Several years ago, I played a small part in the movie, “Why I Got Married, Too,” directed by Tyler Perry. Although it has been a while, I am still not 100% sure how to describe the experience. In my past, I had been an extra in a few films and knew how to blend in with the best of them. Heck, when I was in the Sandra Bullock movie, “The Blind Side,” I blended into the football crowd so well that you couldn’t even see me. Yes, it takes a seasoned actor to not be noticed.
But this movie was different. I was chosen for this role and had to wear makeup. But that isn’t the weird part. OK, I was told to be in this movie and not worry too much about my lines. They were paying me pretty decently, so I did like any other person who can’t afford their Starbucks habit — I showed up on the set to make a few bucks.
Let’s back up for a second. I wasn’t even aware I was in a movie. I thought it was a commercial or something. Apparently, one of the casting directors was at one of my comedy shows and picked me for this role.
I am still not sure why I was picked. Anyway, I showed up at the set in Atlanta and was escorted through several layers of security and told to hit the dressing room. Once there, they took away my normal clothes and made me wear a suit, while several people cut my hair and applied layers of makeup to my freckled face. During the frenzy to make me look camera-ready, the script director came up and, with a condescending look, handed me my lines for the scene and told me to be natural. This made me suspicious.
Immediately, I was ushered to the movie set, where I was introduced to a very tall African-American man with a familiar face. It was Tyler Perry. Perry welcomed me to the set and explained the movie to me.
My role was to act like an uptight white architect. Yes, I had to play a white character. It was a stretch, but I felt up for it. Anyway, I had to simply carry files to a secretary, chat with her and then look upset when my office environment is interrupted by an irate wife of a fellow co-worker.
He then told me to “be cool,” because the wife was being played by Janet Jackson, and her brother had just died a few weeks earlier. Be cool?! Was he kidding me? Yes, he told me that I was going to be with
Janet most of the day and that she was upset. Basically, I was told not to look her in the eyes or partake in small chitchat.
But, Perry didn’t tell me what would happen next. We got into places, and Perry told me to simply act by being natural. OK. As I carried the papers to the office worker and engaged in chitchat, Janet came running in, screaming at me that it was her husband’s birthday.
It got weird. Janet was being followed by a large birthday cake on rollers. The cake stopped next to me and, all of a sudden, a slender man jumped out of the cake and began dancing with me. Act natural? How do I act natural when something so unnatural is happening? So I danced — kind of. It wasn’t good dancing. It was horrible dancing. It was so bad that after about 20 takes of me trying to dance, Tyler told me to never dance again and to simply look surprised and stunned. I found this much more natural.
It was a unique experience to say the least. I thought it was behind me, until TBS showed it on local television recently, and I was hounded (teased) by friends laughing at my incredible acting ability. Maybe they were surprised I could play a white guy so well?
Folks, I don’t know many of you and am still fairly new to Plant City. Let me share a lesson I have learned through all of this acting nonsense. Don’t settle in life for a few minutes of fame and do not waste your life playing a supporting role to someone else. Sure, you should be a supporting role to your family, friends, and church, but I am not talking about that. Rather, I’m saying don’t spend your lives living a life that is not yours and reading everyone else’s script. Be the main character in your life, be the hero, be the character you were made to be. You are loved by God, deeply loved. Let that love not only guide you but define you and free you from fear. Remember: Even when the script of life does something strange, embrace it. For you have everything you need to win the Oscar for best lead role — the deep love of God.
Josh Loudermilk is an inspirational speaker/comic and available to speak at your church, group or event. He, his wife, Melissa, and daughter, Chloe, live in Walden Lake. You can reach Josh at firstname.lastname@example.org.SEO