Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Interviews with Sean's Funny or Die costars

In early December, Sean filmed a comedy short for Funnyordie.com. Two of his costars, Arlan Godthaab and Shelly Martinez, each talked with me via telephone about their experiences working with Sean.
Arlan Godthaab and Sean Astin. Photo courtesy of Jack Hamilton.
Arlan came to acting about four years ago after a successful 25-year career as a film editor.

What can you tell me about the film?

"It has a lot of sight gag elements in it. It plays off of the typical male enjoyment of frontal anatomy and the extremes of male fantasies in a very dramatic, high special effects context. I've already seen some of the special effects, and they are top theatrical quality in terms of how they look and sound and feel."

You and Sean both play doctors, right?

"I am the senior wizard of plastic surgery and it's time for me to pass the surgical baton, or the scalpel, on to more gifted hands. That's the context of my scene with Sean; we're transferring power and the hope that will come with that transference. Don't think I'm allowed to tell you much more!"

Sean and fellow doctors with director Alex Perry. Photo courtesy of Jack Hamilton.
What was it like to work with Sean?

"You always wonder if a famous person is going to be intimidating, aloof, not responsive or inspiring on set, and Sean was just totally the opposite. He is such a delightful guy. I found him to be very inclusive regardless of your stature or visibility in the industry. He was very creative with suggestions that were useful to the framing and construction of the job—suggestions that were going to intensify the action, make it more meaningful, and deepen the drama of the moment. I was amazed when we would check shots afterwards how well those suggestions worked, and how readily they were incorporated by a young director [Alex Perry] who's noted for his high degree of skill with composition and framing of action to begin with. It was almost like going to school.

"When you've edited as long as I have, you come across the work of very famous people. You can see as the camera's running out, before or after takes or in the background, they are not always giving, or they might be not very communicative or collegial. A lot of times the people who are doing a favor with their fame are all business: they want to come in, get it over with, get back in the limo and go home. They want things to be about them, they want things to move very quickly and when they don't get what they want, they are very vocal about it. Sean is not like that at all. When we did have a delay, he was in a variety of conversations and all of them were very inclusive of everyone who was there. There were lots of admirers, lots of extras who took the gig because they knew he was going to be there. He did not disappoint them. He included them in all the conversations [about getting in shape and training for running, and about using Twitter and other social media to engage with fans].

"I've changed elements of my Facebook and started using Twitter based on the conversation we had. So here's a guy who gifts you with his presence, gifts you with his knowledge, and gifts you with stuff you can take away after and improve your own professional career.

"He's the real deal. He's a real human being that invokes inspiration, just from the energy in his voice, the directness and sincerity in his eyes when he talks with you. So whatever he says, you end up listening to carefully.

"He doesn't have one person for one strata of society and another for someone else. That's a hallmark of a real solid caring human being and someone of good character."


Shelly Martinez, former WWE Diva and TNA Knockout wrestler, got her part in the short by answering a Craigs List ad. When she found out she was going to be working with Sean, she went into instant fangirl mode.

"Sean is one of the first crushes I ever had when he was in The Goonies. When I found out he was the celebrity involved, I knew I had to do the role. I've met a lot of famous people but I was really nervous [on first meeting Sean]. Ever since I was a little girl Shelly I was in love with this guy! When I saw him I asked 'Can I take a picture with you?' He said 'Sure!' 'Wait, can I give you a hug?' And he says 'Yeah!' So I gave him a hug and hugged him so tight and just did not want to let go! I nerded out over him. The role he played in The Goonies [Mikey] has been with me throughout my career, and I found myself quoting him. So to meet him really was something.

"When I was in his arms during our scene, I got to be in his arms! I was thinking 'Oh my gosh! This is my job today! It was really fun not only as a girl, but as a professional. My job for the day was to be in Sean's arms, and I'm okay with that!" [laughs]

Shelly Martinez and "Dr." Sean Astin. Photo courtesy Shelly.

Shelly shows her fangs! Photo courtesy Shelly.

Check out Shelly's web-based radio show, Fun Time Radio with the Martinez Girls, and watch Sean doing a promo for it!

Alex Perry, Gia Skova and Sean, photo from Gia Skova

My thanks to Arlan and Shelly for taking the time to talk to me, and to Jack Hamilton and Shelly for providing behind the scenes photos.


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