I was a stand-in for Demi Moore. It’s true. Back in the 80’s I was picked out of a group of grazing actors in a cattle call for movie extras. I guess I looked enough like Demi even though our body types never have been an exact match, particularly with her penchant for working out 18 hours a day.
I vaguely remember the pleasurable shock I felt when one of the production assistants pulled me out of the “sure to be famous” line-up, placing me into what would guarantee my eight minutes of fame. In point of fact, those eight minutes ticked by in my own mind as it dawned upon me this would be a real glass is half-full/half-empty moment.
Why? As a stand-in there would be absolutely no proof I had ever set foot on that movie set. Claiming this acting credit would be quite the sticky wicket. Talk about your good news, bad news. I wouldn’t utter a recorded word, my face would not be part of any “Cut! Print it!” celluloid, and there would be no record of my having appeared in the movie, other than a pay stub.
My dubious distinction as a stand-in must be what it’s like when you serve in the secret service. There are no living witnesses, you can’t talk about it, and no one believes you when you do share this fun fact. Demi absolutely would not remember my shadowy presence and brush with near greatness in my debut as a human placeholder.
The movie I worked on was called Wisdom, ironically enough, because it tanked at the box office, instead opening in video big-box stores. It starred Demi and Emilio and was produced by these popular brat packers back when they were an item.
The glamorous life of a stand-in meant I sat in cars that were almost blown up, scheduled to be blown up, and eventually blown up. Lest that sounds derivative I also appeared in street scenes where the actress was almost blown up, never scheduled to be blown up, and wasn’t eventually blown up. In this way the star didn’t have to waste her time sitting. She had better things to do. Like sitting in her trailer waiting to be called to the set.
It is an odd experience to share a tenuous connection with another human being when you are asked to act like them and then when things are going fabulously well you’re told to “get out of the car and shot” or “step off that curb and get out of the shot.” It’s not the strongest of connections.
Demi never even really looked at me -- more toward me. However, I did share a meaningful moment with Emilio when he glanced my way, although it’s possible it was because I was standing in front of the catering truck and he was checking out the specials.
Along with power ballads of the 80’s this power couple of the 80’s disappeared, the latter having broken up shortly after the movie opened/closed.
Through the years Demi’s acting career has steadily grown to the point where she needed to move to somewhere in Idaho to raise her kids and to get away from the paparazzi. In my own acting career I just cut out the middle (the becoming a well-known actress part) and moved to a place in the country where I was only hounded by my own children asking me why I couldn’t drive them to the mall which was now an hour away. The similarities remain. Somewhere.
Then I forgot about her which in visa-versa is where she’s been all along when it comes to me. Until recently. When I saw a story I found offensive on Yahoo News because it fairly oozed ageism. I know, can I be a bit more specific?
It was the tidbit that made Demi Moore out as a psychopath and sociopath who was dangerous and -- gasp! -- holding her ex, Ashton Kutcher’s, baby. How could these super cool, well-matched-in-age new parents allow this creepy, over-the-hill divorcee to do that? All day this story played like the high-mileage Honda of the entertainment world.
I mean, the media sunk their sharp little Terrier teeth into this non-story and shook it like a squeaky toy. (You get the picture.) I utilize the Internet for my job all day performing searches and marketing magic, so I could not seem to get that dog-doo story off of my shoes all day.
Had Ashton Kutcher’s previous wife been Scarlett Johansson the blurb would have played for about half an hour as a meet-cute-again. But take the “tragedy” that is a break-up with a woman who was -- gasp! -- much older than her husband and it’s Yahoo! time.
Ageism rears its hydra head not only in Hollywood, but in the media, in the job marketplace, and at the danged health food store every time some whippersnapper asks me if I’d like to take advantage of the senior discount.
Let’s call this story and others like it for what they are: A stand-in for a real story... a demi-story devoid of any wisdom.