2010-04-02: The Show Must Go On



Guest Starring

All the dudes that make Afterlife happen… and Chris Sommers (the vampire with the pecs).

Date: April 2, 2010


Are they serious? Really?

"The Show Must Go On"


ABC Studios

When Erin McCarty vanished, the set waited quite awhile before placing the Casting Call, but the truth of the matter was that they couldn't just shrug off the character's disappearance anymore. Despite the public knowing that Erin was missing, the show - as they say - must go on - and so, rather than replacing Erin, the Powers that Be decided to bring a new character onto the show.

Morgan Starr's kidnapper.

They hope that, in the end, Erin is found safe and sound, of course. Many people have called the move by the studio insensitive. Callous. As time has gone on, it's become less and less likely that the actress will be found alive.

But the show must go on.

The first set of auditions are taking place over two days. This is the second; Many people, all VERY similar in appearance - as the show's casting is looking for a very particular archetype - all sit in a waiting room on one of the studio's sound stages. It's been hours.

As hours pass, the people are called alphabetically, one by one, until there are only two people left. One blonde woman sits curled up, sleeping, on one side of the large waiting room. She was there at seven o'clock in the morning when the auditions started. It's now nearing nine at night. When the door into the audition stage opens, she opens her eyes, looking hopefully at the woman who appears there.

"Van… Cortlandt? Hallis?" the woman says, stumbling over the name a little. Under her breath, she adds, "Hallis? Really?" Then, louder: "Okay, you're up."


Looking as fresh as she did when she came in at 7am, special thank you to her cosmetics bag and a healthy supply of water, Hallis stands from her seat and sweeps her hands down her skirt to smooth out the wrinkles. Giving the poor loser behind her a winning smile, the tiny woman holds her chin up in a rather haughty manner and waltzes toward the stage door.

"I don't even know why you're holding open auditions, I'm perfect for this part," she announces just loud enough for the other person behind her to hear. Over the course of the day, the ruthless little heiress had managed to scare off quite a number of her competition. All's fair in love, war, and casting calls.


The woman has pretty much heard this before, and gives Hallis a tolerant look before turning around and rolling her eyes. The poor aide is just glad this is almost over — she's been here all day, and barely got a lunch, dammit! "Well, go on. You know what you're doing," she says. Perhaps an attempt at sabotage! WHO KNOWS.

In any case, down a short hallway, Hallis will find an open room under very hot track lighting with three very tired people sitting at a long table. The first just inside the door is a woman - recognisable. She's one of the actors that was on One Life to Live for decades, and transferred to Afterlife when it started filming. The other two are less recognisable… Both men, they work behind the scenes on the show. The one on the far left, Hallis would have been told, is the one to really impress. He's the casting director.

The one in the middle is one of the show's producers. "Right." He looks at a sheet in front of him. "Hallis. Welcome to the casting call A-3694 for Afterlife. I'm assuming your agent explained the situation," he says, and goes on without waiting for a reply. "You'll have five minutes to do your monologue. If that sounds okay, we'll go onto a cold read. Any questions?"


Poise and confidence, that's what Hallis exudes. Her agent and manager had both been working for weeks to even get her to agree to the audition and now that it was here, the young socialite is convinced that she would be perfect for the part. Stepping to the middle of the stage, she tosses her script to the side and takes a deep breath.

Then… She proceeds to knock their socks off.

If anyone ever had a question about whether the young heiress could act or not, they only had to see her performance tonight. After seven minutes (yes she went over her budgeted time without interruption), she stops and looks out at the women and men in her private audience.


Generally, soap actors aren't the very best of the bunch, but people do get their starts on shows like this. And, out of all the soap operas on TV now, this is the one that most upstart actors want to get into. It's known for it's fairly good acting and its engrossing storylines. There's been a couple actors who have caught the eye of the three at the table, but this one makes them sit up and take notice.

When Hallis is done, the casting director looks at his watch. There are small signs that they're impressed… There's no critique or chastisement for going over five minutes. The producer waves to some point over Hallis' head and asks, "Did you get that, Marty?"

"Yeah, got it," comes the reply.

"Good— hey, why don't you bring Chris in here for the cold read?"

The woman near the door makes notes. She's smiling. After writing something down, she asks, "Have you been acting long, dear? I don't see anything on your resume." It seems more like a compliment than an insult.


