December 5, 2021

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Film Club: ‘Almost Famous: The Unchosen One’

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, SEO, Wordpress Support & Insurance, Mortgage, Loans, Legal, Etc Blogs
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“Me and the hero’s journey, sure.” [MUSIC PLAYING] “A little impoverished kid gets picked out of the masses to do something that’s really extraordinary, travel far away from home. Trials along the way. He meets the wizard behind the curtain and learns about himself. But for a 9-year-old, ‘Star Wars,’ well, that was a big deal. The story sets up like a rags-to-riches story, and reality is it’s kind of a rags to rags.” [LAUGHS] “Today, ‘Star Wars’ fans will get their first glimpse at George Lucas’ prequel, ‘The Phantom Menace.’ ’’ “I’ve been waiting 15 years.” “ ‘The Phantom Menace’ centers on Anakin.” “Anakin.” “Anakin Skywalker.” “— an exhaustive two-year search.” “I narrowed it down to three boys.” “Hi. My name is Devon Michael, and I’m 9 years old. My name is Devon Michael, and I’m 32 years old. In the ’90s, child performers were all over the media, huge pop culture thing. And we’re fascinated by the story of Macaulay Culkin.” “Macaulay Culkin.” “Macaulay Culkin!” “Macaulay Culkin.” – [SCREAMS] [LAUGHTER] “They were famous. They were talented. They were infinitely wealthy children.” “$1 million for your next movie.” “Wow.” “That is very attractive for a kid to see that. You think, I want to be on TV, I want to be in movies. I was born in Long Beach, moving often, one-room studio apartments. And dad was on the weekends, but my dad was the one that I usually saw most movies with. It was him who took me to see the re-release of ‘Star Wars’ on the big screen for my first time. Mm. Standing in those lines of fans, seeing the love, the passion, that was magical.” “The force will be with you always.” “I loved Luke Skywalker. We’re both little dusty kids from Tatooine. And I love that moment Luke is looking out over the horizon, staring at the twin suns, standing on the precipice. Maybe I’m bigger than this. Growing up, I felt — it kind of felt like that. My first memories are of being in an amphitheater, the sound of a live studio audience —” [LAUGHTER] “ — and way down there in the distance, my brother Jordan sitting around a table with the Tanner family. He played Rusty, the little terror of Tanner-town.” [YELLING] “You girls better start flossing.” “My big brother, eight and a half years older than me, he did four episodes of ‘Full House.’ And I was right there, completely engaged. Like, I saw the light go on. It was like, OK, Dev, now it’s time we got to shh. And I just — nothing. That’s how I got my foot in the door. Casting rooms were a part of my childhood — get out of school, get in the car, go to auditions. Mom played coach. We’d memorize lines with her every day on the car ride. Well, maybe try saying it like this, try saying it like this. It was pretty hard to find work as a single mom who had to take me back and forth from Hollywood, but she was really supportive of me as an actor. The first thing that I did was a Huggies commercial, the ‘I’m a big boy now’ ones.” “(SINGING) I’m a big kid now.” “I did more than 20 national commercials, ‘Little Boy Blue’ with Ryan Phillippe, ‘Man of her Dreams,’ a television movie. I was on ‘ER’ with George Clooney, ‘Mr. & Mrs. Smith’ with Scott Bakula. I did a Chuck Norris film, ‘Logan’s War.’ However, kids aren’t paid very much. It’s not what you think. I remember being on set. You get a per diem, a little envelope with cash in it. Everybody else, you take that money, you go out to dinner, and you spend it, but we would need that money to pay rent.” [LAUGHS] “Oh, God. But people responded really well to me as an actor. They were like, you could do this. You can really do this. And it occurred to me that this could be my way out. I was 9 years old at the time.” [BELL RINGING] “I got out of school, got in the car. And my mom said, you’re going to go out for ‘Star Wars.’ What? What’s the role? OK, I don’t care. I’ll do anything.” “I’m Luke Skywalker. I’m here to rescue you.” “It was the greatest movie that I had ever seen. I knew Mark Hamill’s name, Alec Guinness, Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford. I knew John Williams’ name. I was a little kid. I knew exactly who John Williams was. It hits all the perfect beats. ‘Star Wars’ was different, and I knew every word of it.” [LASERS BLASTER] [BOOM] “Mom asked me, do you know who Anakin is?” [HEAVY BREATHING] “I didn’t know what I was getting into. Casting was a really important part of the process of this massive machine. The first call is very superficial. They want somebody who is between this age, who’s the right height, hair. They must see dozens, if not hundreds, of kids in the space of a day. Then they get to the second round, and that’s when they actually start paying attention to what you’re doing and how you’re saying it. And if they think that you’ve got something that’s relevant to the character, then they’ll usually send you to producers and people who actually have some vested interest in the film. And then it was narrowed down from 3,000 boys to three. Final call was to do a screen test at George Lucas’ ranch with George directing. That’s when the stakes were high — Skywalker Ranch, Industrial Light and Magic, and George Lucas.” “My job is to surprise everyone, to entertain them.” “He was so larger than life, a secret keeper, the wizard behind the curtain. It felt like in that moment maybe my whole context is about to shift. Hi. My name is Devon Michael, and I’m 9 years old.” “I went for it. I remember wearing my best jean, leather-collar, bad-boy jacket. Hmm. So we took a plane to San Francisco. First time I rode in a limousine. And that’s when I met those two boys, Michael Angarano and Jake Lloyd. It was really nice to have company because we were going to ‘Star Wars’ together. Getting to the Skywalker Ranch, in my mind it’s the gates of heaven. From the gate to the actual place where we’re staying is huge. And when we got there, we entered ‘Star Wars’ for real. I literally felt like I was stepping into the movie. I was imagining myself being part of the greatest story ever told. That’s what I was there for.” “Good morning.” “Hi.” “How are you doing?” “Hi.” “Hi.” “Hi.” “The next day, the documentary crew arrived. I sat down with George Lucas and Natalie Portman. George Lucas was a little bit secondary. I was a little boy meeting Natalie Portman — oh, you — we’re doing a scene together?” “He works in this little shop that sells used spaceship parts.” “This is very fun.” “Scene 1A, Take 1.” “And action.” “I’m a pilot, you know? And someday, I’m going to fly away from this place.” “You’re a pilot?” “All my life.” “I’m a pilot, you know? And someday, I’m going to fly away from this place.” “You’re a pilot?” “All my life.” “I’m a pilot, you know? And someday, I’m going to fly away from this place.” “You’re a pilot?” “All my life.” “Anakin Skywalker, I saw him as a kid who looked calm and focused, but inside of whom there was something else.” “You’re just a little boy.” “I won’t always be.” “I won’t always be.” “I won’t always be.” “Great.” “Whoa.” “When they called cut, I went outside. And I talked to my mom. She was like, when you said that, you know, you made everybody in the room cry. And I went, really? I loved it. I loved that scene, and I felt really good about it. And I went back to L.A. to the studio apartment. I started to admit the possibility to myself that this could be real. I would be going to Tatooine. Maybe I’m bigger than this, working with credible actors and be in it and part of this story. This could be my way out. A really important part of the story, you know? I thought I was about to set out on the biggest adventure of my life. Yeah. If it was a week, it was a very long week for me. But eventually, I got the news.” “[INAUDIBLE] look at this. And —” “Yes, he is.” “— he’s been practicing.” “All this handwriting you’re doing.” “Wow.” “I’m Jake, and I’m playing Anakin Skywalker.” “We’re very proud of you, Jake.” “Producer and the casting director, they called me. And they said, we really want Devon to know that we interviewed 3,000 kids. He was so good, but George wanted Jake.” “Scene 1, Take 2.” “Are you an angel?” “There’s this gut feel you get about that’s the one. With Jake, I just got that feeling.” “That was devastating, but then trailer came out.” “You refer to the prophecy of the one who will bring balance to the force.” “That’s when it started to be inescapable.” “You believe it’s this sport.” “Get out your lightsabers.” “Star Wars.” “The new ‘Star Wars’ movie is on its way.” “The hype surrounding this movie has been overwhelming.” [SHOUTING EXCITEDLY] “It was unavoidable everywhere, commercials all the time.” “Excellent movie. I think Mr. Lucas did a fabulous job.” “Walking past a line of 400 people who are all dressed up in Star Wars, it was tough to watch.” “I’m glad to have met you, Anakin.” “I was trying to let go of it. But by this point, the documentary had come out.” “I’m George. I’m responsible for all of this.” [LAUGHTER] “It would maybe have been better if that documentary wasn’t there.” “Who would you choose?” “I like Jake because he seems more natural. I like his body language.” “I know it wasn’t malicious, but it felt like being kicked when I was down because it put me in the public as the loser.” “And this one just hits the beats.” “Yeah. I was going to say, some people audition real well.” “Oh, man. Those kids at school, it was constant for three, four, or five years of ‘You were the guy in the thing, you were in “Star Wars.” ’ I wasn’t in ‘Star Wars.’ I wasn’t in ‘Star Wars.’ I wasn’t in ‘Star Wars.’ ” “This is like a marriage. This goes on for at least four or five years and probably for the rest of your life.” “I stopped acting because it was hard to imagine that that wasn’t the most important thing that I would ever do. What would even be bigger than that role? I lost happy fantasy of being a kid actor.” “What’d you think of it?” “Thumbs way down.” “You didn’t like it?” “No. I think I deserve a public apology.” “Yeah, it was very poorly received critically. A lot of people, they went after Jake.” “What’s that name say? Jake Lloyd. What a [BLEEP]. Go to hell!” “When you tell a 10-year-old that they were absolute crap, they hear you.” “Right. And why do you think he chose you then?” “I don’t know, because I was up against some really talented kids. I mean, they were really, really talented.” “Jake was such a nice boy, and I really hope he’s doing well. I feel like we have a lot in common.” [LAUGHS] “Now, it’s Jake Lloyd from ‘The Phantom Menace.’ ” “Anakin Skywalker.” “Yeah, I wasn’t going to say it. I’m sorry.” “AKA, spoiler alert, Darth Vader.” “It’s just the gift that keeps on giving, I suppose. It’s been really, really wonderful.” “People think showbiz kids, we’re used to rejection. We don’t mind it when you criticize the way that we are, look, think, act, but we’re still kids, man. A dark side can happen to anybody, right?” [HEAVY BREATHING] “But it depends on how you tell your own story, how you tell your story to yourself. Maybe that’s what the force is, giving yourself personal permission to see things differently. I don’t want to be the kid who didn’t get to be in ‘Star Wars.’ I can’t imagine sitting in a bar being like, I was almost Anakin Skywalker, and the world rolled me. I don’t have to be a part of that story. I can start telling my own story. My first book was a children’s novel. Being part of something that was bigger than me makes me feel the same way as when I was a little kid.” “You’re just a little boy.” “I won’t always be.” “We moved up to Vancouver and got married and have been here since. She knows of ‘Star Wars.’ I don’t think she really cares about it that much. [LAUGHS] I do want to have kids, yeah. If they hated ‘Star Wars,’ I don’t know if I would tell them that I was almost in it. But if they love it, I would tell them I love it, too, and I met the wizard behind the curtain. That set me on a journey. It seems like a story worth living.” [MUSIC PLAYING] [BIRDS CALLING]

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