-Joseph Tornatore dressed if not to kill then to ticket punch.
When is getting a job as a train conductor yet denied permission to board your train a good thing? Let me tell you about my unusual go of it lately. It all started when I took a part time job as a train conductor then got railroaded.
I play J. Dropik, a train conductor, in mega director M Night Shymalan’s next movie, The Happening. I do not want to get too far down the track here without stopping at the next station. My character is in only one short scene despite it taking two days to film. Moreover, the entire scene outside the railroad station could end up on the chopping block and never make the final cut. After all, there is little certainty on the production end of the movie business.
Now onto conducting good news about not catching the train:
*I wound up on the right track when I got cast in the same close-up scene with multi-talented actor Mark Wahlberg. Surrounded by six far more talented actors than yours truly, I acted accordingly. Watching Wahlberg act up close and personal was technically educational.
*M Night Shymalan gave me goosebumps when he called me by my first name on the set to give me instruction to raise the train schedule prop higher to be in frame for another take.
*On the afternoon of the second day, I found myself standing alone next to Mark Wahlberg. I picked his genius brain about one of my favorite movies, The Departed, which won an Oscar for Best Picture. After stating a heartfelt compliment about his convincing supporting acting in that movie, Mark thrusted his hand out for me to shake. He smiled and thanked me for saying that. I introduced myself and just the two of us chatted before the director called for picture up. Now time for Mark to go back to work, he excused himself but promised to return to share more interesting trivia. With heavy lead in my conductor boots, I mouthed, “I ain’t going nowhere. Whalberg nailed the movie take with co-star John Legazamo then came back and started talking to me about the movie The Departed like we had no departure.
*After my character wrapped for the movie, M Night Shymalan proved his graciousness to agree to pose for a candid picture with me.
*While boarding the bus to leave the set, a complete stranger slipped me a manilla folder. Inside rested a priceless 8x10 color photo still of my scene in the movie. There I stood frozen in time acting my scene out with Mark Wahlberg. It is hard not to believe an angel from actor’s heaven gave it to me.
Some people miss the boat in life. I missed the train this week and it was one of the most memorable experiences of my life.