At the end of any Broadway show, I usually try to get out of the theater district as quickly as possible. But the other night, I was determined to wait around outside for the cast members to make their grand exits, no matter how long it took.
First, Samuel L. Jackson strutted out into the night, smirking and snatching playbills out of the outstretched hands. After I snatched mine back (and he didn’t acknowledge my “thank you”), I kind of forgot about him, as I began texting people and thinking about the apple-picking I was going to be doing out in the country the next day.
A few minutes later, someone yelled out: “When are you doing your next movie?”
“Around January 15th,” Jackson said.
“What’s it called?”
“Around January 15th,” he said, still snatching and smirking.
What was he still doing there? I had assumed he and his driver had already sped off to see if the Kangol cap store was still open. The SUV he had yet to get into was blocking Angela Bassett’s, and she’s the one I was really waiting for.
When Bassett came out, there was no strutting or smirking. She looked me in the eye and warmly smiled when she took my playbill and when she handed it back, as we small-talked. Not too long after she moved a bit farther down the barricaded line, she suddenly turned back and studied me, as if there was a lot more we had to discuss.
If those other groupies hadn’t been distracting us, we could have exchanged contact info and she could have helped me land a new job - as her bodyguard. The little guy in charge of protecting her looked like he needed some physical-safety protection himself. I doubt I’d have that hard of a time picking him up and doing 5 reps of bicep curls. She needs fearless ferocity, not frailty - someone who’s not afraid to start slapping people who say or do something too stupid, the way my family’s cat used to bitch-slap the dog when he came too close to her for comfort.
Nothing that happens on stage is ever as interesting as what goes on off stage.