The following are excerpts from MX's Message Board posts:
WED. JULY 23/2003
I was notified today @ 16:30 that I have been cast in RESIDENT EVIL: APOCALYPSE™, after having been auditioned last Friday between 16:30 & 16:45!
I am scheduled for my contact lens fitting tomorrow @ 14:45, & yes, I shall be taking LOTS of pix throughout every phase of pre-production, shooting, et cetera!
MS. MILLA JOVOVICH as ALICE|
in RESIDENT EVIL: APOCALYPSE™
THU. JULY 24/2003/14:45
I reported for my contact lens fitting yesterday @ an Optometrist shop that is located a bicycle ride away from me, only to find myself confronted by a woman whose right eye looked as though she had been blinded from looking into the sun, tears streaming therefrom, a bloke who signed me in for my appointment, & another bloke who awaited his own fitting.
I was interrogated about my medical history - allergies, et cetera - with especial emphasis upon my eyes. Apparently, the fact that I am non-allergic is in my favour, since my questioning was over inside of 30 seconds, whereas others were questioned for 2 minutes & more.
My adoptive father was blinded in his right eye @ age 3 & has had several surgeries, glass eyes, transplants, et cetera, so I was not @ all squeamish about the prospect of having a foreign object placed upon my eyeballs, despite the fact that I have never worn spectacles or vision-correcting contact lenses in my civilian life.
Rather, I was more concerned with being given the lenses that were aesthetically appealing to me, since I had wanted to wear contact lenses ever since first I saw MESSRS. CHRISTOPHER LEE & RAY MILLAND in their respective turns as COUNT DRACULA™ & X: THE MAN WITH THE X-RAY EYES™. The 'SALEM'S LOT™ miniseries further compounded my desire when I saw MR. BARLOWE!
The Optometrist resembled HERR DOKTOR CHRISTIAN SZELL, the Nazi dentist from MARATHON MAN™, but his demeanour was entirely opposite to that man, as he measured my eyeballs, examined them with increasingly arcane-looking machinery, took notes, asked me whether I had seen the Seattle exhibition match between MANCHESTER UNITED™ & GLASGOW CELTIC™, et cetera.
Once he was finished the initial examination, I was passed onto his assistant who had signed me in. He proceeded to explain the process by which he would insert & remove the lens: he would give me eyedrops, insert the right lens only, which I queried, since I had just been informed that my right eye was not only more larger & more powerful than my left, but that my left was "slightly astigmatic", which had been news to me, since I am left-handed when I compete with firearms.
He told me to lean back my head, look @ my nose, then attempted to insert the lens, but aborted the attempt when my eyelid began closing involuntarily, due to the fact that the lens was over 2cm in diameter(!)
His 2nd attempt was successful, after which he gave me a tissue with which to mop my tears, then positioned me before a mirror. The sight which confronted me was that of a man whose entire right eyeball was black as The Devil's™ own heart!
Thrilled, I asked that he photograph me, that I might share the experience more fully with you all, which he did gladly. When the film is developed, I shall post the pix forthwith.
While I sat there, adjusting to the sensation of having a hair on my eyeball that I was not allowed to remove, another bloke entered for his own fitting. He was taller & more massive than I, but EXTREMELY squeamish about the whole thing, which I found ironic & funny, but I reassured him that he was in for an experience that would bypass any dental misery he had endured in the past.
Once his red lens had been inserted, my own was removed, for which I thanked him. When I signed out, he assured me that he would be willing to take more pix while I am engaged in "boot camp" to train for the shoot, as well as during the shoot, itself.
I then ran to several computer shops for instruction manuals & whatever else took my fancy - yes, a scanner! - but found that I do not know enough about my terminal to obtain the correct technology.
I bought WINDOWS 98 FOR DUMMIES™ & HTML GOODIES: 2nd Edition™, then ran into a TV Producer friend of mine, who informed me that he had just returned from a major Comics/Fantasy/SF convention in San Diego, where he had obtained "a couple of items" for me, 1 of which was a PUNISHER™ badge!
I also received a PUNISHER™ teaser poster from California this past week, that I had won in an online trivia contest, pitting my own knowledge of the character against the rest of the world, so I was not upset @ this latest development.
GOD™, I love my job!
MON. JULY 28/2003/15:27
I received notification today that I have been cast in a Montreal-based Theatre company's Autumn touring production, for which I had been auditioned over a month ago.
