Marco Perella, Foreword by Molly Ivins. Bloomsbury (St. Martin's, dist.). $24.95 (224p) ISBN 1-58234-155-9
In this well-written, laugh-out-loud account of an actor's almost Zelig-like film and television career, often playing thuggish character parts, Texan actor Perella both pokes fun at and admits to his pretensions. "I decide that my motivation is to save J. Edgar Hoover from the Mafia before they release photos of him in drag," he wisecracks about his bit role as an FBI agent in JFK.
Aspiring actors and entertainment trivia nuts alike will enjoy Perella's witty perspective, including his deconstruction of made-for-TV and B-movie plots: "Tonight James Coburn gets impaled on his backyard satellite dish. My part consists of continuing to be dead."
For the most part, Perella's humor is gentle, although he does skewer some celebs, including Charlie Sheen, Judd Nelson, Kevin Costner and Ned Beatty; yet presumably because he's a politically astute minor actor who wants to remain in the profession, his touch remains light. But when Perella discusses some of the dangerous stunts he's been asked to perform, we glimpse the serious underbelly of all the belly laughs.
There's also the rather depressing advice he gives to his acting students: never be an extra or stand-in, because it gets you nowhere. Still, just as his students do, Perella disregards such warnings and relishes his crazy craft. So, too, will his readers. (June 12)
Forecast: Perella will launch his wry account of the ridiculousness and rewards of show biz with an event at Book People in Austin, Tex., to be hosted by Molly Ivins. From there, he will tour the Lone Star State and then head to Los Angeles. Expect solid niche sales.