Stars’ se­crets to suc­cess

Even Hollywood celebri­ties need a lit­tle help to make head­way in their ca­reers.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - SHOWBIZ - by LUAiNe Lee

FEW of us get through life with­out a lit­tle help along the way. It may come from a men­tor, a friend or a per­fect stranger. Ac­tors are no dif­fer­ent.

> De­bra Mess­ing ( Will And Grace) owes her debt of grat­i­tude to a cast­ing di­rec­tor. “I kept au­di­tion­ing and kept los­ing the job to two dif­fer­ent women. I would see them and say: ‘This time, I’m go­ing to be the one.’ And it didn’t hap­pen, and I was re­ally de­pressed about it. Then this cast­ing di­rec­tor called my agent. I think I owe this woman my ca­reer be­cause I was au­di­tion­ing for her quite a bit. But she called my agent and said: ‘De­bra is sab­o­tag­ing her­self be­cause she is wear­ing so much makeup that it’s like kabuki. And she looks 10 years older than she re­ally is. They’d see the tape and say, ‘She’s too old.’ Or they call her out, and say: ‘She’s way too young for this. She needs to go and learn how to put makeup on.’ ” I was putting stage makeup on, that’s all I knew. So be­tween that and be­ing forced to colour my head red – all of a sud­den ev­ery­thing changed.”

> Ben Af­fleck ( The Town) says it was filmmaker Kevin Smith who helped him. “Kevin is the rea­son Good Will Hunt­ing got made,” says Af­fleck of the film he and Matt Da­mon wrote and starred in.

“Kevin is the rea­son I have a ca­reer and am play­ing meatier roles and not be­ing stalked by ob­nox­ious bad guys, bul­lies,” says Af­fleck.

“Kevin be­lieved in me. When we were do­ing Chas­ing Amy he told Mi­ra­max – who’d al­ready passed on Good Will Hunt­ing ini­tially – that they should read the script. And that’s the rea­son we got it made. He’s al­ways been a big be­liever in me. I owe the guy a big part of my ca­reer, if not the whole thing ...”

> Mary McCormack ( In Plain Sight) cred­its ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer Steven Bochco ( NYPD Blue) when she was cast in his Murder One. “I re­mem­ber the first episode af­ter the pi­lot was me, my trial, so there were these huge speeches, like clos­ing ar­gu­ments that were pages long, that they would re­write the day be­fore. I had no ex­pe­ri­ence. I worked hard and I think I pulled if off enough to keep my job. I re­mem­ber go­ing to Steven Bochco and telling him: ‘You have to bear with me. I’m com­pletely over my head, but I’ll work hard and my learn­ing curve will be sharp, but you have to look away for a while it’s not go­ing to be pretty.’ He said: ‘That’s all I ask.’ He was won­der­ful, re­ally great and wrote more and more for me. It was a great way for me to learn.”

> Scott Bakula ( Men Of A Cer­tain Age) re­calls a fel­low ac­tor who helped steer him through his ini­tial days in New York. “I had this guy I’d worked with a lot in St Louis and he’d been to New York and knew some of the ins and outs of New York and he said: ‘ When you get to New York, you’ve got to get this paper, Back­stage. It has all the au­di­tions and ev­ery­thing that’s go­ing on.’ I didn’t have an agent, wasn’t in a union, wasn’t in Eq­uity, didn’t know any­thing ... I got there on Wed­nes­day, bought a Back­stage. Au­di­tioned on Fri­day for a tiny din­ner the­atre in North Carolina and was hired by that night.” > For Cy­bill Sheperd ( The L Word), it was her fa­ther. “I was the ath­letic one of the three chil­dren, I got (my dad’s) broad shoul­ders, so he was cool with that. He went out there and threw the foot­ball with me in the front yard. I feel I owe my fa­ther a lot. I felt he car­ried me on top of those

broad shoul-

Grate­ful: De­bra Mess­ing cred­its a cast­ing di­rec­tor with giv­ing her her big break.

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