This is a previously published throwback post.
Last week I had dinner with an old friend whom I haven’t seen in over ten years.
Rod’s living in the area now, having been transferred by his company. Back around 2002, we were both employed as security people in Hollywood, and working toward our individual goals of breaking into the entertainment business. Neither of us made it.
At the time, Rod was doing a few auditions here and there while working his day job with me at the Hollywood & Highland complex. The following is an account of one of those auditions…
“My name is ROD”
I was kind of sad to hear that the TV show “My Name Is Earl” had been canceled a while back, but you don’t have to be a fan of that show or even to have seen it to appreciate this story. This is because I’m going to tell you about a friend of mine who was on the show, and his seven-year-old son who was almost on the show, and the shame of it all.
I used to work with Rod during my Hollywood days and he’d often tell me about his occasional acting gigs because he was your typical actor-wannabe who was working a regular job while going around doing auditions. He also has a son, Peyton, and a daughter, Janelle; respectively 7 and 13 at the time.
Peyton is a kid actor who loves doing it so much that Rod and Mrs. Rod went and got him a kid agent. That’s an agent for kids. The agent isn’t a kid, just so we’re clear. I think the agent is about 30 or 40 something, but that’s really not relevant to this so pay attention, okay?
When they were casting “My Name Is Earl,” Peyton’s agent called Rod and Mrs. Rod to have them bring Peyton to the audition for the part of one of the two kids of Joy (Jamie Pressly) and Darnell (Eddie Steeples). Mrs. Rod had to work that day, so Rod brought Peyton and had Janelle, Peyton’s older sister, come along to help.
They arrived at the audition and were about to walk into the room when Peyton announced he had to go potty. So Rod told Janelle to take him to the restroom while he went to sign-in. Rod walks into the room and a casting director looks him over, then says, “Oh, you’re here for the cop role! Great! Come on over, we’ve been waiting for you.”
Rod tried to explain that his little boy was in the restroom and that it was he who was the one here to audition for the kid part, but they didn’t listen. A sheet of paper was thrust into his hand and Rod was asked to read from it.
“Sir, you’ll have to move your car.”
It was a simple line and Rod has a booming James Earl Jones thing going on, but significantly younger, so he sold them in a second. They told him he was perfect for it and then gave him instructions on where to be and at what time.
It was a very tiny part, which fans of the show may recollect from the first episode. The Del Taco guy (as in the wimpy actor who played the head of Del Taco in TV commercials for a long time) goes to a gay club but sits out front in his car, afraid to go in. A black cop approaches him and tells him he can’t park there. The guy says, “I’m not gay!” and the cop says, “Well you’re still gonna have to move your car!”
That was Rod.
So Peyton returned from the restroom with big sister Janelle and they had him read a few lines plus took some pics of him but he didn’t get the part, which would have been ongoing throughout the run of the show. But Rod got the part of the cop in the pilot episode.
Watch out, Rod… karma’s a bitch.
NOTE: My last security gig was over ten years ago, and I haven’t done that type of work since. Rod, on the other hand, is now head of security for Pixar Corporation.
I always knew that guy was going places.