Greetings, and welcome to the pre-premiere episode of The Next Action Star! Now, I'm sure you can figure out what this show is all about just from the title . . . legendary producer Joel Silver wants to make a movie, and apparently he's tired of using those action hero box-office flops Mel Gibson and Bruce Willis. So, we are about to embark on an epic quest to find one man and one woman to star in this film, which will be presented on television at the series finale. But enough of all this sitting around and beating around the bush--it's time for some action! But beware--this is not a ride for the weak of heart, or especially since this is an audition show, the weak of stomach.
Search and Destroy . . . Well, Destroy Later
This episode is a classic AI-style voyeurism into the audition process. Sorry, there won't be any explosions, gunplay, wired fighting, or any of the fun stuff yet. We do, however, get to watch some heinous attempts at acting and a bunch of people who feel compelled to literally kick the air whenever they say the word "kick." Aren't you excited? I know I am! Thousands storm the audition centers, and only thirty semi-finalists will make it out
alivepast the panel of judges.
We are greeted by a man with a creepily dislocated middle finger, who claims that he should be the next action star because he feels no pain. I really think he was just flipping us all off in a roundabout way, but hey--whatever works for you. Our contestants must perform a couple tasks before the judging panel, which starts with bursting through a door and breaking into an immediate, improvised scene determined by one of the judges. For example: Quick! Your boy/girlfriend is having sex with your best friend! And you've got a gun! Then, they'll have to flex their acting muscle (get it?) by reading through a scene, which I'm assuming will be in Mr. Silver's latest magnum opus, Hit Me. It sounds like a winner from the title, doesn't it?
In Texas, where everything is bigger and better, we first meet Somere, an elementary school teacher with an edge. She says that she is a hunter and has stalked every animal across the south, including rattlesnakes and truant kindergartners. The judges are impressed, declare that she is "interesting," and move her on to the next round. We also are introduced to a man whose name is not revealed, but is memorable for performing some gravity-bending jumps and flips reminiscent of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon--without need of wires. Unfortunately, he is not what they are looking for, and he must take his Tibetan Monk moves elsewhere. Another memorable contestant is Mae, who arrives with her boyfriend. Although her boyfriend tells us that she is nervous and doesn't like to be on camera, the judges find her intriguing--likening her to a black widow spider--and she moves on. We can only wait to see if her dislike of cameras will ever impact her acting career.
Next we head down for some fun in the sun and see what the potential stars in Miami have to offer. Because we love bad Scarface impersonations. Luckily, we don't see too many of those, but there are a whole slew of interesting characters, like Donna. Donna tells us she's just the typical geeky-college professor type, but put her in a phone booth, give her a cape, and *front kick* *front kick* voila! Next Action Star! The judges are not so like-minded, and Donna is sent packing. A master of monkey Kung-Fu tries out, too. Did you know that monkey Kung-Fu is a long and distinguished line of martial arts and not just a stupid gimmick that some guy made up to get in? Me neither.
We are also introduced to a Barb Wire wannabe, who claims that people love her for her face and not just her freakishly large, balloon-esque . . . well . . . you know. No, she doesn't make it. Sorry. Finally, we meet a couple guys who are really serious: The slightly crazy-eyed Santino and Matt T., whose parents are an actress and a martial artist. The judges think Matt shows a lot of potential and could really improve with some coaching, and an excited Matt responds with a request for some coaching. Like, right now! The judges do that judge-y kind of laugh, and finally manage to get him to leave, but not before he pokes his head under the curtain to thank them again.
From the warm, sunny beaches of Florida, we move on to Minneapolis, where we find snow and ice. Surprise! Now, I'm sure that Shazzer and LG. were in this crowd of auditioners somewhere, but they probably weren't picked because the rest of the contestants wouldn't have had a chance against them. Or, maybe they were, and I'm just protecting their alter-egos. Hmm . . . you'll just have to wonder.
Now, Minneapolis is an interesting crowd. Many of the auditioners are literally bouncing off the walls with excitement and pent-up adrenaline, and they are ready to kick some a$$! *kick* Then, of course, there are the weirdos, God bless 'em. One guy's claim to fame is that he can vomit on command. Another guy does a weird "Fish Face" (or, if you prefer, "Phish Phace") before barrel-rolling down through the doorway and ripping off his shirt. Matthew, a computer programmer roughly four times the size of me, says that fat guys are always the funny fat guys, but now he's going to kick some a$$ in the name of fat guys everywhere. Now, I like Matthew. He does all his own stunts, and I really can't do his segment justice through mere words. It's just too bad he wasn't auditioning for The Last Comic Standing.
