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MULTI-FACIAL, 1995
Movie Review

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MULTI-FACIAL MOVIEMULTI-FACIAL, 1995
Movie Reviews

Directed by Vin Diesel.

Cast: Vin Diesel, Lewis Steidl, Cara Gaffen, Phillip Jones, Ivan Jordain, F. Valentino Morales


Review by Luis Calvo

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SYNOPSIS:

A short film about the problems that accompany an actor as he auditions, due to his multi-ethnic appearance.

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REVIEW:

Several of my friends are struggling, aspiring actors. If you live in L.A., New York City or even Miami, you may know a few, too. You usually meet them over the weekend or at lunch. That’s him or her behind the bar, taking your order, checking I.Ds, parking your car, or delivering flowers to you.

“I’m an actor,” he’ll say.

“What are today’s specials?” You’ll say.

It can be frustrating and a tough life before fame and fortune becomes a reality. Most of them do have credits if they have persevered enough: a TV commercial, some plays, guest spots on TV. One peep – a very hot actress from Down Under – was waiting tables not that long ago. She was already an established actress-model back home and eventually got a very noticeable feature role in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. She has no lines, but a very crucial part to the story. Hint: laces. A few years ago I spent some time ogling over a thin, blonde-haired hostess at a Sunset Strip hotspot, who later very quickly became a hot – I mean, hot – TV actress. Hint: This restaurant is in a zip code not far from the ritzy one in her current TV series.

I’m now watching a DVD called Short #5, a collection of short movies with the topic of diversity. On this DVD is a 20-minute film called Multi-Facial written, produced, directed by and starring a young, then unknown Vin Diesel. Apparently this is the piece of work that got the muscled, culturally ambiguous actor noticed. He was 26 or 27. He plays an aspiring actor dealing with his own cultural identity.

He auditions for several parts – Italian, Latino, Black, but he is frustrated and disillusioned. His monologue piece for an Italian-American role is misogynist and homophobic, and he plays it as a stereotypical goombah. A casting director later tells him he is too light-skinned for a Black role before an audition. His choice of an accent for a Latino role is quite obviously an impression of a certain onscreen Cubano drug lord. He raps for another audition, but loses the part because they prefer a “Wesley type.”

He has high hopes for himself avoiding commercials and soaps. If only he knew that De Niro, Dustin Hoffman and even James Dean did do TV commercials, and several did soaps. Let us not forget an Oscar-winning and multi-Oscar nominated actor who played Easy Reader on the Electric Company.

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