Freudian Slips: Alarming Acting

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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.

August 26, 2008

Alarming Acting

I waited ten hours indoors in a holding tank before they called me to the set. As a production assistant briskly walked me to the set, my eyes squinted at the darkness. We walked by city police officers, who closed the four corner streets with barricades and worked crowd control. Present was a throng of people who had nothing better to do then watch the movie film at 1am in the morning in South Philly. Huge spotlights illuminated the street corner. I was taken back by the number of film crew members and production equipment but I tried to look like I belonged like an act within an actor in an act.
The director, James Quattrochi, approached me. He warmly shook my hand, asked me my name, then informed me that I would be playing a bar bouncer. The props girl came over and unbuttoned my shirt then used a water bottle mist sprayer to make my chest look like a lathering sweat. The director then introduced me to the other actors in the scene to be shot - William Forsthye, Leo Rossi, Tony Luke Jr. and Billy Gallo. My chest was indeed out.
The set location was a corner bar in South Philadelphia. The humidity in the air hung like pea soup in the deep night. The grime of the city rested on the double step of the bar’s front door, where two Panavision cameras pointed. The bar stoop was a full step that gave way to a half moon arc only big enough for one average sized man, present company excluded. My worn soled black shoes made footing treacherous and the physical scene unfolding reminded me that you cannot carry enough shoes in your emergency wardrobe.
The director had different intentions about the maximum occupancy on that bar step in terms of the look he wanted to capture on film. He wanted to put both William Forsthye and I on that top step to overlook a fight scene, to capture our venting emotions with the fight spilling before us. The first few takes were practice to work out blocking and timing. I began to keep my feet in the bar leaning outside it to overlook the fight. This seemed like better spacing between Forsthye and myself but every take seemed to take the fight more around the corner, which caused me acrobatic stretching and a crooked neck to accomplish vigilance as a bar bouncer. I needed something better to hang onto to lean outside the door. Much of my acting seemed to concentrate on measuring my steps, hitting my mark, and not slipping in my worn skidding loafers, so when I found the perfect anchor it was golden moment that pulled everything together for me.
We finished a perfect take in my new hangout. The fisticuffs looked authentic and I hoisted up the beaten fighter from the sidewalk without being asked for an adjustment in my acting. Carrying a pep in my step from hanging out with the big boys, I walked back in the bar to see what my fingers hung onto that was so sturdy…it was the fire alarm. I almost pulled the fire alarm on a movie set. I accidentally almost sent fire trucks. I never said a word to anyone but this not ready for prime time player knew enough to never yell fire in a crowded movie set.



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