|Never assume a part is yours until you get your call time (or
people in your corner can be a bad thing')
If you're either a film
literate or a stoner, you might recognize me
from 'Dazed and Confused'
(I'm the girl who
tripped - literally). And if
you're a true film buff and actually read the credits,
recognize the names of James Jacks (Jim, we fondly call him) and Don
casting director respectively. That being
said, you now understand we go way back.
And it is from this point
began what would be the most (I'll be nice here) 'trying' auditioning
experience I've ever had.
I first heard of 'Mallrats'
one evening in February '94 while kicking
back a couple cocktails with
Jim at an L.A. bar. He
told me that he was
producing a film and would like for me and some other
Dazed cast members
to be in it. I was flattered, to say the least, and over the next year,
siasm grew as 'Rats drew
closer to becoming a reality. I read
every draft, went through every one
of the possible locations
shoot, saw 'Clerks'. And when I found out that Don was going to
movie, I sat back and smiled. With both the producer and the casting
director on my side,
all I had to do was meet
the director - thus making a done deal right?
At this point I have to
stress - thrust me on this - that none of
the following events occurred out
of malice, but rather
out of Kevin's
inability to cotton to strong suggestions from my supporters.
This and a
complete misunderstanding aided in creating the stigma that very nearly
director from seeing his
way clear to casting yours truly. The abbreviated tale goes as follows:
- I have the part (for a
- I don't have the part.
Excuse me? Three days
before my meeting with the 'enfant terrible'
(Kevin), I received a phone
call from my manager,
informing me that my
best friend Parker Posey had gotten the part ("But he
hasn't even met
me!"). Ironically enough, Parker was visiting from New York and standing
me when the news came.
Tears streaming down my face, I hugged
and congratulated her, as vis-
ions of arsenic danced
in my head. After an
entire evening of working through it, we put it behind
us (Parker's great
that way) and I let it go...
- I maybe have the part?
A few days later, I was told
that they'd like my to read for another
part. "Out of pity?" I won-
dered? Regardless, I
prepared the scenes, and the next day I read.
Now, to understand the
anxiety I was then subjected to, you must first
understand Kevin. He is,
shall we say, playful...
in a Marquis de Sade sort of way.
When I finished my reading, he
politely asked me to read for the part
I'd spent a year believing
I had. It would take at
least three pages to
descibe what went through my head in the seconds that
"After a year of waiting, this
bastard wants me to read cold?"
"Does this guy even know what
I've been through?"
"And does not Parker have the
But I'd like to consider
myself a pro, so I read the part - cold. And
after I'm done, Kevin says
"That was good, but can
you do it again, only this time - do it faster?"
Then... "Again, please. Faster
Is this some sort of sick, New
"One more time, but even
I hate you.
And I leave.
Some days later, I was told I
had a callback for the part - my part -
scheduled for January tenth -
the day after my birthday
say, it was a sober one that year, and it pretty much sucked).
appointment was postponed for ten days ("Jesus Christ, how much longer
can this go
on?!") So I waited (not so
patiently) dwelling in
Hell, chaos, confusion, and Parker's dilemma
over whether to do
another film she'd been offered. The ten day wait ended and - call me
masochist - I went back in to read.
- I don't have the part.
Parker's not doing it and
neither am I.
Shannen Doherty is (which, by the way, she did an excel-
lent job with).
- The whole thing's over.
Thank God! They had final
call-backs and I wasn't
invited. I threw the script in the trash and I
finally let it all go.
- The whole thing's not
I got a call back from Don
saying that they want me to
read for Gwen. It became official - I am a
masochist. I go in and
- I have the part (of Gwen).
Allow me a moment of sappiness
- it was a truly beautiful moment when Don
- knowing all I had
been through - told me
after my reading that I had
the part. We were standing in the same place
where he had told me I'd
gotten Dazed lo those many years ago. It was... magical.
Now - if this was going to
Hell and back, I'd do it a million times more.
The experience of 'Mall-
rats' was all at once
mirthful, rapturous, transporting, elating, enlightening,
get the idea. Not only did I learn much and meet people who I can only
allow me the pleasure of
their company for any amount of time,
but I got to know one of the finest
young directors with whom
I'm certain people will be shitting themselves to work with...
... even Kevin Spacey.
I love you Kevin. Thank
Okay - enough!
