I’d just emerged from Blue Bear School of Music, where I played touch-style bass in a “learn how to play” band, and outside I suddenly found a movie being made. I wandered among the movie folk, striking up a conversation with the sound man, who was bundled up heavy but shifting from foot to foot from the cool air. Hah! Tenderfoot to San Francisco!
As we spoke, Sigourney Weaver walked around a corner, and stood waiting a few feet away.
If, since that night, you’ve seen the movie “Copycat”, you’ll remember that she’s not made up super-glamorous, and in fact she looked like any pleasant-looking woman you might know, a neighbor, a friend, a co-worker.
Though I’m inquisitive and not very shy, something in the abstracted way she stood seemed to say she’d not welcome conversation, neither from fans nor movie-folks. Maybe she’s a method actor. The movie people didn’t speak to her, and I didn’t either.
But the startling thing was my sudden realization how much she and my once-wife Lori resembled each other.
Perhaps it was the makeup or the moment. Or perhaps it’s the surprising way that seeing someone from television or the movies, often they look different in person. Some years previous, in a bowling alley downtown, I’d seen Clint Eastwood enter the door as Dirty Harry in the making, and it was odd. He was strikingly handsome in real-life where on screen he always just looked grim.
So Sigorney, looking like Lori in a long black coat, stood pensive and waiting. Nothing happened for a long time. Everybody was quiet, except for a small group huddling over some paperwork. The sound man shifted in the cool breeze.
Then there was some calling out, and Ms. Weaver went inside to be filmed above the street on a balcony. More standing around ensued. Finally something seemed to happen, though I didn’t actually see anything happen.
“Does this just take forever?” I asked the sound man. He bade me to silence with a wave, listening to his headphones, then turned some knobs on the small console.
“Yeah,” he said. “Forever. Paul Newman once described making a movie as the Ten-Yard Dash.”
The ten-yard dash.
I don’t think I’d like it. Acting is not for me. I’d rather watch apple slices turn brown.
Perhaps it’s just as well I’m not Paul Newman.