I love that city, but I hope that the script development workshop this month doesn't conflict with my duties on RESIDENT EVIL: APOCALYPSE™, otherwise there could be ructions.
I am required to participate in an intensive training programme before we shoot, but there seem to be communications difficulties with the production.
Last week, I was left a message from the Wardrobe Department by a woman who did not identify herself, & who did not respond to my own message that I left her, in turn.
I rang back again, today, after speaking with my agent's assistant about the Theatre engagement & a Rock band TV commercial audition for which she had submitted ANOTHER 1000 MILES™(!)
@ that time, I spoke with a woman who claimed to know nothing of the previous call, & who kept calling me a name other than my own - MARK, MATTHEW, MARCUS, et cetera - then put me on hold for 5 minutes before returning to tell me that the person who had called me was busy, so could I give my details to her, instead?
As usual, I knew my hat size, but not my sleeve length. I have purchased many hats, but never a sleeve or pair thereof, so I suppose that it was to be expected, really....
FRI. AUG. 1/2003/08:30-10:30
I attended the first of 4 scheduled pre-shooting training schedules for RESIDENT EVIL: APOCALYPSE™. I was surprised by the lack of physical exertion demanded of us during this first session.
The experience was unusual in that the Producer was also attendant for it. A good sign, since he made himself available for questions when the session was over, a luxury normally reserved for stars of a given project.
He & others involved are confident that this script blows the first film out of the water. Such enthusiasm is good to see & hear from a man who is working so closely with the film's Director.
I have yet to receive a copy of the script, but we were each given a printed briefing to read & assimilate by the time of next Friday's session, something else which I found unusual.
Those of you who play/have played RESIDENT EVIL: NEMESIS™ will be very pleased by this film. The Producer said that our film will have more in common with that videogame than with the debut film.
FRI. AUG. 8/2003/14:00 - 16:00 RESIDENT EVIL: APOCALYPSE™ Day 2
Today's training session was preceded by an audition for a new series. It went well enough, but unless & until one signs a contract, there is no meaning.
The training itself was quite useful & entertaining, this time, since I was able to draw upon my Judo experience in a game of Escape & Evasion.
The exercise involved 8 other actors being assigned to hunt me, the lone hapless Homo sapiens™.
However, when other actors than I were being hunted, the entire gymnasium was @ their disposal. When I was being hunted, the Choreographer insisted that I be confined to a space that was less than a 5th of the available area, since I had displayed such prowess.
The experience of being both predator & prey was most useful to me, since it gave me clues about what to expect once I begin shooting.
WED. AUG. 13/2003/02:30
I rang my agent once again to ask him to obtain for me a copy of the script. For some reason, it is proving more difficult to obtain than a virgin in a bordello!
TUE. AUG. 19/2003/04:07
I have spoken several times with my agent since returning from Montreal last Saturday evening, but the script is still not forthcoming.
FRI. AUG. 22/2003/09:40
Still no word of the script, but I was approached yesterday by a writer about a couple of interviews.
SUN. SEP. 2/2003/19:18
I was notified last Thursday evening that my agent had taken delivery of the script on my behalf! Regrettably, I was not able to obtain it from him until Saturday evening.
Normally, I would receive a script via courier within 24h of my being engaged on a film/TV project, but security is so tight on this production that my script had not 1, but 2 confidentiality agreements attached to it!
I am unsure whether the UMBRELLA CORPORATION™ is responsible for the news blackout, or the producers, but I do know that I have never before had the experience of being denied access to a script for so long prior to my involvement with a shoot.
Because the confidentiality agreement is so explicit, I am uncertain as to whether I shall be permitted to take photographs between takes, or, if permitted, whether I can post them online, but I doubt it. I shall see what I can do legally, however, despite the risk of falling afoul of the UMBRELLA CORPORATION™.
As of this writing, I have yet to receive notification of the time & place of filming, tomorrow, which leads me to believe that it will likely be a night shoot....
...& therefore easier for the zombies to run amok!
WED. SEP. 3/2003/15:56
Yesternight, my agent rang me circa 18:30 to inform me that a representative from the Wardrobe Department had rung him to seek after additional pix of me for whatever purpose they are needed by that group.
My agent's response was to tell her that I would be shooting today, so why not ask me for pix when I arrived on location?
He was told that I was not shooting today, then he suggested to her that she check her schedule, which she did. It was then that he learned that my shoot dates had been changed without consultation of him or myself!
