LAST EDITED ON 06-19-04 AT 06:24 PM (EST)
LAST EDITED ON 06-18-04 AT 12:01 PM (EST)
LAST EDITED ON 06-18-04 AT 11:59 AM (EST)If It Bleeds, It Leads.
”Those in the free seats are the first to hiss.”
--Old Chinese saying
Previously on Next Action Star, something probably happened but I have no idea what because I forgot to watch. Based on part 2, I don’t think I missed much.
This is a show to find one man and one woman what have the “It Factor”, that magical and indefinable quality that separates Stars from us mere mortals. Thousands of people have auditioned for this show, and a bunch of people have been already been eliminated. Now 30 people remain.
The show opens with a stock (yet classic) image: the olde Hollywood sign, high on a hill. Since we’re in Hollywood, business is being conducted at a PARTY of course! This particular party takes place in the Argyle Hotel, which I never heard of but then I live in Minnesota so what do I know. Anyway, our Action Star Wannabees are all partying their little hearts out, drinking, chatting and ass-kissing—three things everyone must know how to do if they want to be a Star. This also gives the show producers a chance to introduce (or rather--re-introduce) their 30 finalists. Let’s play along, shall we?
Young is a studly oriental-looking Doorman with gold earrings. He’s cute—but his entire face appears immobile. He is as expressive as the oak and brass doors he stands before.
Linda is a Wardrobe Stylist with bad hair. I forget what she was wearing.
Three women are shown standing arm-in-arm – Mae, Viviana and Sumere. Viviana says “I am standing between spring and summer!” I think there is nothing between spring and summer, you idiot. You must be nothing.
Julielinh is billed as an ‘Executive Assistant’, a title which can mean anything from, well, executive assistant to mail girl.
Melissa is a Sales Associate who says “I am an experienced actress.” See? Kindergarten plays do count!
There are three guys names Matt on the show. So confusing. The first one is Matt T, who I will now call Mattie because it’s my summary and I can do that if I want to. Mattie is an Investment Banker. Woo-woo. He is there with his buddy Santino, a Broker Trainee who looks gorgeous and has a great voice. Mattie? May need his voice dubbed—although like all of them (almost) he is very good-looking.
Jared is that classic combination Shakespearean Actor/slash/Bartender. See the world needs good bartenders way more than it does Shakespearean actors, and baby actors are a dime a dozen, so they wind up working in bars where they can be close to HOT women and dream of the things they will make the HOT women do once they themselves become a really big star. HOT women will do anything a celebrity wants, anything at all—kinky sex, perversions, you name it. When you're a celebrity--HOT women are yours for the
-f- plucking. Plus barkeeping keeps actors off the streets. Where was I?
Todd and John are Waiters. Mark is Club DJ.
Help! Show producers! I am in Name-That-Wannabee Hell here! No more names! Can we have some Action! I signed on for Action! At least buy me a drink? I’ll do anything! (Oops—Swami slaps herself.)
Finally, a host comes out and gets the ball rolling. Her name is Tina Malave and she has a head covered with cute, long ringlets. “Hello,” she says. “I’m Tina Malave and I’m here to help you navigate through an extremely intense process.” You may now kiss my feet, my ring and my ass—in any order you wish.
Then she introduces Victoria Burrows, a casting agent who everyone met last week when I was AWOL. Victoria’s credits include Castaway and Lord of the Rings. I’m thinking—wow! But then I wonder—did she cast the actors or the caterers? Hmmmmmm. Victoria has a great up-to-the-minute hair cut, but her hair is dyed about 8 shades of blonde in a random zig-zag pattern. Kind of like blonde camouflage.
”It is a great help for a man to be in love with himself, but for an actor it is absolutely essential.”
Anyway, Victoria tells the Wannabees that “There is something special in each of you to bring you here.” The Wannabees all nod sagely. Yes, indeed—they are special; they are cool; they are STARS! Tina tells ‘em: “We will be evaluating and testing you from the second you get up in the morning until you go to bed at night. There are 30 of you now, in 48 hours half of you will be gone.” (Tina sucks at math—but more on that later.)
The plan is, after the Party they will hand out scripts for their first audition. While they talk about this the producers give us a bunch of quick takes so we can met some more of the Wannabees and maybe even learn some names.
Reggie is Yale Drama School grad who thinks “God has brought me here for a reason.” Be careful, dude. Ever read the Old Testament? God is a tough agent. Anyway, Reggie hasn’t got his first bartender job yet. Oh, wait. He went to high class Yale so he won’t be doing that—he’ll go into business with daddy instead. Then again, maybe he will succeed. After all, Yale has produced such illustrious performers as Brooke Shields and, um, George W. Bush.
