Japaenese Superstar July 12th 2004

Japanese SuperstarMonday, 12th July
I started acting about three years ago and have come to terms that this is probably one of the most ridiculous professions in the world. I pretty much fell into it. I get sent out by these crazy agents in New York. Not sure what the end result will be, but for now it’s a fun thing to do on the side.

So a couple months ago I had an opportunity to do extra work. Anyone with a photo can do it. Basically just fit some physical type and you too can work as an extra in a commercial.

I get the call. “Tarun, you want to be an extra?”

Of course, no one in their right mind wants to be an extra. But I think, ‘I am an artist. As of yet, I’ve never done extra-work and perhaps the experience will serve me well in the future.”


It’s still barely spring and quite cold. Cut to 4:30 am in midtown, New York City. I’m on set for a Honda commercial airing only in Japan. In fact, the entire crew is transported from Japan so 90% of the people don’t speak English. They wear spray-painted hats with titles such as “DIRECTOR” and “PRODUCTION ASSISTANT.”

I spend most of the morning asleep on a trailer floor huddled between fourteen other extras. Around 11:00 am I’m dragged outside and paired with another extra who is supposedly my pretend wife. She is hot. Well, maybe hot like ten years ago but hot nonetheless.

I’m framed in the camera shot and walk up and down the street a couple times when the director pulls me aside and starts yapping in Japanese. I nod, trying to decipher his body language.

A translater informs, “You and your wife walk arm and arm towards car.” I made it! Yes, an extra, but now a featured extra. My face and body will be visible to the world.

I fix my hair and adjust the black suit I squeezed into that morning. Action! My partner holds my arm with her head on my shoulders. We walk toward the cars, a young couple in love, strolling towards our brand new, s***** Honda mini-van. “Cut!”

By the sixth take, the sun is really shining. Her dress is clinging to her. Really clinging to her. She’s pretty, and is flirting with me big time. She’s whispering in my ear and finding excuses to touch me between takes. I force myself to play along. For the sake of the scene, I am an actor.

Then I hear it. “Action!” What?! No, I’m not ready, dare I say – I am turned on. Go away!


I walk very slowly, very delicately. My partner asks if I’m in pain. “Cut!”

“Excellent Tarun. The last take -- excellent.”

"Uh, thanks."

So right now, I’m on some commercial in Japan with a – well, let’s just say I’m happy. Honda will probably sell a billion cars. No need to thank me, after all, I am an actor.
Tarun ShettyComment