I would have been left dangling while I awaited a telephone call that never came, had he not been contacted by Wardrobe about the pix! This would have prompted me to ring him about my being left in the dark, paranoid & neurotic about my professional reputation because I had not been given the intel that I require in order to do my job correctly. He, in turn, would have reassured me that the shoot was probably running late, & that I should just cool my heels @ home while I awaited confirmation of his theory, whether from the production or from himself. This would not have mollified me @ all.
According to Wardrobe, my shoot date has been changed to WED. OCT. 1/2003!
No reason was given for this drastic change, but I am very much annoyed by this, for I have lost potential revenue on other shoots that my agent passed on because they conflicted with the original September shooting dates we were told.
I was informed last week by a source on the crew - who shall remain nameless! - that due to an incident wherein MS. MILLA JOVOVICH's costume ripped in such a way that her thong-clad buttocks were suddenly exposed to all & sundry during filming of an action sequence, she threw a wobbler that led to "the entire Wardrobe Department being fired & replaced".
I was not present for the alleged incident, but if it is true, it might go some way toward explaining why it is that I have not yet had my costume fitting for the shoot - a procedure that normally precedes one's first day of shooting, & which would normally take place within 48h of being cast in a given project! - as well as the sudden need for additional pix of my person, despite the fact that my agent had already rendered up no less than 5 8x10 resume shots of me to the Wardrobe Department, previously.
If this sort of thing is Standard Operating Procedure, then it is small wonder that the UMBRELLA CORPORATION™ has had such difficulty in containing its various "incidents".
"Aim for the head!"
THU. SEP. 25/21:30
My agent rang me to ask whether I had received any telephone calls or messages from a woman in Wardrobe, who claimed that she had been ringing me all day, without success, &, therefore, forced to ring him, instead.
Barring a 90 min. window when I had left for an audition this morning, I had received only 2 calls: 1 from a friend in Montreal, the other from him, & told him so.
When I had returned home, there was a message left by my agent - presumably while I had been auditioned - which advised me to expect the call from the Wardrobe representative, who was to ring me with details of when & where I was to report for my fitting.
That call never came.
According to my agent, my Wardrobe fitting is scheduled for FRI. SEP. 26/2003 @ 11:00.
More intel as it comes....
FRI. SEP. 26/2003/12:00
I arrived @ the studio for my fitting, today, which turned out to be the same complex whereat I was fitted for SHAKESPEAREVILLE™ & VERITAS: The Quest™. The first item I noted in the Fitting Room was a large picture of MR. ODED FEHR’S character on the wall by a lamp, decked out in combat gear - minus helmet - brandishing a pistol in the Weaver Stance. I felt great Envy & longing when I beheld that shot, for it reminded me of my 4 seasons on La Femme NIKITA™ as SECTION ONE™ Operative OWEN TELL.
I was asked whether the black leather CONVERSE ALL-STARS™ on my feet were something I would be comfortable wearing (I had worn them during Zombie Boot Camp), to which I replied in the affirmative. This was a GOOD OMEN™, for whenever I have been shod in substandard footwear, everything else has gone downhill from there, whether in Film or Theatre. This is why it is always best to play the Protagonist or the Antagonist.
I was asked to don a pair of black synthetic fabric athletic trousers with broad white stripes down the legs & prestud snaps for the purpose of ventilation, as well as a Navy Blue & Blue-Green vertically-striped, short-sleeved garment that was hooded. This, too, was made of the same synthetic fabric that I associate with European Football teams like Juventus. The entire ensemble is something that I would never wear in my personal life, as I have an aversion to non-natural fibres, for they tend to feel unpleasant against my flesh, & are not pleasant to perspire into for more than 5 minutes. Regardless of the number of holes, being plastic, they tend to encourage growth of bacteria, rather than discourage it.
Next, I was asked to doff the shirt, then to don an off-white 80% Cotton/20% Polyester vest (currently known as a “wifebeater” in North America, I understand) which fit perfectly, giving me that "STANLEY KOWALSKI as FURIOUS STYLES" feel. Then, a very 1980’s looking brown Corduroy shirt with big 1970’s collar. This was vetoed before I had even buttoned it up, thankfully!
The original ensemble was chosen, with the vest added beneath it for good measure (possibly because now that Autumn has arrived, it will be easier to retain thorassic core temperature?), then I was photographed several times as I adopted the requisite “Gangsta” poses.
