In my past life as VP Marketing for GoodMark Foods, we used to advertise on many TV shows that focused on reaching teenagers. The WB Network had a few series that reached that audience and we bought ad space on several of them including Dawson’s Creek. It was a teen soap opera that was filmed in Wilmington, North Carolina and featured Katie Holmes, Josh Jackson, James van der Beek and Michele Williams.
(don't miss the great video at the end of this blog).
|Dawson's Creek Video Cover for Season 3|
Since my daughter Fanny was so interested in acting and becoming a TV star, I asked our media buyer if they could get us a few tickets backstage to watch the show being filmed. They even offered to let Fanny be an extra in one of the episodes in a background shot. Needless to say, she was thrilled with the opportunity.
So we made the trek down to Wilmington one day. I took off from work and she played hooky from Ravenscroft. The show this particular day was going to be a wedding episode where Dawson’s parents were going to get remarried after a short divorce. Fanny would be a guest at the wedding and I got to bring a book as I sat by the food trailer and nibbled on some snacks.
|Scenes from a wedding|
|Katie and James at the wedding|
|Katie Holmes AKA Joey on Dawson's Creek |
|The wedding scene from Dawson's Creek |
|The happy bride and groom |
Fanny was taken to the set and given some instructions on what she would be doing in the scene. She was with a number of other kids her age and a little older, all of whom wanted their shot at fame and fortune. I think all the lights, camera and activity was captivating for her and she was a both excited and scared.
About an hour into the shooting, one of the stage hands comes over to me and a few other men sitting together and said- “you guys come with me to wardrobe- we are ready for you”. I told the production assistant that I wasn’t an actor, just a parent hanging out. Soon the assistant director came over and said they needed one more male adult at the wedding and would I be willing to be in the background scene…dancing. They would even pay me scale (which I think was $41 for the whole day).
Okay, there are two things that I am not that fond of doing in public:
Mitchell, Jaime and Fanny are the actors in the family. My Aunt Annette was the dancer and Sarah did a stint with Pierette Sadler’s Dance School in Raleigh when she was about eleven. Needless to say, I got drafted to be an extra on the show.
I guess I am ready for my moment Mr. Damille.
|Cecille B. Damille|
So they took me to the wardrobe trailer and put me in a suit that felt like they got it at Goodwill. I was then assigned to dance in the wedding dance sequence in the background thinking no one would ever see me. My partner was a part-time teacher from Wilmington who did extra work on TV shows and movies.
Meanwhile, Fanny was going to be an extra in the same scene but from a different angle… off the dancing floor but in a prominent spot in the background. I was so excited that she was going to be seen on camera and would have a great acting experience.
The only problem is that they never showed Fanny on screen but they did show me. When the show aired a month later, there I was twirling on stage doing the two-step and poor Fanny was just off camera.
Remember when as kids we would call “do-over”.
|Michelle Williams with Fanny and Kerr Smith|
|Sarah's friend Mary Craven, Katie Holmes, Garret Bedrin (my nephew),|
James van der Beek, Fanny Slater and her best friend John Bower
|Mary, Katie, Garret and James|
So, I needed to find a way to try this again in some form. So I asked my contact once again if we could come on the set late in May when the season was wrapping up. My nephew Garret was with us and he must have been about 18 or 19 at the time. Garret was a big fan of Katie Holmes and diligently did his homework reading through YM and People Magazines to learn all about Katie.
VIDEO OF KATIE KISSING GARRET
He knew that Katie loved some flavor of jelly belly jellybeans (I think it was buttered popcorn). He brought a box hoping to give it to her on the set. Along for the journey was Fanny’s best friend John Bower, Sarah and one of her friends Mary Craven, Garret and me.
We arrived early and the producer was very helpful showing us around and allowing us to hang out with the cast. Michelle played the bad girl Jen Lindley on the show. We spent over an hour with Michelle Williams talking about Slim Jims, among other things. Since Slim Jims was a sponsor and I was the “suit” who authorized the media buy on the show, I thought she was just being nice but she was really a fan of the snack and loved to eat them on cross country trips. Michelle turned out to be quite a great actress in movies like Brokeback Mountain, Shutter Island and many more films. She was also married to Heath Ledger. She was a pleasure to meet and very down to earth-at least at age 18 when we met her.
Another person Fanny enjoyed hanging with was Josh Jackson who I thought was going to be the break out star from this cast. (What do I know?). Fanny had a great time with him talking at the craft table (food) and generally just being in his aura. Fun fact: Josh played on the Mighty Ducks (Disney film about a kids hockey team) when he was pretty young. Josh has that Cary Grant/Jimmy Stewart/Tom Hanks quality about him with personality just exuding from him.
|Josh Jackson and Katie Holmes|
But the big event was Mrs. Tom Cruise or as we called her at the time, Katie.
She was all of 16 years old at the time and quite shy. Still Garret was smitten and could not wait to meet with her. I brought Garret over and approached Katie and started talking to her to help break the ice. She told us that being away from her family from Ohio was difficult for her but that she was enjoying the role on the show. And, she liked being in Wilmington. Garret came over and told her that he had read in a magazine that she liked these jelly beans and he bought her a box. Spontaneously, Katie skipped over toward Garret and gave him a big kiss on the cheek.
Now, being the lifelong family photographer that I am, I didn’t want to miss this event. But I did and for some reason in trying to get my video camera ready, I missed the shot completely. So I said to Katie, that in my family, we try to capture nice events on video- would she mind “take two”?
A kiss is still a kiss
Being the consummate professional she repeated the line, “Oh he is such a sweetheart” and proceeded to kiss Garret again. I think Garret turned the color of the red jelly beans. For years he carried around a photo of that kiss and it probably was an opening line for him for many years to come. I’m sure his friends got sick of the following sentence…
“Did I ever tell you about the time I kissed Katie Holmes?”
Now married to Jessica and father to little Juliet, I know Garret has come to appreciate that wonderful moment. It gives me great pleasure to know that I help bring this experience to him. In fact, Garret recently put together his own montage and video to memorialize that moment.
So, Tom Cruise before you kissed Katie Holmes, there was Garret.
|Sarah and Fanny on the set of Dawson's Creek|
Labels: Dawson's Creek, Famous Encounters, Famous Moments, Fanny, Garret, Sarah