A lot of people have asked who are the worst people you’ve ever worked with. Sammy Sosa is up there. The spot was for Pepsi and the Baseball All-Star Game. It involves Sosa ‘stealing’ Griffey’s Pepsi and Griffey fouling balls in to the dugout to stop him. First problem, Griffey shows up early and Sosa shows up late.
They were only needed for an hour or two each, so we staggered the call times so their time wouldn’t be wasted waiting for the other. Sosa’s being late wrecked that idea, but he was scheduled to be filmed first so I had to use diplomatic immunity (bullshit) to explain to Griffey why we were shooting Sosa first. Griffey is a great guy, so he understood.
I don’t think Sosa even went to Griffey when he arrived, he just asked me, ‘What’s Griffey doing here?’ He had no idea what the commercial was about. I explained the idea (that had him diving into the floor of the dugout to avoid the foul ball). It was not that big a deal. He said, ‘I cannot do that.’ There was a fall pad there and the fall was about two feet into the pad. I showed him myself how easy it was and he repeated…’I cannot do that. I could hurt myself.’
This whole thing was reminiscent of the earlier episode with Quincy Watts, where almost superhuman athletes won’t do the simple acts. When I did ROCKABABY with MJ, he would only give me two dunks (one didn’t work).
I go to my producer and tell her I need to keep Sosa’s uniform for an extra to do the ‘act.’ The agency guys come over and ask what’s going. I tell them. We look over to the dugout we’ve built on stage and Sosa is having a heated conversation with his agent.
‘I already asked him. He won’t.’
‘You tell him.’
The agency guys look over there again.
‘Okay, what do we do.’
‘I’ll get a stand-in and we’ll do a head replacement.’
‘That won’t work.’
‘It worked for Henry Kissinger and it will work for Sammy Sosa.’ (A reference to a previous commercial we had done).
‘We did and it did.’