Thereafter, I was dismissed, instructed to doff the costume & to not forget my shoes on the shoot days. @ this point, I seized the opportunity to request that she snap a shot of me with my own camera – - for my own personal archives! – which she did, cheerfully, asking me whether I wanted it lengthwise, to which I replied in the affirmative, then thanked her before she left, reminding me to “sign the A.C.T.R.A. form, to make sure you get paid”.
Next, I doffed the costume, placing each item on separate hangers, after which I donned my own clothing, once again, then made ready to leave, saying goodbye to her. @ this time, she returned to label the clothing, asking me whether I had signed the form. I wondered to myself whether I so closely resembled a simpleton that I needed to be reminded of something less than 5 minutes after I had already executed the action, a task that I have carried out severalmany times before @ other studios, but there was no percentage in thinking on it further, so I led her to the form to have her inspect it, in order to allay her fears, after which I bade her “Good Afternoon”, thanked her, then departed.
On the way out of the building, I accosted an employee - who, again, shall remain nameless! – then sought confirmation or refutation of the report I had been given earlier about the fate of the Wardrobe Department, which she said was true.
...However, this individual maintained that the reason for all the argybargy was that “the Designer just didn’t work out”, rather than mentioning the incident outlined earlier by the other person to whom I had spoken about the incident in question. Still & all, this begs the question of why an entire department should be dismissed, if indeed the conflict was between a single Designer, Director & Producer(s). Had it been a show of solidarity to walk out en masse? Had threats been made, bluffs called? Speculation @ this point, but you may be sure that I shall pursue the issue further, once on location.
I asked whether there had been a costly delay in shooting schedule, to which she replied, “No,” then elaborated further that it had “made more work for [her], but everyone [the replacement personnel] pulled together to keep things on schedule”. Agan, thanks, then departure.
More intel as I uncover it.
During the trip home, I read the latest script I had been given for FINNEGAN’S SQUAD™, which is not short on Dramatic Conflict & Action. Those of you who are fans of films like [B]ALIENS™[/B] & [B]THE TERMINATOR™[/B] will find much to enjoy in that episode, I assure you. I am stepping up my training regimen especially for this episode, alone, let alone the episodes which precede it!
SAT. SEP. 27/2003/18:50
This evening I saw the teaser trailer for RESIDENT EVIL: APOCALYPSE™, prior to viewing UNDERWORLD™, & I was Extremely Thrilled, indeed!
I would have been impressed by the Doberman Pinscer & the entire concept & execution anyway, but this was the first time that I have had the experience of seeing & hearing a teaser for a feature film that I am actually involved with, so I was dead chuffed.
I am confident that this picture will make A Great Deal of Money, but not @ the expense of good storytelling.
THE UMBRELLA CORPORATION™ knows the meaning of good advertising & sound marketing!
MON. SEP. 28/2003/14:30
I met with my agent today to collect sides from him for a major role in a successful genre TV series that I have wanted to work on since before it commenced Season 1 production, & to obtain intel from him about whether I am entitled to be paid for the days I have been setting aside for shooting on [B]RESIDENT EVIL: APOCALYPSE&8482, but which keep getting postponed.
He told me that the production's agreement with A.C.T.R.A.® permits them to re-schedule without paying the talent for lost revenue, provided that no contract wherein the dates have been specified has been issued by the producers. (Yet another reason why foreign productions choose to work in Canada, no doubt! Now we know why people like MESSRS. CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER & WILLIAM SHATNER flee to the United States of America™ to join their Screen Actors' Guild®!)
This is why it is common in Canada for an actor/actress not to receive his/her contract for signing until the day before shooting, or until the first day of shooting, itself. Many times, I have been confronted by a Production Assistant who inists that I sign a contract which is either awaiting me in my dressing room or in my trailer, prior to donning my costume. I had found it irregular - my agent is authorised to sign on my behalf! - but had put it down to slackness, rather than to legally unethical standard Canadian™ business practise.
Also, my agent informed me that my OCT. 1/2003 shoot date has now been commuted to OCT. 7/2003! I asked him why this should be the case, yet again, but he had not been toldy why it was so. Naturally, that is the date on which I am scheduled to be auditioned for the genre series.
I asked my agent whether there was even any percentage in my bothering to learn the sides @ all, since I fully expect that the film's producers will either schedule my first day of Principal Photography's calltime to conflict with the time I have been given for the audition - 11:55 - or invoke some arcane, hoary clause which allows them to deny me to attend the audition, then postpone the shoot date, yet again, thereby buggering me twice.
