Hard work. Mining for coal. Chopping firewood. Patching a hole in a submarine while it’s submerged. Picking lettuce. Casting iron. Casting actors.
It’s all hard work, am I right?
There was a time when I was open to the casting couch. The hopefuls would come flooding in at the chance of the glory that comes with being paid with “Meal + Credits” or, if we’re really going for broke: SAG Ultra Low Budget. It’s not pretty. I’m not proud.
But they are. They’re pretty and proud, and they love living in Studio City or by the Grove or Santa Monica. Something about the salt air makes it easier to book commercials for allergy medication.
This time I’ve stayed away from the couch. It’s all word of mouth. There are four actors. Three of the roles have been filled, but this final role, well, it hasn’t been easy.
It’s the title character. She’s the star. Or at least, it doesn’t work without her. She has to be great. She has to be everything that’s likeable about Scarlett Johansson, only without the bedroom eyes. And eight years younger. She has to be at once ethereal and authentic and preferably American. And we don’t have her, so I’ve been writing love letters.
Actually, they’ve been emails. They’ve looked like this.
Dear Scarlett Johansson,
Do you have a sister who looks like a version of you without the bedroom eyes who is preferably seven or eight years younger? If so, I’d like to cast her in a short film we’re making. I know she’d be perfect.
Or the one I wrote to Melanie Laurent.
I hope this email finds you well. Speaking of finding and well and you, I’m looking for an actress, like you. How’s your American accent? If it’s great, what’s your schedule like in May? And what’s your stance on a team of special effects superstars trying to make you look ten years younger? Well, that about sums up my requests. Looking forward to hearing back!
And then, I thought of Emma Watson.
Dear Emma Watson,
It is with a heavy heart that I inform you that you’re not right for the title role in the short film we’re making. I wish you nothing but success going forward, but you’re not getting a job from me.
Finally, I landed on it. It was so simple, so obvious.
Dear Elizabeth Olsen,
Will you work for cheap or for free? If so, I’m relatively, kind of, nearly, or with very little doubt, thinking that you probably or might be suitable for the role in this cinematographic masterpiece that lives on my desktop. Your sisters can come and watch, but don’t expect us to feed them.
The responses came pouring in.
Scarlett Johansson: Funny that you should email me. I was just thinking of you. Here’s a picture of my sister and I. She’s a bit younger than what you were originally looking for, but she’s only getting older. Let me know if you think she’s right for the part. Xo
Melanie Laurent: “Au milieu de l’hiver, j’ai découvert en moi un invincible été.”
Emma Watson: I’ll do anything. This would be the role of a lifetime for me. Please. This could be my THE WRESTLER. My THE GODFATHER. My DALLAS BUYERS CLUB!
Elizabeth Olsen: There’s nothing I’d rather do in this whole world than to work on one of your short films for cheap or for free, but I have an appointment at the Apple Store’s Genius Bar regarding my MacBook Air, which has stopped working. Like completely. It won’t turn on at all. Do you know what’s wrong with it? Anyway, I can’t reschedule. I hope you understand.
And just like that my prospects came crashing down.
Scarlett, God bless her, is too pure at heart for her own good.
Melanie, I had to strikethrough because I hate Francophiles, even if they’re actually French and that quote reads like, well, I don’t know. I took Spanish in school.
Emma’s too desperate. Too wrong. I feel bad saying this, but this isn’t some Sophia Coppola movie we’re trying to do. We need star power. We need…
Elizabeth Olsen. But that fucking Genius Bar appointment. And don’t get me wrong, I know where she’s coming from. Rescheduling an appointment at the store at the Grove? At the Beverly Center? At the one on the Third Street Promenade? Not going to happen. You might as well just drive out to fucking Glendale and we can’t expect Mary-Kate and Ashley’s sister to do something insane like that.
I’ve put one last email in the interwebs. It’s an offer to Gwyneth Paltrow. We want her to do a cameo as a meter maid. It’s a non-speaking role, but I know she’ll be perfect for it. I can see her now: getting out of her little meter maid go-cart, chalking the back of a tire, getting back into her go-cart and driving six feet forward to the next car to do it again. Then she’ll be off.
We’ll roll credits. People will laugh. People will cry. We’ll lock hands and take a bow while getting slaughtered in the comments section of anything with a comments section. Well, that’s enough hard work for one day. This is where I say goodbye.