2003-09-25 @ 10:06 p.m.
Me and Nicholas Cage are just like this. Nick. Nicky-baby. Nick-a-rama.
Ok, he has no idea who I am but I have photographed him, a'la paparazzi. That's not to say I sold any of my photos to the Enquirer or anything. I just took photos for the enjoyment of taking photos. Ya see, I grew up in this small town in Northern California.
What's that have to do with Nicholas Cage? Well, this town was such an exquisite example of Americana, that film makers used to flock to it to make their movies. And Nick would soon visit us, but first a little history...
Movies you might have seen that were made in my neighborhood? Well, lets start with the sucky ones first. "Cujo" and "Howard the Duck". Oh and a campaign commercial for Ronald Reagan.
But then we turn stellar with such films as the Hitchcock remake of "A Shadow of a Doubt" (its only stellar because I worked as an extra in it, folks), a remake of "Lolita" with Jeremy Irons, "Heroes" (Hey, I was in this one too. Henry Winkler was the STAR with Harrison Ford in a small part. Guess how old that was?), "Mumford" with Ted Danson, "Phenomenon" with John Travolta, "The Horse Whisperer" with Robert Redford, "True Crimes" with Clint Eastwood, "Basic Instinct" with Michael Douglas and Sharon Stone (filmed about a block from my house), "Explorers" with River Phoenix, the totally awesome "American Graffiti" with many future stars (Harrison Ford, once again, Richard Dreyfess, Suzanne Somers, Ron Howard, Mackenzie Phillips, and more), and lastly, and the subject of the photo, "Peggy Sue Got Married".
I went to a casting call for "Peggy Sue Got Married". They held it one hot Saturday afternoon in the local Veteran's Hall. I had worked as a movie extra before. A Disney film here. A Paramount comedy there. I had just done a production of Cabaret and thought I was in show business. So they snapped my picture. Asked me about my availability. I was working full time, but it was really a no-brainer. Sell Swatches down at the local Mall or WORK WITH FAMOUS MOVIE DIRECTOR FRANCIS FORD COPPOLA.
Unfortunately, there was no call forthcoming. I was too old for the high school scenes, too young for the reunion scenes and too 80's looking for the 60's. But my cousin, who now works on Broadway, did get cast as one of Peggy Sue's class mates. I was pissed about not getting a part, but hung onto his every word about life on the set. He only worked for 2 days, but we hung out on the "Peggy Sue" set and its perimeters as much as humanly possible.
The first day he worked, I decided to do an "I Love Lucy". I wanted to be in show business too, so I dressed up as a film set techie, black sweater, sneakers, cargo pants, with a roll of masking tape in one of the pockets. The crew was having lunch outside of the high school. There was security at the gates, but I blended so well, (I didn't carry my purse with me) I just walked in like I was on my way somewhere.
My cousin, who was eating a sandwich, did a double take, when he saw me coming towards him. And then he broke into a big grin. I sat down next to him. We quietly giggled together. He nodded to a person a couple tables over. There was Francis Coppola sitting talking to several people. I felt shaky inside. Here was the director of a film that had changed my life at 14. I had seen "The Godfather" 6-7 times when it first came out. It was the film that had made me love films. I was very impressed.
A week or so later, they took over the downtown area of my little Americana town. It wasn't much of a stretch to make our town look like 1962. Just dress a few store windows. Park some old Chevies out front. Voila!
But the "Peggy Sue" set direction was pretty fabulous. The streets were teaming with about 50 dress extras (including a friend who I had just worked with in Cabaret -- damn him!). They had about 15-20 gorgeous cars cruising the boulevard. All the store fronts were dressed of course. Dress shops. TV shops. Record shops. A British lady I had met in a writing class managed to get a line of dialogue in the scene they were filming with Barry Miller and Kathleen Turner. Damn her.
I was across the street with my 200 mm camera shooting pictures. Security was a lot tighter here than at the high school. I guess because there was a lot more money involved in shutting down an entire town (rerouting traffic, closing down 20-30 businesses, just the nuisance of having those damn movie stars standing around blocking your doorway).
I did truly feel like a member of the paparazzi though. I was shooting pictures of movie stars after all. Finally some guy came over and told me to stop. So what did I do? Walk a block down and start shooting from a different angle, which is where I got this shot of a very young Nicholas Cage. I didn't even really know who he was, but my cousin who was with me, said he was in the movie, so I shot a picture of him. Thank God I did.
So what prompted this entry? Well, I saw Nicholas Cage in "Matchstick Man" today. Its a great little film with another of Cage's oddball performances. I always kind of imagine Cage sitting down before he starts a film and thinking, OK, what tick am I going to exaggerate this time? He's not a cuddly actor. He's kind of like that cousin you used to visit as a kid who would show you his dried iguana collection.
I always tell myself I'm not going to go to any more of those excessive Nicholas Cage films, but then I always end up going, and enjoying them and getting annoyed at myself for letting Cage get away with murder.
Lyrics by Lennon/McCartney. All angst copyright by awittykitty