I didn’t go to the San Diego Comic-Con, but I saw a lot of pictures. There were pictures of Iron Man, Indiana Jones, Two different Spocks, dozens of slave-girl Leias and as you would expect, quite a few photos of the man who owns this bandwidth, Kevin Smith.
But, I think the person who got the most pixels in the press was a 18-year-old former high school cheerleader from Denver, Colorado named Lacey Henderson.
You’ve probably seen her picture - some of you may have even seen her in person but were too busy staring at the machine gun where her right leg used to be to say hello and ask about her story. Yup, Lacey Henderson was the girl at the Genius Products booth appearing as Grindhouse’s stripper of the highest caliber, Cherry Darling (and by caliber, I mean not only the measure of her character, I mean the - aw, you know what I mean).
Thanks to the worldwide interweb machine, within minutes I was able to learn more about the woman above the rifle. As a very young girl, Lacey lost her leg to cancer and worked hard to bounce back. In fact, not only does she walk with a prosthetic, but she cheerleads and can do backflips. She posted her profile on a website that lists specially-abled performers available for television and film work. That’s where the Weinstein people found her. I can just imagine the first phone call. “You want me to wear a what? On my what?”
From the looks of the onlookers in all of the pictures, Lacey’s appearance was more impressive than any of Rose McGowan’s greenscreen antics. (And considering Grindhouse’s lukewarm reception, Lacey may have been seen by more people).
I really admire Lacey’s stamina - the gun-sthetic didn’t look all that sturdy, but she made the best of it. In an interview with USA Today, Lacey said that the fans were great but there were a few stupid questions. Someone actually asked if she had her leg amputated to get the job.
Yup, stupid question.
But, it did get me thinking. What would people actually do? How far would people go to get a job in the entertainment industry?
I know a guy named Kirk Thatcher - he was working on Star Trek IV as an associate producer. He asked Leonard Nimoy if he could be in the movie. Nimoy said yes, but there was a catch. Kirk had to shave his head into a Mohawk. For a chance at Star Trek immortality, Kirk gladly said yes. His hair grew back, but he will forever be seen as “Punk on Bus” - and he even wrote the song playing on the boombox in the scene.
Lots of people shave their heads for roles in movie.
I would do it - of course, I don’t have much hair to begin with, but I would do it. That’s probably as far as I would go. Nope, I wouldn’t amputate a leg to play Cherry Darling at Comic-Con or even cut off a hand to play Luke Skywalker at Hasbro’s Toy Fair booth. (Although if I did, maybe my hand could even get its own job as “Thing” from the Addams Family at the MGM Home Video booth).
Would someone gouge out an eye, and lose two legs and an arm to play Steve Austin? (For you younger folks, he was the six million dollar man - you know, like the Bionic Woman you’re seeing all those NBC promos for).
Now, those things are extreme - no normal people would do that, but what would I do to make a few extra bucks working at Comic-Con?
If the Star Wars booth needs a Lobot, sure, I’ll shave my hair off. Or, to be more accurate, the rest of my hair. It won’t take long. Same goes for Lex Luthor and Professor Xavier.
I would lose 20 pounds to fit into a Stormtrooper costume. (Or a Batman costume - the cool Adam West kind, not the rubber thing that probably weighs a ton. If I wanted to carry around that kind of weight, I wouldn’t bother losing 20 pounds).
Would I burn off my arms and legs in lava to play Darth Vader? I don’t think so. But, I would grow a beard to be Obi-Wan. (He gets the high ground, you know).
Would I grow my hair long to play Aragorn? If I could, I would. But, every time I try to grow my hair long, the result looks more like Bozo the Clown.
How about Popeye? I guess I could shave my forearms, but I stop short an inflating them with air and tattooing them with ship anchors.
I guess I could go barefoot to play Fred Flintstone, but I have a feeling I’d be stepping on a lot of chewing gum and tons of safety pins that snap off of all of those Star Trek uniforms worn by attendees who would never pass the Federation physical.
Would I shave my chest to play Conan? Sure, if that was all it would take.
Grow facial hair to play Wolverine? Yup, but I wouldn’t jam a bunch of blades in my fist.
Anyway, back to Lacey Henderson. While the fanboys are ogling her and posting photos on Flickr, I hope they appreciate her courage. After spending years wanting to fit in and not just be the girl with the prosthetic leg, she strapped on a machine gun and let tens of thousands of people stare at her and snap pictures for just that reason. For a brief time at Comic-Con, Ms. Henderson became the living, breathing embodiment of Cherry Darling, and then it’s back to normal. One of the articles I found online says that she’ll be enrolling in college in the fall and wants to become a prosthetic engineer in order to help other amputees.
There are always a lot of heroes at Comic-Con. Who knew the biggest one would be wearing a Rose McGowan wig?
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