Freudian Slips: Arrested Development

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Location: Irony, New Jersey, United States

Life takes us many places. It's a box of chocolates and a Hansel and Gretal trail of candy wrappers. I have filmed as an actor in The Happening, Invincible, The Lovely Bones, The Bounty Hunter, The Greek American, Bazookas, Limitless, TV's Its Always Sunny in Philly, Outlaw, New York, The Warrior, The Nail, Game Change, Cold Case, & commercial work includes The Philadelphia Eagles, Septa, Coors, Turbo Tax & Carnival Cruises. Freudian Slips spotlights irony in short story format.

July 16, 2006

Arrested Development

The director’s email called it a feature background acting role with the camera following my lead for a short scene. It would be used as a flashback filler without dialogue or sound. Given a chance to act for a bit role as a police detective made me dreamy eyed. It is deadpan irony that my best chance to be seen in focus on film may happen during an Eclipse.
The movie Eclipse is a psychological thriller about a religious leader named Eldar and his influence over fellow cult followers. A dilapidated residence in Glen Mills, Pennsylvania provided the major backdrop for the movie. I filmed on the very last day of the two-week shoot when the entire crew mercifully looked for closure.
Since I arrived to the set an hour before cast call, I decided to grab a cup of morning coffee before reporting to work. Wearing a navy blue Lanzetti suit adorned by ice blue aviator sunglasses, I walked into a Dunkin Donuts and ordered partners coffee and donut. The whimsical irony occurred to me before the first donut bite down slithered down my esophagus. In playing a law enforcement official, I was getting into character by stuffing my face inside a donut shop. Dollars to donuts, acts like this dominate the scene in the blog Freudian Slips.
The time came to actually leave the donut shop and act my part. Scene 2C of the script called for a detective escorting a handcuffed criminal into Lower Merion police station for booking. Why then did the rally point of the parking lot look nothing like a police station? That chaperone type scene got scrapped for the detective arresting the perpetrator on the streets. While acting is subject to constant improvisation, a sudden change in plans is chaos to an obsessive compulsive like me. About the time I convinced myself that I can roll with the punches, a gargantuan 6’5” actor showed up to play the criminal element! The re-worked part called for stinking violence not a shrinking violet. At 5’10” 225 solid pounds, I had to throw my weight around to make a believable scene. I own a pedestrian 28” reach but I needed to act as the long arm of the law.
So what was left of the chewed up script allotted for an hour and a half of takes for this scene. All I had to do was throw the gargantuan on the hood of the cruiser, handcuff him, frisk him, then muscle him inside the car before driving away. Tight angles and rehearsing can work wonders but we needed multiple takes to get the scene right. Before I got used to Frank’s angular body frame that was fresh off the set of Rocky 6, I slipped in my Miami Vice alligator shoes during action. Take two. The extra spot lighting that the crew duct taped inside the cruiser fell down during another take. Take three. No fault of my own, the novelty handcuffs broke on the next take. Take four. Fault of my own, I forgot to cuff the perpetrator on another take. Take five. I sped away too fast in the cruiser on another take. Take six. Call it arrested development but the scene finally came together for three successful takes. Forget about reading Miranda rights. That is what they call a Hollywood wrap.
They say strange things occur during an Eclipse. Like a rash of bad luck, I came home from the shoot with poison ivy. I’m scratching like crazy but it hasn’t satisfied my itch for acting.

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14 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh this was great. As soon as I saw the photo I began to chuckle. I knew this was going to be one good story. Emily

4:09 PM  
Anonymous marcus said...

Joe,
Well,its like trading up to the point of "Criminal Intent". Get it!
HAAAAHAAA!! I kill myself.

5:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How Cool!

First a background "extra" in the upcoming Philadelphia football story - I can't remember the guy's name and now this! Oh! I can't forget your "Ripley's Believe it or Not" segment. Good for you!

Steph

8:06 PM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

Emily,
let's hope it doesn't end up on the cutting room floor.

marcus,
You always did amuse yourself.

Steph,
Invincible comes out in a month. I can't wait.

8:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Joe!

You're making the leap from TV to the big screen! I took my niece to the movies yesterday and saw the trailer for the football movie. She was impressed that I knew someone that will "star" in the flick! I might have to go see that...even if it is about the Eagles! Go Skins!

Mike

9:00 AM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

Mike
When you can't make the credits, that is not starring.

7:32 PM  
Blogger Merci said...

You must be important. They gave you a Grand Marq to drive, not just any old Crown Vic!

11:14 PM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

Merci,
I would have taken the Crown Victoria. I come from a long line of K cars. lol

8:29 AM  
Anonymous Pax Romano said...

I hear this is how George Clooney got his start...no, strike that, maybe it was Rosemary Clooney...

Anyway, THREE CHEERS for the future Oscar winner...just don't forget me when you get to the Hills of Beverly and need a publicist (or a dog-walker).

8:15 PM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

Pax,
I never forget friends.

10:05 PM  
Anonymous zelda parker said...

It is safe to say that yours is the first star any of us will see in Hollywood. Look out Penny Marshall will be calling you for her next film.
Zelda Parker

9:40 PM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

Penny Marshall would make no cents.

10:01 PM  
Anonymous columbuschick said...

Recommendations for stage names:
Donna Quitta-Dayjob
Sean Stealer
Phil M Critic
Nomar Oscar
Kent Act
Adley Moore
Mia Hamm (sorry that's taken)
B. A. Hamm
U.R. Aham
Remember - film adds ten pounds

7:31 PM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

Columbuschick,
Those were great names. My favorite was Nomar Oscar. It sounds like I scared even the fish away.

8:32 PM  

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