Never through objects in a room full of people, someone might get
My first day in Minneapolis I
was transported by van from the hotel to
the Eden Prairie Mall and
then led to an empty store
front and instructed
to wait in the back room until Kevin was ready for
me. It was at that
point I was introduced to several of the cast and crew. My first
with the young Jason
Mewes, which quickly turned into an
interrogation regarding my sexual ex-
periences and inquiry into
orifices I preferred penetrated. Although he was endearing, I ex-
myself and meandered to a corner where I sat and plotted my next move and
try and 'fit in.'
Claire Forlani joined me and
as we smoked butts and discussed the trials
and tribulations of mar-
riage and serious
relationships, a colossus of a
man entered the room with a German Shepherd.
Claire informed me this
Shannen Doherty's bodyguard and dog, who was later kicked out of
despite her... influence. So she's here, I thought. I must admit I was a
bit star-struck by
the notion of meeting her
so I guess to calm my
nerves, perhaps to be cute, I decided to play a little
game of fetch with
the pooch using a plastic Evian bottle. All was going well and the dog
enjoy the exercise when
some bald kid walked directly in the
line of fire and was smacked right in
his head, which
beet red (out of embarrassment more than pain, I hoped). I
profusely and it wasn't until later I found out this bald kid was in fact
old Dave Klein, our
director of photography. That's the
guy who works the camera and makes you
look good... or bad. I was
fitting in just fine.
This case of 'unknown
identity' is not dissimilar to my first impression
of Scott Mosier, our
twenty-four year old
producer. I met Scott during
the auditions and somehow, possibly caught up
in my own dilemma, missed
the "...our producer" part of the introduction. He was reading with the
actors and I just assumed that he was a newcomer that Don Phillips was
breaking in (this reflects
nothing towards Scott's
acting ability - I
actually thought he was kind of talented), and I even felt a
for him. I thought, "This poor guy probably wants to do this movie so
bad, maybe they'll
give him a small part." I
was so delighted to see him
on the set and felt like such a fool when I
learned who he was. I went
back to my room and studied my cast and crew sheet to avoid any fur-
Never discuss religion when unaware of everyone's beliefs
This is nothing more than an
apology to Jason Lee.
People the press call bitchy can really be nice
To answer the question in
everyone's mind: No, Shannen Doherty is not a
bitch. Hell, she let me
use her rent-a-car and
although she did have her
bodyguard to drive her around, it was nice all the
same. My observation
of Shannen is this: Strong southern woman with an Irish temper
combination if you ask me) and she's smart to boot. I mean, who could
hate someone who was a
regular on 'Little house?'
Shannen grew up in the
business, she's a professional and she knows
exactly what she wants
it comes to makeup, hair, wardrobe, lighting treatment, etc. and she
demands it. She demands respect. I personally admire this, but see how it
can be misconstrued.
I wasn't quite convinced of her neccessity for a bodyguard until...
It was late one evening and
Shannen and I were hanging out with Dana
Allyson, our costume
designer, who asked if we
wanted to go shopping.
Did she really need to ask? Since safety's in
numbers, Shannen let her
bodyguard off for the night. He didn't seem too happy about this and
on our way
out he handed her his beeper and warned, "Beep me if you need me." Well ,
cern was contagious and I
immediately got an eerie feeling. I had
heard rumors of 'Shannen stalk-
ers' but thought them just that...
Were we safe? At the mall my paranoia grew as I began
noticing Shannen and, when a lady approached with an autograph book, I
felt all the protection and
championship of that dog of hers.
We made it through the mall
and headed to Urban Outfitters. It was
getting late and the cold Min-
nesota night seemed dark and
the winds howled at the moonless sky and I became
downright scared. Once
there I couldn't really concentrate on my shopping. I was busily watching
for stalkers or psychos who might be hiding behind any
corner, waiting to
pounce, and was com-
pletely terrified when an employee shouted, "LOCK
DOOR!" I turned and to my horror, a
thrall of people had gathered outside the front door wanting to see Shannen.
I am only one and there
many. I went into shock and became completely useless, at which point
Dana and the store
manager took over, quickly
leading us out the rear
door where we dashed down an alley and into the
parking lot. I could see
the car and was just starting to feel some sense of safety when I noticed
more clever of the crew
had caught onto our sneaky little escape and
it became a mad dash. I was at
the car, Shannen was at
the car, Dana was
unlocking the car, and they were closing in when Dana
turned and to my
amazement with all the command of... God, ordered "Stay Back!" They did,
we got in the car, and
headed for safety. We didn't hang out a lot after that.
