State of Emergency

State of Emergency (1994) (TV) …. Roger Manning

A very talented A.D. from NYC, Drew Rosenberg, had stayed in my home when she was in California working on Misery. We remained friends and a few years later she called me to do her a favor and do a read through of an HBO movie she was working on. It was starting the following week and they were doing a read through with the cast, but of cast members couldn’t make it, so they needed bodies. It was a chance for me to meet Joe Mantegna, if nothing else.

I did the read through. In addition to reading parts like “Orderly #2” and “Guy with bloody hand” I read a couple of larger parts for the leads who weren’t available. David Duchovney was there and had been cast in wisecracking orderly, Roger.

A couple of days later, my manager called to let me know that they’d made an offer. I thought they were being nice by offering me one of the little parts. Turns out, however, that David Duchovney had booked a television pilot called “The X Files” and dropped out of the HBO movie so they offered me his part.

It happened really fast and I got to work with Joe Mantegna.

Here’s why I’ll never be a studio executive: One day one of the producers was saying that it might make a good TV series. I sort of scoffed and said “Who would ever watch a T.V. show about an emergency room?”

They used the same location to shoot the pilot for ER later that year.

High Points: Joe Mantegna being awesome, having a character named after someone in Jellyfish, working with a female director again, flirting with Deborah Unger, Joe Fucking Mantegna.

Low Points: Feeling out of my league.

written 1/03/02