This is the most unlikely story of how actor and MyActingSite client Kenny Cook got a part the movie As I Lay Dying, written by William Faulkner and directed by James Franco. Would you drive 4 hours each way for what you knew would be a cattle call of actors just like you? Boy, Kenny is sure glad he did. See Kenny’s inspiring story below.
“I knew this audition would be a cattle call. They were looking for authentic Mississippians, and here I am in the middle of Mississippi. I knew there would be a lot of people just like me. Couple that with the fact that it was a 4 hour drive to the audition and back – I was really on the fence! Even if the odds were astronomical that I would actually get this part, in the end something compelled me to give it a go and make the drive out there.
Well I auditioned and I didn’t really think much about it. It was just the same as any other audition I’ve ever had. Well for some reason or another I was called back, and this time James Franco was actually in the room! There was a reader in there, too. James did it different; he didn’t have used to cold reads. I flubbed a line. Another line. Got lost in the lines. By the end of it I was shocked if they’d derived any coherency out of my audition at all. Agent: “How did it go?” It went bad… Cheap motel… Need to sleep. I was tired and bummed out. I planned on driving home the next day.
I ended up getting a call at 6 o’clock that night. It was my agent, “They want to see you again tomorrow. It’s between you and one other person.” Well, maybe I have a shot after all! So I go in the next day and screw up again! James understood, he’s been thru this before. He had me start over. For some reason, that totally put me at ease and I just floated right thru the script. I absolutely nailed it! I felt great. I was about 2 miles from home when my agent called me to let me know I got the part.
Some people insinuated he was something of a jerk to work with, but he wasn’t. Sometimes he would change up a scene and say, “you do this and you do that, and I want you to react naturally to it.” And we did it, and that was that.
I think the moral of my story is the old, “don’t give up hope” cliché. You never know what the casting director is really thinking!