Take Aim: Amy Sciarretto vs. Graham Parker
Wed, 20 Mar 2013 12:40:44
British rocker Graham Parker plays himself in This Is 40, out on DVD. We spoke to the musician about his role and what it was like to improv.
Why did you decide to appear in this film?
Well, I had never been in a major motion picture, so that was conducive to saying the word "yes" and it was Judd Apatow, who is brilliant and I like so much of his work. It was not something I could say "no" to. I thought that something would go wrong but it went through as Judd said it would. He is a man of conviction. We met in May of 2011 and gave me an outline of the movie and said, "We need a musical act that will be right for this independent label" and I must have fit the bill well enough. It was a no-brainer for me, I'll tell you that.
Did he come to you?
Oh, yes. But there is a backstory. My last album Imaginary Television was me with other musicians. It was a concept album to get the juices flowing. I needed to do something to get the juices flowing. I wrote a bunch of synopsis for TV shows that don't exist, inventing my own TV shows and wrote songs to go with them. I wrote an essay on my blog, "Judd Apatow, call me!" Meaning he should make TV shows out of my ideas, pal! When he was tossing ideas around for this part, about a band not selling records, bringing a record company down, financially. It was difficult, who to ask? Someone had asked if he had seen the blog. It was fortuitous.
Did it give your music a boost, or expose to new fans from the appearance?
I have no idea really. It's hard to tell. A few more people know my name at least, and existing fans are pleased about this, since it was out of the blue. It can't be bad. It's a good thing for the future. Me and The Rumor are doing a three-week tour. There is no reason not to milk it.
Who was your favorite actor to work with on set?
I didn't do anything with John Lithgow or Albert Brooks or Megan Fox. The backyard party scene, Judd got me to walk past Megan Fox, as I walked by, I looked down her dress like a dirty old man. It didn't make it. Lena Dunham and Chris O'Dowd and Paul Rudd, it was just fantastic. I had to take charge of the scene since I am not an actor. That's what I do, plunder in, when I am not sure about things, balls first and then hope for the best. They were great improv actors who fell in. It called for me to have a bad foot and being in pain. I came up with having gout, something from medieval times. They played along beautifully, and must have been thinking, "He is a nut. This guy is going to save our record company? Are we crazy or what? " I took the lead because I am not an actor. It would be harder for me to follow them. I had to make it work. I didn't want to get thrown out and find out that Ric Ocasek had got the part. I was treated as an equal by the actors. They were some of the most unpretentious people. The talk of Hollywood stars? That was not true from what I could see on the set. They are there to do a job, like myself.
You saw a different side!
Will you see This Is 40 on DVD?