When I first entered my current career, my office space was next to the San Jose Film Commission. The Commission’s director at the time was a great guy named Joe O’Kane. Joe liked to joke, and he and I often laughed together. Joe was a very good film commissioner who brought several motion pictures as well as many TV commercials to the San Jose area. Well, one-day he told me the movie “The Rookie” would be filming at the new Mineta San Jose International Airport. He went on to tell me Clint Eastwood was directing and starring in the movie along with Charlie Sheen, Raul Julia and Sonia Braga. I immediately joked that if Joe got me on the movie set, I would get my photo taken with Ms. Braga! He took the friendly bet. We wagered nothing, but pride to see if I could or couldn’t do it.
At that time, Sonia Braga was somewhat known in the U.S. having been nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress in “Kiss of the Spider Woman.” She also was known as the Marilyn Monroe of South America or at least that’s how Joe described her. One late evening, since the movie was filmed mostly in the middle of the night, I arrived at the parking garage at Terminal A at the airport. Interestingly enough, at the same time I began walking from the garage into the Terminal, I saw a young woman wearing a sky blue plain spring dress with no make-up going the same way just ahead of me. When we made it into the airport and time came to get pass security, everyone on the movie set treated her like royalty. I was impressed, but had no idea who she could be. (More on her later). When my time came to get past security, I did as Joe told me, I showed them his business card! Yes, that’s how I got on the movie set of “The Rookie.”
Once on the set, I remembered my bet with Joe, but immediately joined a few people standing behind the big motion picture camera as Clint Eastwood directed Charlie Sheen’s character to shoot and kill Sonia Braga’s character. (See photo below right). It was exciting being on the movie set watching Eastwood direct this key scene. I still remember the first take, when Eastwood yelled “cut” and everyone laughed as in the background someone had flushed the toilet at the airport restroom! The next take was good though and soon everyone took a break.
Next thing I know I’m standing in front of Charlie Sheen, another actor dressed in a police officer’s uniform and the young woman I saw walking in from the garage. I didn’t know at the time, but after watching “Inside Edition” the next evening I found out that young woman was “Ginger Lynn.” Ginger Lynn it turns out is one of the all-time famous porn stars! Ok… back to my bet with Joe.
During the break, I went looking for Sonia Braga to try for that photo. I walked further down the Terminal and, unbelievably, there she was with really no one around. I had known that she had been staying at the Radisson San Jose from Joe, so I immediately asked her about her stay in San Jose and told her my job was to promote the city. I asked if she had been to this place or that place, and then she said to me “I wish I would have met you sooner!” It’s true. She probably meant nothing by it, but still was nice to hear from the same woman who had just broken up with Robert Redford! Needless to say maybe, I got my photo with Sonia Braga. I won the bet!