I like taking a break from Hollywood every so often to detox from being in a town where most everything revolves around the industry of entertainment.
To remind myself that LA is not the center of the world- even though it is the genesis of society altering media-both enriching and not enriching (The Kardashians).
But apparently New Orleans is no longer the place to detox. (Nor is it the place to detox from drink, food, late night debauchery or bead throwing.) I can’t escape because there are currently many big movies being filmed here.
Will Ferrell is staying down the street, the director of my show at the Groundlings is flying in soon to film a movie, Zach Galifinakis is here… Bradgelina are here. Blah Blah Blah. New Orleans has truly become “Hollywood South” with hundreds of huge movies filming here every year. Which is great for the New Orleans economy. But not great for someone who is in need of an “Entertainment Weekly” mental cleansing.
Although acting is my chosen profession (or “craft” hahahehe) I do see the circle-jerk mentality of it all.
Because there are SO many interesting people who do SO many interesting professions and work so hard but like- you’ll never see a TEACHER or Environmental Engineer on the cover of Elle Magazine.
Sometimes it bothers me that when a celebrity walks into a room, or is in the general vicinity, people tend to light up-stand a little straighter-feel a little better. But it’s true. It just is. That’s why they are called “Stars” because we are attracted to their light. Even some of the asshole stars I know still manage to lure you in with their light.
But today we were graced by the presence of the biggest star in New Orleans and it was kind of cool. Yesterday marked the anniversary of Daniel’s murder and Steve’s parents have done a great job of moving forward with their life in a joyful impactfull way. (http://talesofarealhollywoodmom.tumblr.com/post/14392960517/tiny-guns-the-not-funny-post)
Steve’s dad (along with all of New Orleans) is a huge fan of Saints Football quarterback Drew Brees. He was also the NFL MVP of the year last year.
This little blurb sums him up well: Drew Brees isn’t a savior, but you wouldn’t know that to watch him walk down the street in New Orleans. After the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina five years ago, and the Saints Super Bowl victory last February (nearly eight months later, this video is still worth watching), Brees and his teammates have played a vital role in this city’s rebirth, even if only in the symbolic sense.
Drew happens to live about 4 houses down from my in laws. Over the past year they have become friendly. Drew will bring his son over to hang out with my father in law. (Although he’s a gastroenterologist, not an actor, my father in law is something of a “star” himself in that he lures people in with his light.) But nothing could have prepared us all for today when Drew filmed a Super Bowl commercial across the street from their house.
Then, a few minutes into that— somehow Drew was filming a public service announcement IN MY IN LAW’s LIVING ROOM.
OK, so none of this is new to me or Steve. People are filming things daily in Hollywood and we are used to the catering trucks and lighting screens. That’s not my point here. It’s that it was DREW BREES! in New Orleans! This had to be Daniel. It just had to be!
The above is all the lovey dovey stuff. Now to the real nitty gritty. I find it so ironic that I audition for commercials weekly and am not, as they say, “A booker.” Yet.. having escaped Hollywood for the holidays- I find myself seeing the whole kit and caboodle of commercial production right here in my habitat. Don’t get me wrong, the crew was nice. But I was told to, “Move out of the way” a couple times. Which I found funny. And “Be quiet, we’re shooting.” And the laminated “Bathroom” sign taped to the side of my in laws house.
I also found it awkward that Drew’s son was unable to deliver the appropriate kicking of the football needed in the scene and at some point in the shooting a small boy dressed exactly like Drew’s son came out and just kicked the hell out of the football.
And that I had to explain that to my son. A 4 year old stand-in for a football star’s son. Weird. Even weirder is that my OWN son is sitting there half interested watching “the movie” as he called it. My commercial agents have been trying to get me to “Sign up” Roan for the past year and I just can’t bring myself to put him in that world of child auditioning and just … yuck. Yet there’s my son clad in his costume of the day. A Star Wars Robe with a strange Italian scarf of his grandmother’s wrapped around his neck like a cape. At one point the Costumer for the commercial came over and said, “Look at THIS guy…I love his style!”
When the whole production moved into our house it got even weirder. I thought, well, “I guess this is what we’re doing today. Watching this.” But Drew has that star quality. We couldn’t help it.
After the shoot was done and the trucks and equipment were long gone the doorbell rang. It was Drew his wife and his son. Just coming over to play and hang out. Drew had a gift for Roan and his cousin Fulton. A Figurine of himself.
Anyway, lest I philosophize myself to death… it was an interesting day around here. I had thought I was getting away from LA for 10 days but New Orleans is indeed Hollywood South.
Drew and other members of the Saints will be attending Daniel’s benefit this Friday along with many other members of New Orleans royalty & I suppose we’ll all feel shinier for having stood next to them while honoring Daniel.