Freudian Slips: The Incredible Bulk

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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 15, 2010

The Incredible Bulk

I recently finished filming a promotional spot for the Eagles Television Network. Arriving at the set location prior to my call time, the cobblestone horseshoe drive of the private residence introduced a mansion. Exiting my car, I stepped in between a procession of crew members, cables and ladders. It struck me as rather curious not seeing another actor arriving to set.
Near the front door, I approached a pony tailed production assistant. I asked, “Where is everyone?”
“You’re the guy who will be diving into the pool of green paint, right?”
She described the feat as if it required the actions of a superhero. “Yeah, ugh, that’s what they told me.”
“Okay. We’re filming a wedding of lifelong Eagles fans now but you’re the only actor in the next scene. You don’t have a problem with that, do you?”
“Nah, the center of attention in a commercial about my favorite sports team, forget I mentioned it.”
About an hour and a half later, the assistant director introduced me to a lineup of people assigned to me. He explained, “You’re up. Tom here will valet your car to designated parking. Wilma handles wardrobe. Milly is in Makeup. Mack will shower you off in between takes. Peter and Debbie will change your clothes. If you need anything else other than what has been mentioned, Manny will get it for you so don’t be afraid to ask.”
I continued shaking hands and nodding agreeably. I don’t remember anyone’s name but my own. All I know is the only thing I have to do is act and everything else will be done for me. The AD instructed, “Head to wardrobe and makeup then you need to meet with Patrick, the stunt guy, before reporting to set.”
Wilma from Wardrobe replies, “This just in. The director wants you to go commando.”
“Humm…Do you mean like wearing Army fatigues instead of a bathing suit?”
She handed me cargo shorts, its price tag revealing its newness. “Neither. Change into these shorts. Commando style means no underwear. You need wardrobe change after every wet take. We only purchased so many matching shorts so might as well leave your underwear behind.”
I replied, “No problem. When casting telephoned me about my measurements, I wasn’t asked about underwear size.”
She continued, “How big is your head?”
“Excuse me?”
Wilma from wardrobe rifled though a dream catcher’s heap of licensed Philadelphia Eagles memorabilia in order to outfit me with the right cap. “You need a cap for this shot.”
“Oh, when asking an actor how big his head is, always assume extra large. That’s certainly the case here.”
She smiled then fittingly slapped a black logo cap on me. Milly from makeup ushered me over to her glitz station, where she powder puffed my nose and cheeks.
I asked, “Do you realize I’m going to be covered in green paint?”
“Then make the first take count, hot shot. Take off your shirt, let me checkout your skin tone.” After removing my shirt, I felt her eyes combing me. Her fingertips glided across my shoulders during inspection. “Nice even tan. Good.”
She summoned the stunt man on her headset, who proceeded to brief me on safety precautions for the stunt. As if one were not enough, two crew members escort me to set. Along the way, a stunning backyard boasted a huge stone patio; double wide outdoor fireplace, grilling station under a sizeable arbor and Jacuzzi to finally arrive on set in front of… an inflatable kiddy pool surrounded by empty gallon jugs of tempura green paint. I go wide-eyed because I was expecting an indoor swimming pool amidst the pomp and circumstance.
Before long, it was time to roll film. The cameraman climbed a circus ladder to the top of a huge A-frame support equipped with a camera mount tilted down. “Let’s get ready to roll. Get Joe up on the blocks. Let’s see what it looks like from up here.”
Crew members assisted me onto a platform made from stacked apple boxes. I sensed tenseness on the set, as if my comfort hinged on giving them a carefree look. I decided to break the ice.
“When I booked this gig, my agent assured me this pool would be heated.”
The entire crew busted out laughing. The cameraman maneuvers the camera to fully frame an aerial shot of me free falling backwards into a pool of green without a care in the world. On the first take, my body drifted beyond frame despite hitting the pool. I realized for the first time in my acting career, staring at the seamless blue sky means scrubbing your mark.
Emerging from the greenish hue, I thought to myself…So much for my powder treatment in makeup.
“Remember gang, the owner forbids him back in the house looking like that.
With my flesh oozing in green, the obvious reference point is the Incredible Hulk. However, when I am shown myself captured on the playback camera, the natural reference is The Incredible Hulk except that I resemble a balding overweight middle aged man covered in pond scum.
“I look like The Incredible Bulk.”
The director added, “It’s the shot we were looking for. You performed great. We just need to follow you fully in frame on the next take.”
Stepping away from the camera, the running garden hose hit my skin. Gasping at its coldness caused me to take in a mouthful of watered down paint. The hose washed green from me until clean. Two people toweled me off until I returned to unassuming David Banner.
Watching Wilma from Wardrobe carrying a clean pair of cargo pants, I realized the dilemma for the crew and myself.
A crew member inquired, “How modest are you?”
“I draw the line at nude modeling so I’m thinking about changing behind that juniper bush if that’s alright.”
And so let it be told that it was behind a prickly juniper bush, that I first stripped naked on a set. A girl held a bath towel up as a cotton barrier but anyone who wanted to see my full monty could.
The girl smirked then filled space in between silence. “Don’t worry about me looking at the little twig in your garden.”
Wrestling the slimy shorts off, I feigned exception. “What do you mean, little? I got shrinkage. I just got out of a cold pool and somebody hit me with a hose. My agent is going to hear about this as soon as I take a temperature reading.”
She knew my offbeat personality by now. Our chuckling reduced the awkwardness. I heard my name being called back on set, something about water displacement and testing the adjustment made to the apple box for the fall guy. With a twig leading the charge, I chugged back to set. My acting career was getting a lot of exposure on this promotional spot. Finally seeing green, I soaked it all in.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like the no peeking rule, Im the only one that gets to see the twig

1:26 PM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

I branch out only for you.

2:48 PM  

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