July 6, 2013

Uncovering the Extra – Jesse Heiman (Part III – The Motion Picture)

By Michael E. Fromm

The saga of “the world’s greatest extra” continues.

Better known as the GoDaddy Nerd thanks to this Super Bowl ad that went viral, Jesse Heiman’s star is shining brighter than ever. Since the beginning of the millennium, Heiman has appeared in over sixty films and television shows. Though rarely in the foreground, his face is unmistakably recognizable. It wasn’t until that mild Sunday evening in early February where over 108 million Americans watched the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers duke it out for the coveted Vince Lombardi trophy that Heiman’s career would take one giant leap toward true stardom. No longer would he be known as that guy who I think stood behind Shia LeBeouf in that movie. Rather, he would become the envy of men everywhere when he got to lock lips with Israeli model Bar Rafaeli for 30 blissful seconds (and lord knows how many takes).

Now, as our dear readership knows, we here at EnterBrainment have written about this extra of all extras twice before, which you can read here and here. The second of which was posted less than a month before the GoDaddy commercial. And now, I bring you part III of this epic chronicle. Recently, I was contacted by Nick Weis, an L.A. based filmmaker of Magic Happens Productions (LLC), who is currently in pre-production on a documentary following a year in the life and career of Mr. Heiman as he “tries to parlay overnight recognition from that infamous Super Bowl commercial in to a sustained career as a leading man.”

“I ended up stumbling across some video blogs of Jesse on YouTube. It was just him, alone in his room, talking to the camera, - about his life and his goals,” says Nick Weis, director of the film. “And as simple as it sounds, something struck a chord with me.  I remember him saying ‘You may know me, but I'm not really any different than you.’ There was just something inspirational about him. I felt like he had a strong voice, one that deserved to be heard. I wanted to give him that chance.”

Here is the premise of JESSE HEIMAN: WORLD’S GREATEST EXTRA, as per an official press release:

In the high stakes game of dreams – Hollywood style – billions hinge on one elusive quality: the look. Producers, casting directors, and studios spend endless hours, searching high and wide for a seductive glance, a courageous swagger, or a sway of the hips unlike any other. No one knows quite what the right combination is, until they see it. But when it hits... when it truly hits... it’s a look that launches ships, a look that utterly seduces, a look that erupts into belly laughs, or tears. There is no formula, no recipe, no road map – Only this is true: When they find it, when the look works, it’s stupendous.

This documentary is the story of one such face – a highly unlikely one at that. A passionate writer, after having landed in Los Angeles at the age of 21 -‐ but after losing his first job – took advice from his roommate: sign up for background extra work.

This advice changed his life.

Jesse Heiman, an unlikely star, has since worked steadily, on films and television series alongside some of the most prominent names in the business. Directors from Spielberg to Fincher have placed him in the center of the frame for their highest profile projects – albeit as a wholly anonymous presence. From Old School to The Social Network, Catch Me If You Can and Spiderman – Jesse has offered up the face dream makers sought: homely, earnest, innocent, and brave. Over time, Jesse’s pure determination has made him an unlikely, irresistible worldwide face.
This utterly heart-rending portrait film exploring the courage, risks, fun and the truly wild leaps Hollywood culture demands in order for Jesse to achieve his ambitions – it is also about the fascinating things one distinctive look can do. A young man in search of dreams can inspire a public that seeks out a face to mirror their own desires.

The fine folks at Magic Happens Productions are seeking the love – and the shekels – of people such as yourself who want to see this spotlight doc become a reality. They have officially launched a Kickstarter campaign, where you can collect some cool perks for your generous donation. Also be sure to like the film on Facebook, and follow on Twitter.

And who knows where this project will take our favorite extra. Perhaps, in due time, we’ll be writing part IV of his grand voyage to celebrity. Only time will tell.

Until then, true believers, carry on.

February 3, 2013

Top Ten Sports Comedies

10. Cool Runnings

A Jamaican Bobsled team?  Do you need any other reason for this film to make it on this list?

9. The Longest Yard
The Longest Yard (1974) Poster

Burt Reynolds is in both versions, that doesn't happen too often in a remake.

8. The Bad News Bears

 Classic comedy about kids playing football that spawned sequels and an unnecessary remake.

7. Talladega Nights

Like NASCAR this is a funny movie for you.  Don't like NASCAR this is a funny movie for you.

6. Major League

A comedy about the Cleveland Indians, with Charlie Sheen playing the Wild Thing...maybe this was more of a Tragedy.

5. Slap Shot

Comedy + Fighting + Paul Newman = Great Flick

4. Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story

Two words CHUCK NORRIS!  Too bad Lance Armstrong's cameo has less of a relevance now.

3. Happy Gilmore

A fight with Bob Barker, a one handed mentor and a fascination with Sizzler.  A fun comedy to make a less than interesting sport fun.

2. The Big Lebowski

This bowling film really ties the list together.  A masterpiece from the Cohen Brothers.

1. Caddyshack

Why is it that Golf films are some of the funniest sports movies.  That must say something about Golf.

January 30, 2013

Zero Dark Thirty- reveiw

Katheryn Bigelow follows up her Oscar winner The Hurt Locker with Zero Dark Thirty.  This film follows Maya (Jessica Chastain) as she works within the government to find Osama Bin Ladin after 9-11.  All of the major events from 9-11 to the death of Osama are depicted as Maya follows every lead she can find.