Viviana, she who is between spring and summer, is a Club Dancer. I have no idea what a Club Dancer is. Is she a stripper? Is she a Private Dancer—you know, a dancer-for-money-I’ll-do-what-you-want-me-to-do? Like Tina turner sang about? Or is she, like, a Rockette or something? Anyway—she is originally from South America and is, as they say, a Bombshell. Viviana Va-Va-Voom!
Next we meet two Afro-Americans from Minneapolis, MN—home of a lot of really really white people. How unexpected is that? Austene is a Dancer. Corinne is a boxer. That’s right—a girl boxer. I bet she’s tough and takes no guff. (Hey look—I made a poem! Webby will have to pay me more this time!) Corinne is also gorgeous, with honey-blonde hair and honey-brown skin—a fabulous look that all the skinny little white girls in Minneapolis can only dream of.
Austene looks really, really nice and seems like a lovely person, but she has weird nostrils. They’re shaped like little, pointy arrowheads. Every time the camera is on her I stare at the nostrils. Plus, can two sisters from Minneapolis both make the final cut? I think not. Bye-bye, Austene.
Matt S. (hereafter called Matts because it’s my summary and I can do that if I want to) is a New York Fire Fighter. All post 9-11 Reality Shows must include a fireman or a policeman, because Hollywood cares. About image that is.
Now that we have met about half of the final 30, Tina and Victoria, having carefully studied each person, pull names out of a hat (or their ass—whatever) and pair the Wannabees up boy/girl style for their first audition. Also? This gives them a legitimate reason to put them into bedrooms boy/girl style, and pray for some to connect, get hot, rip off their clothes and have wild animal sex. Not that we would ever see that on TV, but it would make some great footage for the crew wrap party.
I suppose I have to list the matchups.
--Corinne and Sean.
--Julielinh and Dan. Boring.
--Mae and Mark. Boring.
--Jeanne and Scott. Who the hell are they?
--Melisande and John. Who the hell are they? But they give a little kiss.
--Linda and Matt M, (hereafter known as MMatt because it’s my summary and I can do that if I want to). They make a BIG kiss.
--Matts and Michele. Another little kiss.
--Harold and Krista. Harold is totally built and gorgeous, with a shaved head.
--Viviana and Reggie. She leads him forward with a beckoning finger, he follows while popping a crooked finger into his mouth.
--Laura and Santino. Well, he’s hot.
--Brittany and Greg. Look quick! We won’t see much of them!
--Melissa and Todd. Ditto of Brittany and Greg.
--Austene and Jared. Look! The whitest boy there with nostril-sister!
--Young and Sumere. Is that a song title?
--Mattie and Eileen. He hoists her laughing onto his shoulder, hoping she falls out of her tube top. The camera zooms in. No luck.
Then Victoria Burrows, casting agent extraordinaire, says the magic words: “The scripts are on your beds.”
Oh, how many casting agents have uttered those words! How many lovely young wannabees have resigned themselves and headed for the bedroom, prepared to read between the lines and do whatever it takes to get the role! How many! How many? How the heck should I know?—I’ve never even been to Hollywood.
It is now 11 p.m., Hollywood time. Tina sends them off to bed with a reminder that call time is 5:30 a.m. And oh yeah—“Kick ass tomorrow!” Which could be hard since the Wannabees have to learn a script before dawn!
Now the Action Star producers show us clips of sleep-deprived Wannabees trying to “own” their scripts.
”Learn the lines and don’t bump into the furniture.”
Viviana is very literal. Victoria said “the script is on the bed.” So Viviana rehearses while standing on the bed. Is that called method acting? Or is she just used to performing on a bed? She also manages to insert a whole lot of adlibbed F-words into the script. Nobody else needs to be as constantly bleeped as she does.
The other Wannabees all do variations of this same scene, ‘How to Memorize My Lines,’while jumping over, around and on the bed. Not really great TV. If they had just tossed the script aside and had wild animal sex—now that would have been great TV!
Reggie does a lot of narration in this and other, earlier segments. I kind of fear for the guy. Okay, granted, most of these Wannabees aren’t smart enough to talk and act at the same time. This is why they need to be in an ‘action’ movie. But Reggie? Has a great voice and can form actual, meaningful sentences so they might as well let him talk. But? Too much early face time usually equals a boot.
”Actors are cattle.”
In the wee hours of the morning our sleepy Wannabees trudge down to the lobby, where they are loaded in white vans and driven off to… Hollywood National Studios! Oh wow, they really are in Hollywood! (In a little town just north of me, Honeysuckle Inc. drives their turkeys to the slaughter house in little white trucks. Same thing, I think)
When they reach the
slaughter house studio, our lovely host Tina leads the Wannabees into a huge martial arts studio, and introduces Eric Chen, an expert in Martial Arts, particularly Mu Shu—I mean Wu Shu—which is what they did in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. (Mu Shu is a pork dish, I think. Sorry for the confusion.)