My agent assured me that he had informed the Casting Director of my situation, & that she is willing to permit me "to be auditioned as early as 09:00" on TUE. OCT. 7/2003.
On the upside, my participation in LIGHTS, CAMERA, AUCTION! TAKE 6 this coming weekend is now free & clear, but I am unimpressed by the fact that if this film were being shot in either Great Britain™ or U.S.A.™, I would have been entitled to substantial quantities of cash for my wasted time.
Stay tuned for more developments.
MON. SEP. 29/2003/21:05
As I sat down to watch tonight's SPACE broadcast of FIREFLY™, I received a telephone call from yet another Unnamed Individual connected to the production, who asked, "Will you be joining us @ [location of shoot] in a couple of days?" I asked him whether he was joking, or whether there had been yet another change in the schedule. @ this, he responded that he did not know what I meant, since, according to his schedule, I am scheduled to shoot on location in 2 days' time.
I related to him what I wrote earlier today, then was regaled by tales of crew morale being so low @ this point in shooting that high-level crew personnel were asking whether or not people wanted to participate in the ongoing gambling pool to bet on who will be next to get the sack.
I have never before heard of such widespread apathy during the shooting of a major motion picture.
THU. OCT. 2/2003/17:30 - FRI. OCT. 3/23:00/07:00
I arrived @ the [Location Deleted], but found nobody who looked even remotely as though they were associated with the film, so was forced to ask the concierge where I needed to go. He directed me to the Fireman's Lift, where I encountered the Camera Operator & several other blokes with whom I had worked on other projects.
We greeted each other, then, as we entered the lift, several other crew personnel - stunt personnel included, who had dollies of flat cardboard boxes - joined us, exhorting each other about who would next be fired from the project, & by whom. I was offered the opportunity to participate in "The Dead Pool™", but declined, utterly appalled. I felt like CAPTAIN WILLARD when he arrives @ the firebase in APOCALYPSE NOW™:
"Who's in charge here, soldier?"
"Sh*t, ain't you?!"
Eventually, we offloaded @ the 32nd Floor, which was a lot of pipes big enough for a grown man to stand inside of, as well as high-powered electrical junctions, sundry personnel & the usual paraphernalia required for a location shoot. I approached a Production Assistant who wore a walky-talky:
"Excuse me; I'm looking for [NAME DELETED]; could you tell me where he is, please?"
"Dude, never heard of 'im, never seen 'im!"
"Well, could you direct me to somebody who has, or who might have seen him, please?"
"Dude, I'm just markin' time, y' know? Why don't you ask those guys, instead?" He indicated the stuntmen offloading the boxes.
"Is there any reason you couldn't locate him using your walky-talky?"
"Dude. I said I'm just markin' time. Ask those guys, okay?"
It became very clear to me, very quickly, just exactly what sort of an evening I would be having....
As bidden, I approached the stuntblokes, 1 of whom, although friendly enough, could not provide me with the intel I sought after.
Finally, I decided to wander around until I found a familiar face or until I was challenged to produce identification.
Eventually, I encountered a bloke whom I had met @ the audition, who, along with the choreographer, was engaged in coaching a group of actors & actresses in the subtleties of being "Undead".
I found that this word "undead" would rankle me whenever I heard it, since, to my mind, the Undead are vampires, sentient beings who walk the Earth with the intent of feeding on human blood (or energy) to sustain their unholy existence, whereas zombies are reanimated corpses who walk the Earth under the control of some outside force or agent - usually supernatural or occult - but in the case of RESIDENT EVIL™, the reanimation agent is the T-Virus™ developed by THE UMBRELLA CORPORATION™ for use in germ warfare.
I greeted all those present, doffed my coat & backpack, then was rehearsed & briefed once again about what differentiates this film's "Undead" from other films' "zombies".
Apparently, the Producers' & Choreographers' sensitivity to that word arose from the fact that people generally associate it with Voodoo & the stiff-armed PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE™ type of robotic acting, & with films like NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD™, DAWN OF THE DEAD™, THE EVIL DEAD™, et cetera, works which frighten many, but which also have a certain campiness to them due to their cult status.
I could not help but think of VAMPIRA in PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE™, & how I had laughed @ the notion that anyone could find her & the others in that cemetery even remotely terrifying, particularly given how slowly they all moved.
NEMESIS™ cries "HAVOC!", then lets slip the dogs of war in RESIDENT EVIL: APOCALYPSE™