While fans may wonder what the cast of the movie would be doing to mark this milestone, they know what one actor is doing: releasing a web series about a guy in a short-lived sci-fi show who’s worried about his future.
*** SPOILERS BELOW ***
Alan Tudyk’s series, Con Man, was officially released today on Vimeo, although backers got a sneak peek at the first four episodes two days before. He plays Wray Nerely, an actor who played the character ‘Cash’ in a TV show called Spectrum which fans say was cancelled too soon. While he’s sort of happy fans remember him, he’d like to move on to better things…if the fans would stop “retarding him.”
The first four episodes, written and directed by Tudyk, show Wray’s experiences in Beigh-Con. While he’s there for a panel, he’s hoping to snag a role in a Clint Eastwood western. It’s safe to say he has a tough time with both.
Right from the start, Wray is a weary man. He appreciates the fame he got from Spectrum, but he really wishes he was even one percent as famous as Jack Moore (Nathan Fillion), the only cast member who made it big after the show. Being accosted by a fan while he’s in the restroom doesn’t help, either.
He also has to deal with Bobbi (Mindy Sterling), his convention booker who’s trying to ride his fame while inflating her own past acting career. He has an assistant named Karen (Felicia Day) who has the uncanny ability of dressing almost exactly like him.
The best part about the first batch of episodes is how Wray deals with the rigors of going from one convention to another. He tells Sean Astin, best known for the Lord of the Rings series, fans know them as their characters, and why it should freak him out. “We’re the music makers,” Sean says, “They’re just dancing to the dream.” He tells Wray to be what the fans think he is, but that doesn’t work when he tries to get into first class.
He’s also upset that the hotel is showing Spectrum episodes. “Science fiction is supposed to be about the future,” he tells Bobbi. “Why are the fans so obsessed with the past?”
The best scene is when Wray is about to start his panel and nursing a hangover. He thinks that nothing matters, although Karen tries to help him by saying his fans matter, and they love him. That doesn’t help because he’s getting older, but his career isn’t getting better. “Every missed chance,” he says, “feels like a last chance.”
Aside from that, there are very funny spots, like motion-capture actor Jerry Lansing (Nolan North) comparing himself to Andy Serkis (best known for Lord of the Rings and the current Planet of the Apes films) and expressing an interesting theory about Jesus. Bobbi waits for people who want her autograph, and her reaction is priceless. There’s also Wray being asked in a special meet-and-greet if there will ever be a Spectrum movie (sounds familiar), and his response is surprising. He also happens to be woozy from taking a pain killer. There are also great cameos from Wil Wheaton and Casper Van Dien.
And that’s only the beginning. Future episodes will feature Amy Acker, Gina Torres, Seth Green, Jewel Staite, Summer Glau…and some guy named Joss.
Oh, and the names of all 46 thousand backers are listed in the closing credits…in very small type.
Con Man is available at Vimeo on Demand.