Anyway, Eric shows them a bunch of moves and generally tests their flexibility, balance, stuff like that. Plus they learn to jump and roll without killing themselves. Except for jewelry-designer Jeanne, who really sucks and even says so herself, they do okay.
Then Eric evaluates each of them, before the entire group.
He calls Eileen an uncoordinated chicken, but he does it so nicely that she smiles and agrees. (Eric is a self-effacing charmer. He works with stars so he is allowed to have no ego of his own.)
He tells Viviana that she “lacks confidence.” Viv is so annoyed! She tells the camera, in a clip filmed later, that “I am not shy and I have no shame.” This settles once and for all the question of what kind of dancer she is, as well as reveals that she will likely do rather well on the casting couch. She decides she cannot let the evaluation stand unchallenged. More on that later.
Eric tells Young that he “has enthusiasm.” Young nods woodenly.
Michelle and Mattie get the most praise. Which means of course that one of them will be gone by the end of the show. I love the way reality shows pair up people before they take one of them down. I can’t decide who will go first—Michelle or Mattie.
Then, just as he is finishing his evaluations, Viviana steps out to challenge Eric.
“I personally disagree with your things about me,” she says. (Things?) Eric says some meaningless words, but very nicely. Ol’ Viv nods in satisfaction and returns to her place in the back row. It’s much ado about nothing, but the show producers put a little check by Viviana’s name. Drama Queen (check).
The ‘Run and Gun’ Set!
Now, finally! We are going to get some ACTION on this TV show! The camera does a quick pan of the audition set. It’s a parking lot with piles of tires here and there, a cop car, assorted cameras, some old bearded guy shooting a rifle and a bunch of people in black t-shirts with SPECIAL EFFECTS emblazoned on the back.
Host Tina Malave introduces the three people who will evaluate the Wannabees. Victoria Burrows, who we met at the beginning of this episode. Marki Costello, another Casting Agent who you all met last week while I was contemplating my navel, and some guy named Scott. I didn’t catch his last name—sorry—but I am willing to bet that he too is a Casting Agent.
Before the Wannabees are set loose on the set, a stunt coordinator named Kurt Bryant (Armageddon, Con Air) is introduced to block out the shoot. Which I guess is Hollywood talk for show them what they are supposed to do. This is what happens…
”They shoot too many pictures and not enough actors.”
They run. Guy shoots at them. Stuff blows up. Fireballs explode. You know, the usual stuff that happens outside a convenience store.
And O! the baby Stars eat it up. They say “Ooooo”, “ahhhhh”, “eeeeee” just like a bunch of tourists on a Disney World ride. What could be more fun than acting while the world blows up? Ooooo! Ahhhh! Eeeee!!!!
Then we have to watch each pair of Wannabees go through the same scene. And the Wannabees who aren’t actually performing go into a brown Green Room to watch each other on a big screen TV—which is the closest to stardom that most of these guys will ever get. The Casting Agents review each performance on a smaller TV monitor.
Here’s the set-up. One of the Wannabees gets to be a cameraman, one gets to be a reporter. They are standing outside a police taped area, trying to get close to the action. They sneak closer and the world blows up. Rifle man shoots at them as they run. Pickup truck blows up as they run by. Steel barrel cannon explodes a fireball because, well, it is an ACTION scene after all. They jump behind some tires and one of them (the reporter one) has to notice that s/he is bleeding. Then the cameraman one says “If it bleeds, it leads.” End of scene. Repeat 15 times.
”Acting is a boring and useless profession.”
Never have so many people overacted and yet underperformed in a publicly televised event! It’s a Hollywood record! Maybe a Bollywood record too, and that’s saying a lot! (Actually, I thought they all looked pretty good, but then what do I know? I’m from Minnesota.)
Jared and Austene go first. The casting agents think they are sort of okay, and the audition is off to a good start.
Casting Agents Victoria and Marki like Corinne, the boxing chick from Minneapolis. Yay! Sean, not so much. Maybe the Bouncer will get bounced tonight. He gave new meaning to the word “overacting”.
Eileen is worried about her hair catching on fire, so to distract herself from this thought she screams way too much. Back in the evaluation booth, Scott laughs out loud. It can’t be a good sign when the casting agent laughs at you—can it? Then at the end, when her partner Mattie proclaims that he is bleeding, she says her line: “If it bleeds, it leads,” then licks his finger!
Marki is so impressed. “Just for that, she should go to the house!” Marki and Victoria share a dirty little laugh. Oh yeah—the girl is willing to lick a guy’s body parts. We should keep her around for a while!
