by Nancy Oeswein
Well, this story is one that should inspire actors to keep moving forward. Back in September, before we got busy with the sequel for “Bennett’s Song,” I saw a post for a small feature role on SVU on a casting site and referred it to Calhoun’s manager, Bennie Taylor of Jon Tomus Talent. He in turn, involved Calhoun’s Atlanta agent since she doesn’t have New York representation. And as it is with 80% of the things you tape auditions for, we never heard back.
Then 10 days before the launch of “A Bennett Song Holiday,” heavy into preparation, we get a call that they have a bigger guest star role they want her to audition for. My first reaction was “no way, the timing won’t
And then I saw the description of the role and the story. Oh my! So Calhoun comes home and I tell her “Law & Order wants you to audition for a bigger role, but it films next week and you have 20 hours to turn in a tape.”
And she said “No way, I have a ton of school work and I’m no where near ready for next weekend.” And I said “I hear that, I easily have 60 hours left of production prep, but you need to look at these sides.”
So, she does school work for the next 6 hours, and then at 1:00 AM, she sends me a tape of the 6 pages of script she taped. She was exhausted, but fit it in. That was Wednesday. Friday, we get a call she is on hold.
Monday, it’s 4:00 PM and I haven’t heard anything and I’m running around Pontiac looking at possible replacement locations for a location I lost for the film and my phone starts blowing up: Agent, Manager, travel department.wardrobe. She got and we have to find a flight ourselves and be on a plane tobe in NY in less than 24 hours.
Tuesday, fly and wardrobe, Wednesday, she films all day and Thursday we fly home to film “Holiday” all weekend. Then fly back to New York City for her scene with Mariska Hartigay and Ice-T on Wednesday, fly home Thursday and film all weekend on “Holiday.”
It was an amazing experience, and as you saw, an amazing role.
When we arrived the first day, she was given a dressing room at the studio and then met with wardrobe…they had assembled a full rack of clothes to try on. She met with the Director Alex Chappelle and discussed her role. The next morning, we arrive on set in Soho. She has her own fancy trailer and her own PA. They treated her like a big star.
Filming that day was in very cool bookstore in Soho. When we arrived, there was a construction crew, complete with jackhammers literally tearing up the streets in front of the building. So even a big production has problems like indies where you show up to a surprise. Fortunately, they were able to convince the city to stop after a few hours so they started with all the extra and wide shots, and had a quiet set by the time they got to all of Calhoun’s close ups and the cocktail party and signing scenes.
Everyone was so nice. Calhoun particularly connected with the wonderful actor that played her manager, Jayce Bartok. He’s a veteran actor who you’ve probably seen in 50 things in episodic or small roles in big features.
They had a shared love of some favorite painters and chatted non-stop about Art and Philosophy between shots.
When we returned the next week, without spoiling the episode for people that haven’t seen it, she had her one scene with Mariska and Ice-T. Mariska was so nice and was concerned that Calhoun was freezing on the pavement and gave her one of her hand warmers.
The response has been amazing. The Michigan film community has been celebratory and supportive.
The biggest surprise though, was her IMDB star meter rating.
We expected it to go down quite a bit
She usually sits respectably in the 30-50K range. I was hoping for teens.
I was on set Sunday night and we had a close up shot and so I had a few minutes where I didn’t need to be keeping an eye on extras. So i pulled it up and almost fell off my chair.
I called home and woke her up and she couldn’t even speak.
While I can’t say a lot and they may not turn into anything,I will say that the level of auditions has heated up a notch. She has some auditions coming for some massive projects.
Her manager Bennie has been preparing for this and is hard at work striking while the iron is hot. She has offers from multiple LA agents. 2019 could be a big year for her.
To follow Calhoun on her Facebook page.
For Calhoun’s IMDB page.