Oh yes, there were a couple highlights, too . . . Boxer/policewoman Corinne and actress/dancer Austene lit up the camera and moved on to the next round.
Welcome to the place where the players play. What other kinds of action will we find here? Well, we are immediately treated to a Shakespearean warrior, a William Wallace wannabe, and a woman that the judges declare would be perfect for "Girl Fighter #2." Ouch! Luckily, it's also the home of Julielinh, who has a "fantastic look" and a lot of potential according to the judges, and the buff-but-humble youth counselor, Harold. Harold aka "House" shares that he originally lived in the Bronx where the easiest thing to do was get into trouble. He chose to take the higher ground, which already earns him bonus points from me.
Meanwhile, we meet Melissa, who doesn't know what sets her apart from the other contestants. Well, something must set her apart, since she makes it into the semifinals. There's also an extremely scary-looking individual in a miniskirt that I'm not quite sure is entirely female. The judges are just as frightened as I, and ask her if she's ever popped out of a cake at a bachelor party. Her reply? "I've done many things at a bachelor party, but not a cake." Ba-dum-ching! Finally, we meet the much more agreeable Young, who has a good mix of manliness and boyishness, according to the judges.
Start spreadin' the news. Our next destination on Operation: Findapotentialstar is the Big Apple, where a guy in line proclaims, "I'm so full of action, my name should be a verb!" The auditionees here are even more wound-up than the ones in Minneapolis were, and they've resorted to trying to beat the living daylights out of each other. All, I'm sure, in good fun . . . except for that vicious wedgie footage that we were subjected to. One of the first successful auditioners we see is Matt S., a firefighter with some boxing moves. We also find Viviana, who moved to New York from Colombia when she was 17 to become a staaaaaaaaaaaaar!!! She sports a Matrix-style black coat and breezes through the audition, only to try to push one of the judges off a balcony with a jubilant hug.
Next, we meet the minatory Jared, who possesses some nonverbal, major psycho-like skills and gets a callback without saying a word. Outside in the lobby, a milquetoast sort of guy is confused as to why he didn't make it. He threw some kicks, threw some punches, he yelled, he screamed, he busted a rhyme. Not to worry, I'm sure you'll see him coming soon to a theatre near you . . . if they ever make a sequel to Office Space. Eventually, we meet Reggie, who carries the most feared weapon in all of New York . . . a geisha fan. He operates under the pseudonym of "Fanman," and also happens to be a Yale drama school graduate. Fanman has incredible acting talent and sucks me right into his audition. He moves on, and I can't wait to see him get his hands on a genuine war fan.
The end is near as we arrive in our last city on the audition circuit--Hollyweird, itself. Now, we all know that everyone in L.A. is an actor, and the judges claim that the standards will be very high. They have a whole flood of auditioners to choose from, all demonstrating their individual prowess while they wait in line. Some do martial-arts tricks, one man in a trench coat executes a perfect Matrix-like wall-kick, and another fellow is decked head to toe in full plate mail armor.
The first person to make the cut is Linda, who explodes into a flurry of Italian profanity during the improvisation of finding her boyfriend in bed with another girl. I'm thinking it came a bit too easily for her. Sean, a relatively amiable-looking bouncer, also makes the cut. Michelle makes an impression immediately by arriving in an outfit that recalls Gogo Yubari from Kill Bill. Hmm . . . could this be the new dernier cri for action heroines? Also receiving a callback is John, a waiter who recently relocated from Oregon--not to be confused with our famed administrator. As for the rest, they're all either too cute, too boyish, too rugged, too mobster, too G.I. Joe Action Figure, or too nondescript. I bet you never knew that you had to meet so much criteria to be an action star, did you? This only further confuses me as to how Vin Diesel hit the bigtime.
Hasta La Vista, Baby
So, that concludes the auditions! Hopefully you've come to recognize a couple faces and maybe, just maybe, laughed a couple times. Too bad nobody tried to bust down the door and merely bounced off . . . now that would have been funny! The final list of semifinalists is:
New York: Reggie, Jared, Mélisande, Greg, Krista, Matt S., Viviana
Atlanta: Laura, Julielinh, Harold, Young, Jeanne, Melissa
Miami Beach: Matt T., Santino
Los Angeles: Michelle, Dan, Matt M., Linda, Sean, John
Minneapolis: Mark, Corinne, Brittany, Austene, Eileen
Dallas: Somere, Mae, Todd, Scott
How will they fare? Tune in next time for a slightly more standard episode and recap, as well as explosions, gunplay, martial arts, fireballs, car chases, and nitpicking. See you there!
Warning: This recap will self-destruct in thirty seconds.
I'll be back. Until then, you may contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org