Living with ALS

By Mike Rayl

Movies I was in...

 

 

It was my first season living and working in Mammoth Lakes California a ski resort in the Eastern Sierra !!! I had never been there before moving there, needless to say, I was adventurous, something I would repeat time and time again in my life...

 

Shortly after moving there I read in the local weekly newspaper they needed people as extras and bit players for the movie, "The other side of the Mountain", a major motion picture from Universal Pictures!!! I auditioned for the bit part of an ambulance driver, but they decided to go with an older person... I was only around twenty or less. I had many small parts as an extra, a timekeeper at a ski race, a reporter, best friend with Dick Buick, the leading character played by Beau Bridges, and other background ... All except the part of the timekeeper, I am indistinguishable!!! It was so much fun being a part of the movie in any capacity !!! I hadn't learned how to snow ski yet, later I would become an expert skier, while working for Mammoth Mountain Ski Resort, where I received as a benefit of my employment a ski pass and free lessons, also because I worked at the  Main lodge Cafe I got free food no limits !!!

 

 It wasn't till over 20 years later where I resumed my film acting career in 1996... With the exception of one movie in 1989, Rockula a funny musical vampire movie, where I played the main characters defense lawyer in a dream sequence that was ultimately cut out of the movie...  The scene I was in was filmed at the old courthouse in downtown SantaAna   Across from the old ymca where I was living at the time, when I first was separated from my first wife!!!  I was walking by and thought I'd ask if they needed any extras, I just fell into it...

 

In 1996  when I first became disabled I decided to supplement my income by pursuing my movie career again , by doing something fun !!! The first movie I was in was an action disaster film "Volcano" where I played a CalTrans worker trying to divert the flow of lava... It was fun and excitingly surreal !!! Tommy Lee Jones was the leading character  who was in charge of the whole disaster, I appeared in one scene with him... We worked all through the night one day !!! They had recreated a whole city block of downtown Hollywood, at the old McDonald Douglas plant in El Segundo... We had to pretend there was lava flowing down the street, they added it later !!! It was intoxicatingly surreal...

 

The next film I was in was the HBO movie "BreastMen", about two plastic surgeons that specialized in boob jobs !!! I played a computer tech at the research department of Dow chemical who made the silicone implants...

 

Now came "Primary Colors", starring John Travolta who played a loosely based Clinton character, running for President... I played a face in a crowd at a pep rally. For it they bused us to UCLA tennis stadium... It was a Universal Picture with hundreds of extras. They really gave us the royal treatment, first thing they feed us, then they raffled off a classic VW Bug !!! I really found it hard to walk up and down the stairs because of my ALS, which I would find out later what the cause was...

 

"Looking for Lola" was next it was a funny comedy... I played a restaurant patron, who gets out of his classic Rolls Royce with a lady under each arm !!! My father In law happened on the scene and was wondering what the heck was going on, he didn't know I was a movie actor !!! During a break between scenes the actress that played Lola and I danced to the house band, she sure was a lot of fun!!!

 

Next was "Denial" movie where I made the most I ever did, playing a naked cadaver for a medical school... Making over $300... Lol. They painted me purple so I looked dead!!!

 

There were a couple others, but I never knew what they were called in the final movie. One Indian movie where we filmed in a LAX terminal, where I played a passenger in a crowd... And an unnamed WWI movie where I played a bank customer caught in a run on the bank. The main star of the movie was Keith   Carradine ... I was lucky enough to have lunch with him and the director !!!

 

All in all I had a great fun time being a part of the action !!! And I would still be doing it if I had the chance...