Sunday, April 26, 2009
Dying is easier than playing dead
I've died three or four times on camera, usually complete with a poetic speech. Do people actually get to say something pithy as they die? Well on TV they do. And once I've completed my dying dialogue, I fall limp in as interesting and of course impossible to research manner as possible and hope I look dead. CUT! And that's that.
But I've also had to play dead in a low budget sci-fi flick called Solar Attack. (Basically the sun blows up and destroys much of earth and I play a plucky NASA scientist who just happens to get hit by one of the solar flares shooting out from the sun. Joanne Kelly plays the heroine who finds me dead in HQ. When we shot the scene I thought I'd be creative and asked the director whether he wanted me to be found dead with my eyes closed or open. So he looked through his director's viewfinder and I gave him both options and he said, "Oh, eyes open for sure."
What I hadn't counted on was that it would take us 2 hours to shoot the scene and between the falling fake dust coming off the weeping heroine's hair when she found my body, keeping my eyes open without blinking during a take was as big an acting challenge as I've faced. Basically, it was agony and all i wanted to do was rub my eyes in the middle of Joanne's weeping, which would have ruined the take.
Think I'll make the same offer again?