Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Dallas Road Trip

Saturday morning after our 9AM rehearsal myself, Tucker, Jesse, Matt, Geoff and Tucker's special forces friend "Thomas" hopped in the production's rental van and headed for Dallas. The general idea behind this trip was for the three male leads to bond and for Czuchry to be able observe Tucker in his natural habitat (i.e. drunk and hitting on women). So after rehearsals Saturday morning, I found myself behind the wheel heading towards Texas.

Our first stop was for brews- and Tucker did not hesitate to ensure that the boys were good and sauced well before we crossed the state line. We pulled into the hotel (The Joule for anyone who cares) and I was immediately stunned at how elegant the place was. Pool jutting out from the 10th floor, service left and right- all in all one of the nicest, if not the nicest hotel I've every stayed in. Sidenote: When we were checking in Tucker informed me that because there was only 5 rooms and 6 of us, the person who did not hook up would sleep in the van. This was particularly devastating news to me given that I was traveling with: 3 legitimate celebrities, the premiere internet celebrity who specializes in random hookups and a special forces guy who was apparently as good if not better at attracting hotties as Tucker. Chances of a Greg hookup were about as likely as a Tucker Max bible reading.

Luckily for me, Tucker ended up getting six rooms which ensured that I'd have a super expensive bed to sleep in. So we headed up to our rooms, dropped our bags and headed to the pool. Geoff had arranged with some Dallas friends to have hot girls at the pool and he delivered. It honestly looked like a mini-sode of Entourage. I distinctly remember thinking to myself "I don't belong here." Anyway, I stayed for a few hours listening to Thomas tell stories about sneak attacks against terrorists in Iraq. Ended up bumming Jesse a swimsuit because he drunkenly lost his in Florida and watched Czuchry watch Tucker hit on women- which was actually very interesting. I tried my best to stay out of sight and out of mind as this really was not my trip and as I've come to realize, when you're with Tucker it is the Tucker Max show- you're just a viewer.

One of the more memorable moments came later in the evening when I saddled up to the bar and had a drink with our whole crew. The bar was empty and the discussion was drifting to the sort of serious dialogue that only comes when your with people who have had enough drinks to not know any better. We touched on scientology, religion, atheism- concrete tangible discussion. A conversation any group of intelligent guys could have on any given night after a few drinks.

As the sun set on the rooftop pool overlooking downtown Dallas, it struck me how surreal a moment this was. Across from me was Tucker Max, my boss, who until about two months ago was a mythical author my buddies and I quoted when we were drunk. To my right was Jesse, a guy I'd seen on my living room TV constantly due to having two younger sisters and a little movie called Bring It On. Further down were Geoff and Czuchry. Two guys who had singlehandedly re-defined for me my presumptions about actors. In fact, the principal leads on this film are stunningly down to earth, genuine and kind. I imagine that I'm going to be sorely disappointed when I get on board my next film as these guys have set the bar incredibly high. And of course Thomas sat furthest down, throwing drinks down and laughing, yelling and arguing all at once about everything and nothing. His outgoing attitude gave no indication that in a few months he was shipping out to the Middle East. And here I was in the midst of it all- a guy who three months ago was studying for a management final.

One more small example: As the discussion was winding down and everyone was trying to get in their two cents, Geoff held up his hands and pointed at me, "I want to hear what Greg has to say."

This sort of thing may seem stupid and petty, but to someone who is SO used to the superficial bullshit that permeates the L.A. scene it was unbelievably refreshing to be around genuine celebrities who have found ways to remain grounded.

Eventually Tucker was drawn away from the conversation by pretty much the only thing that draws Tucker away from intelligent discourse: girls. Some Dallas chick showed up and Tucker took off real fast. The rest of us took a cue from him and re-grouped for the night ahead.

Our first bar was right up my alley. Music was loud, but not super annoying. Girls were hot and down to earth (some were trashed and making out- I believe I took a photo of this), pool room in the back, decent drink prices and all of us had a table to ourselves. I did the majority of my photo work here. Czuchry found ample opportunity to flex his Tucker-honed flirtacious muscle. And Thomas decided it was a good idea to teach the actors the most painful pressure points on the body. I wisely stayed away from his demonstrations. A good time was had by all and once again we found Tucker with another "friend" and on a decidedly different path than the rest of us. (i.e. another girl)

So we headed out to another bar, sans Tucker, the name of which was Barcadia I think. At this point the locals were getting a bit weary of my constant photographing- so I was spared the constant photo setup. This was great because oddly enough a random comment thrown at me was banging around in my head. At the previous bar three seperate girls had asked me if I was a paparazzi. Ouch. Something about the idea of exploiting these guys had really hit home with me. I always make it clear to the actors that none of the photos I take will ever see the light of day if they are uncomfortable with them and I usually am a pretty good judge of when to put the lens cap on. Plus Tucker personally reviews every photo, so the likelihood of one of my photos pissing someone off is relatively small. However, those stupid girls still got to me. Whatever.

We spent the remainder of the night encountering the following: a 22 year old virgin getting engaged and fighting off the urge to laugh at Czuchry's jokes, a 19 year old's bachelorette party at a random Italian restaurant, 2:20AM pizza and Jesse fielding a request to help a dude find a strip club, oh and Thomas almost being hit by a car due to severe intoxication. I was a tired dude by the time I hit the sack.

The next morning we saddled up and headed home. First however, Jesse had to stop and get his damn iPhone fixed and of course of all the days Jesse picked to get his phone fixed it had to be the day that the stupid 3G was released. Luckily Jesse's charms allowed us to avoid the massive nerd line that went around the whole goddamn block. You should have soon the defeated looks of hundreds of people when the Apple store sold out of the black model. Apparently, the color white is so last year. Also, check out the photo of the blonde chick working at the Apple store- she nearly fainted when she realized "Logan" from Gilmore Girls was standing next to her.

After the brief pit stop we were back on the road headed towards Shreveport. About an hour in we stopped for gas only to realize that I had missed a sign for the 20 East freeway and now was headed towards Arkansas. Predictably Tucker was pissed and I was a bit embarrassed. After consulting google maps Tucker declared that we would need to travel through the backroads to get onto the 20. As we headed deeper into farm country, Jesse brought out his guitar and began quietly playing some old classic rock licks. The guitar had a soothing effect that put everyone in the car in a quiet, contemplative mood. We passed farm house after farm house, truck after truck, field after field with only Jesse's guitar and the occasional comment here or there breaking the silence.

Slowly but surely the conversations picked up again and the guys started getting back in the groove of bagging on eachother, telling stories about the Playboy mansion and laughing. But for a few moments it became clear to me that these guys had bonded. You certainly can't put a price on that sort of honesty on screen. And for all of my struggling and doubts I'm happy to be a part of a cast and crew that their heads and hearts in the right spot.

Hanging Out

Hanging Out

Hanging Out


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