Westside local Alex Scrymgeour depicts Venice’s colorful characters in TV pilot “Eddie’s”
By Anthony Torrise
If there’s one thing Venice is known for, it’s the wide net of creative people it attracts. There are countless personalities that come from all over to see for themselves and contribute whatever they can to this colorful community.
It takes a rather big crew, but thanks to the cast of “Eddie’s,” the new television pilot by Alex Scrymgeour, the full spectrum of those personalities are represented on screen.
Throughout the pilot’s 25 minutes, the motley cast of characters are faced with the possibility of losing their favorite bar on the beach to a vengeful land developer. Not willing to accept defeat, they quickly get to work to prevent the bar’s demolishment. While this is all happening, the staff welcomes a clumsy new employee from Canada named Billy (Jacob Zachor). (Scrymgeour, himself, has lived in Santa Monica for three years after moving from Barcelona.)
The show’s lead character and owner of the bar, Eddie, is played by New York native Eddie McGee who’s tough but fair personality embodies both the West and East coasts. Under Eddie’s employment is May, a surly waitress and aspiring actress with a heart of gold; and Arjun, a waiter with wits who prefers to speak through sarcasm. Among the nine characters is one mysteriously wise patron known as “the captain,” played by George Wendt from the hit TV show “Cheers.”
The character introductions can be overwhelming at times, but once everybody becomes familiar in the pilot’s first half, the rest of the episode allows everybody to mesh naturally. Billy is given a hard time by his co-workers after he drops a tray of beer on a family of tourists, which makes it seem like his job will be short-lived. But in their efforts to save the bar, Billy is brought further into the fold and quickly establishes his spot in the group.
“Eddie’s” beachside setting was inspired by Big Dean’s Ocean Front Cafe in Santa Monica, where McGee actually worked as a bouncer. McGee and Scrymgeour’s 18-year friendship, alongside the bar’s easy-going atmosphere, provided the groundwork for the show.
“It was originally conceived in Big Dean’s in Santa Monica and we placed it in Venice because it’s so iconic, it’s so artistic,” recalls Scrymgeour. “There’s so much flavor. There’s so much everything. There’s so much life in Venice.”
“Eddie’s” is especially meaningful to McGee because of the representation it gives to people with limb differences on film. McGee is an amputee as the result of childhood cancer; growing up he didn’t see many people like himself in movies or on TV.
“When I lost my leg as a young boy I said, ‘Well I can’t be an actor, now,’ because there is no one with one arm, or one leg, or in a wheelchair, or who has a vision impairment or hearing impairment,” says McGee. “There’s nobody with a disability that’s a major player, a real player, on a film, TV show, or soap. There was nobody, really.”
Scrymgeour and his team recently secured a deal with a distribution and production company and are now looking for a broadcaster to pick “Eddie’s” up for a full season. In the event that a broadcaster picks up the show for a first season, Scrymgeour has scripts and an outline ready to go.
“Venice has seen vast changes in the past 50 years and we’re about to see a whole bunch more, unfortunately,” predicts Scrymgeour. “So I think the message is… even though there’s a lot of change, I think what we want to bring, whether to Venice or the greater population, is the feeling of togetherness.”