Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Gray Man!

Formerly known as "Wisteria"

This film may have been released as a DVD or in theatres in 2007, but it was filmed almost entirely in June 2005! My son Reuben is in this movie and I want to see it. It was so funny too, the way he was hired for it. Reuben attended Putnam City High School in Oklahoma City through the Putnam City School District. He was a senior in 2005 and during the month of March, just 8 weeks before he was to graduate, we found out that his counselor had screwed up his credits - - not Reuben, a kid can't do that despite what appears on paper - the counselor has to approve everything a kid picks and chooses. Of course a kid is going to seek the easy route, of course a kid is going to try to get out of the things he or she has to take to graduate if he or she can be an office aide every semester! The office absolutely loved it when Reuben was there - the boy was MADE to run errands. He'd make it a game and time himself as he would blast down the halls literally ramming into people he liked, tackling friends in the name of having-to-get-there! The boy was exciting to say the least. HOWEVER, you can't be an office aide every semester and get credit! That's something his counselor should have put a stop to. So, he didn't qualify to actually graduate in 2005....this was an absolute disaster!

I had already opened my home school for the girls, and they were under a strict curriculum, but I decided to add Reuben as a student for the 1.5 credits he was missing. If I could get him those credits before June 30, 2005, I could see him graduate and he would have a real diploma issued by the home school yes, but it would be official, signed by his principal, me and an officer of the district itself. What to do? OK...I gave the boy an 8-week crash course in POETRY....yes, you heard me, POETRY for 1 full credit. He had to read it, analyze it, write it, research it, and read it out loud to an audience. It wasn't as difficult for him as I first thought, and as a reward for the boy I actually published 4 of his poems in a book I wrote called "Periwinkle" so now he's even a published poet. For a half credit course I thought about Drama since he had failed it in his freshmen year. Same trappings - I would have him read about it, write about it, and maybe put on a little play for me - but then I found out that they were filming WISTERIA, a feature film just 30 miles from where we live. I took him there to WATCH them film - no idea they'd hired him on the spot.

We were watching, just watching, when someone suggested that he fill out the necessary forms and take a head shot just in case the director needed a big country boy for the background. All of the extras in the film were from Oklahoma - it was perfect. Well, they did hire him that day, but not for the role of a town dweller or country boy - he is the "young cop" under credits. He's the taller one, the thicker one, the one tackling the bad guy. He's in about 9 scenes I think, I haven't seen the finished product but we were filming every day for 2 weeks and he used in all of the street scenes as well as the court house scenes. The one I really want to see, but it was edited, was where the director tells Reuben to chase the bad guy (stunt man) and he used the quote "tackle his ass"....OH MY GOSH, did he really say that to a 6A state qualifying high school Defensive End? FLASH! BAM! DOWN!

"OK", said the director, "that was...that was....good. This time, let's give the guy a little more room to try and I don't Could you be a little less aggressive, and maybe not smile so much? You're a cop, he's a bad guy." What can I say, the boy was thinking football. It was hilarious! I couldn't stop laughing, and there's no way I could have approached the director in time to correct his error, he was too far away. I could hear him through a box, but I couldn't even have waved him down - the boy was GONE the second the stunt man broke out of the barn! It took 4 or 5 takes and the stunt man was laughing his butt off with each new and developed try - I just wonder which take they used...and if the boy is smiling or if they finally convinced him that he was a cop rather than a lineman.

So, there he was in the country tackling the man, on the streets holding people back from the court house, in the court house as a guard and opening doors. That much I know. At the time he was filmed Reuben's hair was all the way to his shoulders and the hair/makeup artist was so sure he wouldn't want her to cut off his golden red locks to make him look like the 1929-1935 era New York City beat cop that he was portraying - but he was all over it. "Damn, I just saved myself $15!" was his answer. He didn't have to go get his hair cut! The fact that the role of an extra in this particular film didn't pay a single penny meant NOTHING to Reuben. He was having the time of his life. You should have seen his face when I mentioned that he actually got to eat for free as well - it was catered by the company....WHAT? Oh, that was all she-wrote! "Hell Yeah!" was all I heard for food, chasing people, tackling them in cornfields, beating people up on the streets and driving old Model-T cars? Could it be this much fun and still be legal? You just had to be there.

We were there in the 90 degree weather filming 12-15 hour days. Reuben wore a wool suit the entire time - I know because I was his personal assistant! Can you imagine what that pays if the extra isn't paid anything? He did however, have the best (bar none) personal assistant on the set. Even the stars complained about it. "I wish my mother was here to bring me drinks and wipe my sweat" was a great quote from my good buddy Vyto Ruginis (Star Wars and many drams as well as commercials. Google Vyto!) Yes doesn't everyone wish their personal assistant would run up to them between takes and wipe their sweat, feed them granola bars, give them drinks, and ask them if they need a pee-break? I even straightened his clothes, tied his shoes, and brought him back to the 1930's by removing his wrist watch and telling the director so he could edit accordingly...I'm nice like that.

I want to see this film now. I could care less about the terrible twisted man that it features - gross and disgusting man this Albert Fish. He's literally one of the worst people I have ever read about - not joking. I may only watch it for Vyto's parts and of course the "Young Cop". I swear if they didn't give him credit I'll be all over them....hahaha..not really, but a P.A. has to have their client's back right? Should I get my boy an agent? Suffice it to say, he earned the half credit baking in the sun for weeks filming the movie. I just can't wait to see it!!

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