My Secret about Curly: Part II

Thanks to the many friends and fans who have subscribed to the blog in the past week.  Here’s the second part of my “Final Curly Update.” Click HERE to catch up and read Part I.

The Stone I mentioned with the word “CURLY” written on it had been with me for 7 years, and it it followed me along to several successful callbacks in the casting process for the Farrelly Brothers’ Three Stooges Film.

I knew all along that I would have it with me when I went in last week. The night before, as I was studying lines and doing Stooges research on DVD I read everyone’s words of encouragement on facebook and on this blog and decided that I would use the stone in a brand new way.

I decided to keep the stone in my shoe. I was reminded of two resonant stories. Glenn Morshower used to talk about keeping a secret when he entered an audition.  He told a story about how he once poured maple syrup in his shoes before several big auditions and the silly, sticky feeling gave him a reminder that he had the insight on the role and had a little secret, a subtext.

Similarly, in the early days of the Compass Theater (which soon became The Second City), Paul Sills was directing Del Close in a show and asked him to find deeper subtext in a character he had created. One night he absolutely nailed the character and Sills asked him what his subtext was.

Del replied, “Cole Slaw.”

“You mean you thought about Cole Slaw?” his director questioned.


“Then you pictured yourself as cole slaw?”

“No,” the Funniest One in the Room interrupted, and dropped his pants.  He had emptied a small cup of cole slaw from a nearby restaurant into his pants.

“It’s Cole Slaw!”

I’ve never been one to use food products to gain a competitive edge.  But I had used my lucky stone to gain confidence in the past.  I knew that if I put The Stone in my shoe, I’d feel the stone at all times….no matter how nervous or in my head I was.

And I want you to know that you were there with me that day.  Just by reading this blog, you were a part of it all.

That stone in my shoe represented all the people who have followed this story since the beginning….all the supportive family members, my fans and faithful friends…Everyone who sent a letter to the Farrelly Brothers, or to 20th Century Fox….people who “liked” the Bill Chott for Curly Page…or showed the You Tube video to their kids.

I never doubted my performance in that final callback because I had the support of so many people.  I felt like George Bailey at the end of It’s a Wonderful Life. My foot was planted firmly on The Stone.

It turns out that The Stone wasn’t under my feet as part of the path to the role of Curly…at least not for now. Instead it was the first stone on a brand new path that I’ll walk down proudly with my head held high.

I’ll be wearing it in my shoe for a long time to come at auditions.  Maybe I’ll write something new on the stone, who knows?  But thanks to you, dear reader, I had the self-confidence and support that was neccessary to show up for that second callback completely in character and I made everyone in that room howl with laughter.

Not bragging, but letting you know how much of a difference you made.  I hope you’ll stay subscribed to the blog and join the Bill Chott is Curly page on facebook.  Obviously, I’ll be changing the name of the group. But I hope you’ll be able to add your name to the list of people who deserve all the hoorahs for a job well done.

So maybe the job of Curly isn’t mine, but I know I’m ready to give it my all in the most important role of my life…Bill Chott.

Now my job will be to live up to all the faith you’ve instilled in me.

Thank You!

My Secret About Curly

In this blog, I’m going to reveal a secret that I’ve been keeping for about seven years.  Read on….

The faces of "Problem Employees" as seen in SBM. Photos by Bill Sawalich

For those who don’t follow me on Facebook, I’m back in New Orleans for NOCAF, the New Orleans Comedy Arts Festival.  I’ve been coming here since the first year, and I love coming back here.  I usually make it out to the Crescent City at least two times a year for NOCAF and the New Orleans Improv Festival.

I just taught two workshops this afternoon, and as always I had a blast! And the trip was a welcomed relief from everyone in LA who had been asking, “Any word on Curly?”

I’ve been OVERWHELMED by all the support I received during the audition process for The Farrelly Brothers‘  Three Stooges film. Unfortunately, I have to share the bad news with you that I’m not moving forward with the audition process….However, I already lost the role about a year ago to Jim Carrey, who was originally cast as Curly.  It’s doubtful at this point that I’ll have another shot at it, but I did my best, and certainly I have literally thousands of people to thank for their support and letters to the Farrellys and 20th Century Fox.

Last Friday, I met with the Farrellys and the producers for my second callback for the role of Curly. I wouldn’t have done a thing differently and I’m very proud of how the audition went. But I was told early this week that I won’t be called back for another audition.

I'm on the cover of the SBM magazine!

A lot of people were concerned that I would be upset because I “lost out” on this opportunity, but I have to say that I gained so much more.

Now, I can finally tell you my “Curly” secret, cast in stone.  About seven years ago, I was working on the film The Ringer with Johnny Knoxville.  During the production, I heard from several sources on the set that the Farrellys were considering me for the part of Curly.

When I got back from our Christmas break that year I started hearing people all over the set talking about it. At the time, The Three Stooges was planned as their next project.

The first Sunday after New Years that year, I went to church in Austin TX to give thanks for all the good fortune I’d had in the past year.  It was a Unitarian Church and they passed out these small square pieces of stone and asked us to write what we wanted to be in the next year on that stone and keep it with us until we saw that change in our lives.

At the time, I was thankful to already be a  working actor in a studio film, I had met my former wife and was deeply in love and I had never felt more fulfilled.  So, I wrote the word “CURLY” in marker on the stone, and kept it with me for over a year.

The Three Stooges project was gasping for life at the time, but I kept hope alive and kept the stone with me at all times.  It traveled all over the country with me, and was in my pocket for most of the shooting of the Ringer.

The Stone represented months of research watching Three Stooges films, reading about Jerome “Curly” Howard and his comedy partners, and my dream of playing this comedy icon.

When it was announced that Jim Carrey had been cast in the role of Curly, Pete Farrelly called me personally to let me know that they had not read any other actors for the role of Curly and that I was still at the top of their list.

I kept the stone on my valet where I’d see it every day so that I could see it and be inspired by the fact that a well respected director would take the time to call me when he was so busy casting a feature.  After a while, I thought about the stone less and less and it was almost lost when I moved…but it appeared mysteriously when I thought it had been lost.

Then it was rumored that Jim Carrey dropped out of the project, and at the premiere of Jackass 3D, Pete Farrelly told me that they hadn’t forgotten about me for the role of Curly.

On the Red Carpet for the 2011 3D Creative Arts Awards

From that moment on, the stone went back in my pocket and it was with me during my callbacks with the Farrellys and work sessions with Mike Cerrone without whom I could not have performed what I considered my best Curly impression at that final callback.

Leading up to my final callback, I was humbled by the support for my audition from friends, fans and people whom I had helped in one way or another in the past. I wished at the time that I could tell them about the secret I had been keeping for 7 years. The secret was not just the stone that was with me all along…in fact, it involved all of them directly.

Subscribe to this blog to read Part II of “My Secret About Curly”…click on the tab to the right of your screen to subscribe.

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