In September of last year I was invited by director Adam Rifkin (Detroit Rock City, Look, Giuseppe Makes A Movie) and Penn Jillette (the talking half of legendary magic duo Penn & Teller) to the set of Director's Cut, a wacky and smart thriller written by and starring Penn, as well as a host of some of Hollywood's most recognizable faces including Missi Pyle, Harry Hamlin, Gilbert Gottfried and Ron Jeremy. I was fortunate to be invited to the set on account I got on the good graces of Mr. Jillette and Mr. Rifkin by way of a music video I made for them. They were looking for songs to include in the film, and I sorta had an idea of what their movie was going to be about, so late one night the wife and I, with the help of a friend, came up with this little gem:
Yes, after filming it, we realized we should have at least put some panties on the blow up doll. So I sent in the video and kind of forget about the whole thing for a few months until one day I get an e-mail to participate in an online chat about the movie with Penn and Rif (Adam). This is when they told me how much they liked my song and video.
And from Penn:
So flash forward and I'm talking to Penn's wife Emily via e-mail and she is arranging for me to visit the set. I tell her I would love, love, love to be there on the day they will be shooting the scene where my song will be used. I had read the script and was well aware of a strip club scene. I was very nicely promised no guarantees. Now, if you watched the video above, you know the song is a bit risque. Well, a few minutes later after chatting with Emily, I get the e-mail with call sheet stating location and call times. Lo and behold, the on-location shoot is at an old gentleman's club in the seedy part of LA, Sam's After Dark.
So I arrive at the strip club at 8:00am. Kinda weird to be at a strip club at 8:00am, but whatever. I walk in and hang out with the group of guys just milling around a set of tables near craft services. I gather that they are the male extras for the strip club scene. The female extras (or dancers) come out wearing robes. The casting director calls together all the extras for a final wardrobe look over. All the guys fall into line, donning their sports coats or second set of clothes. Down the line she comes, approving some outfits, asking others to change into whatever else they brought to wear. She's getting closer to the end of the line, where I am, and I say "Fuck it" and step into the line. Glad to say that my attire that day was approved as worthy for the scene (even though I wasn't an extra.)
At that moment it must have blown the minds of those extras to see the director of the movie walk in and recognize me, and make a bee line towards me, hand outstretched, with a wide grin on his face. "Uncle Doughboy!" says Rif. I immediately notice the T-shirt he is wearing, an old school N.W.A. album cover emblemized on his chest, and wearing his famous Blump's Industries hat with his never-can-fail black blazer. He tells me how much he loved the video, tells me that I have carte blanche on the set, and even says he'll try to get me into a scene. Already my day has been made, and not even one naked girl yet!
Man, being on a movie set is craaazy! So many wires and lights, and guys running around with even more wires and lights. And when you get that many huge lights hanging everywhere, the temp gets up there quick! The whole time the filming took place, that club had to be between 95 and 100 degrees. For a moment I kind of envied the girls walking around with no clothes on. There were a few guests on the set besides me. One kid from a viral YouTube video from a couple years ago got some screen time. I chatted with Adult film star Debi Diamond for a few. I hung out with The Legend Ron Jeremy at craft services. Gilbert Gottfried was supposed to mosey in, but a last minute call from his wife confirmed he wouldn't be on set that day.
So there I am, standing behind the camera watching Harry Hamlin and Missi Pyle throwing lines back and forth. The movie included some promotional marketing for a vape pen company, so all day there was the sweet grape-tinged smell in the air on set (I guess grape was the popular flavor). Penn told me he doesn't smoke, but that he didn't mind puffing on the vapor pens, he told me that he likened it to inhaling incense. All day Penn is walking around set in his Herbie Blount outfit, looking like a nightmarish Tiny Tim, sparkling sequined coat with rosy red cheeks, and missing his trademark goatee. He definitely pulled off the creepy guy look he was going for, check it out below:
Adam Rifkin is doing an amazing job directing the cast and crew. His voice booms out from his corner where all the monitors are stationed. He's really working through each of the scenes with a keen eye for exactly the shot he's looking for. A few close ups, a few takes from other angles, move the cameras and lights and let's do it again! Camera A ready? Camera B ready? Sound rolling? Action! Now is the time to shoot the scene where Penn, in character, is sitting front row at the stage. Of course the girls are giving a good show, however, Penn's character is more interested in the conversation being held at a nearby table between the "detectives" (played by Hamlin and Pyle).
From the corner of the set I hear Rif yell, "Hey Uncle Doughboy!" I hear my name and give an immediate 'Yeah?' "You want to be in this scene?" Of course I do! So Adam directs me over to the stage and sits me in a chair directly across from Penn. He lines up the camera to make sure I'm visible in the shot. "Action" is yelled and the girls start dancing, the extras standing around the club start background acting, Penn's character again is fixated on the other activity in the room. Rif directs me to throw some money at the girls. I just picked up a few fake hundreds and sprinkled them over the girl writhing on the stage in front of me. I had to act like I was a patron in a strip club, so I smiled... and made eye contact... and stared a little too long at certain things, and occasionally (fake) sipped from some strange beer bottle that I was told before hand not to drink.
I know... I know... that picture is not a picture of the girls on the stage! Yo, I was too into the scene to pull out my camera and take a few snaps. Anyways, just scroll back up to that picture of Rif, Penn, and Ron Jeremy with the girls if you really need a visual. Oh yeah, Ron Jeremy was a hoot! That man is a professional, hands down. He played the strip club DJ in this scene and it was great to hear the Ron Jeremy brand of dirty jokes come streaming from that legendary foul mouth. After the shoot I got to hang around with Ron, just us. Let's just say the joke was made about not allowing him to follow you into the bathroom.
After the strip club shoot wrapped, we then moved into the garage of the club. Out there they had a huge green screen set up and a modified cop car for the next shot. The scene was one of your normal average inside car shots from the dashboard angle. Misi Pyle and Hayes MacArthur were the actors in the scene. I can't go into the specifics of the shot because I don't want to ruin it for you readers. Lets just say that it was a "shot within a shot" for a movie about a movie being filmed... confusing I know. At the end of the shot there is a reveal and I was happy to also take part in that scene and look forward to seeing myself on screen. I get continuous updates about the production of the film and it looks to be in the final stages as of posting this blog. Look for the movie "Director's Cut", directed by Adam Rifkin and starring Penn Jillette, Misi Pyle, Harry Hamlin, Hayes MacArthur, Gilbert Gottfried, Ron Jeremy, and a slew of other surprise cameos ('cause Penn knows everyone, right?).
~ Uncle Doughboy
~ Uncle Doughboy