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Dan Murphy

Total Man Package: Working with Tommy Lee
by Dan Murphy

January 2004

No, you idiots! I'm not going to be in the next Tommy Lee Pamela Anderson Porno Pronouncing Tommy Lee dead from a drug over dose. I played a Coroner in the Tommy Lee Jones Movie CHEER UP they recently filmed in Austin.

The casting company changed my role 3 times. For the first role they wanted me to be in an alley and bar scene. I thought this would be where all my years of Pro Wrestling Experience (watching it on TV and backyard wrestling videos) would finally culminate into an Unstoppable Brawling Force.

I wasn't going to take a dive for the Space Cowboy either! (Remember, Jones was in SPACE COWBOYS.) I planned on putting the Boots to him just like all other Lackeys that wanted a shot at the Title. It's like the Nature Boy Rick Flair says, "To Be The Man You've Got To Beat The Dan!" (He says man, but we all know what he really means.)

I was even going to adlib some lines like, "I want my $7 back for Men In Black 2! That Movie SUCKED!" while putting my Backyard Wrestling Skills to work on him.

I was going to go Old School. This brawl fight scene would have been like "SHAFT" - the Seventies version with Richard Roundtree - "the black private dick that's the sex machine to all the chicks." (I got this from Yahoo Movies.)

Okay, I really don't know what the scene was going to be, but I was hoping it would be something like I described. In reality, I probably would have just gotten thrown into a dumpster or been playing an alley drunk urinating all over myself. If this was the case, I would have been able to use some recent Downtown Convention Center experience to draw upon while doing an exterior patrol.

Well, I guess someone came to their senses and realized it's probably not too good an idea to use a 100% Irish and disgruntled "MEN IN BLACK II" guy for a bar room brawl scene with my off the chart mat technician skills. No, I'm not talking about carpet cleaning. I'm talking Clock cleaning!

Then they decided they wanted me to play a pedestrian walking by as a car explodes in the morning and a Texas Ex Alumni guy in an afternoon Bar Scene. This got canceled.

For the 3rd request, they settled on me playing a Coroner/Medical Examiner at a Crime Scene. They called me on a Tuesday and wanted me to come in on Wednesday for a costume fitting at the Old Austin Airport Studios. My Slacker schedule afforded me the flexibility to go, so I did. They also paid pretty good just for showing up to get outfitted. My wardrobe consisted of plaid shirt and windbreaker that said Medical Examiner's Office (I think - I've already forgotten), a Medical Examiner baseball cap, and my greenish Structure Brand khaki pants. I got some rubber gloves later.

Side Note: I asked the Wardrobe guy what he had been working on recently.
He said the last project he was working on was the new SUPERMAN flick in LA. Apparently they stopped production to change directors. It's going to be an edgier SUPERMAN, more like an X-MEN type movie.

On Saturday, they had me and the other Extras show back up at the Airport Studios and from there we would be shuttled to the set. Being a Medical Examiner I was able to pronounce myself "Dead On The Scene." Probable Cause of Death: lack of sleep from working overnight at the Convention Center.

We killed some time hanging out in one of the hangars talking and they fed us a nice meal. They were shooting some scenes in the other hangars. I think the ALIENS were still in Hangar 18.

There were around 15 Extras including myself: two Coroners, two Crime Scene Investigators, FBI Agents, Texas Rangers, Paramedics, Police Officers, Sheriff's Department, and a Crime Scene Photographer.

In this movie Tommy Lee Jones is playing a Texas Ranger. In my scene, Tommy Lee's female Ranger Partner is dead on a gurney and she's being put into the back of an ambulance while I walk by, glance at the body and give some instructions to the other Coroner before jumping into the ambulance with the Paramedics.

The scene was shot at the Tips Iron & Steel Company on 300 Baylor. This was a really Cool Location. It is located near present-day 3rd Street and Lamar Boulevard. It was founded in 1899 and moved to its current location in 1909. For many years Tips supplied engines, gas meter covers and structural support beams for downtown buildings, including as The Driskill Hotel and the city library at 9th and Guadalupe (now the Austin History Center).

We spent approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes practicing the scene and waiting for the crew to set up the camera angles. I told the Paramedics at least pornos provide Fluffers for the downtime.

Tommy Lee Jones' look-a-like was there for all the set up and rehearsal time. Then when it came to shoot for real "The MAN" Tommy Lee Jones was there on the set. He was about 30 feet away from me, staring like a Mental Patient at his deceased partner.

Between scenes, I seized the opportunity to spell out to everyone if they all just had done their jobs I WOULDN'T EVEN HAVE TO BE HERE TO PICK UP THE PIECES (BODY)! Think about it. If the FBI, Texas Rangers (including Tommy Lee) and other Law Enforcement bozos did their jobs, they would have stopped the Maniac Murderer from killing Tommy's partner. If the Paramedics had done their jobs and saved his partner's life I wouldn't have had to be there picking up the body.

All right, I'm exaggerating again. I didn't say this on the set, but I did mention it to the guys back at the Hangar while waiting to be shuttled to the Set. They said they needed to do something to keep me busy as a Medical Examiner, so they said they would throw me a body on occasion.

Well, I think I've got a good chance at being able to see myself on film for a few seconds in this Movie. It seemed to be a Pretty Major Scene and important to the story, so I don't think they'll cut it. Of course, you never know.

Talk to you next month! TAKE CARE!

Dan Murphy

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