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Rob Reiner Needed One Good Neophyte Actor for 'Few Good Men'

Faces . . .

December 05, 1992|SUSAN KING

One of the most famous chapters from the annals of Hollywood is the tale of Lana Turner's discovery at the old Schwab's Drug Store. Perhaps Wolfgang Bodison's "star is born" story will become Hollywood legend.

Bodison, 25, plays Lance Cpl. Dawson, a young Marine accused of murdering a member of his platoon, in Rob Reiner's new film "A Few Good Men," which opens Friday. Bodison, who appears opposite Jack Nicholson, Tom Cruise and Demi Moore in the courtroom drama, had never acted before in his life. In fact, Bodison, who originally wanted to be a director, was the film's location manager when Reiner asked him to audition for the part of Dawson.

As fate would have it, Bodison was at the right place at the right time. Bodison was strolling through the halls of the production offices on a break at the same time Reiner was. "We struck up a conversation," Bodison says. "He said, 'Wolf, have you ever acted? Have you ever thought about acting?' He said he had been trying to cast somebody for this role and why (not) come in and audition. I said sure. I thought it was something interesting to do."

Going from location manager, though, to co-star was a bit unsettling. "I remember I was in rehearsals. It was a scene where Tom and I go at each other and we were staring one another in the face. I broke out in a grin and Rob asked, 'What's the matter?' I said, 'You don't understand. Yesterday, I was taking pictures as a location manager and today I am staring Tom Cruise in the face. Something is not right here. This is way too much.' "

Bodison, who enlisted the help of an acting teacher to prepare him for the audition, said it was strange when he saw himself on the silver screen for the first time. "It just throws your perception of yourself completely out the window. You don't look like you think you look and you don't sound like you think you sound. Once I got over that, it was fun."

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