Entertainment And News

Man Who Pretended To Be Dead For 321 Days Straight Lands An Acting Role On CSI

Photo: TikTok
Josh Nalley is lying motionless

Josh Nalley, a native of Elizabethtown, Kentucky, lacks any acting experience, yet he possesses an uncanny talent for portraying the deceased. It turns out that lying motionless in different settings really can pay off! But it took much dedication to achieve his dream of landing an acting role. After almost a year, Hollywood finally called for his expertise.

“I originally got this idea after seeing a woman on TikTok posting about hot sauce and then she got offers from a bunch of hot sauce companies,” he said.

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He pretended to be dead for 321 days straight and landed a role as a dead boy on CSI.

Nalley posts to the video-sharing app TikTok of him, lying motionless. Usually, he’s outside in a rural area, face to the ground. On occasion, he switches it up and slumps himself against a tree or a cement wall.



His natural ability caught the attention of the immensely popular CBS show “CSI: Vegas,” where he has been cast as a lifeless character in an upcoming episode. Nalley, who works as a restaurant manager, leaped at the opportunity he had been aiming for nearly a year.

“I received an email from CBS stating that they had come across my TikTok videos and wanted to offer me the role,” Nalley shared with the Courier Journal in 2022. “Initially, I couldn’t believe it, but they flew me out to California. It turned out that Mario Van Peebles was directing that particular episode, so not only did I get cast in the show, but I also had the opportunity to meet him, which was fantastic.”

Nalley was invited to the “CSI” set after Los Angeles-based show producers stumbled upon his macabre yet amusing series of TikToks. He explained that he doesn’t feel comfortable having any lines in an acting role. 

“I’m not a fan of speaking on camera, but lying there and acting dead comes naturally to me,” he said.

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Nalley often enlists the help of animals to create the videos, which have occasionally involved goats. 

Notably, on day 313, he lies facedown in a field with some walking around him while one goes up and sniffs him. In an amusing take on his unchanging pose, he put his clothes on a fake skeleton for day 311, where a dog walks in the frame. 

Photo: TikTok

“I’ve learned that it’s best to incorporate some movement in the videos, so they don’t appear as still photographs,” he shared with the Courier Journal. “One of my dogs remains curious about what I’m doing, while the other simply wanders by and then wanders off.”

When he traveled to California for his debut on “CSI: Vegas,” CBS producers took Nalley to the Hollywood Walk of Fame to capture one of his now-famous “un-alive” videos.

“They wanted me to pose next to Marg Helgenberger’s star, a CSI legend and had asked me to bring a towel to lay on because the sidewalk is really dirty, but I forgot,” he recalled. “So instead of lying facedown, I turned over on my side and played dead. The only issue was that the sidewalk was scorching hot.”

Photo: TikTok

For his television debut, he spent two hours in makeup and then remained perfectly still on a gurney for three or four takes until the scene was just right. His makeup featured a Y-shaped incision on his torso. Despite his natural talent, the take didn’t go perfectly the first time!

“We had to redo one take because I had my phone in my pocket and forgot to turn it off,” he admitted. “Of course, it was a telemarketer calling. That was quite embarrassing.”

He plans to continue his work as a restaurant manager but hasn’t given up his budding acting career! Nalley's prowess has garnered several offers to play the same role in a music video and a few low-budget movies. But after his CSI gig, it seems that he is more choosy with his offers.

Nalley has continued to post to TikTok more videos of him lifeless until he’s cast again in another movie or TV show. As of June 6th, he’s on day 211. 

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Ethan Cotler is a writer living in Boston. His writing covers entertainment, news and human interest stories.