Jamie Elman lived on Greenwood Avenue in Côte Saint-Luc for 20 years and attended Jewish People’s and Peretz Schools (JPPS) and Bialik High School in the same municipality.
Now aged 33, but looking much younger, Jamie pursued a career as an actor immediately after graduating from high school. It is a big gamble, with so few individuals actually making it in the business. His first brush with stardom in the business in 1997 when he landed the lead role of Cody Miller in the YTV/Fox sitcom Student Bodies. It aired for three seasons, gained a cult following and set the wheels in motion for his move to Hollywood permanently in 2000. He has been one of the lucky ones, landing a number of television and movie roles. Besides appearing in such well known programs as Without a Trace, Criminal Minds, CSI New York, Crossing Jordan, and Mad Men, he won the role of Luke Foley in the NBC drama American Dreams for three seasons (2002-2005). He played the love interest of Brittany Snow, who subsequently went on to star in Hairspray.
In terms of his own favorite TV shows, Elman says he was always partial to Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm. It was therefore the thrill of a lifetime in 2007 when he got called to be a guest star in an episode of Curb. His entire scene was with the show’s star and creator Larry David, also the genius behind Seinfeld. He played a bartender at a party hosted by Ted Danson. David strikes up a conversation and asks him why he is wearing a bow tie. When Jamie indicates it was Danson’s idea, David tells him he will raise the matter with the host. The back and forth between Elman and David
Here is that scene and a few of his other appearances:
“Curb is completely improvised,” Elman notes. “I auditioned for the role with Larry David himself. They tell you the situation and you come up with the lines. Guest starring in that show was a dream come true.”
It was also an inspiration for Elman’s new project, Crazy/Sexy/Awkward of which he is the star, co-writer and producer. For now, this is a series available exclusively on the internet at www.crazysexyawkward.com. Set in the singles scene of present-day Los Angeles, each episode is about six minutes long and follows gun-shy romantic Ben (Elman) as he tries to re-enter the dating game after a year of mourning his last relationship with his first love, Rachel. Joining Ben in his efforts, for better or worse, are Sebastien and Ashley, his hyperactive best friend and alluring neighbour, respectively played by Jewish actors Jason Kaufman and Maité Schwartz Each episode finds Sebastien and Ashley dragging Ben, kicking and screaming, into another opportunity to end his self-imposed celibacy, and follows the humiliating results as Ben pursues women with a single-mindedness that proves time and again to be his downfall.
The show is being produced and financed by Atomic Wedgie, the digital comedy production arm of Hollywood giant FremantleMedia, which is behind such top programs as American Idol and The Price is Right.
Elman and his co-writer Jerome Sable, who like him grew up in Côte Saint-Luc, pitched the idea to Freemantle and they liked it. Anyone who watches the webisodes will see the similarity of Elman’s character to David on Curb Your Enthusiasm and George Costanza on Seinfeld.
“The biggest compliment I have received so far is from people who ask if the script is improvised like Curb,” says Elman. “It is not, at least 90 percent of what we do is scripted.”
Elman says that his friend Sable was pursuing a graduate degree in film from the University of Southern California. When Elman found out Sable’s teacher was Michael Watkins, who directed him in American Dreams, he decided to collaborate on a short film which turned out to be the pilot of Sexy/Crazy/Awkward.
“We pitched it to Freemantle and they loved it,” Elman said. “We auditioned for the cast. I never met Jason or Maité before, yet we come across on film as real life best friends. As a crew, we had some of the brightest young minds from USC.”
The episodes were shot a year ago. Post production took place during the summer while the sound was completed in the fall by Montreal’s Wave Generation, an outfit which includes Jamie’s brother Michael.
Internet buzz about the show is excellent. It has been screened in Los Angeles and while in Montreal just prior to Passover Elman premiered all six episodes for close friends and family at the Segal Centre of the Arts CineSpace. Efforts are now been made to have it carried on American and Canadian television and for to develop 30 minute episodes.
Elman is keeping busy with other projects. He just filmed a two episode guest spot on the CBS daytime soap opera The Young and the Restless, which will air April 23 and 26. He’ll appear in the big screen soon in The Chicago 8, based on actual court transcripts of eight anti-war protesters on trial for conspiring to cause riots at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. One of his co-stars is David Julian Hirsch, another Montreal born Jewish actor who has done well in Hollywood. Elman will also appear in the sci-fi drama The Scientist.