- The former Muscatine resident took matters into his own hands and moved to the West Coast to make his Hollywood dreams come true — and he’s already made some pretty impressive contacts
MUSCATINE, Iowa — When Cody LaScala was a little boy growing up in Muscatine, he told his mother, Lynette LaScala, he wanted to go to Hollywood and be a movie star when he grew up.
That may not be an unusual dream for a child, but Cody’s mom knew that as difficult as it would be for anyone to make it in Hollywood, it would be more so for her son, who began coping with cerebral palsy at age 1 after nearly drowning in an accident.
But Lynette’s goal was to give her son a full life, which meant not dismissing his hopes with words like “impossible.”
And it’s a good thing, because if she had told Cody he
wasn’t going to Hollywood one day, she would have been wrong.
After growing up in the supportive atmosphere of the Muscatine community, Cody, a 2006 Muscatine High School graduate, was ready to fly.
Four years ago, from his specially equipped assisted living residence at Muscatine’s Harmony Hills, Cody took charge of his life, making phone calls to California, requesting to have his health and daily care services transferred there.
One day, Lynette received a surprising phone call.
“Cody had made all the arrangements to move to Santa Monica,” she said. “Before I knew it, he had relocated himself. He is his own guardian.”
It didn’t take long for Cody, who uses a wheelchair, to learn to cope with his mobility issues. He learned the bus routes in Santa Monica and began traveling far beyond his neighborhood.
As well as she knows her son, Lynette was still surprised when she saw how quickly Cody learned to get from one celebrity-dotted region to another.
“I was really holding him back,” Lynette said during a recent interview when she was visiting family in Muscatine.
Lynette now lives in Los Angeles where her company, Neurological and Physical Rehabilitation Center is based. Her other son, Bryan LaScala, 24, holds a marketing degree from the University of Iowa, and is marketing director for the company.
“That’s really nice, having them close,” said Cody, 25, during a telephone interview from his home in Santa Monica.
But he doesn’t rely on just his family for companionship.
“Everyone knows Cody,” said Lynette. “He’s met so many actors and athletes.”
Cody said he easily meets celebrities by going to the places they frequent and introducing himself.
“I’m not shy about talking to anyone,” he said.
Among his friends are director Michael Bay, who bought Cody an iPad to make it easier for him to communicate.
In October, Cody, 25, met actor George Clooney at the 26th annual Carousel Ball of Hope in Beverly Hills and a photo of the two appeared on Radaronline.com
“I was out with a friend of mine, and he asked me if I wanted to go to a party,” Cody said. “And we went to Beverly Hills.”
When Cody saw Clooney, he told him about his acting dreams.
Cody also told Clooney he thought party guest Carmen Electra was “hot,” and Clooney introduced them. Electra kissed Cody’s cheek, leaving a memory that still elicits hearty laughter from Cody who admits he has been a “big flirt” for many years.
Jo Ann Miller, a public relations branding agent with Next Level Agency in Chicago, met Cody in Santa Monica as she was leaving a Fed Ex building one day and he convinced her to represent him.
Miller said her agency represents brands, not actors, but they made an exception for Cody.
“Cody doesn’t know he has cerebral palsy,” said Miller. “You will see him on screen some day. We have a couple things we’re going to get him casted for. I’m going to make the industry know his name.”
“I will be in movies,” he said with determination.
These days, Cody can also be seen on YouTube, doing stand up comedy, or, as he calls it, “sit-down” comedy, said Lynette.
Footage of Cody singing his original song, “Miss You Girl,” at a memorial for actress Elizabeth Taylor, can also be found on YouTube.
Lynette said Cody recently filmed some small scenes for the new movie, “The Sessions,” which features the story of California writer Mark O’Brien, a polio survivor confined to an iron lung. O’Brien, played by Jack Hawkes, is 38 when he hires a sex surrogate, played by Helen Hunt, to assist him with his dream of losing his virginity.
Because he was part of the filming, Cody is Screen Actors Guild eligible, a valuable asset for any actor, said Lynette.
Lynette said she and Cody attended the premiere of “The Sessions,” where they saw Cody’s scenes had been cut.
“I said, ‘Cody are you OK?’” recalls Lynette. “And he just looked at me and said, ‘That’s Hollywood Mom. You just keep going.’”