How To Go From Stand-Up To Star of An Ang Lee Movie in Two Easy StepsS

It's every actor's (and visual-aid-friendly comedian's) dream: James Schamus calls you up out of the blue, and asks you to come in for a "general meeting."

A month later, you're informed that you'll appear in every single scene of Ang Lee's new movie, Taking Woodstock. That's pretty much how it happened to Demetri Martin, who'll play the film's hero, Elliot Tiber—a young, Jewish gay from upstate New York who found himself, by sheer happenstance, mounting the generation-defining cultural event of its time.

Martin described the experience to AfterElton:

"James Schamus, the head of Focus Features, called my agents and said, ‘Hey, I want to meet with Demetri, just a general meeting.' Okay. So I went in to Focus, and I just met with the guy. He was really nice. He just asked me questions about what I was working on. Great, well, good to meet you. We just talked about music and plans, just writing things."

[One month later] Schamus wanted to meet with him again – only this time with Ang Lee and about a specific role.

"I went into the Ang Lee meeting and I had read the book and they're like, ‘I don't know how much you know, but we want to do this movie. We're kind of interested in you as a character. We're not going into as much of the like underground New York gay scene and that stuff. We're focusing more on the family relationship and this guy's personal journey, as a gay person who is in the closet in 1969 as that relates to making Woodstock happen and finding yourself as a generation is finding itself.'"

A week later Schamus asked Martin to come back and read for Lee.

"I did four scenes [and] I was like, this is a long shot, but this is for real now. And then two days later, they were like, ‘Okay. We'll do this with you.' Wow! I'm in every scene in that movie! It's crazy! I'd been in like two or three movies before and did like two scenes, tops. Now I'm in every scene, and I'm working with Ang Lee?"

We're dying to see this, even though we fear this particular casting may become the un-bendy straw that finally breaks the gay camel's back with regards to straight actors winning juicy gay roles. How ironic it would be if Taking Woodstock incited its own Stonewall riot, with hundreds of angry, out-of-work gay actors storming out the doors of Starbucks WeHo, chanting, "What do we want? Parts! When do we want them? Now! What will settle for? Featured extra! When we settle for it? Also now!"