This was a very well made film with some very strong performances. Chastain plays a very strong woman and keeps you compelled to see her next move in the hunt.  And the final act with the team storming Osama's home keeps you on the edge of your seat, even though you know how it turns out.  If I can make one complaint about the story editing is that it jumps around a lot from event to event and can be a bit disorienting at times. 

The torture scenes are a bit uncomfortable but gives you a look into what in some way went on after 9-11.  This may be a film you can skip in theaters, but worth checking out later.

Rating - B+

January 28, 2013

Life of Pi: Review

Ang Lee's Life of Pi is a wonderful film.  It is the story of Pi, a young man from India, whose family is relocating to Canada with the zoo animals that they own. While traveling, a storm destroys the ship they are traveling on and Pi is separated from his family.  The story is focused on Pi and the Tiger Richard Parker as they survive the elements at sea.

The film is very well put together.  The acting is strong, the effects are almost seamless and the story is fantastic and compelling.  It is always great to see a film nominated for an Oscar that isn't overly depressing.  Ang Lee is rarely mentioned in people's favorite director list, but he never does the same type of film so I give him props for that.

This is a great film for everyone. I would describe it as Slumdog Millionaire meets Big Fish.  There are a few parts in the movie that are a little extreme for young viewers, but overall this is great for all age ranges.  I strongly recommend seeing this movie before Oscar night, and if you can't make it...catch it on your friend's big screen TV.

Rating - A

January 11, 2013

Uncovering the Extra - Jesse Heiman (Part II)

Just a little over two years ago, I had posted this article about a mysterious extra who had appeared time and time andtime again in various film and television shows for the last decade. A phantomof entertainment media, Jesse Heiman has been seen in the films Spiderman, Old School, The Social Network andshows Entourage, Curb Your Enthusiasm,Glee, and Chuck, to name a few. Afterposting the aforementioned article, it was met by generally positive reactions,but did not exactly meet the approval of the extra of all extras. 

In the two yearssince, much has happened for the ‘Where’s Waldo’ of Hollywood. A YouTube videocompiling his sightings has garnered nearly 3 million views. Tack on a widevariety of roles in film, commercial, and television shows, including a guestappearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and Jesse is slowly but surelymaking his transition from the background to the foreground. 

Could it be acoincidence that, since the posting of my initial article, Mr. Heiman’s careerhas exploded? Probably. But the coincidences didn’t stop there. When the newyear came around, the folks here at EnterBRAINment decided it was high time tostart writing new material again for your reading pleasure. It was around thattime that Mr. Heiman himself posted the original article on his Facebook page.That, in turn, inspired me to write a follow up article, this time with hisside of the story.

Yes, dear readers, Ihave uncovered the myth, the legend, the man behind the men in front of thecamera. Below is an exclusive EnterBRAINment Q&A with Mr. Jesse Heiman, theworld’s most famous extra. Enjoy.
When did you first get the acting bug?
At age 5 when I watched ET and it scared me and then later in life when I watched it and itmade me laugh. I wanted to do that to make people happy or sad or scared, Iwanted to entertain.

What madeyou decide to take your acting aspirations to Hollywood?
Actually, I first came out wanting to become awriter or producer. But, it turns out you need a good income to live in LosAngeles. So I signed up for extra work and had no idea it would become mycareer. Since then, I've appeared in over 50 films and 30 TV shows andcommercials, music videos and even a print ad.

Describeyour feelings on the first day on your first major set. What movie was it?
I worked the first day I signed up that night onthe movie Rat Race. It was an all-nightshoot outside at a Los Angeles ranch and I remember feeling nervous and unsureof what to do. But I learned quickly, and time passed and before you know itthe sun was up and we were done. The feeling came to me then if I could survivea cold night in Hollywood I can tackle anything. 

How doesit feel to be dubbed ‘the world’s most famous extra’?
 It's really amazing to be called the world’sgreatest extra. I know there are people out there who have been doing extrawork all their lives and they don't get the credit they deserve. I am humbledby the fans I've accumulated since the video was posted on YouTube. They arevery cool and I enjoy answering fan mail.

You’vecertainly earned that title with a very impressive list of credits in film andtelevision. One could even say you are the ‘Where’s Waldo’ of Hollywood. Canyou describe the first time you were recognized in public?
I can't really pinpoint a specific moment ofrecognition. It happens so often, it's just great to have people take the timeto tell you they've seen you on TV or in movies. The first time was probablyafter Old School came out or maybenot until Spider-Man in 2004. My fansstarted a cult following as the few who knew who I was, but as my credits grew,so did my fan base. Now I have over 3,000 followers on Twitter and Facebookfriends and countless more offline.

A YouTubevideo compiling clips featuring you in major films and television shows wasreleased about a year ago, garnering nearly 3 million views since then. And nowyou are making that transition from the background to the foreground with thefilm The Jerk Theory. Are you gettingany bigger offers lately?
Yes I've been working on more movies andcommercials and TV shows as guest star. Since The Jerk Theory I have been on TV shows like Warren the Ape, Awkward, Monk, and have an upcoming appearance onThe Mindy Project. You can alsosee me in a commercial for Prego pasta sauce and a commercial during the firstquarter of the Super Bowl; but I can't tell you what for - I'm under contract.

Wherewould you like your career to go in the near future?
Of course I’d like to book a sitcom where I havea chance to be the same character for five years or more. I would also like toget in a Judd Apatow directed movie or something in that kind of comedy.

What isyour professional philosophy? What advice can you give aspiring actors outthere?
Just to follow your dreams and believe you cando it because no one is going to help you more than yourself.