By Hope Crenshaw

Soooo….. I spent the afternoon frolicking on a blanket with Richard Gere.

Yes, Richard Gere. As in An Officer and A Gentlemen, Pretty Woman, and countless other movies, you get the idea I’m sure. Did I forget to mention that my son was there too? And, we were in an overgrown park in the middle of Detroit with 7 or 8 people watching us, taking pictures?

So, I feel free in telling you how this all came to be. But first, I should start by introducing myself. Hi. My name is Hope and I’m a writer.

You are thinking how did this writer get to hang out with Richard Gere. It does sound fantastic but it is a totally true story. I stumbled upon acting last year while I was perusing Craig’s List looking for work. They have a T.V./Movie section and I figured that was as good a place as any to look.  When I was younger I modeled in Chicago, South Beach and Madrid, Spain but I just could never force myself to pound the pavement in LA. STUPID. STUPID. STUPID.

I found a posting for a low budget SAG (Screen Actors Guild) movie being filmed in Flint called Minor League “A football story” and figured why not.  I went for the lead role, choked bad during the audition and got a small role as a cheerleader instead. I did have lines though!

I had never auditioned before and I had no idea where to look – at the camera? at the director? I was totally clueless and looked at the casting agents. WRONG. Don’t look at the camera either unless they tell you to. From what I’ve heard, you look at a point above their head, but don’t quote me on this one as I’m still learning.

After Minor League wrapped, I was hooked.  You get a type of high when you are on set.  I’ve been up for 24 hours, on set for almost 18 and never felt tired until I laid my head down to sleep, then I was toast.

Until that point you feed off the collective energy of the people around you. It is totally addicting, so unless you want to add a new addiction to your roster, DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS.

I then proceeded to do a dental commercial with my son, have a few extra roles in The Irishman with Val Kilmer, Alleged with Brian Dennehy, and HBO’s Hung. I tried to fight the urge and lost again and again.  I’m a single mother and acting just seamed frivolous. I needed to be responsible, how many people actually make it in Hollywood?

About a month and a half after Hung I got a Facebook message from Ryan Hill,  requesting that I submit myself and my son to play Richard Gere’s family. OMG. I couldn’t believe it, I thought I had died and gone to heaven. I sent our pics and resume and could barely sit still until I heard back the next day that we got the parts. I think I started to jump up and down, squealing like a little girl. We had a fitting two days later, then another fitting. Then the email, Hope, you and your son have a photo shoot with R.G. next Wednesday. AHHHHHHHH!

“Really?” I asked Ryan.  “Really”, He said.

We arrived at our requested time and then proceed to wait for two hours. This is how it is on set, hurry up and wait. So we just hung around the production office with the crew when Topher Grace of That 70’s Show fame walks up and starts high-5ing my son and chatting him up. My son is almost 7 so he had no clue.

Our wardrobe girl gets us dressed and tells us to go to makeup.  We walk into the trailer, sit down and I look to my left; Richard Gere is getting his hair done. WHAT??? My breath caught for a second. I said “Hi” and he starts to talk to my son, making him feel at ease. My son just twirls around in the makeup chair.

Richard tells us about his son and is so down to earth that I probably sighed aloud – you never know how a celebrity is going to act.  When we are done we are shuttled to the park, which was severely overgrown. I almost expected to see hypodermic needles stuck in the grass but all I saw was pretty little clovers strewn across the picnic blanket instead.

The three of us walk over to the blanket and sit down, like we are a little happy family having a picnic. We laugh and smile prettily at the camera.  Occasionally, I would look at Richard and smile, then he gave me THE LOOK.

Girls, this is the look he gave Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman while she was on the piano. For one small second our faces were about two inches away and I could have sworn he was going to kiss me. THAT is when I almost had a heart attack.

Of course he was just acting but my heart skipped a few beats anyway and I’m sure I turned beet red. I had to look away. I was so nervous. We finished the shoot in record time and were standing around talking when suddenly my son pulls on my arm so hard I fall over; IN FRONT OF RICHARD GERE.

Nice. I was mortified and he pretended not to see. I was so impressed with how kind he was. I was on cloud nine the rest of the week and was so pumped up to be back on set. To my amazement we had our own trailer with our names on it and again I was impressed by how kind the director Michael Brandt, the producers and rest of the crew were.  We were treated like we had a large part even though we were on set for only one day of shooting. Michael even let my son sit in the director’s chair!

Did Richard kiss the girl?

Guess you need to wait and see the movie!