Saturday, March 1, 2008

The Call Heard Round the World...Or Maybe Just My Livingroom...

On February 22, a new film called, Be Kind Rewind, hit theaters. It's a fanciful, comedy about two guys who are forced to reshoot movies requested by their movie rental customers, when every videotape in their shop is erased due to a power plant's electromagnetic field. It stars Jack Black, Mos Def and Danny Glover. Entertainment Weekly gave it a B- and said, "there's nothing not to like about the movie, a teensy, hand-crocheted, trifle, fitted with embroidered pockets of guest stardom."

Do I agree with Entertainment Weekly? Ummm, I don't know. Did I even see the film? Eh, no. But I did have a conversation with Mos Def while he was shooting the movie.

It was a dreary, early fall Saturday afternoon in October of 06. I was chatting away on Yahoo Messenger when suddenly, my cell phone went off. It was my coworker calling me from the set of Be Kind Rewind. She works as a contract revenue administrator, negotiating deals with producers to use certain areas of New Jersey to shoot films. On this day, she was in Passaic, NJ rubbing elbows with Mos Def. She knew how big a fan I was of his (see: the bio section of so she called me and asked if I wanted to speak to him. Before I could succumb to my sudden heart palpitations and sweaty palms, Mos Def was on the phone saying hello.

Me: Mos Def, what's up man?
Mos Def: What's up? Who is this?
Me: This is Shydel James (as if he would know who I am) I'm an actor.
Mos Def: Oh OK, what's up Shydel?
Me: Nothing much, I just wanted to tell you that I'm a big big fan. I really like what you're doing out there. And I think you should have gotten an Oscar nomination for your work in The Woodsman. You killed that part.
Mos Def: Awl man, thanks man. I really appreciate that. Thank you.
Me: No problem man, and make sure you remember my name-Shydel James, 'cause we're going to do a movie together one day.
Mos Def: Oh OK, (laughing-hopefully, not at me) I'll remember that.
Me: Cool man, it was nice speaking with you.
Mos Def: OK, man take care. Thanks again.
Me: No problem.

Sixty seconds of pure bliss. I was on Cloud Nine for about two weeks after that phone call. I quickly changed my away message on Yahoo Messenger from what probably was some comment about my being depressed and confused-a emotional mainstay of mine-to, "thinking about my conversation with Mos Def" along with some emoticon that represented the groupie that I was.

Don't get me wrong, I've been able to hold my own around celebs without creaming on myself. There was the time I met Will Smith and Jada Pinkett at the premiere of Hitch and not a flinch. Or the time I egged on Pras from The Fugees to kick Omarion's ass as an extra in the film, Feel The Noise and I played it coy. But never have I made contact with anyone on my "Who'd I Love to Work With" list. Which if we're using that roll call as any indication of who I'm in store to meet next, let's make room for Oscar winner Morgan Freeman, four time Oscar nominee Julianne Moore and my other favorite rapper turned actor, Queen Latifah.

Sure, Be Kind Rewind is no hit, having grossed a mere $4.05 million its opening weekend, it won't go down in any history books; however, the film will always recall for me: The Day I Spoke to Mos Def on the Telephone.

Will he remember that phone call? Probably not. Will I ever do a movie with him?

Mos Definitely!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

ewwww @ "creaming on myself", lol.

Great entry though.