OyChicago articles

My Father the Movie Star

 Permanent link   All Posts


Picture taken from the set of Public Enemies starring Johnny Depp and Christian Bale. My dad appears on the far right. 

Witless Protection isn’t my kind of movie. Normally, I’d have skipped it all together, but I went to see it opening weekend. It‘s the story of a small town bungling sheriff who mistakenly thinks he’s witnessing a kidnapping. The “kidnappers” are FBI agents assigned to escort a woman to court to testify against a big corporation, but later turn out to be on the “take.” They’re working for the bad guy corporate executives and our clumsy sheriff ends up a hero. It stars Larry the Cable Guy as the sheriff, Jenny McCarthy as his girl friend, and…Skip Jacobs, a.k.a. my dad, as featured extra #12. He’s a movie star…well, sort of.

Following my mom’s cancer diagnosis, my dad decided it was time to retire. The two of them would travel, relax and enjoy life together without the stress of work. This arrangement lasted a whole year. My mom recovered and went back to work. And my dad went to his first movie audition for The Express.

Fifteen movies, four TV shows and a couple commercials later, he has a thriving second career in the movie and TV business. He’s filmed in movies starring Angela Bassett, Angelina Jolie, Christian Bale, Dennis Quaid, Heath Ledger, Johnny Depp, Patrick Swayze, and Tyler Perry—to name a few Hollywood folks. He did a commercial with Lou Pinella for Aquefina at Wrigley Field. And last year, he met Barack Obama while filming a scene for the movie “The Unborn” at K.A.M. Isaiah Temple in Hyde Park. (President Obama visited the set directly across the street from his Chicago home.) He even has three casting agents.

All of this success has gone straight to his head.

Me: “Hey Dad, I am going to write a story about your work as a movie extra for Oy!, what do you think?”

Dad: “Well, are you going to pay me?”

Me: “Umm, no.

Dad: “You can’t write it then.”

Me: “Dad, come on.”

Dad: “Ok, well only if you buy me dinner at a restaurant of my choice with my manager, my publicist, my agent, my lawyer and my accountant. You have to take me and my people out.”

Me: “Or you can just give me one or two stories about being an extra…wait-a-minute, I thought I was your publicist? Dad, can you just talk about being on the set of The Dark Knight. Give me a little scoop, so I can write this story. What was it like?”

Dad: “Well, it was a huge production. A lot of fun, but very time consuming—they shot scenes over and over again and we had to stand in place for hours on end. There were over 400 extras in my particular scene—the memorial for the police commissioner. We were under strict orders not to approach or speak to any of the Hollywood actors. But that didn’t stop Heath Ledger.. He was very nice, very warm, such an affable guy…he talked with a whole group of us and he was amazing to watch perform.

There were two wrap parties for The Dark Knight, one for the principle actors and one for the crew and some of the featured extras. Heath showed up to both parties and not only that, he took some of the crew out for drinks afterwards.

This interview will now cost you a thousand dollars. I’ll have my people send you my bill.”

So, he has a bit of an ego, but I also enjoy some of the perks of having a father in show business. I’m his future date to any premiere parties he might get invited to and I’m waiting for that elusive invitation to the Oscars. I think secretly my dad enjoys dressing up in costume, getting ridiculous hair cuts and even sitting in the make up chair. He’s an actor now who takes his craft seriously. Plus, he’s made a lot of new friends and eaten a lot of well-catered craft food.


My dad and I attending a Cubs game on a day off

But believe it or not, stardom also has its downsides. My dad can be on a film set sometimes up to seven days a week. He’s missed birthday parties and even a recent holiday celebration. It’s a lot of long hours and he never knows what he’ll be asked to do (he once turned down a nude scene) or where he’ll be. He’s filmed in airports, temples, bars and even inside a jail full of convicted felons.

A few months ago I called him on his cell phone while he was filming for The Beast. My dog and my best friend Lisa had joined him as extras on set and I wanted to check in to see how they were holding up. Surprisingly, my dad answered his phone. So, I began to ask him about the filming figuring he was on a break. Then I heard someone in the background yell “Cut! Get him off the phone…What does he think he is doing?” And click! I was disconnected. Yep, that’s my dad. He answered his phone while shooting the middle of a scene—typical movie star behavior.

RSS Feed
<< February 2024 >>
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
        1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29    




Recent Posts

comments powered by Disqus
AdvertisementSpertus Institute MA in Jewish Professional Studies
AdvertisementJCYS Register