November 20, 2006
Boy wonder, movie star: Frantic hunt for short Vikings
launches my son's career on the silver screen
MacDonald, The Daily News
'I am going to throw up," says
the younger boy wonder.
We are on the set of Outlander,
a movie filming near the Halifax airport. He is nervously waiting for a
production assistant to pick him up.
Less than an hour ago, we weren't
thinking about movies. We were thinking about supper. Then my brother, part of
the Outlander production crew, called.
"How tall is Alex?" he
"Four foot, nine inches," I
reply promptly. We'd measured him the night before because of the province's
new booster-seat laws.
"How tall is Jamie?"
"Taller." (We hadn't
measured him.) "Why?"
They need a short kid in the movie.
Does Alex want to be in a movie? "He'll be done around 10 p.m.," says
So I ask. Does Alex want to be in a
movie about Vikings and space aliens? Uh, yeah!
He's so excited that a half-hour
later he's sick with anticipation. But when a nice young production assistant
arrives in a gigantic SUV to whisk him away, he is as happy as Christmas
At 10:30 p.m., I call my brother's
cell. "He's getting ready for his close-up," he reports.
That's right. Close-up. Alex MacDonald. Big star.
At 11 p.m., I call to say I'm coming
to get him. The older boy wonder tags along as a reward. Although really,
really, really jealous, he did choke out congratulations to his brother.
At 11:45 p.m., a lot of tired Vikings
walk by. There are no short Vikings, though. I call my brother again.
"We told him if he did a good
job, we'd take pictures of him with a Viking sword," he laughs.
"We're doing that now."
After midnight, a truck rolls up. My
brother and a small person resembling my son get out. The boy's hair is
sticking up. He's wearing new rubber boots and an ancient-looking, hemp-like
outfit. I reach out and touch it. My hand comes back sticky.
"That's just blood," he
says, pumped with excitement, "I got lots of bloody makeup and I had to
wear a wig and it was glued onto my head and they put blood all down my arms
and my legs ..."
He heads to a trailer to have his
makeup removed, but minutes later he's back. "He's too excited to
sit," my brother begins, before noticing the other boy wonder in my van.
In the time-honoured tradition of
uncles everywhere, he starts patting his pockets frantically for something to
give him. "Here," he says. It's an open pack of licorice. "This
is for you."
It's not a part in a movie, it's not a Viking sword, but it is candy
after midnight. Not too shabby.
There's a smile of thanks.
"So, what did you have to
do," I ask mini-Matt Damon on the drive home.
"Oh, walk through a burning village
while everybody ran around trying to put the fire out."
"Fire?! Fire? Your
uncle didn't mention fire."
"Oh, yeah," he says
"Were you near the fire?"
"No," he says sadly. I
The movie people were really nice, he
continues. They called him "pet" and "bloody buddy." They
gave him a hot dog.
"And guess what else?" he
says. "They're even paying me!"
Pay? No one mentioned pay.
Hmmm, maybe it's time to put
"stage mom"' to the top of the list: stage mom, hockey mom, soccer mom
Cathy MacDonald is a mother of four,
including a now wannabe actor.