mark s kuhar


Welcome to Hollywood

The interview starts out like any other conversation between an actor and a journalist, except for the 200-lb. lady in the corner of the room, the 20 jars of Import World pitted garlic jalapeno olives and a pervading sense of melancholy and rage. I never comment about anyone's personal habits, mainly because at this stage of my life, I carry a two-foot-long machete, a gallon of single-malt scotch whiskey, a Nazi helmet, a picture of my great grandmother and the collected works of Thomas Jefferson into every interview. "I demand a sense of your character," I tell the actor. At this point, I know full well he will be playing the vicious albino dwarf shoeshine boy of a certain banana republic dictator in the upcoming film by famed Argentine director Lopez de Carlos. I need graphic displays! I want to see him act out the beheading of despicable spider monkeys. I crave a taste of the scene where he squeezes a 55-gallon drum of coconut oil in a death grip. "Well, i see this role as a serious intellectual challenge," says the actor, fresh off of his success playing Oscar the benevolent doorman in a revival of Stan Fishman's classic broadway play "And Silent Walks The Donkey." Bored, I swig scotch right from the bottle and thumb the edge of my machete. "And the part," the actor continues, "truly challenges me in my first film role, because i will have to, for the first time, actually become an albino dwarf shoeshine boy." I have interviewed actors before and this one strikes me as mercilessly obtuse. Maybe it's the 200-lb. lady eyeing me from the corner with all the delicacy of a piano being dropped on my head from the 14th story. Or maybe it's the way the actor looks at the jars of garlic jalapeno olives without pouring a handful into his mouth and chomping on them. "Don't give me any more of this sensitive actor crap," I scream at him. "You've got all the sensitivity of a toilet seat!" And before I know it, I tear open the covers of a Thomas Jefferson book and begin quoting passages about the sovereignty of the Mississippi River and the plight of the Kaskaskia Indians. At this point, the 200-lb. lady makes her move, but I'm ready for her. I hold up the picture of my great granbdmother and taunt her with words about depression-era America and nuclear implosion of the American Dream. The actor tries to restore peace, but I slam the Nazi helmet on his head and holler instructions to him like the director he'll never have. "Not like that! Albino dwarf shoeshine boys crawl on all fours like this when searching for lost shoe polish!" I get on all fours and root around, and the 200-lb. lady looks on in dismay and the actor is terrified beyond his wildest imagination. "Welcome to Hollywood!" I scream.