The pairs all go through the same scene. They all do it a bit differently, and they all overact. Back in the evaluation booth, Marki summarizes their acting skills for her camera. “Ooooooo!” “Ahhhhhh!” “Eeeeeee!” Marki waves her arms and makes Home Alone faces. Casting Agents just wanna have fun, I guess.
Reggie and Vivian go last, and get the most camera time.
First we see them getting ready. Viviana wants to wear a too-small blouse. Reggie and a staff disagree. Reggie finally tells her “Just put on the Large. It doesn’t mean you are fat!” The camera zooms in on Viv’s popping cleavage before she finally puts on a shirt that fits. (Since this Hollywood, the ‘Large’ is probably a size 4.)
Viviana to the camera: “I’m all about action, darling.” (Oh, shoot me now. The woman said ‘darling’ just like a vintage movie star. If she wins this thing I will scream!)
In the course of running through their scene, Viviana forgets her lines, yells obscenities, over-acts, knocks down part of the set and finally sprawls ungracefully on her ass. She has no idea where the camera is. In her last shot, she turns her back to the camera and her blouse is pulled up revealing unattractive middle-back skin, and the microphone box tucked into her pants. Too funny.
Back in the Evaluation Booth, the Casting Agents are stunned. Victoria: “Viviana chewed up the scenery, but there is something that just keeps you watching her.” Scott: “I couldn’t take my eyes off her.”
”To hold, as ‘twere, the mirror up to nature.”
Then it is time for the NetZero Recap, wherein the casting agents open their notebooks and decide who to eliminate. Since it would be way boring to hear them say “too stupid to live” over and over—the shows producers only reveal their comments on a few of the people. This is a quick summary (more or less) of their comments:
On Jared: All “loved him”
On Melisande: “She is hiding behind her acting.” “I’m on the fence with her” “I’d like to see more of her.”
Young: “Cute” “…but he can’t act a lick!”
Sean: “Totally has the ‘Look’” “Boresville actor-man. My God!”
Corinne: “Only dramatic. No comedy, no beats.”
Julielinh: “Look is right” “too stiff. Too dramatic.”
Matts: “A New York fire fighter. Damnit! You want him to go all the way!”
Eileen: “I would love to cast her as a paramedic because she licked blood off a finger at the scene.” (I’m thinking—WTF? Who wants to be licked by their paramedic?)
Mattie: “Has a good ‘Look’.” “Didn’t ‘own’ his scene.”
Santino: “Sexy, but rough.” “Doing too much (acting)” “He will need a lot of work.”
Reggie: “Very intelligent, like him.” “Unfortunate he was with Viviana” “Just for that, we should call him back.”
Viviana: “She wants this so badly.” “I couldn’t take my eyes off her.”
Then we are shown a bunch of camera confessionals, with those who are about to be booted sounding confident, and—well—everyone sounds pretty confident, actually.
Reggie says “I am so anxious and hungry to get out there and do it!” “I would hate to leave here! There is not a doubt in my mind I can anchor a movie.”
Corinne says “There is only going to be one winner. Somehow, you gotta get down and do it.”
Then Host Tina calls them all together to deliver the good/bad news. She has a bunch of scripts. If she calls your name, you go retrieve a script and you get to live for another audition. If she doesn’t call your name—buh-bye! You’re out.
Just for fun, she calls them boy/girl, boy/girl. These are the names as she called them:
--Mark / Jeanne
--John / Corinne
--Harold / Melisande
--Mmatt / Mae
--Todd / Michelle
--Jared / Linda
--Sean / Sumere
--Greg / Laura
--Young / Krista
Then a pause. “There are only 2 scripts left,” Tina intones. The remaining Wannabees bite their lips and try not to cry—except for Viviana, who sheds lovely dramatic tears. Tina calls the final names.
--Santino / Viviana!
Julielinh gives Viviana the Evil Eye as she goes up to collect her script. They show a head shot of some blonde girl who I swear did not say a word on this show and I don’t even know her name. She must have really sucked.
But Reggie! Oh, Reggie, you so deserved to stay.
Like they say—that’s Hollywood!
Tune in next Tuesday, when you will see
--pickup truck explode
--people fall off bridges
--swim through steel cages
--shoot machine guns
--kiss some more
--and a boat blows up!
Holy Hannah, Batman! I’m gonna need a seatbelt on my LazyBoy!
(Final note on Tina Malave’s math. The show started with 30 people; I counted ‘em. She just took down 10 of them. That is 1/3, not half. So 20 people must remain—right? (Counts them again--yep. 20) But the show promos keep talking about 14 finalists. I don’t get it.)
(Edited for stupid coding & stuff)