that says I did.   If this photo didn’t exist I would probably just leave this one off completely, but this photo should be seen.

Me around 10 years old on a movie set wearing a yellow tie dye shirt

MO’ BETTER BLUES: I remember being on set dressed in 60’s era clothes and hanging out with Wesley Snipes. Maybe it was Denzel Washington. It was more than 20 years ago. I just know it was one of the stars of the flick and he was being yelled at by Spike Lee. Over 20 years after Spike Lee would be yelling at me. This was back when Spike was still making some really good films. Sometime after Crooklyn he started to falter, but Daze, Thing, Blues, Fever and Crooklyn are all fantastic films worth seeing more than once.

SEA OF LOVE: I was supposed to be a student at some private Catholic school. It was an outdoor scene next to a church and we were all wearing the same t-shirt. Al Pacino came out of his trailer and made an effort to ignore everyone. I’m not sure if he just didn’t want to work on this film, hated fellow actors, hated kids, or what, but this wasn’t just an avoidance or a simple “leave me alone” stance, it was a very much “I’ll kill you”. Although I found it funny that even at 11 or so he wasn’t much taller than me. I have total respect for the man though, he’s not a great actor, but he takes all his roles with fervor and brings a movie alive.

THE LEMON SISTERS: This is one of those movies where you can’t deny my work on it because my face gets a full on close up with a few other kids. We filmed a flashback sequence where we’re all making fun of of the characters bringing in her teeth collection (or something like that ) for show and tell. We got used in some background footage for the boardwalk scenes as well, but I don’t think we ever had an opportunity to even see any of the stars or even meet the director as all are scenes were shot my team 2 I believe. Still, it’s nice knowing I got real screen time.

MORTAL THOUGHTS: This was quite the experience. The shoot was done at an amusement park in New Jersey over a few days. My dad even got to work on this one and my mom was on set as well. Her major memory from the set is watching Bruce Willis jump back and forth from two trucks trying to get this one stunt right for almost two hours, for something that took up maybe 20 seconds of screen time, but the man was a workhorse and probably still is. I remember meeting this cute blonde chick and the two of us sneaking off to neck. My big scene was to be on a rollercoaster type ride in the background while Bruce and Demi Moore’s characters got into a fight. This was the only film the couple were in together and Demi had given birth not that long ago. I had gotten quite nauseous on this ride for some strange reason, so I was given a much better job instead, I became Rumer’s babysitter for a couple hours while they filmed.

We have more than five movies to go on this list of memories, so I think this is a great place to stop. A Part 2 will definitely be forthcoming.