Someone on the crew told us that the cans we were holding cost $300 each. They were specially made to not include the ingredients and calories and what not. On set, the cans were called the "Heroes."
I had auditioned against more than 1,000 other young guys, or so I had been told. I still remember rehearsing during the callback audition and deciding to be the guy who sang the high notes. They kept switching the combination of four guys over and over again for hours and somehow I kept getting invited back into the room.
Our director was Sam Bayer whose claim to fame at the time was the Smells Like Teen Spirit video for Nirvana. He was eccentric. Stories of him floated around set constantly, like of him throwing phones and smashing them to pieces on the ground.
We shot for three days on the lot at Twentieth Century Fox. One of my fellow actors had done a lot of work for Mountain Dew and he was stoned most of the shoot. On the final day they brought in 300 extras to hold candles in the air.
I got to wear a gorgeous long suede jacket from Barney's of New York that they sold to me after the shoot for half the price they had paid, which had already been half price. I loved that coat for years until someone stole it from the back of a friend's car.
The spot aired for the first time during the Super Bowl in 2000. We were the first commercial after the 2nd half kickoff--prime commercial real estate. I was sitting with my friends and family in my apartment under the Hollywood sign and they smashed my face in a chocolate cake after it aired.
We were named one of the best three spots that year and the commercial went on to be the first one ever played on the big screen before a film. You're welcome.
That was my first commercial and also the highest paying commercial gig of my career. I would walk down to the mailbox and open what seemed like free money in the mail. Frequently thousands of dollars at a time, and often times there were new checks showing up nearly every day. To this day I enjoy checking the mail.
More than the money and more than the achievement, that commercial meant so much to me and still does because I was part of something iconic. We were singing Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody for crying out loud. I was working with a guy who was considered to be a prolific director. I was hanging out on the "Fox Lot". Life was good. Or so I thought.
Eventually I left Hollywood because using my talents to sell sugar water to kids wasn't what I was born to do. But I'll tell you something. I've never felt cooler.