Phony players



  • I have a question that someone Might have some insight on.
    There are plenty of instances and occasions when a tv show or motion picture portrays a trumpet player, or any other instrument, for that matter.
    Anyway, why is it that almost 100% of the time, the person doing the playing has no clue how to play.
    Any idea how this came to be?
    After all, there are plenty of true players out there, and a goodly number of them don’t have other work keeping them from being available.
    Is it a union thing, maybe?
    It’s hard to watch someone ineptly trying to fake playing an instrument, isn't it?



  • I don't like it, either, but I think it originated with union rules between the Screen Actors Guild and the Musicians Union as to who could do what.


  • Global Moderator

    Most of those responsible for TV shows and motion pictures just don't care about these things, or don't have a clue, or both. I was once in a casting for a DHL ad where the casting agency deliberately wanted a homely-looking trumpet player to perform "Ain't no mountain high enough" as a finish to a clip showing all the way a trumpet takes from a factory in backwoods China to the trumpet player in Vienna.
    I won the casting - but did not get to make the ad, because DHL had by then found "the perfect looking guy" amongst their own workforce, and wanted me to show the guy how to simulate playing to a playback recording.
    I walked out on them.



  • I’m sure that many of you saw the 2019 multiple Academy Award Film, La La Land. There was a Bar Jazz Club House Band depicted with a heavy set featured trumpet player, played by Bijon Watson. He is an outstanding lead, commercial, studio, pit orchestra, and jazz trumpet player. He has been called to fill in at the Hollywood Bowl, when the parts are too demanding range wise for the regular players.
    He was more than able and overqualified to play what ever music the house band played in the context of the movie. Obviously his portrayal was extremely realistic. The irony of it all is that as he was playing the trumpet seamlessly on screen, a friend of his, Wayne Bergeron was playing In the studio what you heard on the Movie’s sound track.
    By the way, he was a featured as a soloist at the 2017 ITG. Below is a performance video featuring Bijon and a second video of some scenes from the movie.



  • @BigDub said in Phony players:

    I have a question that someone Might have some insight on.
    There are plenty of instances and occasions when a tv show or motion picture portrays a trumpet player, or any other instrument, for that matter.
    Anyway, why is it that almost 100% of the time, the person doing the playing has no clue how to play.
    Any idea how this came to be?

    Hollywood hubris.



  • @J-Jericho said in Phony players:

    @BigDub said in Phony players:

    I have a question that someone Might have some insight on.
    There are plenty of instances and occasions when a tv show or motion picture portrays a trumpet player, or any other instrument, for that matter.
    Anyway, why is it that almost 100% of the time, the person doing the playing has no clue how to play.
    Any idea how this came to be?

    Hollywood hubris.

    And fear of reality. Why be truthful when you can Hollywood it up?



  • Well, there's always....



  • @Newell-Post
    Upstream player.



  • @Newell-Post said in Phony players:

    Well, there's always....

    Well, that’s Kirk Douglas. Everybody knows he could play....heh, heh.
    But yet, they used a real singer, Doris Day? Whazzup with that?



  • I would think that, according to screen Guild policies, she is in an acting role in which she sings. I'm sure that she was being represented as an actress.

    Douglas was, obviously, being represented by the Screen Actors Guild which, as has been shown, couldn't care less that a musician was being accurately portrayed.



  • @Kehaulani said in Phony players:

    I would think that, according to screen Guild policies, she is in an acting role in which she sings. I'm sure that she was being represented as an actress.

    Douglas was, obviously, being represented by the Screen Actors Guild which, as has been shown, couldn't care less that a musician was being accurately portrayed.

    I get it, sure, but do I like it, no. No one asked me, that is for sure.
    One interesting thing about how far Hollywood will go to use their chosen actor no matter how qualified or not was for the movie about Lou Gehrig, The Pride Of The Yankees, where they had Gary Cooper picked for the role of Lou Gehrig. He could convincingly swing the bat, but the only problem was his swing was from the right side of the plate, and not left handed. I understand they went to all the trouble to film him swinging right handed and reversing everything in the entire stadium, bases were backwards, signs and advertisements were backwards- everything. Mirror image. Just so they could have their star Gary Cooper play Lou Gehrig!
    Here’s another interesting part: Babe Ruth played himself.
    They were smart enough to know no one would believe it if someone else played him?



  • Just to be clear BigDub, I am giving you approval to play me in the next full length feature about me.😊



  • Boy, notice how much Kirk Douglas sounds like Harry James....hmmm !!!!



  • @GeorgeB Yeah, ole Kirk has monster chops. Or at least that's what Warner Brothers told me.



  • @Dr-GO said in Phony players:
    Just to be clear BigDub, I am giving you approval to play me in the next full length feature about me.😊

    Does e have to wear a moustache?



  • @Dr-GO said in Phony players:

    Just to be clear BigDub, I am giving you approval to play me in the next full length feature about me.😊

    But that would be the exceptional situation where the actor would be able to surpass the playing skill of the person he was portraying........that would be like Wayne Bergeron playing me. just kidding. Calm yourself



  • Mike Lovatt, a great British trumpet player, (lots of movies, Avengers End Game, Judy, etc.) tells how he was employed for a day to show an actor the fingering for a song. Mamma Mia wedding scene. Says it didn’t work, the guy had no idea.



  • The flugelhorn player on “Brassed Off” comes to mind. Not the worst I’ve see, though.



  • Forest Whitaker as Bird.



  • On the show, Hogan’s Heroes, Colonel Klink Would occasionally play the violin, much to the discomfort of those who happened to be in the same room.
    He looked rather convincing, but if you looked closely, there weren’t even any strings on the instrument!


Log in to reply