Auditioning for the Role of a 40 Year Old

"I can be forty," I say to myself while furrowing my eyebrows in my bathroom mirror. I don't stop creasing my forehead and repeating my four word mantra as I drive to the Warehouse district of Minneapolis. It's only when I walk into the casting director's waiting room that I stop the creasing.

Quickly I survey the sign-in-sheet. Which is filled with the names of genuine forty year old men. Some I've met before. Complete with bald spots, salt & pepper hair, and beer guts. I sign my name to the list while whispering under my breath "I can be forty too."

Looking out the 6th floor window, down on the traffic, I revel in the call I received two days ago. "They want you to read for Susan Sarandon's next movie entitled "Peacock."

Of course after the call, I logged online. Searching for any tid-bits of info about the film I could find in cyber space. I learned that there were rumors of Ellen Paige (that young girl in Juno) starring alongside Cillian Murphy (Red Eye, Batman Begins) along with Susan S.

As traffic continues to pass below onto 94 east, my mind wanders to the life of red carpets, paparazzi, and movie stars. "Paul Cram, your next," says the cheery male receptionist. So I snap out of my window reverie and get in three more forehead crunches before entering the audition room.

Inside I find the casting director, and a camera. Simple enough, I just wish I wasn't so giddy. The casting director calls action and I do my thing.

A few days later, I receive the call from my agent telling me that I am called back for the role. My excitement is palpable.

At the call-back there's one more person in the room, the film's director Michael Landers. He's the antithesis of a Hollywood movie director--he's nice! He stands up, heartily shakes my hand, talks about the lines, then has me audition. Several minutes later, as I leave the room, I think "This is one of those films that only comes along every ten years or so. Great cast, wonderful little script, and a director that has artistic vision. To top it all off he's polite!" I cross my fingers and do the only thing I can-- wait.

Which seems much longer than the week that it took to hear back. But I do get the call.
Agent: "Paul, they are casting you."
Me: "Really? I can play forty!"
Agent" No. They cast someone older for that part. Your being cast as the 18 year old store clerk, Kenny."

I wonder why someone local to Iowa, where the movie is being filmed, wasn’t cast? The role has just two lines of dialogue. But it becomes clear when I arrive on-set. The film is a blend of talent from all over the globe. The camera operator, Phillipe Rousellot, hails from France; the producer Barry Mandel, from Hollywood; Cillian Murphy from London; so it makes sense that Kenny the store clerk would be from Minneapolis.

"Peacock" is slated for DVD release on April 26th 2010.

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