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Not drafted for ‘Draft Day’

4/17/2014 - West Side Leader
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By Craig Marks

On the Mark — By Craig Marks

The movie “Draft Day” opened last weekend, and I haven’t seen it yet. But here is my review.

Despite whatever virtues the film possesses, that one scene — and you know the one I’m talking about — turns “Draft Day” into an abject failure. It’s so glaringly obvious that the scene is missing a crucial element that it ruined the entire movie-going experience, not just for this movie, but for movies evermore.

That missing “crucial element” is my teen daughter, Abby, who came this close to being an extra in “Draft Day.” In this instance, “this close” can be defined as “being a part of a large group from which a smaller group was selected, and from that smaller group some people were chosen to appear in the background of a scene that may or may not have made the final cut of the movie.” So, like razor-thin close.

“Draft Day” was partially filmed in Northeast Ohio, and it was announced about a year ago that area folks could sign up for a chance to be an extra. Those interested were told to gather April 14 at a Solon party center, where they’d register and have their photo taken. No need to perform a soliloquy or demonstrate your best horror-movie scream. Just smile.

I told my daughter about it, and we were off to Solon. (Or maybe we were off to Solon, and then I told my daughter about it. The order of events is not important.) It took a couple of hours and some time waiting outside, but the event was well run and pretty painless, and we were home by early afternoon. If they needed Abby, they said they’d let us know.

Three weeks later, they emailed Abby, and we weren’t a bit surprised. We knew Hollywood would come calling from the first time someone said about her, “Hey, she kind of looks like, you know, that actress.” (That actress is Anne Hathaway and, yeah, she kind of does.) Now it was just a matter of deciding what her Nickelodeon show would be called.

The email we received told us that “Draft Day” was looking for female teens for the role of “pedestrians.” The filming would take place that Thursday somewhere in the Cleveland area and could last up to 14 hours. Payment would be $8 an hour for the first eight hours and there’d be overtime pay after that. The email was not an invitation, just a check on Abby’s availability. If she said “yes,” a second email would arrive if she were chosen.

We replied that Abby was available, but we waffled and didn’t send out the email till the next day. The idea of being on a movie set for 14 hours didn’t sound terribly appealing.

“Other offers will come along,” I told her when no second email arrived.

That was the last we heard from “Draft Day.”

“I guess I blew my chance,” I said to my wife.

“You mean, Abby blew her chance,” she said.

“Yeah, right. That’s what I meant,” I said.

I’ll eventually get around to seeing “Draft Day,” I’m sure. And when I do, forgive me if I pay less attention to star Kevin Costner than to the extras walking behind him who, in this unbiased critic’s opinion, seem so, well, pedestrian. Someone could have really done something with that part.

But we never give up hope. “Draft Day” is getting half-decent reviews, so there could be a sequel. And when “Draft Day 2: the Supplemental Draft” comes calling for Abby, I expect her to be given star treatment as she takes over the plum role of “pedestrian.” Or she’s walking.

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