Well I hope I wasn't cut out of it. You never know, but I'm supposed to be in this movie that opens today called "Life As We Know it."
And, now, you're wondering…"who is Kevin Kohler?" Well Kevin Kohler is the chef/owner of Cafe Panache, the best French restaurant in New Jersey. He married my wife's college friend Christy and after training in NYC in the best French restaurants he opened his own place. Kevin is as ordinary a New Jersy guy as you'll meet. Until you eat his food and watch him cook. I vacationed with him before I ever saw him in chef mode and he was like any other guy I grew up with. There was nothing demanding, haughty, upppity at any meal or in any activity. Chef's are always portrayed as guys who have no taste for anything but their own food.
So, I get the audition from the great John Papsidera and it's for a chef of a hot French restaurant that bears his name where Josh Lucas takes Katherine Heigl on a date. The character's name is Chef Phillippe LeMare. Very French, right? So I work my French accent and I go to the audition and as I'm waiting I hear another guy in the room with a perfect French accent. I realize mine is a bit forced and not as accurate and it bothers me. Then,I think of Kevin Kohler, my friend who has a hot French resturant and who I've watched work and who is nothing like the typical Chef you see in movies. So I think about how has Kevin treated me when I've gone into his kitchen and eaten his food, and I decide right then I'm going to play this like him. Now, in a lot of ways this flies in the face of the writing because it is easy to see the chef as uppity and his name is Phillippe. Not Phillip. LeMare, French for "the sea", right? Which lead me to my initial thought of playing him French. Casual maybe, but surely French.
Now, this is no insult when I say this because he's an incredibly likable guy, but you could easily mistake Kevin for the guy behind your deli counter if you didn't know he was a chef. That's how easy and simple and approachable he is. But in his kitchen he's a swift moving artist. His facilty for the space is of the effortlessness that you only see when someone is truly at home. Everything makes sense. The chaos of orders are a straight line for him, and that was what I tried to do in my audition. A simple genius who knows how good his food is and loves the idea of feeding those who love good food. I also did it with no accent, or maybe the slightest Kevin Kohler accent.
And I got the part.
On the set the director Gerg Berlanti told me he chose me because of how simple I played it. Thanks Kevin.
I haven't seen the movie yet so, like I said at the top, I hope I'm still in it! But either way I got a part based on using what I knew to be true and playing it that way even when my first sense of how to play it was different. These are the things that can sometimes drive you batty at auditions; reconsidering all the ways you can do the scene. But, if you let it, your artist will lead you to which one you really want to play.