NEW FEATURE by Sham Ibrahim
About two years ago I worked for several weeks on a Hilary Duff movie called Raise Your Voice. Although I was almost 24 at the time, I was cast as a HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT in a summer music program. The first person I saw on the set was Hilary Duff herself. She was doing a scene where she had to cry. In between takes, she would dry her eyes, march over to the play-back monitor with great purpose, and examine the shot. She would nod yes or no to the director, Sean McNamara. Then, depending on her response, they would re-take the scene or move on. I loved how this flawless 16-year-old power queen was controlling the shots!
I went really over the top with my look because I was cast from a picture where I was wearing a multicolored new-wave, punk rock detachable weave. I overheard Hillary talking to actress Kat Dennings. They were saying I looked like David Bowie, but it sounded like they were purposely mispronouncing Bowie’s name to imitate the way Avril Lavigne mispronounced it at the Grammys. Since they were talking about me I joined in their conversation. “Didn’t Avril Langreen say that at the Grammys?” I asked. Hilary burst out laughing. I didn’t realize I had mispronounced her name, but I did know Hilary and Avril were enemies. That seemed to earn me big points with Miss Duff. (After a few days of wearing my clownlike weave, I got lazy and ditched it, opting for my normal black hair. In the movie I look like two completely different extras!) (Watch the clip then continue reading after the jump)
One day I saw James Avery (Uncle Phil from Fresh Prince of Bel Air) sitting and smoking a cigarette, pouting and grumbling to himself. James was not very popular among the plethora of stars working on this film. There was Rita Wilson (the wife of nice-guy Tom Hanks, who visited the set a couple times), Rebecca DeMornay (who needs to visit the plastic surgeon soon because her skin was sagging like a prune, and she also had this terrible streaky fake tan that made her look orange), John Corbett (from Sex and the City, who was not much of a conversationalist, unless you were one of the bimbo female extras), and Jason Ritter (John Ritter’s son, who I thought was another extra until I saw the film).
James Avery was not popular with the director either. He would often mess up his lines and they would have to retake his scenes over and over again. I wanted a cigarette, and I wanted to cheer him up. “Hey, Uncle Phil can I bum a smoke?” I said. He didn’t find this the least bit funny. He refused me a cigarette and stormed off! Hilary saw this interaction and rolled her eyes. I could tell she was thinking, “What an asshole.” She made no comment, exercising politically correct on-set behavior. Oh well, Hillary Duff works all the time. It seems like every time I blink she’s starring in a new blockbuster movie. What is James Avery doing these days? Probably sitting at home, pouting, and grumbling to himself.
– Sham Ibrahim