Nimarta Narang | Hello U.S.A.
Making Jason Segel laugh
Published: Wednesday, October 2, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, October 2, 2013 03:10
For me, there is a definite difference to watching Hollywood films in Thailand and watching them here in the United States. Back home, I would feel so far away from the ideals, characters and stories shown in the films. Here, however, I feel a little closer because I have actually seen some of these same ideals, characters and stories occur around me.
The biggest revelation I had was when I realized that I am studying in the same place Jessica Biel (otherwise known as Justin Timberlake’s wife) studied from 2000 to 2002. I am in a place where movies are being filmed and where cookies are packed in resealable packages. (While this has nothing to do with films, this is something I just recently found out.) It truly feels like you have arrived in the United States when you suddenly remember that it is the home of Hollywood.
By now, you should have already guessed that this week’s topic will be just that: Hollywood. And what perfect timing, with the film shoot for “Basic Math” this past Monday on campus. (The movie was previously titled “Sex Tape,” and I’m pretty sure they will revert back to the racier title.) I will now proceed to use this column to shamelessly discuss my exciting role as a production assistant on the shoot, where I often found myself just a few feet away from Jason Segel and Cameron Diaz. The experience wasn’t as glamorous or glitzy as I had imagined it would be, and there was really no drama apart from the scenes being acted out. People actually seemed to enjoy themselves on set, and no one seemed stressed at all. And guess what? I made Jason Segel laugh! I had come to notice that he loved winking and making silly faces at fans, maybe to lessen the awkwardness or perhaps even to heighten it. As I was gawking at him, I was probably making him feel a little uncomfortable — then, he wiggled his eyebrow at me. I eyebrow-wiggled back and he laughed.
For a film formerly named “Sex Tape,” it’s a given that the dialogues, conversations and topics covered in the film will be appropriate for a college-aged crowd. Back in Thailand, I had the preconception that Americans were outspoken, confident and didn’t shy away from uncomfortable topics. This attitude is much different in comparison to that of people in Thailand, who tend to stick to discussions about safer topics,such as festivals, or would secretly veer off to talking about politics. I anticipated this difference in attitude and was excited at the prospect of being exposed to uncomfortable situations.
The one film scene I watched definitely fit the bill. The scene was about erections and socialism — two words that I never thought I would have been able to use in the same sentence. I am aware that there are far more explicit scenes out there, but this was the first time I was actually witnessing a conversation about erections (in conjunction with socialism) in person. The ease with which erections were discussed surprised me, and especially since this wasn’t done in the confines of a private conversation, but rather in the context of a film which will eventually be viewed by a huge number of people.
Apart from learning about various cultural practices prevalent in the United States, I also have to adjust to the different mindset here. I could never imagine walking into a classroom with the topic of discussion centered on women’s assets. At Tufts, this already happened during my second week here. I have yet to get used to this.
But hey, at least I made Jason Segel laugh.
Nimarta Narang is a freshman who has not yet declared a major. She can be reached at Nimarta.Narang@tufts.edu.