So here I am in Palisades, N.Y., eating two slices of New York pizza after a day of hanging out at a Showtime shoot at the 9W Golf Range. You see, Monster cut a deal with Showtime last spring, part of which includes product placement in an upcoming film short. These are the 4-5 minute segments that are run in between programming to keep the viewer engaged.
Chris Elliott ("There's Something About Mary," "Everybody Loves Raymond," among others) is the star of the short, living in a driving range ball-pickup cart, getting pelted by golf balls as he ponders a career change. He easily ad-libs, making everyone laugh except for his producer. She's all business and wants to move the production forward as it's rained off and on all morning. They're clearly behind schedule.
When I'm introduced to Chris, we shake hands and, with a full grey beard, I notice he looks older than I'd pictured him. I ask him his favorite fantasy (he's acting out three dream jobs, which, of course, he's found on Monster) and he says "none of the ones we're shooting. It does involve a cage though." Everyone laughs. Except for his producer.
A few minutes later, Jackie Martling strolls onto the set carrying an umbrella. I introduce myself and he's quite cordial, but brief. I don't feel like asking him if he regrets coming in too high when he renegotiated his contract with Howard.
So I eat a roast beef sandwich and a few cookies, hanging with the folks at Showtime and Civic Entertainment Group during an afternoon of filming. Tomorrow, we shoot the elevator fantasy with Carol Alt. Then it's back to Maynard. Never settle, right?