As you already know if you’ve read any of my “work” stories, film and photo production often beats a “real job.” Occasionally we get to meet famous people; in one case I actually got to model, and in another I was asked to be an “actor” in a scene with the very real actress Jessica Chastain.
Although I was certainly fit in 2017 when I “modeled,” you are probably saying to yourself: “Eric is pretty old and sure as hell doesn’t look like a model!” And you would be absolutely right! The modeling story is best told in photos, so I’ll do it that way. I was producing a shoot for a fashion client, and super fun dude Shannon was the photographer. They didn’t have a male model for this particular shot so they asked me if I would give it a try. Never one to refuse a challenge, I naturally agreed. (At least they didn’t ask me back when I was a fat slob although it really wouldn’t have mattered as you will see!
Ok—So I played a bit of a joke on you with the “modeling” thing, but I really did get to act in a scene with Jessica Chastain in 2006. Jessica was unknown at the time, and they were shooting part of her breakout film “Jolene” here in Arizona. The weird thing was that 99% of my production work had always been advertising, but a quirk of fate got me hired on as part of the transportation department of a feature film for three weeks. That was by far one of the longest single projects in my entire career. Seriously. We were shooting up in Prescott for a few days, and one of the production staff told me they needed to shoot some B-roll footage of Jessica riding in a small bus. In the script, she was going to the juvenile loony bin and they needed a driver to both drive and act at the same time.
Driving was no problem of course, and thankfully my “scene” with Jessica was quite brief. During our drive to the juvenile asylum, a rebellious “Jolene” lights up a cigarette and deliberately catches my eye in one of those large rear view school bus type mirrors daring me to do something about it. My “acting” consisted of giving her a dirty look, shaking my head “no,” and continuing to drive while she continued to smoke. I gave her a second look as if to say “we’ll deal with this when we get to the loony bin” and that was the end of it. I was paid the princely sum of $50 extra to sign my “talent” release, and as far as I know the scene ended up on the cutting room floor. But I’ve never actually seen the film, so I’m not 100% sure of that. If any of you remember a porky dude giving Jessica Chastain a dirty look in the rear view mirror of a loony bin bus, please let me know and I’ll watch my feature film debut and swan song at the same time—Hahahaha!!