Sunday, November 05, 2006

Yippee-Ki-Yay, Mother Hubbard

That's me standing in front of Fox Plaza, which is located in Century City, California. It's the headquarters of 20th Century Fox, but, more importantly, it's also Nakatomi Plaza! Yep, Fox used its own building for the exterior of the skyscraper invaded by Alan Rickman's terrorists in 1988's DIE HARD. For me, it was impossible to drive past it and not think of it as the Nakatomi building.

The third day of my California vacation, I accompanied my friend Chris to his job on the Fox lot. It's a fun place to roam around, and I saw a Fox star within about a minute of walking on to the lot. BONES star Emily Deschanel was chatting on her cell phone outside of her mobile home and right next to co-star David Boreanaz's car. BONES is one of several TV series currently filming on the Fox lot, along with SHARK, HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER, REBA, STANDOFF and others. In fact, in this photo taken on a separate visit, you can see me looking down at the soundstage in which SHARK is shot.

Chris and I did a bit of roaming around the lot that day, but Deschanel was the only TV star we spotted. We caught the tail end of a REBA exterior filming near the commissary, and a stroll around the executive office building found us inside one of the executive screening rooms. I think I need a sweet setup like that in my living room. It would have been nice to have seen the backlot, but BONES was using it that day for exteriors.

A bigger "brush with greatness," even bigger than Emily Deschanel, was lunch with Chris' friend Dean Cochran.

This was the first time Dean and I had met, but we had become acquainted through Chris and had shared some emails. It started when Chris told me through email that a friend of his had acted with Chuck Norris in a movie then shooting in Washington (THE CUTTER). He sent me a photo of his friend with Chuck, and he was then surprised when I told him that I recognized his friend and had, in fact, seen some of his movies. Dean had been top-billed in a handful of direct-to-DVD action movies for an independent studio called Nu Image, including AIR MARSHAL, SHARK ZONE and TARGET OF OPPORTUNITY. When he isn't acting, Dean works for New Regency and had become friendly with Chris. Over the months, Dean and I had emailed each other a few times. I think he was happy that I was familiar with his Nu Image films (which I mostly like), and he seemed like a nice guy. Awhile back, I even sent Chris my AIR MARSHAL and SHARK ZONE DVDs for Dean to autograph.

The three of us had lunch together that afternoon, which was a heckuva lot of fun. We talked a bit about his Nu Image films (he's made several others, but he's got great stories about the crazy working conditions in Bulgaria and the silliness of some of those scripts), but also about the NFL and about New Orleans, his hometown. We didn't even get around to the subject of Chuck Norris (we're both big fans). Dean's a good guy and I enjoyed making a new friend. Big thanks to Chris for getting us together.

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