JUNE 25, 2006
"INDEPENDENCE DAY" DIRECTOR BLOG, PART II
I love the casting process. I actually had some friends of mine come in to audition, too. So that was great, because I know what it is like to be on the other side, when you walk into a room and sometimes it's so uncomfortable. So, I wanted to provide a comfortable atmosphere for people, a creative atmosphere where people could do their best work possible.
Starting after Season 2, I'd been trying to get my brother Dylan on the show. I'd shown his reel to Shawn Piller and to Lloyd Segan and they'd said, yeah, at some point, we should get him up here. But now we were in Season 5 and we'd been talking about this for years and he hadn't come up yet.
I didn't want the show to come and go and not have my brother come up, so I said to them I wanted my brother to play one of the roles as kind of a tribute to my mom. You see, the episode is called "Independence Day"... which is my mother's birthday. She was born on the Fourth of July!
Now, we weren't budgeted for an actor from the States, but I told them that I was sure that Dylan would take a pay cut to come up and work on the show. Of course, now I'm negotiating my brother out of real money!
But I ended up getting on the phone with his manager and apologizing for offering him such a small amount of money in comparison with what he'd usually get for something like this. I told her I'd really like to make it happen, and she said she knew he wanted to make it happen, so we made it work.
But my brother, who was living in Sweden at the time, had shaved his head into a Mohawk! I couldn't believe my brother was finally coming on the show and he's got frickin' half of a Mohawk left. Hair tried to fix it, to cut it out of there, but actually it worked great for the character he played. (You later find out he's an escaped convict.)
I was really happy about having him come up and he did such a great job. My brother's a seasoned professional and it really reflected from day one.
He and Anthony Michael Hall got along really well. There was one time when Dylan and Michael were in the car and Michael was just cracking jokes. He didn't think the camera was rolling, but I'd told them to roll camera. Michael was in there being just so silly with my brother, the two of them were just laughing and cracking us all up. I was recording it the entire time, so excited because I wanted to put it on the gag reel.
But then we found that the sound wasn't rolling! Ha ha ha. It was just great to have Dylan on set and have him be a part of it, of an experience that to me was a big experience.
There were a bunch of bikers that we had to hire, too. There was this guy, Ken Jones, who came in for his audition and literally screwed up every line in the audition piece. He'd go: "Aw, man! Alright, hold on..." and he'd do it again. When he walked out of the room, I told our casting director Sue Browse that that's my guy. I didn't want some actor coming in trying to play a biker; Ken was the guy that embodied the character.
Then Ken came on set and killed it. He was awesome. He was totally great. Every time he'd walk onscreen, he had this big smile on his face. It would just make the audience smile. He looked like such a tough guy and such a bad ass, then he'd smile and your heart would melt.
I also hired a couple of our stand-ins and gave them speaking roles, because I'd worked with them for five years now. They're great people and I just wanted to reward them in some way for the work that they had put in and the attitude that they'd brought to our show.