I'm finally in a movie, and the coolest part of it is that all of the cameras are hidden: my director wants me to be totally un-self-conscious. Also very cool is that we're communicating wirelessly: him whispering suggestions in my ear: ". . .very nice, very nice . . .now, take out a cigarette . . . just let it dangle from your lips for a little bit before you light it: guys don't care but the women love it watching you smoke. Very nice . . .now, stand up and pull your coat collar long wool overcoat up against your neck . . .button it so that it looks military . . .that's it . . .now look across the street and through the branches of that wisteria, you see the one? . . .good . . .very nice . . .
I can't see it, but know there's a camera there.
I feel like a cross between James Dean, Edward James Olmos, and Brad Pitt, sunglasses on, hands crammed deep in my pockets, hair shoulder length swept back, three-day stubble, cigarette dangling from the side of my mouth: irresistible.
I'm wordlessly telling everybody around me not to blow my cover; we're doing a film here, so just be cool, no autograph shit. I slip even deeper into character: I can almost feel my cells shifting, my bone structure morphing, my posture is different from my own, I am a god. All I have to do is stand here with intention and everybody here will notice. Good thing they're kind of scared by my character (Jack the Ripper in America), they're giving me plenty of space to work; I wonder if this barista knows that she's being filmed while I order vanilla ruebos tea?
That's the fuckin' trick: hide the goddamn cameras! Go back to people who show up well on film later and get them to sign releases, but for beautiful, totally candid shots, camera position is everything.
"Rick, I want you to go deeper, just let yourself go . . . I 've got you covered . . ."
I begin to vibrate, like some drooping Dali tuning fork, to the psychopath wavelength. Something about being very, very still inside, and grounded like a giant bell gong is suspended from my stomach.
Holy shit! This isn't a movie, this is some goddamn Reality TV show! OOOOooooo, ok: Xerxes is using this to get me national exposure! Of fucking course. They're going to title this something like "Who Wants to Marry a Carpenter", and a covey of gorgeous women are going to join me onstage for the grand finale. One of them will be Robin first girlfriend, there's Mary P. first true love and Capucine hands-down best lover, Rachel and several other women I don't recognize. They're going to shoot it over at the Fairgrounds, maybe that's why the lights are on over there now: fuck yea, they're doing a light check.
Shit, how do I get myself into this? I am terrified of being up in front of large crowds, but somehow I keep winding up there.
Xerxes is giving me the scoop: "ok, Rick, when we're ready you'll come onstage and go down center, the women will form an arc around you from upstage but don't upstage yourself--keep at least half of your face to the audience. (like I need him to tell me that, jesus christ, Xerxes, how many times have we worked together?)
"You're going to be introduced to ten women; several of them have been very significant in your life; the last one's going to be Britney."
(oh my god, I'm going to have to be so fucking focused out there, and all I can do is tell the truth, even if it makes me look bad . . .)
". . .and you're going to have to choose one. Your One True Soulmate. And if you choose right, you're going to win your dream house here in New Orleans, and cars and cash and a bunch of other shit, but you get where I'm going . . ."
Now my butterflies are cockroaches. "Aww, man . . . this is fuckin terrifying . . ."
"Don't worry! You'll be great: just be yourself . . ."
"I need to walk . . ."
"OK, just be back here by 5:30 . . ."