What was Robert Kraft thinking?
That was the reaction many people had Wednesday when they saw the now-infamous audition tape, the one featuring the Patriots owner and his much younger, bikini-clad lady friend, Ricki Noel Lander, reading lines for the upcoming Vince Vaughn -Owen Wilson movie, “The Internship.”
In the video, which lasts 1 minute and 40 seconds, Lander reads for the role of a stripper named Mary Elena, and the Pats poobah plays one of her sad sack strip-club admirers. Kraft has a couple of clichéd lines — “I’ll stop if you let me buy you a drink” — before uttering a profanity and throwing a mock punch at a guy he perceives as a romantic rival. (By midafternoon, Fox, the studio producing “The Internship,” had yanked the video.)
Asked about the leaked reel Wednesday, Kraft, who’s met Vaughn and Wilson, issued this statement: “I tried to help Ricki prepare an audition tape for an upcoming Vince Vaughn-Owen Wilson comedy by reading Wilson’s lines. I never intended that it would be made public and I regret that it has. I think we can all agree that Owen Wilson has nothing to worry about. I am going to stick to my day job.”
The tape confirms that Kraft has no future in Hollywood. But what about Lander? The 30-something actress, who grew up in Salt Lake City, has a rather modest resume, which includes playing a model on “Ugly Betty” and a small role in a 2011 episode of “True Blood.”
We asked a New York casting director, Harley Kaplan , to take a look at the video and give us his opinion of Lander’s acting chops. Kaplan, whose credits include episodes of “Sex and the City” and the independent films “Jack and Diane” and “For Ellen,” among others, was not optimistic about her acting future, either.
“Do you want me to be brutally honest?” he asked us. “The body shot at the beginning is the best part and then it all goes downhill. She comes off as very stiff. There’s no nuance, no character. Acting isn’t just about memorizing the lines. It’s about having the character under your skin.”
If Kraft hoped his presence might catch the eye of the moviemakers, giving Lander a leg up on the competition, it backfired, said Kaplan.
“You don’t have readers in the tape because they tend to bring you down,” he said. “Casting directors will see a bad actor and it will make the other actor worse, and that’s what happens in this. . . . I hate to say it, but this is so bad I had to watch it a couple of times.”