Last spring Dave Brody called me on the phone, “Jim, how would you like to be in The American Templars, a movie based on my book, Cabal of the Westford Knight: Templars at the Newport Tower? You get to play yourself, the curator of the Newport Tower Museum.”
“Sure Dave.” I replied, “On one condition. I get to mention that I don’t think the Tower was built by the Templars in 1398, but in that it was built by John Dee the Elizabethans in 1583.” Dave agreed, and last spring a crew of a dozen spent two days filming around the Tower and in my museum.
Flash forward to October. Brody calls Jim with good news and bad news. The good news is they want Jim to join the cast and crew in the limo ride and the red carpet walk at the premiere of the movie.
The bad news is: most of the bit-parts that Jim acted in ended up on “the cutting room floor.” Bummer.
This happens in life. You practice hard, dress for the big game, and you sit on the bench. On the other hand, I was a little miffed that my very brief appearance now implied I was lending support to the Templar theory.
So as a sign of a respectful protest, I decided to go to the premiere dressed as the John Dee, the man I claim designed the Newport Tower. I donned the whole Elizabethan costume, forest-green vest with gold buttons, matching doublet (knickers), shirt with billowy arms, felt hat with swirling feather, and dashing maroon cape. Everyone else had tuxes and gowns, so I definitely stood out.
The crowd of over 550 people enjoyed the 2-hour movie, and at the end, Dave Brody had me stand up and take a bow, graciously explaining our differences of opinion.
Despite being cut, I feel anything that wakes people up to the importance of the Newport Tower is worthwhile. Plus, there’s no such thing as bad publicity.