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When non-drinker Alan Taylor, a 19 year-old student from Texas, auditioned for The Real Cancun (a ‘reality’ movie about students on their spring break) with 10,000 other hopefuls, he never imagined he would become its unlikely star. Although his screen presence is slightly nerdy, in person he proves to be in charge of his own destiny and is surprisingly cool. Louise Keller spoke to him in Sydney.

Whatever possessed you to audition for The Real Cancun? 
Back home I go to a University in West Texas where they had passed flyers out all over the college campus. I found one in my friend’s trash can and I folded it up and put it in my pocket. It’s not every day you see an audition for a movie, you know. Then I went to apply for a job as a waiter in a restaurant and completely bombed the whole audition process. So I thought, what the heck, I’ll go and see if I can be in this movie. I went to the audition; they called me back and before I knew it I was in the movie and they were flying me out to Cancun. It all happened so quickly.

Let me take you back to the day that you were selected. Where were you and what were the circumstances?
The filmmakers kinda teased me. They would say ‘We really like you, we want to interview some of your friends, and we’ve narrowed it down’. Then I made it to the finals with about 50 others. And then they called me and said I’ll ‘probably’ be in the movie. I was riding my bike at the time and I had to pull over and I said ‘probably?’ I didn’t know how to take that. Then a couple of hours later they called me again and by that point it had been going on for a month, so I didn’t jump up and down or scream or anything. I got used to the idea. It was like ‘Cool. Ok you’re going to be in a movie.’

Was the experience what you expected?
Well I had no idea what to expect, and I tried really hard not to think about it too much, so when I finally got there, I was just taking everything in; it was just surreal. The whole thing. The whole time – even now. It doesn’t even feel like I was in a movie. It feels like I just went to Spring Break and that’s it.

Were you nervous or self conscious? 
The cameras made me nervous the first couple of days. It’s kinda hard having a big ol’ camera and a big ol’ boom mike 24 hours a day. With the cameras always shooting you – it gets rather annoying (laughs). At some point after the first day or two I got totally fed up with it I just decided I was going to enjoy myself whether there was a camera there or not. And I had a good time. A really good time.

Tell me your most embarrassing or favourite moment?
I didn’t really get embarrassed the whole week. But I can tell you what my favourite moment was. And that’s the hot body contest that we had. I can’t decide if my favourite thing was winning the $150 or watching the losers’ faces, because those guys those muscular guys who spend hours every day working out, tanning, spiking their hair, buying new clothes with $150 jeans and everything. Trying very hard. Yeah. Major egos. I just walked out there, wiggled my bum a little bit and then I won. So that was the greatest feeling ever, watching their faces.

Did you make friends on the set?
I got on better with some people than others. They were all basically good people but everyone was different. I clicked most with Paul and Jorell. They’re cool, with a good sense of humour, so we joked around a lot. We had a lot in common with plenty to talk about.

How did you feel when you saw the movie?
I was really scared. I was aware that there were 500 hours of film and the movie was on 90 minutes. I was also aware that in the editing room they can create anything they want. I was scared that they might portray me badly. So I was very pleased when I saw it. And it’s strange enough sitting down at a Hollywood premiere - I’ve never done that before. It’s even stranger sitting down at a Hollywood premiere that you’re in, and that you auditioned for only 2 months before. 

Who were you most nervous about to see the film? 
My girlfriend. She wasn’t very pleased. 

Did you see it together and has she got over it?
Oh no… She saw it on her own. I told her that she probably wouldn’t want to see it, but said she just had to see it…. So she saw it and … yeah, she was very upset. Now we’re working through it. And we’re doing good. I can’t believe she’s still with me.
I’m the luckiest guy in the world. She’s such a great person. She’s actually with me here in Sydney. I’m so lucky.

How did you meet?
We met in our theatre back home – I was in two plays during my first semester at college. She worked backstage … with the props or something. That was last November before we did the movie. And yes, she’s forgiven me.

Has it changed your life and if so, how?
Really not that much. The only thing that has changed is that my friends pick on me more, cause they can pull out movie quotes and turn them around. Also, now and then I may be out in public and someone will flash my picture for no reason. That’s hard to get used to, cause at first I didn’t really understand what was going on. After a while I realise that it was because I was in a movie and they recognised me. That kinda sucks. I’m not complaining. 

What did your parents think of the movie?
Like me, my parents were just scared that they would portray me in a bad way. My mom has The Real Cancun poster in her living room, which is a little much. And they’re all very proud of me. Your family is proud of you no matter what you do – at least my family is proud of me. Although I come from a split family – my mom and dad are separated – they’re very close to me and they’re proud of me no matter what I do.

What are you studying at University and where will that lead you?
Philosophy and Psychology. Where that will lead? That’s a good question, because I’m not sure. I couldn’t decide what career I wanted to take, so I just decided to get a good education and do something that I really enjoy. I really enjoy philosophy & psychology and I want to learn all about it.

What are your plans for the future? Do you want to be an actor?
Oh yeah. But I’m not hellbent on being a Hollywood actor. I’ve been acting since I was in high school. But Hollywood is a really hard business to get into, and even if you get your foot in the door, there are thousands of other people with their foot also in the door. I think I’m just happy being a community theatre actor, or a college actor at my university. Kinda living a normal life. I’m not sure I like all the attention that comes with fame.

Published July 10, 2003

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Alan Taylor


...The hot body contest

Alan (far right) and friends

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