With the exception of a few spots, we were cast. Unfortunately, two of the spots were the leads! I had phone auditioned RILEY BURKE, who was great as Wood, the driver, but it was felt that he would be a better Drew, the hitchhiking actor. I wasn’t sure, at first, but now I realize this was a good suggestion. So, who to cast as Wood, the tough, walls-up driver?
I considered ROMAN HEART, but he really didn’t fit my idea for that role. I was asked to consider ERIC BLAINE, but he was too short (5’8” next to Riley’s 6’2”!) and he was strictly a top. The final scene must be a flip-flop. TYLER SAINT wasn’t really right, either, so all three became gangbangers. I took another look at BRAXTON BOND, who was playing the fry cook. He was 5’11” and versatile. If he grew facial hair, he would work. But could he act?
I set up a phone audition and had him read the first section of dialogue. My heart sank. He had a rhythmic, sing-songy quality to his voice that was just wrong. The first day of the shoot was less than a week away, and I was going to have to keep looking. But before I did that, I wanted to give him another chance.
“Your character is as dry as the desert,” I said. “Think of a young Clint Eastwood. He’s a loner, but he needs human contact. He’s tough on the outside, but warm on the inside; he just doesn’t want anyone to know it. Smooth out your voice. The lines should be delivered with determination. Each sentence is a statement.”
Braxton cleared his throat and read the piece again…and he was perfect. I sighed with relief and was instantly excited, not just because he could act, but because he could also take direction. “You’ve got the part,” I said. “I’ll call Falcon and let them know, then I’ll send you the full script.”
I called Troy at Falcon. I had given Troy a hard time because in an e-mail to Braxton, he had referred to me as Jett BlaXX. “Troy,” I said, “Braxton is just not going to work out. I tried everything I could, but the guy cannot deliver a line convincingly to save his life.”
Troy’s Adam’s apple hit the floor loud enough for me to hear it over the phone. “Oh, no…” he groaned.
I couldn’t do it to the guy any longer. “Just kidding!” I laughed. “He’s perfect.”
“Oh, I see,” Troy said. “It’s like that, is it?”
“Yep,” I said. “And you’ll never call me Blaxx, again, will you?”
So Braxton was now one of the leads, and we replaced him with a new guy called NOAH DRIVER, who up to this point had only done Internet shoots.
There was only one empty space: Darren, the drug supplier who gets killed by Psycho Sam, played by porn legend LOU CASS. Darren was a non-sexual role, so it could be literally anyone. I decided to ask JACK SHAMAMA of GayPornBlog.com, who was instrumental in having Falcon consider me in the first place. He read the script and said, “I’d love to get killed!”
The full cast:
Fry Cook…………Noah Driver
Psycho Sam……Lou Cass
We were considering two locations: Club Ed and 4-Aces. Both had a motel, diner and gas station, but 4-Aces was less expensive and available, so we decided to shoot there. We could not find a diner kitchen to shoot in, so the scene was rewritten to take place in a stock room. Neither could we find a suitable men’s room, so we had one constructed at Str8-Up Studios in Northridge.
I submitted my script breakdown, prop list, wardrobe requirements and a vanity request for ginger ale. Done.
The film was cast. The crew was hired. The locations had been found. The actors had their scripts. Everything was scheduled.
I was about to walk onto a film set with over a dozen people I didn’t know, but who all knew each other. I was the outsider, the one everyone would be sizing up to see how I worked, how I meshed with their group and in general, how I was. And I knew a report would reach the ears of the higher ups. This would be a major career opportunity for me.
Call time was 9:00am the next morning, and I couldn’t sleep. I tossed and turned next to a snoring CVK until the inevitable moment when the alarm went off. It was time to shower, get dressed and head for the studio to begin what I knew would be 5 very busy days…with less than one hour’s sleep.
To be continued…