Monday, 11 August 2008

Oh Johnny...

“Alice? Alice? Wherefore are thou Alice?” trilled the unmistakable voice of Mags from the top of my stairs.
“Down here”, I yelled back, “Stripping beds”. My students, having finally gone, had left me with the onerous task of cleaning up after them.
Mags flew down into the basement, two steps at a time. “Have you seen this?” she asked, brandishing yet another newspaper in my face.
“Don’t tell me. Yet another London dweller has criticized south east Cornwall. What’s the problem this time? No spa facilities? Japanese restaurants?”
“No”, said Mags shaking her head vehemently, “Nothing like that. Look at this”. I unfolded The Evening Herald where the exquisite beauty that is Johnny Depp looked back dreamily into my eyes.
“Holy crappola Mags! He’s coming here!” I couldn’t believe it. Johnny Depp making a movie in Plymouth!
“I know, I know and they’re looking for extras”, gabbled Mags, opening the pages in a fluster to show me, “It says here they are looking for anyone over the age of sixteen, with long, natural coloured hair”.
“Wow! Shame our kids aren’t old enough”, I said, reading.
“For God’s sake Alice. You don’t get it do you?”, demanded Mags.
“No I don’t, what do you mean?”, I said, looking up from the paper into her resolute face, her head cocked to one side, like an expectant spaniel, “You have to be joking? No, no way.” I brushed past her carrying armfuls of dirty linen.
“Aw c’mon Alice! This could be a real laugh. We could be spotted! Imagine, oh God just imagine, we could just meet Johnny bloody Depp.” Her enthusiasm was so infectious that I couldn’t crush her and before you could middle-aged women’s crumpet, I’d agreed to be picked up the next day and join a queue of other hopefuls; some who genuinely wanted to be movie stars and some, who like us, wanted a long held, filthy, fantasy, fulfilled.
Given the lack of facilities for that number of people, I, like the production company had underestimated the number of people who’d turn up, because, not since a Next sale have I queued so long for anything. I’d worn heels as well, not because I need to look any taller but because “a nice heel works wonders for good looking ankle”, said Mags, “Especially when worn with a little black dress”.
Within an hour of standing I was beginning to rue the day I’d ever agreed to such torture especially as neither of us had thought to bring a folding chair, a Thermos, a few sarnies, a couple of boiled eggs and, as it transpired a golfing umbrella. Being British however, a wartime spirit was soon generated, the long queue lending itself to the atmosphere and Mags and I gave thanks that we didn’t have to do this for our daily bread.
The culmination of hours of shuffling, very slowly, ensured more intimacy with those other hopefuls than we’d secured with very old friends. In front of me was a mother of five and her loaded double buggy who had come along with her eldest daughter and her double buggy. Her son was a few hours ahead of us in the queue and very occasionally brought his mother and sister a coffee. Behind me was a young woman, who having received an excellent degree in hospitality, now couldn’t even get a job waitressing and was desperately hoping that this would be her big break. Alas it was not to be as all were eliminated when we met up with the casting director, who was leaning on a wall just outside the Pavilions. A smiling assassin, she either nodded or shook her head depending on what she saw.
“Do you think they’ve come to the wrong audition?” whispered Mags as two platinum blonde girls, whose hair extensions were as false as their nails and boobs and whose t-shirts barely covered the aforementioned breasts, found, much to their dismay, that their image was ineligible for a Victorian, period movie.
“We’ve been in films before”, they protested as they teetered away on their high heels, their shorts, well, indecently short. “I’ll bet. Maybe they think Alice in Wonderland is a porn movie” giggled Mags. All around us stood thwarted teenagers, sobbing and raging that it wasn’t fair.
“Bloody hell Mags”, I said, “It’s like being in the X-Factor. Any minute now and they’ll be calling Simon Cowell a ...” Before I got the words out we were suddenly face to face with the casting director who looked us up and down, scrutinising our every feature. I held my belly in. Her nod was barely perceptible.
Mags and I looked at each other with utter disbelief. A nod? Was that a nod?
“Please join the other queue to have your photographs taken”, said the casting lady as though she’d read my thoughts. Hugging each other, we squealed where the teenagers had wailed.
Two hours later and we were actually within the confines of the New Continental Hotel. It was hot and suddenly I was aware that I’d not eaten a thing since breakfast the previous day. My head was thumping and my left arm had gone numb.
“Dear God Mags, either I’ve had a stroke or I’m about to have a fit. I feel very jittery.” She found me a chair and someone else gave me one of their crisps and a swig of coke. Barely restored, it was time to be measured. The poor woman with the tape measure looked as awful as I felt.
“Busy?”, I asked smiling.
“We only expected 250 people. This is unbelievable”.
“And this is Plymouth. Believe”. Our mug-shots were taken, complete with number and I felt more felon than movie star, or indeed arrested movie star.
Finally, almost twelve hours after we arrived, we left with the parting shot of a sobering, ‘Don’t call us, we’ll call you’ ringing in our ears. But you never know, they may call, they may well just call.


Eloise said...

Oh, Alice, that is so exciting! If they call you, please don't forget all of your *little* friends out here in Bloggerland!

Sally Lomax said...

Brilliant! Hope they call soon. When they do, can you get me an autograph please?!

It's just me said...

Alice - Can I have your autograph?

Alice Band said...

Enidd - If you are reading this, please email me. I am sure that Sally and I can meet you for a that bottle of fizz.

thefoodsnob said...

Vidication for us not teenagers with fake everything! (Good luck)


Anonymous said...

Ooh, I can hardly wait to hear the rest of the story!

Sally Lomax said...

Are you on holiday??!! Or has Johnny Depp swept you away???