I do have the word “Confessions” in the title of this today’s blog . . . .
SO – I’m about to tell you the worst thing I ever did in show business (well, next to that classically and historically, hysterically and horribly delivered line of mine in Tourist Trap – – – but that’s a whole other story. and one of my other careers).
I taught a set of 2 ½ year old triplets how to snort cocaine and inhale pot.
Yeah. I did. For a feature film.
In my defense: the girls had absolutely no idea what they were emulating.
OF COURSE emulating . . . . you don’t think I’d REALLY teach them about real drugs, do you?? Fer Heaven’s sake!
By now you’ve probably seen the movie, so I’m not ruining any plot lines!! It’s Harold and Kumar – A Very 3D Christmas . . . . and the character is little Ava.
I had gotten a call on a Monday night from the wonderful Toni Casala of CHILDREN IN FILM – an INVALUABLE organization for children and parents in the Industry. http://www.childreninfilm.com. I’m not vested in your going to this website. But if you have children in the Industry – you are! DO NOT fail to go there!!!
Toni said that she might have a referral to a film job for me – was I avail?
Was I???? You bet . . . ! Thirty minutes later I’m speaking to the production manager/producer on the phone: One of the triplets had accidentally been frightened on set (NO abuse or dangers whatsoever had occurred, I promise)
But she had become frightened, and all three of the girls had stopped working. They realized they needed a baby wrangler. The entire crew – from Producers on down – were absolutely dedicated to the girls’ safety, comfort and enjoyment of the experience. As was the cast – especially the brilliantly talented actor/writer Tom Lennon who is “Ava’s” daddy in the film , and with whom I was soon to work again. (didn’t know it at the time!) He was absolutely amazing with the girls. Of course cast and crew wanted to get their shots – but they wanted the girls to be happy. I commend them, and thank them for that!
To make a long story short ( I know – when do I make any story short) – three days later I’m on a jet to Michigan, where they were filming. There I met and began what is a life-long love affair with a remarkable family: Chloe, Hannah and Ashley, the beautiful, sweet and loving triplets. Katie and Casey, their amazing parents. Mary and Bill, Katie’s extraordinary parents. They will always be in my heart. Momma, Daddy. Grandma and The Girls are still in my life, albeit long distance. What a blessing.
SO – back to the tale!
In the storyline, Ava is at a party (where she should not be) with her Daddy – who quite frankly also should not be there. There is a huge brick of cocaine, a disastrous event involving a giant fan, and . . . you guessed it: Cocaine everywhere. And then there’s the part where a big sneeze blows some right in the baby’s face. (of course, we used powdered sugar)
Now how to get it to look like the baby has classic cocaine sniffing behavior . . . which of course I’ve only read about and seen in movies.
Here’s what I did:
I taught the girls (for all three sisters were playing the one character) to play OINK OINK PINCH PINCH ( okay, maybe not a brilliant title, but I was making up this stuff as I went along!)
I showed them how make a little piggy oinking noise while wrinkling their adorable little noses, and then to pinch their little piggie noses two times in a row. Accomplishment #1- The Snorting.
Next I showed them how to make a number “1” with their index finger, which we then turned into a toothbrush. Then we pretended to brush our teeth. Accomplishment #2 – The Gum Rubbing. VOILA!
While their parents and I (and the entire cast and crew) laughed hysterically at how cute they were (and how they didn’t have a clue) the girls giggled and had a ball. We got fantastic shots, director Todd Strauss-Schulson and our producers were thrilled, and we got in a great day’s work.
And the pot? First, I want to tell you that all the smoke you see in that car segment. . . that was added in post production – the triplets were NOT subjected to any smoke inhalation of any kind. None. Nada. Zip! (fortunate for me, too, as I was hiding in the front seat!)
Here’s what we did for that segment: I would make whichever girl was working laugh and giggle with one or another of my silly faces or noises, then she would play “make a face like Dawnie” – where I’d be all wacky and silly and she would mirror my expression. . . and then, while doing that, we played “say what Dawnie says” and she would repeat things after me like “oooooh, I feel dizzy,” or “oooooh, wow, the car is spinning,” or “I’m starving.”
Voila, again. A stoned little munchkin.
I’m probably going straight to hell for this one.
PS. The worst thing I ever SAID in show business was (to Props department): “Hey, guys, can I have the cocaine for the babies, please?”!
© Dawn Jeffory-Nelson 2013
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