*edit* I started writing this post over a month ago. The film is no longer showing in Utah or Arizona but should hopefully come to a streaming service soon.
This past week I marked something off my bucket list: Have someone look you up on IMDB after seeing you in a movie trailer.
Okay, so the person already knew me and the movie is currently only available in theaters in Utah, but still, I am counting this as a success! And of course I only have an IMDB because I made it myself (did you know you can edit IMDB with your Amazon login?!) but that is besides the point...
So, in honor of Tim Timmerman's Hope for America coming to a theater near you, here is the comical story of how I came to be cast in a 90's high school comedy as a cheerleader named Chasity.
A few years ago I met my sisters' friend Cameron while in LA. He is in the movie industry and created a hilarious short, She's a Fox (watch it here, its only 18 minutes and so good/funny) that was based on his first crush in elementary school and it starred Hailey Steinfield right before she got her first big break in True Grit. The short did well, winning The Best Short of 2013, and Cameron wanted to take another story from his life and create a feature film, the story about how he was quite possibly the worst Student Body President in Orem High history and was impeached.
I talked to Cameron a few times about his film and told him I would love to work on it--meaning still photography or something behind the scenes. Then one day I was leaving Cafe Rio when I ran into him the parking lot. They had just started filming (April 2015) and he said, "You should come by, we need more people that look like they are in high school!" I just can't seem to out grow my girlish face...
A few days later I was participating in a 24 hour scavenger hunt with two of my friends. We were in the height of the competition when at midnight I got a call from an unknown number. I ignored it but then got a second call with a voicemail. It was from Cameron's sister and she said, "Hey Bethany, so one of our actresses missed her flight from LA and she is supposed to film tomorrow morning. The part is for one of the main characters best friends who is a bubbly high school cheerleader and we instantly thought of you! Call me back ASAP if you can help us out!" All I could do is laugh, no one, NOT A SINGLE PERSON, has ever called me bubbly or cheer material. But, putting that aside, I called her back and said why not, that sounded liked fun (and they wanted to pay me to boot).
The next day I showed up to a grocery store parking lot to report for my scene. From my 30 second conversation about my part, in the middle of the night, I assumed I would be in the background, you know, that friend that doesn't talk but is there to make the main person feel powerful and pretty. But then they handed me a script. And then they put in my mom jeans.
At this point Cameron came on set and asked how I was doing. "Oh, you didn't know you had lines? Well have they gone over the dance with you? And you can do a herkie, right?"
Me: "What the hell is a herkie? And, you know I'm a Davis, we are not known for our dancing skills..."
Cameron: "I am sure you'll be great! And if it is terrible, it will probably make it more funny!"
I read over my two lines, had a quick seat in the makeup chair and headed in for my first ever stint in front of a camera. Once I got inside I found Cameron and asked him, "Do you want my glasses on or off, wardrobe didn't say anything," after having me take them on and off for him he asked if I had a preference to which I replied, "Well, the one wanders if they are off and I can't stop it..." to which he replied, "On it is!" We did a quick scene where I walk to the register with Mackenzie (antagonist in the film) and our other nameless friend and Mackenzie complains about Tim Timmerman. I give my two scents (lines) about Tim being good looking and then we cut. Don't worry that in one of the takes I forgot my second line, "really?" and just stared at Mackenzie blankly waiting for her to say something... Yet, somehow, they thought I wasn't the worst and had me go to a second location to shoot another scene.
We went to a house to film a scene where Mackenzie and her boyfriend are watching a movie with their friends (me and another couple, always the third wheel even in my fake movie life) and then have a pool party. While we were waiting to film I sat around with the other actors and chatted about how each person got involved. Person after person talked about their acting agency and how they had auditioned. When it got to me I awkwardly said, "Um, they called me last night and told me to come here..." All the sudden I realized that I was WAY more out of my element than I realized. I had zero knowledge of the movie industry and didn't understand at the time that because I had one speaking line and a name I was being paid more than other extras and could join the Screen Actors Guild if I wanted. And you can bet your ass if it didn't have yearly dues and a hefty upfront fee to join I would join SAG just to carry the card in my wallet.
