Dentist's altar ego trip on 'Sex and the City'
Dr. Bruce A. Sims on "Sex and the City"
By Beth Whitehouse
August 7, 2002
Look out, Big. There's a new man in the City.
Sands Point resident Bruce A. Sims thought he'd just be a run-of-the-mill extra when he tried out for a spot on "Sex and the City" during the HBO hit's open casting call last month at Kitchen Kabaret in East Hills.
But when he showed up for the July 18 filming at Old Westbury Gardens, the 44-year-old dentist was cherry-picked for a (slightly) bigger role: Best man at the season finale's wedding scene, set to air Sept. 8.
And guess who's getting hitched? No, not one of the fab four.
Sims, slim and dark-haired, stood by the Broadway legend's side for two hours as the groom said his vows during take after take. "When they said, 'You may now kiss the bride,' he grabbed her and kissed her. He dipped her right in front of me. This is going on right by my belly," Sims said during an interview in his home last week. He's pretty certain he won't end up on the cutting-room floor.
"The camera was right at them, and right at me. I have to be in the scene. Unless they only got my shoulder."
Initially Sims had balked at playing the best man when a crew member informed him he'd been selected. "I said, 'Do I have to?' And he said, 'Yes.' I said, 'Well, I never acted before. Do I have to speak?' He said, 'No. You just have to stand next to Nathan Lane.'"
Sims was quite willing to dish the intimate details of his personal experience as an extra, but he stopped short of revealing what Lane says during the outdoor scene - he will say only that the vows were comical. And, as for any plot info, well, he wasn't even informed. All he knows is that it's a wedding scene that is supposed to be in the Hamptons, and that Carrie, Charlotte, Samantha, Miranda and her baby all are guests. An HBO spokeswoman confirmed that much, but wouldn't elaborate, saying she didn't want to give away too much of the juicy stuff in advance.
Sims isn't sure why he was picked from the extras crowd to play the best man, but he thinks it was his suit. He spent hours shopping and settled on an $800 seersucker number on sale for 40 percent off. While the "Sex and the City" people brought him to wardrobe and had him try a number of different outfits, including one with a purple and pink bow tie, in the end they had him put his original clothes back on.
The filming required the extras to work from the hot summer afternoon - Sims said at some points it was in the 90s - through the night until sunrise on two consecutive days. "Ugh, it was horrible," Sims said. "When I think about it, I had a great time. But staying up was grueling."
At one point he caught up to Kim Cattrall, who plays the sexpot Samantha, walking off the set, and tried to strike up a conversation. "Can you believe they're making us work in this heat in these clothes?" he asked her casually.
"Yup," she said, and that was the extent of the exchange.
Because he was best man, Sims got the chance to go into the Screen Actors Guild tent - where he bumped into the pregnant Sarah Jessica Parker, who shot him a big smile when he said hello. During the filming, he was treated like, well, Nathan Lane. A person he nicknamed his "bodyguard" was assigned specifically to him to keep track of his whereabouts. Others would come to check up on his face. "They would come and dab my forehead and put on a little more makeup," Sims said.
Sims' brush with the glitterati has caused quite a buzz among the staff and patients in his Forest Hills dental office. "They're saying, 'Oh, am I going to have to find a new dentist? You're going to be a star, we know it!'"
Said Sims' wife, Lisa: "Now when the phone rings, people don't really want to talk to me. They want to speak to Bruce, or talk about Bruce."
Sims plans to watch the show with his wife, who is a trust and estates lawyer, and perhaps some friends or fellow extras, with whom Sims bonded during the two-day experience.
"My only regret," said Lisa, "is that the kids won't be able to watch it." Jeffrey is 8 and Brian is 6, and the show's content is too racy, she said, though they may allow them to watch portions of a tape of the show so they can see Dad.
For his work, Sims earned about $75 a day. (He didn't have to cancel any dental appointments because he took the first day, a Friday, off.) Sims said he plans to chronicle his experience on his Web site, www.foresthillsdentist. com. A friend is starting a fan club for him. And, he's already been called by the casting people and asked to be an extra in an upcoming movie. "I could do a one-liner next time," Sims joked. "I think I can move up."
Copyright © 2002, Newsday, Inc.