Brushes with Hollywood

Joel Edgerton, Warrior, Pittsburgh, 2009

Pittsburgh is an attractive city for filming movies. From favorable tax laws to a breathtaking skyline, it has the ability to look like a number of different cities – an eclectic mix of skyscrapers similar to that of New York or any other big city, sloped streets reminiscent of San Francisco, etc.

Like many Americans, I grew up celebrity obsessed. While studying in Pittsburgh, I signed on with a casting agency to be an extra. Taking what I could get, I was an extra in several movies.

For example, I waited for days to be a tiny blurred black dot (pea coat) in the opening scene of Wonder Boys. Katie Holmes walked within inches of me. She is tall. I nearly peed myself.

Please Note: This blog post is a teaser for the book, Straight: an ExGay Prodigal Story.

Michael Douglas, Pittsburgh, 1999

With the casting company’s phone number, we called their voice mail regularly to get film locations and made our way there. Sometimes we watched filming for many hours.

Wonder Boys filmed through the night. Probably around 3am, Robert Downey, Jr. and Tobey Maguire had to walk near us to take a restroom break. My friend seized the moment to say “Hi” to Iron Man. I prided myself in getting a nod from Spiderman.

During a break from twilight filming in Pittsburgh’s Hill District, we followed Michael Douglas to his trailer. I asked him for a picture.

Cameron Diaz
Cameron Diaz after a U2 concert, 1997

In 1997, my best friend and I saw U2 at Giant’s Stadium. After the concert, we stood outside the VIP tent and played “Forlorn, endearing young men” card. Just before the party wrapped up, two drunk women gave us their passes. We entered and met Bjork.

Parked around the stadium, we drove back through it all on the way out. Driving, my friend spotted Cameron Diaz waiting for a limo on the sidewalk. He made a U-turn. I stepped out of the car and asked her for a picture.

Ben Affleck signs autographs during a break from filming, Pittsburgh, 1998

When Matt Damon and Ben Affleck were in town, I was at the Sharper Image next to their hotel asking questions. We rode the elevator of the hotel up and down until we met co-star Linda Florentino. Tipped off by a friend, I later saw the duo on the street outside a filming location.

A very wealthy, highly successful world-renowned celebrity once cried out on a talk show, ‘I would give all of this up for peace.’

“…the peace of God, which passeth all understanding…”     Philippians 4:7

“For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”    Mark 8:36

Vanessa Williams, Dance with Me movie premier, Hollywood, 1998

I was idolizing people (God’s creations) rather than the Creator.

“Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.”    Romans 1:25-27

We were created to worship our Creator. Misguided worship leaves us unfulfilled and unsatisfied. Through a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, we can experience true fulfillment and satisfaction.

“Happy is he… whose hope is in the Lord his God: Which made heaven, and earth, the sea, and all that therein is: which keepeth truth for ever”     Psalm 146:5-7

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