Although there is great pain in casting, there is also joy. We had refined, acted, and knew every scene of the movie KGOD, a.k.a. (later retitled) Pray TV, and were casting.
One of the parts, that of Willie Washington, a rapping preacher in the style of Jesse Jackson, was hysterical on paper. Roger E. Mosley, previously-known as Tom Selleck’s sidekick on Magnum, P.I., received the “sides” (pages of a scene in the script), came in, had the lines fully memorized (something every would-be auditioning actor should do), and nailed it. Roger’s a confident, cocky guy, and asked, “What else you got?”
We had another part, that of Leroy X Washington, a born-again convicted ax murderer who goes on The PTP Club (as in Pass the Plate—a parody of The Tonight Show) to sell his book, Ax Me About God. Roger nailed that one as well.
There was one part left, and it was impossible to cast. The movie’s audition scene featured off-beat religious types: a rapping Hassid, a torch-singing sexpot, the Krishna quartet, a hippie flower girl, and the tough one—a preacher/auctioneer. We had dozens of actors read for the part. Finally, my writing partner threw up his hands and said, “Let’s call the auctioneer’s union and get a real auctioneer!” Fern Champion, the casting director, said, “Just give this one last guy a shot.”
Woody Eney was his name and he was awesome! In the movie, he wears coveralls and a plaid shirt. Chewing tobacco, he has a dog-eared bible in his hand. His scripted name is Reverend Hal Tramer. In his scene, he takes a breath, spits out a wad of tobacco, and starts to preach:
TRAMER: And the Lord sayeth unto his disciples, ”Giveth your first born unto the Lord and be plentiful and multiply.” But they couldn’t multiply ‘cause they hadn’t learned simple addition yet. So they begot. They begot whenever they could.
And unto them Shem, the father of all the children of Eber, the brother of Japeth the Elder, even unto him were children born.
And Eber begat Salah and Salah begat Obal.
And Obal begat Sheba and Jobab and Jobab begat Samuel and Sanuel begat Claude and Claude begat Bee Bee and Bee Bee begat and forgot to begot so she hopped to the hop doing the bibbity bobbity boo.
I got a boo, I got a bop, I got a—
DIRECTOR (V.O. from booth): Cut!
TRAMER:I got a cut. Do I hear another cut
TRAMER: I got another cut. I got two cuts, do I hear three—
DIRECTOR: Would you please leave the stage!
TRAMER: I gotta leave the stage. I gotta leave the stage once. I gotta leave the stage twice. I gotta leave the stage three times. Gone! I’m off the stage.
The entire cast of KGOD brought something extra to their scenes. My belief is that if you craft unique characters and terrific dialogue, actors will want to play the parts.
If you’d like to see the auctioneer’s monologue, visit: