If the whole world is a stage, I must be the fool that gets to sweep up a la broom de jure afterwards. Ever since I failed to win the lead role as Kermit the Frog in my elementary school’s production of the Muppets “Rainbow Connection” musical when I was 8 yrs old, I gave up auditions for sticker collecting. Scrath-n-Sniff stickers don’t boo you off the stage. It is not to say I didn’t exercise my phony-baloney acting skills from there on. How else could I have survived years of Sunday school?
Sunday school teacher: “Do you love Jesus with all your heart?”
8 yr old Amanda (nodding with bulging puppy eyes): “……………………………”
Sunday school teacher (handing crucifix-shaped cookie on napkin to child): “Ok, sweetheart, here is a cookie.”
And how would I have cruised my way through 11 yrs of marriage without some improvisation?
My husband: ” Amanda, did you spend the last of the Christmas money? I was thinking of donating it to Toys for Tots.”
Myself (smiling beatifically after spending $70 at thrift store on corny knickknacks for myself): “OH, Ugh…I already donated it to the Salvation Army.”
My husband: “Oh, ok.”
Though, I have come to enjoy playing all the crazy sides of yours truly, there are some film roles I believe I’d love to play before I croak. Here are my top ten favorite movie roles I’d find delightful to burn my way through:
1. The Wicked Witch of the West in “The Wizard of Oz”—- This should be obvious. Need I say more, dearies????
2. Godzilla— You get to stomp bank buildings, kick Army tanks, and eat police officers. What could be more enjoyable?
3. Any role in “Apocalypse Now”—From the military men who get to throw Martin Sheen in the shower to Dennis Hopper’s role as a hyped-up, drug-fueled journalist trapped on an island to the water buffalo that gets slaughtered (there should be an academy awards category for animals, but who would have accepted for this beast?), any part would be a blast for me to play. THE HORROR…THE HORROR!
4. Gene Kelly’s legs in “An American in Paris”—Hands down, the sexiest legs of Hollywood’s golden age. I am jealous of possessing those movements. There is something to be said when a dancer can turn such a simple dance routine, such as Kelly does in the song “I Got Rhythm”, into something profound. His audience isn’t for the snobbish elite or the woman down the street, but children, which is refreshing. You see him mock the military man’s movements and make art out of the banal. I’d gladly take a leg cramp for his rhythm anytime.
5. Oracle Girl in Mel Gibson’s “Apocalypto”—There are hundreds of awesome female characters any actress would die to play, myself included: Norma Desmond in “Sunset Boulevard”, Margo Channing in “All About Eve”, or Martha in “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” But this bewitching role screams climactic fulcrum to a film that was too quickly overlooked (Mel, stop drinking!). It helps to have some Native Mesoamerican blood, as I happen to lug around with me everywhere. Who would think a snotty little kid could carry such a weight? Whenever I re-watch oracle girl’s role, I think of the waves of indigenous children that made their way to American borders by train recently. Are they bringing vile diseases to us…or are we infecting them with all the ills that come from modern-day Westernization? Only the oracle, and time, will tell.
6. Hamlet (backwards)– Yes, I would love to play the role of Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” backwards, beginning with his death by sword, to the moment he witnesses his queen mother wed his evil uncle. It seems like every actor plays the Danish Prince, I figure why not make the role a bit more challenging? Be to not, or be to? You decide.
7. Stanley Kowalski in “A Street Car Named Desire”– The best part about Brando is that he never acted. That’s right. Picture the scene where he is smiling, smirking, and eyeing Blanche DuBois (played by Vivien Leigh) right before he is about to assault her sexually in the Kazan film. In his autobiography, Brando admitted wanting to bed Leigh during the production of the film. Leigh had no interest in the younger Marlon. So you can see how easy it was for Brando to unleash all that repressed sexual tension on the prudishly vulnerable Vivien blazing away as Ms. DuBois. I know its sick of me to say, but I would find it fun to play a low-class, sex crazed, spouse-beating, baby-babbling brute. Maybe it’s not so far away from my real self? hmmmmm
8. Chavela Vargas in a biopic about the musical artist—I know most people don’t know who she is or what she sang, but I would be right there hyping up such a role to a piñata hilt. Too bad the film doesn’t exist…yet! Singing in Español, I can do. Cussing out men, I can do. I just wonder if I could water-board myself with so much tequila….ehhh…anymore.
9. The Pink Elephant(s) in “Dumbo”— So Dumbo gets a bit tipsy. Cute. But the real star of that animal abuse movie is or are the pink elephants that come dancing into Dumbo’s head. Metamorphisizing, expanding, and exploding…it would be a trip to play the piper to an acid trip. With all the internal intestinal gas I get, I’m not too far off the mark. Beware! Beware!
10. Peter Fonda’s Harley Davidson chopper in “Easy Rider”— I know it’s almost impossible to play a piece of machinery, but I can dream can’t I? Fonda’s motorcycle artistically performed better than all of Jennifer Aniston’s movies put together. To be so cool and to make my way across America ripping through such an awesome landscape as this motorbike is priceless. I dig it.