When I create a piece like iSpy and populate it with characters, an astute viewer might attempt to play the fun parlor room game: where's the writer hiding. You study the characters and their dialog and attempt find little ol' me.
I have four teen players: a confused beauty queen, a greaser James Dean, an Enthusiastic Boy totally into superhero movies, and a Sassy know-it-all gal.
I've been told by two different people there's something eerily similar between myself and Enthusiastic Boy. And this would be kind of true. That I'm looking back upon myself from decades ago, only updated.
I'll admit that sometimes I can be as 'confused' as I can be 'sassy', but I blame this on the first stages of grumpy old man. For instance, when the Edward Snowden story first broke, I was very confused. 'Who?' 'Which one is that?' Then I got angry at how Snowden was being crucified by the media and press, which as you'll see inspired me to become... sassy.
But if you're looking for the screenwriter in iSpy, look no further than Brian Allen's Pool Man. Brian will play an everydude cleaning a posh swimming pool tucked away in a California foothill. What he overhears today's teenagers saying...
... makes him wonder if the swimming pool is the only thing that's a little cloudy.
We'll have to wait to see if his skimmer, chlorine, and baking soda have any influence over the young minds around him, but yes, that's definitely a little grumpy old man hiding inside the Pool Man.
That made casting this role tricky. Yes, we both have facial hair but no I wasn't seeking a clone of me. I originally attempted to cast this role with a muscled African American type -- perhaps to further hide the 'me' in the process.
What changed my casting goal was when Mr. Brian Allen responded to my ad in BACKSTAGE and I saw this --
Brian somehow seemed familiar to me. Where have I seen this guy before? It turns out I had never seen his work, but the work of two famous actors kept coming to mind. I can get in trouble when I do this, but I feel like Brian Allen is the lovechild of Robin Williams and Jeff Bridges. He's not as manic as Robin or as mangy as Jeff, but there's nothing wrong with that.
To me, Brian Allen personifies that echo of a time and place long before everyone was so hip deep in their iDevices and worried so silly that Ben Affleck might play Batman in the least appealing Superman series yet.
In this way Brian Allen fits my short iSpy perfectly. And it's why I couldn't shake his entertaining reel once seen. And if this isn't enough common ground between us, he was born on the right coast just like me... a town away from my hometown.
I'm confident that one day soon Brian Allen will be a household name. A big star. And when that day arrives I'll drop by his Hollywood Hills home with a big smile and a new script. Brian will at first be confused, then a little sassy...
... and he'll tell me to get back to work cleaning his swimming pool.