Some Directors actually do give 'line readings'
I was listening when Claire
told me about Kevin's
method of directing,
really I was. I don't know if I just
didn't believe her or if I
he'd never try it on me
(or if he did, only from
time to time), but
when I first
heard him instruct me to
"Say it like this...", shock and
defiance ran through my
It was out first rehersal, and
not only did he give me a
reading, but as he did, he added a little 'business'
for me to do as well
('business' meaning the stuff actors
do with the hands, body,
acting). I sat - mouth slack, mind you - completely speechless,
idea of how to react. So I swallowed (rather difficultly) my pride and
said it - excuse me -
repeated it like him.
Thus began our director/actor
relationship - a union comprised of never-ending utterances such
"Say it like this..." (His
"The inflection's on..."
"Go up at the end."
"Go up at the middle."
"Go up at the beginning."
Christ, I thought - why
didn't he just record himself reading the script and pass it out.
I'll never forget the first
time he actually gave me what 'I' considered direction... well sort of.
We were rehearsing the scene
where T.S. and Gwen discuss why they
dated as long as they had,
and I just couldn't
deliver the line "you had
cable" the way in which Kevin wanted - nay, obsessed
over - regardless of
how many times he illustrated it for me. Several of the cast were in
and our battle of wills
soon became the focus of the group.
Maybe I'd been preoccupied with the
dichtomy between Shannen's
her dinner of chicken fingers and French fries - but I could
not, for the
life of me, say it... right.
"You're saying it like you'd say it in Dazed and Confused!"
jokingly (?) charged, to which I jokingly (?) replied "That's because
Rick's a real director!"
(The foundation of our
repartee from the start
has been mutual digs, which I've since interpreted to
be Kevin's manner
of conveying affection.) Finally out of sheer frustration, Kevin screamed
ST SAY IT LIKE - 'Duh!'"
Lights flashed, bells sounded,
the fog lifted, and it all became
clear (except why did it take him
thirty minutes to make his
point?). I said it right from that moment forward.
But it didn't stop with line
reading, oh no. Kevin one time
offered what can only be described as
a 'body reading' as we
the Gwen/Brandi scene. He was less than thrilled with my en-
what he's all about - entrances and exits... and a shit load of dialogue
and since he couldn't
give a line reading. I was really
curious as to what he'd do. So after failed
attempts to explain
wanted, he got up and performed it. Not to patronize, but it was kind
Although I knew Kevin's
dialogue was extremely stylized
and somewhat cadenced, I found it so
unnatural to speak with
inflections that weren't my own. I even doubted that it would
well on screen. It wasn't until I shot my first scene, watched the
dailies, and saw what
performances he was getting out of everyone
that I realized Kevin was right, his directing
- while unorthodox - was
right, and in giving him my complete trust, I was right.
From then on, it was a walk in
Twins can be confusing
Here's a bit of trivia for
you: What actor in Mallrats has an
identical twin brother who is also an
actor? You guessed it:
London, who's brother Jason starred in Dazed and Confused (oh,
incestuous business). After playing Jason's girlfriend in Dazed, it
wasn't hard to play Jer-
emy's ex-girlfriend in
'Rats. The only thing hard
was calling him Jeremy when he looks so much
like Jason plus there were
two other Jasons on set (Jason Lee and Jason Mewes), and I knew Ja-
first and so I guess Jeremy looks like Jason to me because I didn't meet
Jeremy first because if
I had, then Jason would
probably look like Jeremy. Confused yet?
Differentiating factor -
hearing Jason's rendition of Lenny
Kravitz's "Rosemary" after hearing
Jeremy's version at a
local party we attended.
Work out the details before shooting 'nudie scenes'
The first conversation I ever
had with Kevin (outside auditions)
discussion of the 'titty scene'. He called me from
the set in
(where he was already rehearsing with the two Ja-
sons) and after
congratulating me on getting the part, he segued
into exactly how much
tit I'd have
to show. He was actually
ry cool about it and
informed me that he and my manager had
agreed to 'fleeting'. I seconded
that, and we
quickly changed the
topic, never mentioning it
again until five minutes
before we were
to shoot the scene, at
which time my three questions were:
"Exactly what is
"Is partial nudity (as called
for in the contract) half a tit?"
"Do I start with my shirt
open or closed?"
