Bruce Boudreau's (D.C.) Acting Debut
When Bruce Boudreau met with the folks from American Service Center & Mercedes-Benz of Alexandria about his upcoming TV spots, he announced that he had some thoughts about the scripts.
"I'm thinking, 'Oh now, now he's writing the scripts?' " recalled Audrey Mulholland, the dealership's marketing director (and a longtime Caps season ticket holder).
"Ok," the Caps coach suggested, "S550 with the top down and a gorgeous 22-year old blond in the passenger seat."
That was pretty much the spirit during today's filming of the two spots, which will appear on Comcast SportsNet during Caps broadcasts starting next month. In the first spot, Boudreau is obsessively concerned about the cupholders on the ML he's scouting; "What about the cupholders?" he asked on cue for the cameras, about 40,000 times. (Get it, "Cup" holder?)
One time, he called it a popholder. Another time he lost the words; "what's my line, I've gone blank," he said. Director Matt Walker offered advice on the intonation; "really push the cupholders line; you're damn serious about the cupholders," Walker said encouragingly. "What about the [bleepin'] cupholders?" Boudreau offered.
At various points, the coach was asked to work on his body angle and facial expressions, talked about his love of Abba, borrowed collar stays from the dealership's general manager and shouted out "That's a cut! That's a take?" after a successful scene.
"You know, I first joined SAG in 1975," he said, during a brief break. "I want a star on my office door from now on," he told a Caps PR guy during another break. He also asked for slippers.
Boudreau will join Wizards coach Eddie Jordan as a Mercedes pitchman; you might recall those spots of Jordan maniacally wielding a t-shirt gun and putting the salesmen on a shot clock inside a dealership. After the Caps success last season, the Mercedes folks wanted hockey-themed spots in the same vein; they thought about signing up Alex Ovechkin, who actually owns a Mercedes, but decided Boudreau was a more fitting spokesman.
"He created such a persona for himself," Mulholland explained. "Mercedes is an aspirational car, and I think Bruce is a really great aspirational story. It was really good for us; like the common man feel. When he came in here he was driving an Impala. To me, it just went with his whole story. It's like, he's arrived."
Indeed, the Impala has now been parked in favor of a flint gray Mercedes E350. It's actually a less expensive model than some that he test-drove, but he was most concerned with the size of the trunk (for his son's hockey gear) and the back-seat space (for carting kids to hockey practice). The car has iPod integration; Boudreau doesn't have an iPod.
"I've lived this long without one," he said, when I asked whether he'd now buy one. "Actually, I listen to the navigation guide."
The first shoot took about four hours, during which Boudreau's only request was for the M&M's he had been told were a staple on set. He opened the candy while the crew was working on a shot without him; "I'm just worried the sound's picking up everything," he said quietly. "I was afraid to burp."
Before the shooting started, he took to responding "yes, but what about the cupholders," to everything he was asked; he later joked that he was going to be mumbling about cupholders in his sleep, and would show up for the first day of practice asking his players about puckholders. Finally, the director was satisfied that he had enough material for the 30-second spot, and a lunch break was announced.
"The next one's a 20-minute documentary," Boudreau announced, "so we might be here for a while."
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