Who is better than me right now???
Here is how the conversation went.
ME: Wow, Mariska. It was so great to finally meet you and work with you today. Thank you for the laughs. Have a great day, okay?
MARISKA: You're not leaving are you? We still have to shoot the other side?
ME: (feeling like I just shot myself in the mouth but with quick recovery) Oh...(pause) I know...(pause)...I just wanted to tell you goodbye in case they whisk you away and I don't get to tell you later."
MARISKA: Oh... yes of course. So sweet.
Do I have to tell you, again...stupid girl. After we wrapped and we did both sides, this very old soundman came to collect my microphone. Under his breath, like he was telling me a secret, he asked if I had seen the NY Times that day. When I said no, he walked ever so slowly and brought me the paper. The article was titled, HOW TO GET PASSED THE ROLE OF THE MAID. Ha Ha Ha...very funny!
Booked Law and Order the original series again, the season finale. This was much later, a different cast. This time the scene was with Dennis Farina and Jesse L. Martin. Pretty cool huh? All of my scenes so far were with the stars of the show. This time I was playing a bank manager. Woo-hoo! I am climbing up that Latin Corporate ladder! Watch out! The set was a real bank. It was the last shot of the day, crew is tired and ready to go home. Dennis and Jesse are getting all punchy and can't really say their lines. After quite a few takes, I didn't know what they were saying. They kept on trying to say the lines. And they were saying the lines. But when they screwed up, they just kept going back and forth. They never stopped. I almost felt like they were playing a joke on me. I was so lost. I didn't know what to do and when to come in. When I finally did, my mouth wasn't working. I jumbled those lines so bad, it was like I was speaking in Chinese. I got flustered and flabbergasted. I yelled, "CUT"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Silence...you could hear a roach crawl on the wall. Nobody moved. I got myself back into hell again. Then, out of the corner of my eye, the only person moving was the Director coming my way. Meanwhile, all is frozen. Even the boom mike operator hadn't moved a muscle. I was in trouble! In his soft, hot breath, he whispered, "Is there a problem, Natalie?" Think quick Nat or your ass is fired! "Ummmmm...I must've forgotten my teeth. I left them soaking at home!" Phew...the place erupted with laughter. Either cause it was really a funny moment or they were covering that they really wanted to kick my ass.
So just two months ago, I book an episode on the new show, "Elementary" with Lucy Liu. And once again playing the maid. This time not only with a Spanish accent, but speaking in Spanish. Ay Dios Mio! Are you ready?
So, I get the Spanish translation the day before the shoot. I meet my Co-Star, the other Spanish-speaking maid and off to the hair and makeup trailer we go. Yep, hair in a ponytail, no mascara, and a real maid's costume. (Get your head out of the gutter.) I'm talking about the ugly polyester grey and white uniform with shoes that only a grandma would wear. Hysterical.
In this translation, there were words I didn't even know existed, let alone know how to say. It just wasn't an easy flow of the tongue and my Co-Star and me were both nervous. Well, she was nervous for me. Of course, we were the last scene to shoot after a 12 hour day and everyone is tired and wanted to go home. Don't screw up Nat! I had a mantra in my head all night. "Don't yell cut, do not yell cut!" I must have said this a thousand times. I told myself that even if an Alien Spacecraft came down and started to beam people up, I would keep going. I don't think I have EVER been so nervous in my entire career. It aired in the beginning of this month and it wasn't so bad.
I learned something really valuable. Be prepared even if you have to speak Chinese. Know your mark. Be grateful about any character you play. Say hi to those Alien Ships and never, ever yell out CUT!