"I've mostly done modeling," Yes, even for her size, the young woman has been in more than a few magazines. Her portfolio is full of glossies and tear sheets from various magazines. "I did a few commercials but I stopped that, they weren't going to take me anywhere. I want to go places. I was going to try to get a reality show, but Paris Hilton completely ruined it. They're so passe." Talking to actual television personalities about how old reality TV is might get her a few brownie points, after all.

"I've done some theater though, while I was in high school. I wanted to be on Broadway when I was younger… but then some other things got in the way." Likely everything that she got so famous for, tabloid-wise. After studying all of the faces in her lineup, Hallis gives them one of her famous smiles and walks over to her script to pick it up. Then she waits.


Well, one things for certain… She might not quite fit in with the more relaxed attitude most of the cast has on Afterlife. There's always a few who aren't so relaxed, though— Erin being one of them. All three of the people at the table are thinking it.

Maybe the talent will make up for the lack of humility. They aren't looking for humble people, after all.

"Well, Hallis," says the casting director. "I was surprised to see your name on the roster for today." And now he's pleasantly surprised that it wasn't a complete waste of time by some bratty rich girl who wanted to try out something new. She actually has talent!

"We run on a scedule very similar to reality TV," the producer says, though it's not an admonishment. His characters are actual actors. "After all, we put out a new show every night, Monday through Friday. It's very fast-paced." He looks down at the copy of Hallis' resume. "But it looks like you're quite used to that."

It's not long until Chris Sommers appears from the green room. He's not the only actor who's been here all day, but he's got the 'graveyard shift' as they've been calling it. Despite the evening hour, he walks right up to Hallis and extends his hand. "Hey," he says. He's got a classic New York accent. "Name's Chris — I'll be helping with your read."


Turning to the casting director, Hallis has a little moment of humble soul baring. "To tell you the truth, I wasn't actually going to come. I have a great job but my agent said this was an opportunity that I could build a good career from. I figured that if I didn't get it, it's just one personal day." Yes, she had prepared herself for the absolute worst. For her, that is Mitsy sweeping in and stealing the show. Fortunately, Mitsy never showed up. All of the prank calls from Chelsea last night must have done the trick.

As he gives her the scheduling scoop, she nods in the appropriate places and puckers her lips a little in concentration. "I can do it, really, I can." No matter how much cocaine she has to shovel into her nose to stay awake, she'll do it!

Sometimes sacrifices have to be made for the sake of art.

When Chris walks onto the set, Hallis just blinks and then takes a deep breath. Then one of her winning smiles comes out and she takes his hand and gives it a light shake while batting her eyelashes. "How do you do? I'm Hallis Van Cortlandt, your next leading lady." Cue another dazzling smile, flirtatious shrug of one shoulder… toward him of course. Charisma!


The casting director is tempted to let slip an 'I'm glad you did,' but he remains silent, save for a chuckle. He can't show any sort of bias. Of course, it's true that getting someone on the show with as much money behind her name as Hallis has… Well, that could only help. It's just a bonus that she has good talent, too.

Many things must be considered when casting a role.

Chris is often charmed by the ladies. And he, himself, is quite the charmer. He plays a shirtless vampire, after all! Really, that's about his only role on the show - shirtless good-guy vampire. He's a ratings boost. Unlike Taine, who is both a ratings boost AND a good actor, Chris is mediocre at best… But by god do women tune in to watch his pretty pecs.

Right now, he is wearing a shirt. Shame.

"Huh? Oh, right. Yeah, just— Little burnt." He's also not the brightest crayon in the box. Leading lady. Auditioning. Right. He gets it. Does he? Yeah, he— will just do what they tell him to do and not say anything stupid. "So, I got my script. You ready?" He looks over at the table. "You guys ready?"

Three nods are given in answer. Chris flips his script to a scene halfway through the book. It's highlighted. "Thirty-four. Your lines'll be in green in yours." After clearing his throat, the shirtless sexy vampire begins, instantly falling into character! "You're late. You should have been here hours ago. I'd expect someone… Of your nature to have quicker modes of transport."


Flipping through her script, Hallis barely even looks at the page as she stares daggers into the soul of the good guy across from her. Yes, she watched a few episodes of the show to get an idea of what it's about. "My nature? It's not like you're down river or anything, maybe if you lived on the harbor I'd get here according to your schedule. Right now, you're running on mine." The last two words are said a little softer but definitely with more of the Hallis-tude that she's so known for.

