By James Bowman
Thanks to the good people at Jaguar I, in my capacity as an up and coming acting tour-de-force, have now been exposed to 111 million viewers around the globe. Not bad for two nights work.
Let me explain: My name is James and I recently chucked in my office job to start a career as an actor. Technically I’m what is known on set as an ‘SA’ or Supporting Artist. In truth I am, at present, little more than a member of the walking scenery you may have seen portrayed all too painfully well in Ricky Gervaise’s series, ‘Extras’.
Being an SA is undoubtedly the least glamorous, most looked-down-upon role in the entertainment industry. It involves a choke of travel, a sizeable depression of doing nothing, and a healthy slap of condescension. That said, every so often a gem will wink at you from the turd of rejection, disinterest and borderline unemployment that is the life of an SA. I received such a wink, albeit unknowingly at the time, in the guise of a Jaguar commercial.
When you first get offered a job as an SA, you are given little to no information about the project. A date, a location and a call time (with as much permanence as a fart in a hurricane) is about all you can guarantee. That, and your fee (less tax, less national insurance, less commission, less travel costs….). So I wasn’t immediately grabbed by the prospect of two nights of shooting in London (I live two and a half hours away, in Cheltenham) for what passes for the industry minimum rate for night shooting.
Arriving on ‘set’, however, I found myself at a small airfield in Kent with a Lear Jet, a helicopter and a brand new, just unwrapped NB4L London Routemaster bus. My spirits were high, but quickly settled down upon learning by text that my call time had changed to four hours later than quoted, shortly after my arrival. As such, I set about getting all I could out of the free food, drinks and heating in the trailer they had hired out for us.
That evening’s work consisted of myself and nine other bored bodies sitting on the Routemaster whilst furiously pretending to be bored commuters sitting on a Routemaster. While we worked our intricate craft, the Lear jet repeatedly took off and landed and the helicopter followed us around with a Tom Middleston lookalike sipping tea inside. Blissfully, we were finished within three hours.
The second night, sadly, lasted ten and a half hours, nine of which were spent sat on our pristine bus in Central London waiting for the ‘Talent’ (Mark Strong) to drive proper and ‘ting.
Eventually, we were driven to our location along the banks of the Thames, opposite the London Eye, where police had blocked off a strip of road so that we could repeat the last night’s performance with a nice backdrop. Spirits had been low, it’s fair to say, during our incarceration but by now we had learnt that this was to be Jaguar’s 2014 Super Bowl commercial with a budget well into the millions and featuring, as well as Mr Hiddleston and Mr Strong (Mark, not the square red guy from the children’s books), but also cinema great, Ben Kingsley. Suffice it to say we were all thrilled at the prospect of our impending exposure in the presence of these acting greats to a massive captive audience – truly the dream for any aspiring actor.
The advert has now been shown and is available on YouTube. For those of you wishing to catch me in my shining moment of global fame you can see me in the glorious, tantalising frames that separate second number 34 and second number 35. I am the second blurry, amorphous blob from the left in the top of the bus. I have a hood pulled over my face.
But this is a car blog! What can I tell you about the titular New F-Type? It’s loud. And it comes in white.