Copyright © 1997. All Rights Reserved.
For my audition, I'd like to belch "O, Canada" in both languages while riding a unicycle through a burning hoop
by John Tebbutt
When an audition scene makes up part of a movie's plot it tends to fall into one of three categories: the "She's the one!!!" audition (Fabulous Baker Boys); the humiliating experience (Showgirls); and the funny audition. This third type has provided some entertaining scenes.
· Waiting for Guffman (1997): This mockumentary stars director Christopher Guest as a director/choreographer/actor who mounts a stage revue to celebrate a small Missouri town's 150th anniversary. (Guest played virtually the same character a few years ago, in a particularly funny Saturday Night Live skit. In it, he choreographed the world's first male synchronized swim team.) Among the auditioners for the pageant is a middle age man who deadpans dialogue from Raging Bull. The salty language from this scene gave the otherwise innocuous Waiting for Guffman an R-rating in the States!
· Twice Upon a Time (1983): A charmingly offbeat animated feature that still hasn't received the attention it deserves. A generic fairy godmother (FGM for short) gives superhero Rod Rescueman a test by standing on her desk, setting fire to it, and flatly saying "Help, help. Damsel in distress: currently on fire," in her thick Brooklyn accent. The slow-witted hero responds by politely asking FGM if she would like to be rescued. The contrast between FGM's worldly seen-it-all apathy and Rod's vacuous wide-eyed innocence makes this scene stand out. Fun for all ages.
· The Commitments (1991): You've heard the soundtrack, now see the film. A long line of hopefuls show up to try out for Dublin's newest soul band. Most of them don't even make it through the front door. Colm Meaney warbles an Elvis tune at the dinner table. Another auditioner chickens out when asked to demonstrate his singing ability in the middle of the street.
· The Producers (1968): Proof that Mel Brooks used to be very funny. A pair of schemers set out to make the worst Broadway musical ever made. They are just about to give up on ever finding a bad enough star, when an outrageous hippie named LSD wanders in by mistake. For his audition, LSD sings "Love Power" - a hilariously revolting performance that has to be seen (and heard) to be believed. Naturally, he gets the part.
· ...And God Spoke (1995): Like Waiting for Guffman, this is a mockumentary about the making of a fictitious (and inept) production; in this case, an epic movie based on The Bible. The audition process is delightfully silly: one actor trying for the role of "God," walks into the office, shouts "Silence!" and repeatedly flicks the light switch on and off. A spandex-clad cutie intends to use her sex appeal to secure a role as the Virgin Mary. Instead, she is given the role of Eve by the female casting director. ("Eve's" huge tattoo causes big problems.) Lou "The Incredible Hulk" Ferrigno and Soupy Sales (playing themselves) get cast as Cain and Moses, respectively. The clueless filmmakers keep hoping that the popularity of the source book (which they haven't read) will overcome the many setbacks they experience.
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