O.K., so you think I'm this do-gooder guy who spends all his waking hours trying to make the world a better place. Well, I do aspire to that, however, there is a secret side of me that comes out now and then and is finally getting its rightful recognition. Like many real men, I secretly want to be a pirate.
Not a bad pirate, just a swashbuckling, fun-loving kinda pirate. You know, like Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean? In fact, I sometimes put on an eyepatch and hook and play Captain Dick Friendly, Pirate Therapist, at parties. So when the opportune moment came along recently, I jumped at the chance to be a pirate on screen. Yep, I have been cast in a small but meaningful role in the upcoming sequel to Pirates of the Caribbean! I will be playing a Merchant Seaman on an East India trading ship (not much of a stretch for me, as I am a merchant, I fancy myself a sailor and have a collection of East India Company coins that I have picked up in old trading ports around the world on my travels). My family was on the little-known island of Bequia in the southern Caribbean recently on development work (I was developing my tan).
Three years ago, Pirates of the Caribbean was being filmed on the neighboring island of St. Vincent when we had just sailed in to Bequia. I was told they might be looking for extras but didn't want to give up any precious family time on the off chance that I might be cast, and that my scene wouldn't land on the cutting room floor. But when the movie came out my kids yelled at me that I had really blown it and I should've tried out for the movie. After seeing the film, I agreed, and I vowed to my children (and to my inner pirate) that if they ever made a sequel, I would walk the plank before missing out on the chance to be in it. Fast-forward three years to the same island, same bar...and same set being rebuilt on St. Vincent! It took me two days to find a number to call, beg to be considered, download an application on the only internet cafe on Bequia, lie about my age on the application (who wants an over-50 pirate?), get a photo on St. Vincent (the only place on Bequia didn't have ink in it's printer - "sorry, mon"), race to the gate of the shipyard to drop off the application... but at the gate I realized that if I left the application there, as I was instructed to, it would probably never get to the office in time, So I did the pirate thing...I lied and told the guard that I was "with the movie". They waved me in and I stormed the casting office, blowing past the sign that said "If you don't have an appointment, don't come in!". Inside, a sea of applications and photos covered the room, and four overworked and not happy faces turned my way. What should I do? What would Captain Jack Sparrow do? I lied again (children-don't do this at home!). I said that the guard at the gate told me to bring my application directly to the office. The folks looked puzzled but not hostile, so I continued. "Hey, just following orders. I see that you are all busy so I'll just drop off my application with all of my years of acting and sailing credentials on the back. Thanks, shipmates!" Fortunately, I was wearing an old Woods Hole Oceanographic tank top that showed off my sailor's tatoos and tan very nicely (and was loose enough to hide my 52 year-old landlubber's gut). Make good eye contact, Dean, Face Time is what will differentiate you from the sea of photos! Hey, it was my only shot and I took it! Pirate! I raced back for the last ferry to Bequia and as soon as I got off I was met by my friend Ruthie, whose phone I had put on my application as a contact number. "They called you! You're in!!"
Back to St. Vincent for a costume fitting the next day. O.K., so I'm not going to be a pirate exactly, but I am going to be in the movie. At the fitting, the casting director walks by, sizes me up and says to the costumer "Put that guy up front, I want to see his face on the camera", Yahoo! This is getting better and better! So what's a coffee roaster turned merchant seaman to do? When I got home we made up some special coffee labels ("Design and Label Your Own Blend!") for the cast (Captain Jack's Choice", "Miss Elizabeth's Delightful Cup", etc) and packaged up bags of chocolate covered coffee beans as "Black Pearl Grapeshot" which I will pass out to the cast and crew. I am heading out to the set tomorrow for ten days of shooting, I will try to find an internet cafe on St. Vincent to update you all on my budding new career as a coffee merchant turned pirate. Drink up, me hearties, yo HO!