As I’ve learned over the years, this always comes out eventually, so I may as well get it out of the way now:
I was a pirate in the Pirates of the Caribbean films.
The second one, actually. Dead Man’s Chest. Largely in the scene where the kraken attacks the Black Pearl. You see me in the film, but they did some reshoots, and I lost part of my scene. Still, I had my “15 minutes” from the experience. I still get recognized from time to time.
Which leads into this entry, and where that backstory took me.
Not that I wasn’t busy at home. I was nursing a monster cold as I worked on the pilot for a TV show called The Odds, and a trip to Los Angeles to finalize a decision I was making for the month. I did, however, make a point to visit some friends:
Before my decision was made, however, I did a few more adventures in Las Vegas. I watched The Lion King musical at Mandalay Bay, did stand-in work for the American Country Music Awards, and went to a very unusual “garage sale”.
Star Trek: The Experience was supposed to come back. Some wealthy businessman in Dubai bought EVERYTHING, right down to the carpet and wall fixtures, and was going to reopen it on Fremont Street. But that never happened. So he decided to sell his unused collection of everything in a public sale. The stuff had seen better days since the closure:
I did pick up a few chairs from the restaurant, which I now use as patio furniture. I like having things with a backstory.
But as for the previously unmentioned “Big Decision”, I decided it was time to return to the high seas, and attempt to set sail with Captain Jack Sparrow once more.
I was flying to Kauai, Hawaii to audition for Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.
So I booked a plane ticket and was on my way:
From the desert to a tropical paradise, the transition had… improved.
My last big acting adventure with Pirates ended five years before. While I knew that particular chapter had closed, I felt that the overall story wasn’t over just yet for me. I knew that when the time came, I would find a way to see it continue. And in standing on the island, it seemed that I had made good on my word.
So early one morning, I made my way down to the place where casting was held, along with a much smaller casting call than what I experienced back in Los Angeles. After doing a brief orientation, I dropped my headshots off to the casting director, who was pleasantly surprised to see me.
“Well, I’m back”, I said, greeting her warmly. “Think I have a shot?” “We will see you for the next round of auditions in a few days”, she smiled back. We chatted for a brief moment, then I was left to my own devices. The casting call even made the local papers.
You never leave me to “my own devices” when stranded on a tropical island.
But I did have to extend my stay for over a full week to compensate, which was awful, given the perfect weather, the copious amounts of rum and fresh seafood, the perfect weather, the friendly people, the perfect weather, the coffee plantations, the perfect weather….
It was Hell on Earth, and I was stranded.
Kauai is one of those places where you drive around, and see things that you thought only existed in books or from another time. You see how they do and approach things in such a simple manner, and you start to realize that people tend to overcomplicate things in their daily routines at home for no real reason other than for a false sense of control or power. And standing in the face of a huge waterfall, or the mouth of a cave, or so high in the mountains that the clouds play across your face, or watching a sunset go down over this ocean, the genuinely raw power of this changes you. I felt so different spending moments out there with no real time schedule.
The week and my stay were drawing to a close with no word on… anything. As much fun as I was having, I was starting to mentally write the process off.
Then the call came.
On that Thursday, casting wanted me for a proper audition… if I showed up the next day or Saturday on Oahu. I deliberated it, but I had already invested money in staying longer, and couldn’t maintain this indefinitely. I couldn’t stay any longer. I had already exhausted enough options as it was. I could afford to island hop.
“I can’t believe I’m going to say this, as it hurts me to even think about it. I’ve waited five years and traveled 3,000 miles for this moment, but I can’t keep holding out for this. I’m sorry, but I can’t make it.”
“But you can’t give up”, the casting director said. “You’ve come so far, and you should at least find out if you could have made it or not. Besides, you already have the odds stacked in your favor for having acting talent.”
Wasn’t that the point of this entire trip, I remembered?
“You’re right”, I admitted. “I shouldn’t give up. I’ll find a way to Oahu.”
“No. No….”, the casting director abruptly said. “We don’t leave for the airport for another hour. Can you come to the Kauai Mariott? We’ll just audition you here.”
I raced full speed to their hotel.
I ran full force into the hotel and into the tower where production was being held. I nearly fell into the office gasping and sweating from running so hard. If they needed a disheveled look, I had that down in full. They let me rest and compose myself, and improv my scene. I didn’t have to beat up four other guys at once this time like in my previous audition in 2004, but they liked what I did here. They gave me a break for trying for this part as hard as I had, and let me hold a very fast, very accommodating audition.
But finally, it was time to go back to Vegas. It had been a very full week of lounging on the beaches, and exploring caves, waking up to watch the sunrise (thanks in no small part due to the legion of roosters on the island), and watched the whales in the sea.
But I had room for one more adventure.
So I kayaked (first time, mind you), out to the middle of one of the rainforests, ran barefoot through the jungle, and had lunch under a waterfall.
Seeing as how I had already checked out of my hotel, I paddled back to where my car was, and drove right to the airport. I looked rumpled and very tanned as I boarded that plane, but whatever happened, whatever came of this casting call I flew across the globe for, I didn’t mind. It was an experience that I would carry fondly with me forever.