\"Britney

Britney Spears and the great Madonna. The strange tale of Niall O'Dowd and the staff the Irish Voice auditioning of their music video. Photo by: Via Wikicommons

Madonna and me, my mad moment with the Material Girl

\"Britney

Britney Spears and the great Madonna. The strange tale of Niall O'Dowd and the staff the Irish Voice auditioning of their music video. Photo by: Via Wikicommons

During the recent change over to the new site I came across an old Periscope column about the time the other male staff members at the Irish Voice and I auditioned for a Madonna/Britney Spears video.

I know it sounds crazy, but that is what is wonderful about America.

Here is what I wrote back in 2004.

AND now for something completely different . . .

Sitting in my office on Monday afternoon, minding my own business, I received a call from a casting director in New York. Madonna wanted at least 10 Irishmen to act as her bodyguards in the shooting of her new video with Britney Spears.

The director explained that Madonna’s scene involved bodyguards flanking her in a disco scene and that the Material Girl had specifically, that morning, requested that the men chosen be Irish-looking.

She apologized for calling at such short notice, but said Madonna had only come to the decision a few hours previous. She had gone to the phone book and found Irish Voice. The question was, could I round up a posse of likely Irishmen in a couple of hours?

No problem, I said after picking myself up off the floor. I looked around the office. There were at least eight males in various states of fitness and fashion that fitted the bill. I decided to round them all up.

One, of course, immediately cried off, saying his wife had a sore back and he had to get home – a cheesy excuse if ever I heard one. My brother-in-law also deserted me in my hour of need, saying he needed to buy shoelaces or some such nonsense.

Cowards both, I decided. All the rest of us males, however, were game for adventure.

We are a motley looking Irish Voice crew, ranging from the ages of 21 all the way up to 50, and I couldn’t quite decide which one looked the most threatening and menacing, thus likely to catch Madonna’s eye when she viewed the video audition.

We made our way along to the studio on West 26th Street just before the 5:30 p.m. casting call.

The waiting room included a bevy of the most beautiful women I have ever seen, trying out for the disco dancing scene with Britney which was being filmed separately.

Our intrepid team nearly lost it there and then, and several members had to be physically distracted from viewing the women with mouths wide open.

At last we sat down and prepared for the biggest role of our lives. We took turns making mean faces at each other  only succeeding in frightening some of the women present.

Every one of the Irish Voice men – except me, of course – lied on the application form, saying they were taller, lighter and more experienced than they were, and they all claimed they had agents. Vanity, thy name is man. My agent, I decided, was called Jimmy Joyce and I wrote that I had played the title role in “The Dead.” The casting director didn’t bat an eyelid.

Finally, it was time for our casting call. The director who looked like he should still be in short pants eyed us up suspiciously. We watched as he put the dancers through their paces first, and that was a sight to behold.

Occasionally you get an insight into just how tough it must be to break through in showbiz. It was clear that dozens of the young men and women present were very talented, but the director noted that he had been auditioning for five days for the video. How do you break through the clutter?

Well, some of the women practically took it all off which utterly displeased some of the younger and more impressionable members of our group – not. Otherwise it was just an amazing explosion of young energy and talent, equivalent to watching a Broadway show from the front seats.

Eventually the women disappeared and it was down to the men. There were some others there with us, real actors, and the director explained that Madonna had picked five from the auditions to date, but that they needed a few more and she wanted “Irish looking” guys. The director told us he was expressing the tapes to her right after the show so she could look at them right away.

So we all stood up against a wall like suspects in a line-up. Then each of us was asked to walk along the line, stare the others in the eye as cold and hard as we could, turn to face the camera and hold a threatening pose as long as we could.

Immediately I could see that our lads were not up to it. Too many of them could not hold back guffaws and smiles as they passed down the line. As for holding a threatening pose, no doubt sheep would have been worried, but also cats might have laughed at the efforts.

I had a bad feeling about how all this was going to turn out, that none of our lads were going to be The Next Big Thing. I stumbled over the edge of the carpet while making my most threatening move. The director did not look impressed.

As I write this on Tuesday afternoon, there are still hopeful faces around my office, that somehow, Madonna is still looking at our auditions, and deciding that one of our lads is “like a virgin” just waiting to be discovered.

Alas, it doesn’t look like it. Oh, excuse me, my cell phone has just started to ring. Sorry, got to go, it just might be You Know Who!

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