A few days later I was called back for my next scene. I showed up at the local high school where I was given the dreaded news, not only was I doing the choreographed dance but also the herkie. We (Mackenzie, actual high school cheerleaders and myself) quickly started going over a dance Mackenzie had choreographed. Let me be clear, I am not a dancer. I am that person that falls over at the gym if I am trying to copy the instructor in the mirror (this has literally happened more than once). Mackenzie tried to nicely tell us that things "needed tightening up" and finally I turned to her and the cheer-leading mom on the sideline and said, "Look, I have NO idea what I am doing. If I am doing something wrong you need to tell me in exact terms and not dance around it. You do not need to be nice, I know I suck." Once I got that out the mom was quick to correct me and it actually got better.
Once we had the dance as down as it was going to get, we walked to wardrobe where we were handed identical outfits. I quickly turned to the stylist and said, "Emily, I thought we had discussed making sure I had an outfit that fits me, these are all the same size!" She turned to me without skipping a beat and said, "Yeah, about that, we didn't have any other sizes but that's why we bought you these shorts, because we know we will see your butt..." Thanks Em.... After I got dressed I asked about my shoes. With a look of horror Emily admitted that they had totally forgotten to get me any and proceeded to take off her too-big-for-me tennis shoes--that she had been standing in for 12 hours--and handed them to me.
We walked out to the football field in front of the cameras and bleachers full of actors. We did a couple takes and I kept a pained fake smile plastered on my face to hide the fact that I still to this day cannot correctly do the running man or drop down to my feet and pivot (luckily you can only see part of my leg during this part, it was pretty pathetic--but in my defense I had a half torn ACL and eventually had to have surgery). Once we finished we jumped right into my herkie. I did a couple takes with the last one pulling my hamstring and then limped off set. I am classy like that.
The next night I was asleep when Cameron texted me at midnight to say "Just watched your herkie. So good!!!" A few minutes later I bolted up in my bed with the sudden thought, "oh crap, I wasn't wearing a sports bra!" Since they didn't tell me what I was doing that day I didn't think twice about what underwear I was wearing, now that is all I can think when I see the scene...
I had two other days of filming, one was a short scene in the school office while the other was part of the previous house party scene. In the end, half of my shots were cut--the entire house party and grocery store scenes. But, I can't say that I am sad that I have never had to see the footage of me roughly delivering my lines.
In March of this year I got the following email from my sister "I hope you're in UT March 2nd for the Tim Timmerman premiere--there are two tickets with your name on them, Chastity. I hope you take a hot date" (she was involved in the finance of the film). So I did what any single girl would do and asked my unsuspecting neighbor to come with me. We had never spent time together outside of our offices and in hindsight, this was probably the world's most awkward first date hey, come watch me do a cheer-leading scene in a movie! Don't worry, I swear I am almost 30 and not a teenager! I told him that I had a brief role in the film when I asked him to come but he didn't ask what it was and apparently forgot. During the movie he would occasionally make comments (he went to the U and they have a few jabs at it) but then my part came and he didn't flinch or say anything. Afterwards I asked him what he really thought of the movie, he replied, "It was good, and it was cool that you had a family connection to it." I looked at him and slowly said, "And I was in it..." He looked so confused. He then asked what part and why I didn't tell him before it came up because now he needed to see it again. I told him I had mentioned it before and it seemed really weird to point it out in the theater but that if he really wanted to see it he could watch the trailer.
We got back to our offices to let our dogs out and I hear his office computer go on. Sure enough he was watching the trailer. It got to my part, he paused, pointed to me and said, "It is you!" He claims that I looked really different with my long hair.... I have longer hair now... but I guess I will let it slide.
And that is the story about the time I was in a movie that actually played in theaters.
(To view my herkie in all it's glory, watch the trailer below)