MOVIELINE, December/January 2004

RECRUITED FOR A PART ON THE BIG SCREEN, OUR INTREPID REPORTER GETS A TASTE OF LIFE ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE CAMERA

By Anna David

Those talent shows my parents endured and several high school and college musicals notwithstanding, I am not an Actress.

Still, when my independent producer friend Adrienne Gruben calls and asks me if I’m free the next night to play a part in I Love Your Work, Adam Goldberg’s new movie, it takes me between two and three seconds to say yes. Then she tells me my scene will be with Giovanni Ribisi and Franka Potente. “You mean I have lines?” I ask just as the cell phone cuts out.

I’d met Adam through Adrienne a few years before and thus already knew him to be one of the funniest, not to mention most neurotic, people on earth. The fact that he’s co-written a script about a movie star who stalks a fan is alluring in itself. The fact that he’s okay with me playing a reporter who interviews the movie star on the press line of a premiere gives me the jolt of confidence I need. (The fact that I’ve participated in this activity in real life more times than I’d care to remember also helps.) “Adam gets migraines over parking spaces,” I remind myself. “If he thinks I can memorize eight lines and repeat them without a stutter than goddammit, I can.”

The script is great. I’m ready for my close-up. The only problem is that the next morning I awake with a feeling of dread unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. All day long, I keep hoping to get a call from someone explaining that Jules Asner has suddenly become available or that the need for the entertainment reporter has ceased to be. I drive to the downtown set secretly fantasizing about a time-consuming yet not life-threatening accident befalling me.

When I get there, I meet the second assistant director, who says he’ll show me to my trailer. “You’re kidding, right?” I ask, immediately dashing those plans I’d had to remain cool and unaffected. “Look, you’re right next to Christina,” he comments, pointing to the trailer attached to mine which does indeed have a hand-written sign that read “Ricci” on the door. I sit down and call some friends, for the sole purpose of being able to sound cool and unaffected while explaining that I’m sitting in “my” trailer “next to Christina’s” but the cell phone dies before my diva-dom actually has a chance to flourish. Ah, well.

Later, when we break for “lunch” at around 8 p.m. I grab a tray of food and sit down with a friend of a friend. We seem to have so much in common and that, combined with the subdued excitement in the air, conspires to make me want to be this girl’s best friend. No wonder co-stars are always falling in love, I realize. Movie sets seem to have that same relationships-on-speed dynamic that camp always had. Somewhere between digesting and contemplating taking up smoking again for perhaps the 55th time, I’m told that Giovanni wants to “run lines” with me.