Monday, July 30, 2007

Nice Shirt

Yep, the rumors are true, I am doing a small (very small, blink and you miss, small) guest shot on CBC's Little Mosque on the Prairie. If you don't know the show, it's a sit-com, the driving premise being the adventures of a small Muslim community in the middle of a vast open prairie, and by that I mean Saskatchewan. It's gotten good notices and the audience seems to be growing as it heads into its second season.

The character I'm playing is something close to home...a pawn broker. Not quite an antique dealer but close enough.

Typecasting is pretty weird: I've played a pawnbroker before, but never an antique dealer. Maybe pawn brokers are more dramatic and therefore get more air-time. Maybe I look more like a pawn broker than an antique dealer. We all have stereotypical images floating around our pointy little heads and typecasting is a kind of visual shorthand that dramamongers believe allows the audience to get the joke or message or whatever a little quicker.

You know what I mean. How many times have you said (or thought): "You're an accountant? Wow, you sure don't look like an accountant. You look more like someone who should be doin' a pole dance while I shove paper money into your g-string."

Or something like that anyway.

Like I said, it's a shortcut and like many shortcuts, sometimes they're dangerous.

I seem to play the professions over and over: doctors, lawyers, judges, accountants; a cop only once, a computer nerd once, a short order cook, once. I guess I look more like a judge than a cop.

In 1999, I played a doctor in A&E's Dash and Lilly, a bio-pic about Dash Hammett and Lillian Hellman that was directed by Kathy Bates. We were talking about typecasting and Kathy said this to me: don't knock typecasting honey, it's been very good to me.

She's right. And she oughta know, she's got an Oscar and a couple of Golden Globes sitting up there on the old mantle.

Type casting is better than no casting at all.

This afternoon I went in for my
wardrobe fitting. I'll probably be wearing an "aloha" shirt and a little fedora.

You'll recognize me: I'm the one that looks like a pawn broker.

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