The young woman tosses her mane of golden hair over her shoulder and lets off a long and quite pained sigh before moving a little closer to the man. The hand holding her script falls to her side and she gives him a conceited little smile as she gazes up into his eyes. "Now then, do you have what I need? Or do I have to … " With her free hand, she slowly walks two fingers up the man's chest as her eyes narrow slightly, giving him the look that drives George completely crazy. "… drag it out of you?"


Chris has done this scene a couple times now. He's adapted to each of the actors, changing a few things here and there, ad-libbing in order to keep the potential new recruit on their toes. It's not quite the traditional cold read. Were it earlier in the day, the three observing judges would have laid into him for that one. But first, it's late and they're tired, and second, they want to see how Hallis reacts.

Chris taps the ground beneath him. The script indicates that the camera should pan down to reveal a sewer grate. "What, were-goldfish can't take the expressway?" he asks with a smile as dazzling as Hallis's. 'were-goldfish' is also said somewhat condescendingly, as it should be. For the love of GOD, who would be unlucky enough to get bitten by a goldfish?

At this point, the script indicates that there should be some sort of unresolved sexual tension between the two characters. It's at this moment that Chris has a patented Awkward Moment as his eyes wander down to look at Hallis'… eyes. Her eyes.

The judges are on the edges of their seats!

Chris recovers. Kind of. "Really, what's wrong with a little dragging, huh?" He smiles, taking the woman's hand. "…through the mud." The smile diminishes, and they're back to the script's actual lines. "Where creatures like you belong."


It's like the judges aren't even there, like they don't have an audience at all. When Chris takes her hand, she inches a little closer and holds it up to his lips, allowing him to kiss it. the smoldering look she gives him is accompanied by a small smirk and she plucks her hand from his grip and lets it dangle down by her side.

"Creatures like you are a dime a dozen, creatures like me… well we're special. Not the product of a unfinished meal." Not true. Liar. But the conviction that she says it with, so convincing. "We don't belong in the mud, darling, we're not dirty and dusty and old like you."

Another toss of that long hair, this time it winds around to her other shoulder. The long flow of it actually reminiscent of a fancy tail, or fin. "Just give it to me and I'll go," she breathes.


Can Chris feel the chemistry? He so can. Can the judges sense it? They so can.

Chris reaches into his pocket as if pulling something out, holds it up, and wraps Hallis' fingers around some sort of tiny stone…



Secret Safehouse of DOOM

"Oh, come on. Are they tryin' to be ridiculous?" Erin laughs from the safety of the living room in the secret apartment.

Today was the show's big reveal. How does Ora get where she's going so quickly? She swims there! She's a were-goldfish! "They should just cast Tracy. It woulda made more sense." Because becoming water is way cooler than becoming a Magicarp on steroids.

She throws popcorn at the screen as it goes on. Having never actually been surprised by the show before, she's finding it almost pleasant. She's completely out of the loop now.


Cody. Just. Stares.

"What the hell… Are they serious?! They can't be serious." The agent is actually becoming incensed at the show, she's not enjoying it the way Erin is. In fact…

"There's no way a goldfish could get the drop on a porcupine. It's impossible, they don't even live in the same areas, unless of course someone flushed one down the toilet or something… Maybe it escaped from a random Chinese water garden?" The whole were thing is lost on the agent. She's actually trying to figure out how a goldfish could possibly kidnap a porcupine.

She leaps over to the couch to sit beside Erin, digging one of her hands into the bowl of popcorn. The salty and buttery treat is shoveled into Baker's mouth by the handful and she sits there chaw'ing on it. "Hey, next episode, we should watch it at Mark's place or something… Or maybe invite him over?"


"You really don't watch too many soap operas, do you?" Erin asks, making more room for Cody as she jumps over the back of the couch. She pauses, though, then… "That is pretty dumb-ass, though. There's a million things— I mean, at least a shark? A shark would have been cool?"

Hell, even something like a pirannah. Or… A betta. "I mean, goldfish is about as low as you can go, yeah? Watch, I bet it turns into something like she was made fun of my all the other were-people when she was little for being a goldfish." It'll happen.

Gesturing to the screen, she says, "I bet that's a weystone. They're attuned to specific energies from weres. It's prob'ly meant to keep Morgan from changing. Or weaken her. Or… Somethin'. I dunno, the rules change every time they're on the show."

Cody's question isn't missed, as innocent as it seems. At least she's asking. Erin bites her lip, looking down into the bowl of popcorn. "You sure he's all right?" she asks. "Gonna bag him, like with the others?"

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