Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Hollywood Days - Lassie Audition

Pin It Now! If you are new to my blog, on Wednesdays I post about my experience in Hollywood as a former child/teen actress. If you want to start at the beginning of these posts go here.
This post is a rerun.

We left on the last post at the "Malibu Kids" shoot on the beach. After that shindig, producer Al Burton asked us all to return for a final call back for "The New Lassie." We had all previously auditioned for the show and were out of the running until this took place. They had cast the parents and the brother and now just needed to cast the sister. They decided to go with a girl our age. We went from totally out of the running to the final five. Shannon, Kerry and I were up against two other girls. Shannon, the other beach dancer (Who was OLD - twenty something to play a 14 year old. She must have missed the 90210 audtion). The other girl was Alyson Hannigan, who later became one of my closest friend during my Hollywood days. At the time, Alyson had been in the movie "My Step Mother is An Alien." She was by far the most seasoned actress of the bunch and has gone on to star in "Buffy the Vampire" series and now "How I Met Your Mother."

The audition was at Al Burton's office at Universal Studios. I remember seeing Christopher Stone in the hallway as I headed to the bathroom. Turns out, he was cast as the Dad and would be in the audition room with us. I recognized him from "Days of our Lives." I can't believe that I watched that... when I was in elementary school. Healthy. Anyway, we took turns going in for the audition. Here is a page from one of the scenes we auditioned with.

I think there were two different "sides" (sides are an excerpt from the script). The other scene was more dramatic and I remember when we actually filmed the scene down the line.

You may know Dee Wallace Stone (who was cast as the Mom and was married to Christopher Stone in real life) from "E.T." or "Cujo" or a ton of other things. She is an amazing actress. Will Estes (he went by Will Nipper then), who was to play my brother, was also in the room along with Christopher Stone, Al Burton and a few others. They took a picture of each of us with our potential new family... including the famous dog. This Lassie was the seventh generation of the dog in the original series.

After I did the scene I went back into the waiting room. I can't remember who went first or what, but at some point they asked me to come back in and do the scene again. Dee gave me some direction, "This time. I want you to look into my eyes the whole time you are doing the scene. Don't look away at all." So I did. I later learned that she is the one that instigated that redo. I guess with my first go at it, I didn't quite nail it. Looked away or rolled my eyes too much. There was something missing and so Dee told them to have me come back in so she could give me direction.

I think we all felt pretty good about the audition, but you just never know. I thought it was anyone's gig. Kerry says that she knew that I was who was going to get the part. She said she thinks they really honed in on me during "Malibu Kids." She also says that she was very jealous of me because I had a tankini.

On the other hand, Shannon was pretty certain that she had landed the role. After all, she was the one that kept getting call backs when Kerry and I were kicked to the curb. Plus, it was her theme song belt out that got Al's attention.

I believe that audition was at the end of our trip. In fact, I think we hopped in the car and made the scenic drive home right after the audition. Off we went down I-5 wondering who was gonna be the Lassie girl. Maybe it would be none of us. Maybe they would go with the experienced actress, Alyson. Maybe they would go with the ancient one who would not be restricted by child labor laws. Perhaps Lassie would bark for them and they would say to her, "What is it girl? Who do you chose?"
We went home and we waited for that phone call. That phone call came the next day...

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MiMi said...

That would be so nerve wracking...going and then waiting for the call back!

Mirinda said...

My daughter read this over my shoulder and all she wanted to know was....where is the dog now. {she's a bit of an animal lover} She then proclaimed how lucky you were to play with that dog at work.

She realized it was your blog from the book :)