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In Line for Hire

The quest to be an extra on ABC’s new Richmond mob drama.


But as I look around the lobby of the Holiday Inn on Boulevard, it’s quickly evident that my plans are in danger, not least because I am not wearing scrubs. Even though she’s a sociologist, Robyn Dillon thought to wear a lab coat, which is OK because she often wears one when she’s on duty at the MCV emergency room. Her friend Sean Powell, also a sociologist, seems to have similarly earned the right to wear his whites, though he’s on shakier ground with the stethoscope around his neck and the roll of surgical tape hanging on it.

After filling out a form listing availability and wardrobe sizes, and having a Polaroid snapped and stapled to same, we hopefuls are herded into a conference room where casting director Liz Marks discusses the plot of the episode we’re trying out for.

“This is off the record, OK?” she says. “Style Weekly, this is off the record, OK? Stop writing, please.” I put down my pen. (I was in fact writing myself a reminder to ask my wife about something, but whatever.) I’m kind of scared of Marks, so I’m not going to break our sacred trust, but let’s just say that if “Line of Fire” is still on the air in two months — it’s up against “Law & Order: SVU” repeats — you’re going to be glued to your seat.

One of the things that really freaked me out about the show is the way pretty much every character on it has a New York accent, so I ask Marks’ assistant Sandra Register if it would be a problem that I sound like I’m from, you know, Virginia. “I don’t think the accent here is particularly strong,” says Register, who is from Texas. I venture that, nonetheless, there aren’t many Richmonders who can convincingly say things like “You know, they have a Jew lady runs the Feds’ satellite office down here. I’d like to … give her a good banging. And then when we were done, I’d like to slice her head off,” as actor Brian Goodman does in the first episode.

Register assures me that my accent isn’t a problem. Just to be safe, on the back of my application, where it asks me to list any other talents I might have, underneath “writing” and “good at Internet,” I add “can do New York accent.” Register mutters something to the guy next to her as I walk away. I’d like to think it was, “Move this one to the top of the pile,” or perhaps, “Nice jaw line,” but I’m beginning to fear the February sweeps week might remain unsullied by my genius. Memo to self: Buy lab coat. S

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