Jesse Heiman, the nerd who makes out with Bar Refaeli in the Go Daddy Super Bowl ad, has just kissed anonymity goodbye.
His agent's phone "is ringing off the hook," he told The Huffington Post on Friday. Women at some of his media stops on Friday emerged from their cubicles to take pictures with him.
All because he kissed a girl. But not just any girl. The spectacle of a cherubic Heiman locking lips with a supermodel earned widespread attention.
"This is beyond what I imagined," he said to HuffPost. "This is very life-changing. I'm looking forward to whatever comes next."
Go Daddy's "Perfect Match" will air in the first quarter of Sunday's game. In the spot (watch below), Heiman, playing a Go Daddy tech named Walter, open-mouth kisses Refaeli to illustrate how the domain-name registrar merges smart and sexy.
Heiman, 34 and single, was born in Boston and lived in Austin, Texas before graduating from Texas State University in San Marcos. He has worked as a bit actor in Los Angeles since 2000. A YouTube video billing him as the World's Greatest Extra" has collected around 3 million hits. He said he might be best known for doing several cameos on NBC's spy comedy "Chuck" until he finally got a line to speak in the final episode.
When Go Daddy contacted him at first, he thought it was because he had a website account with the company to promote his work. But it turned out that Go Daddy needed a supermodel smoocher. He auditioned first by kissing a blowup doll. On the call-back he got to suck face with a stand-in for Refaeli (who happened to be pretty as well, he said).
The actor lost out on the part at first but recalled that Go Daddy Executive Chairman Bob Parsons interceded. "We needed a lovable geek," said Greg DiNoto, chief creative officer of the ad agency Deutsch NY, which made the commercial with director Mike Maguire of Biscuit Filmworks. "We needed, 'Oh my god is she really kissing him?' We needed someone who would treat the moment with reverence."
Then came the big shoot, Jan. 4, at Universal Studios in Los Angeles. While Refaeli and commercial host Danica Patrick got their makeup done, Heiman applied lip balm, he said, and kept caking it on. The kissing was awkward at first, he recalled, but then they got into a rhythm. "It's a job," he said. "We're both smart and sexy business people. We understand what it takes to produce."
He discussed his career with Refaeli and commercial host Danica Patrick between takes, which soon grew beyond 45, he recalled. Go Daddy showed Super Bowl broadcaster CBS a few versions that were a tad spicy for a national audience. Too much tongue, too much everything, he confirmed.
But even the approved spot shocked viewers and critics when it was posted Friday on YouTube. USA Today called it "gross, disturbing." But that's OK. There are worse things to be known for than the geek who kissed Bar Refaeli during the Super Bowl.
Said Heiman: "It's a dream come true."