A couple of months ago, the casting directors of CSI:NY put out a call for an actor to play the role of a club DJ. They wanted the real thing, somebody who was so chill and such a master scratcher he would read totally real on the show. At that time, before the premiere, the word was "real New York types".
I was then managing, and I instantly knew I had the perfect actor. First of all, he's an actual DJ specializing in raves. Second, he is the hippest man I have ever met in my long life. As I always say about him, if you want cool, when he walks into the room it's like liquid hydrogen. He is in the Grooove.
Actor/DJ/Model/Choreographer Paris Davis
On stage, he is a superb dancer and choreographer. And he is represented by an exclusive talent agency so hip they like to say stuff like "Don't even bother submitting to us to become a client. If we haven't spotted you, you're not hip enough".
I contacted the casting director, and what is called a pre-read was booked for the next day. A pre-read is simply when you have your first audition, and a casting associate reads a bit of your part with you. My guy felt that the minute he walked into the room, the casting person disliked his look. But he did his best.
Now get this. My guy's first name is Paris. He was auditioning for a role called DJ Scratch. One day later, word came out of CSI:NY that they were also looking for an actor to play another DJ whose name was DJ Paris! Well, we thought, what's this? My man must have booked the job, because the writers obviously rewrote the scene. There was supposed to be a fight between these two DJ's, and one was to kill the other. Cool...this was going to be a fight during a DJ contest.
Well, I never got a callback for my guy. He was "passed" on.
And tonight I watched the episode of CSI:NY all this was about.
And here, my actors and viewer friends, is some insight into how TV shows are made.
The entire DJ contest and fight and killing were cut out of the episode. It was such a glaring cut that suddenly characters were referring to "the contest". What contest?
And where they originally described the roles as gen-you-ine Lower East Side of Manhattan club DJ's, like one Hispanic and one Black, both the real thing and too cool, they wound up casting two guys both of whom looked exactly like LL Cool J.
Whassup, Mr. Zuicker? Was it you or the network who decided to mainstream these characters, who did appear later in the episode. They looked about as New York as John Boy Walton.
As a manager, this is a typical story. Nobody's to blame for anything, this is the way it goes, and good actors understand and move on.
But you viewers should realize that the way TV works is something you never read about in TV Guide or Entertainment Weekly.
The casting director of CSI:NY is an absolutely brilliant talent, with a track record of major motion pictures including all of Oliver Stone's movies, Fatal Attraction, and scores more. If it were actually up to her, I have no doubt CSI:NY would be 5 times more riveting than it is.
But the CSI franchise is about playing it safe. Gary Sinise has said as much--that he had taken the job because he thought he could develop the Mac Taylor character. But he came to realize that his hope would not be fulfilled, because character development is not what procedurals are about. And aren't we the poorer for it.