Since the shot involved a
stunt (Silent Bob's head through the
changing room wall) for which we
had only two walls to
want to talk about it, and Jim thought I might be trying to
what I'd agreed to do. I was getting scolded, they were yelling for me on
set, and I
did what any professional
actress would do - I started crying
uncontrollably. Kevin suddenly seemed
to want to talk about it,
very sweet, telling me that I didn't have to do it at all (yeah, right),
but I said I wanted to - that I'd agreed to do it. After about ten
minutes (mind you, I was holding up
a shot - a big no-no
Tom Hanks) my crying ceased and Kevin left me to fix my make-
collect myself. As I did, I realized that we still hadn't solved the
problem: How much tit?
So I ran to the set and found
Kevin (garbed in helmet and
goggles, rigged to come crashing th-
rough the wall), warned
"This is what
I'm going to do," and flashed him - at which point I noticed
averted his eyes (a fine, gentlemanly quality - but completely useless at
that particular junc-
The A.D.'s yelling for me to
get into position, I'm scared
shitless, and still left with nooo idea
how much tit! I was on my
and ACTION! I open my blouse, Silent Bob crashes through
the wall, I
close my blouse, scream, hit him, and... CUT!
That was it? Hmmm... alot of
hoopla over nothing.
It really does hurt when you hit a guy in the balls
Just ask Jeremy. OOPS!
If a smoker is working on a non-smoking set with a director who
follow him whenever he leaves the set
Many a good time were
shared as well as cigarettes smoked in
Kevin's office to which he would
retreat whenever possible.
went, the jokes never ended, and anything you could find dou-
bled as an
ashtray. It was in this happy haven I first discovered the ol' pigtails
and tap-dance trick.
Kevin was having problems on
the set, or perhaps his comic books
hadn't arrived, or had ar-
Regardless, he was in a foul mood
and I felt some "please all the people all the time"
need to cheer him up
so I did what all do when trying to lift spirits. I tap-danced. A slow
ed across his face,
egging me on, so I continued whipping
around into the buffalo two-step at which
point Kevin's grin
blossomed into a smile and victory was mine.
Kevin (always adding his own
touch) then asked me to repeat my
little dance but this time, with
confused and a little
humiliated, I consented. The sound of his raucous laughter
heart and fueled my ego (to make someone that funny laugh makes you feel
soon because the
cheer-Kevin-up stand-by and was actually
going to appear in the end credits until
I broke my toe. (Look for
that story in behind the scenes of Bio-dome.)
Minneapolis is freezing in February
The majority of our time
outside was spent running from building
to car or from car to building
and since few of us had
cars (not everyone
was Shannen's favorite) we spent a lot of time in the
hotel and a lot of
that time was spent in the hotel bar.
Tip hotel empoyees well, especially the bartenders
Whenever on location, I have
found that the hotel bar (not to be
confused with the chain discos
that accompany many
hotels) seems to
become a meeting ground for all involved. I guess this is
obvious; I mean where else would we meet - the banquet room? Anyway, I
those who intoxicated us,
fed us, and basically put up with
all our shit for two months. Do you
think they knew that I was
beers for minor Jason Mewes who would start the evening so-
end up mysteriously belligerent, trying to entice a pretty maiden back to
All those special
requests of dressing on the side, skim milk,
and food when the kitchen's closed -
they succumbed to. Eating
bowls of nuts to one drink and then asking for more - they dished
out. It was in this hotel bar I heard the profound words, "Only women can
have perfect na-
vels" roll off Ethan
Suplee's tongue. It was in this bar
that... you know what? Not a damn thing
happened in that bar. No
in love or in lust or even so much as flirted. I never heard any
gossip and I can't recall anything funny happening. I wasnt even told a
good joke, for Ch-
rist's sake. Although I
did hear a tale about two local
girls claiming to be in the film so as to pick
up Jason and... I can't
The real drama unfolded
when we decided to venture to 'Kicks',
the attached disco, and involved
no cast members, but
rather Jason Lee's
girlfriend Carmen (now wife). We were having trouble
getting in because
of out "attire" and Carmen defiantly asked, "What wrong with what I'm
ing?" To which a lady with
big hair suggested, "Tale a look in the
mirror, honey!" Without missing
a beat Carmen punched the
and we casually strolled out. She obviously wasn't a magazine
Never trust a director to drive you to the airport
We had a very nice meal at
Denny's (his favorite because of the
picturesque menu) but we got to
the airport late. I was
coffee on the baggage clerk, and had to bolt to my gate. I later
learned Kevin compensated the man for his burns.