Lajes lieutenant 'suspends' duty for big-screen role
Stars and Stripes June 21, 2003
NAVAL STATION ROTA, Spain — Lt. Jon Goodman stars in his own video skits that lampoon Air Force colonels and commanders departing their posts at Lajes Field in the Azores.
He produces the short movies on his home computer hoping to liven up the typically boring farewell parties. But he never expected the tiny flicks would land him a leading role on the big screen.
Next month, Goodman will begin filming “Suspended,” a full-length, low-budget movie set in the Azores. Michael Baltazar, technical director for “Stars Wars” Episodes I and II, is directing the film.
When producers approached him with the starring role, Goodman didn’t believe it initially.
“When they first told me about it, I thought it was a joke,” said Goodman, Lajes flight commander for plans and implementation flights.
After talking to his commander about taking the part, he still thought someone was playing a prank on him in retaliation for his videos.
“He walked out of the office and said, ‘Wow, looks like you’re going to be a movie star.’ Still at that point, I kind of thought, ‘Yeah right. What’s the catch here? What am I missing? Who played a joke on me?’ ”
It wasn’t until he started getting scripts from Hollywood writer Megan Peterson, who has worked with director Robert Zemeckis of “Forrest Gump” and “Cast Away” fame, that he started to realize it was for real. Not to be confused with the burly Hollywood actor John Goodman, the Air Force officer’s only drama experience has been in the seventh and eighth grades of school.
Although he is a little nervous about his first film, he is more excited about the chance to see his name in the rolling credits.
“If nothing comes out of it, it wouldn’t matter to me. Just that I’m here to say, ‘Hey, I did this.’ I can’t tell you how ecstatic and excited I am to say I have the opportunity.”
The movie is about a man who has an accident and gets amnesia. When he finally regains his memory, he has to make the difficult decision about the life he has and the life he wants.
Paulo Feliciano, audiovisual production specialist for the marketing department of the base’s 65th Services Squadron, recommended Goodman to Peterson for the part. Feliciano also is working on the movie.
Producers are planning to cram most of the filming into one month and release the flick sometime in the fall. Goodman is taking his personal leave to work on the film. His only pay will come if the film makes any money.
The film co-stars Ilaria Oaklander, an Italian-born actress that has starred in such low-budget films as “Terminator Cop” and “Vampire Assassin.”
Several distribution companies are interested in the movie, according to Feliciano’s Web site. Producers hope to have the movie shown at several film festivals in the United States and Europe.
Most people on the island are reportedly ecstatic about the Azores’ first full-length film, which is expected to premiere on Terceira Island. Goodman jokes about getting an agent. However, he wouldn’t mind working on other films in the future.
“I would certainly consider it if the opportunity is there to go farther and carry on,” he said. “But first and foremost, I love the Air Force; my career is in the Air Force.”