The music industry has many amazing success stories, but few artists reach the status of superstar and an even smaller number are able to maintain a level of hysteria in their audience. To capture an audience and hold their interest over a period of years is no small task. With that kind of talent, to excite constantly, with an unyielding fervour, may very well be the lot of Michael Jackson. The Jackson magic has touched a lot of people. When it was time to do the video for his new record, some very lucky young actors, one in particular, was touched by Michael’s magic. “I am not going to lie. It was the most exciting time in my life. Here I was, Sam Bono, working with Michael Jackson. It was really a dream come true”. Sam told us in an exclusive interview.
New York actor / model Sam Bono grew up listening to the music of the Jacksons. Sam confessed that he had often dreamed of sharing the stage with his favourite group and to have a small part in the Jackson video was a perfect Christmas gift. “It was hard to believe” – he said, sharing his initial reaction. “I got a call from my casting agent. He asked me if I would be available for the next two weeks. Being the unemployed actor that I am most of the time, naturally I sad “yes”. He then told me “Michael Jackson is in town doing a video, would you be available to work on it? “.I jokingly said “Let me check my calendar” Then I screamed “Yes!”
Next Sam told about the audition. “I went in to read for the casting person. He liked me and asked me to return the next day. That’s when I read for Martin Scorsese. He liked me. In a few days I got a call saying that I had this small part “I flipped”. The video for the song ‘Bad’ is loosely based on a true story from the pages of a newspaper. Michael plays a youngster named Darryl. He is an inner city kid that attends a mostly white prep school. They shot these scenes at the Master’s School in Dobbs Ferry. New York. Bono has vivid memories of his days of shooting his scenes. “I woke up, looked in the mirror and said “Bono and Jackson. Well this is the day. I was so Excited”.
Sam said that he ran to meet the bus that took him to the the set. He said that he just stared out of the window all the way to the school. He was wondering what the day was going to be like. He said that when they finally arrived there were enough trucks, cameras and crew for a major motion picture. Sam and a number of other actors were taken into a classroom where they awaited Jackson’s arrival. Bond recalls “We waited about an hour then Michael’s limo arrived. I saw him get out with the mask on. But that was the only time that he wore it, and I think that was only because of the photographers that were there. He walked into the classroom with his security guard and two local policemen. There was total silence in the room. You could have heard a pin drop. Michael didn’t say much he just looked around then took a seat. Sam said that Michael appeared to be very shy and avoided eye contact with anyone other than his staff. Sam said that Michael was nice and friendly, but quiet.
The producer Quincy Jones, had rented a commuter train to shoot some of the scenes in. That is where Sam says that he got to know the real Michael “In the classroom Michael would do his scenes then go back into his trailer. However, when we were doing the train scenes, there was no trailer for him to get into. And none of his security or other staff could be around, which is what I liked. They were not allowed in the car, because we were filming and they would have been seen on film. “That is when I really got to know him” Sam offered. “It was just us, the camera and the director. That is when he opened up. He let loose. We talked about everything from the weather to his Thriller video. He was like a regular guy and he was very professional.” Sam said that after seeing Michael smothered by his staff, it was good to see Michael left alone and allowed to be himself. Mike told Sam that he really got a charge out of doing the Thriller video. It seems that the monsters gave him a real thrill.
Bono said that he and Michael talked about girls and family. Sam got a surprise reaction to the Mary Wilson Book. He recalls. “Being that we were on the train for 5 hours and we spent a lot of time waiting. I pulled a book out of my bag. It was the new Mary Wilson Book ‘Dreamgirl’. I asked Michael if he would write something in the book for me. When I handed the book to him he looked almost shocked. Michael said “Are you reading this book?”. I said “Yes have you read it?”. He said “I won’t read this book..Mary is so jealous of Diana. You should have seen her at the Motown 25th special.. He just went on and on recounting, as if I was there” Sam recalls. So I jokingly said to him that I knew just what he was talking about, I spoke to Diana last night. She said to tell him Hi.. and we both laughed about that”.
Sam said that Michael spoke with pride about the new album. Sam said that there is no doubt in his mind that Michael is a genius. He said that Michael spent most of his free time composing songs in his head. Bono remembered, “Between takes, you would bear this incredible singing and humming Michael would be running these tunes off the top of his head. They were good enough to be pressed into records. Everything that comes out of that kid’s mouth is golden”.
The cast and crew rode the commuter train for five hours, back and forth shooting over and over. When the director finally said that it was a wrap, the train started back toward the school. Michael spotted the conducter, Sam continued. “Michael asked him “Could you show me how the train works?” The conducter was more than thrilled to take him by the hand and walk him up to the front of the car. He took Michael into the cabin and showed him all the controls. Michael seemed fascinated. The guy let Michael take control of the train. We started going slow, then we jerked. I yelled out to the others “Michael is driving the train.” An older lady yelled out “Oh My God” but everyone else was amused. I told Michael “Go for it, Mike, give it some more power”. The conductor showed Michael the horn and he just laid on it”.
The word had gotten out that Michael Jackson was around and fans were all over the train station. As Michael pulled the train into the station he could see all the fans with his pictures, posters, buttons and albums. You can’t imagine the amazement in one boy’s eyes as he jumped up and down screaming “Mummy, Mummy look, Michael Jackson is driving the train!
Michael had made that day unforgettable for a number of people. That included Sam. With his many print modelling jobs and walk ons with All My Children, Sam is far from a newcomer in the business. Nevertheless this was a special day for Sam. Michael has a way of touching people’s lives in a wonderful way and they don’t forget him easily. With a producer like Quincy Jones and a director like Martin Scorsese and one of the largest budgets ever ‘Bad’ was destined to be awesome. But only one element could make the project magical, and that’s ..Michael Jackson!
Watch Bad The Short Film –
With thanks to Michael Jackson Archives for posting the Original Focus Magazine.
The World’s Baddest Video by Curtis Marlow ~ typed complete from Magazine article by UK loves MJ and posted on Facebook.