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See also: Henry Rollins: Making a Movie
What a week. Over the last several days, I have been repeatedly shot and stabbed, acquired bruises and scrapes whose origins are lost in the mist of adrenalized hours. It was a great time.
It is a marvelous thing to be working on this film, He Never Died, to be a part of this high-speed, incredibly kickass group of people all working with great focus and intensity. For me, it's like living in a dream.
I have always had a low tolerance for bullshit and being around people in a work environment who are not full-on. It's one of the reasons being in a band got stale for me. Often there would be someone in the lineup who was dragging the whole thing down. As life went screaming by, I had to downshift because of someone's chemical dependency or whatever bullshit drama they were starring in. At this point, life is too short for anything but a full burn.
We usually finish the day well past midnight. Last night, we wrapped at 0230 hrs. An hour later, I was staggering through a 24-hour market on a food-acquisition op, hunger overriding my exhaustion. I got a couple of long looks from some other early-morning shoppers as I was wandering the aisles and realized the right side of my head still had a considerable quantity of artificial blood stuck to it, left on by our exhausted hair guy, Anthony.
You have to be careful with this stuff. It reminded me of a couple of experiences I have had in the wild world of showbiz.
Many years ago, I was in a film called The Chase. I played a policeman who has, perhaps, less than a full deck, which seems to force some great one-liners out of him. My character is chasing Charlie Sheen's character down a highway in California, conveniently shot on a bit of unused highway in Houston.
It was very hot and, after a while, the makeup on my face would melt off and have to be reapplied. The bounce of the sun into my face required that eyeliner be used. By the end of the day, we would be drained from the heat and the work. I was determined to hit the gym near the hotel, no matter how exhausted I was. After a particularly hot and grueling day, I bypassed the makeup trailer and caught a crew van to the hotel, where I suited up and ran to the gym before I fell over asleep.
The size of the men working out in this gym was reflective of the size of the state itself. They were lifting insane amounts of weight. I was in the middle of them, struggling away, and they all started looking at me. At first, I thought it was the “Are you on MTV?” stare, but the looks on their faces had a uniformity of angry curiosity that made me wonder what I had done to insult them.
That's when I remembered my face and neck were covered with multiple coats of makeup and mascara. I looked into a mirror and it was as if I was made up in such a way that a thorough Texas ass whoopin' would be all but unavoidable. I went to the locker room and tried to scrape this stuff off me with hand soap and paper towels, which only made me look more insane. I went back out there to finish the workout, but it was too late for redemption. I got the “You're not from around here, are you, son?” look from all of them.
A few years ago, I was working on a show called Sons of Anarchy. I am told that it does pretty well. My character was several grades below decent and, of course, needed to get beat up now and then. OK, fairly frequently. For one of the more spectacular fight scenes, which took two very strenuous nights to shoot, we were out there beating the hell out of each other like it would never end. It seems that no matter how much you block this stuff out, rehearse it at half-speed and do your damnedest not to injure anyone, eventually you make a mistake.
(On a side note, it was here in Toronto, almost 20 years ago working in a film called Johnny Mnemonic, that action star Dolph Lundgren punched me upside the head so solidly that I am probably still ringing from it. I don't think he meant to. He wasn't operating at even a fraction of his full, pain-bearing potential, and still I got a tremendous black eye. Poetically, it was my last shot.)
Anyway, Charlie Hunnam's character, Jax, is beating the daylights out of me take after take, and soon enough we're both losing the plot. Left, right, wham! Sorry! No problem! This went on for hours.
After wrapping out on the second night, I was covered with fake blood, real blood and dirt. I was too tired to have the makeup department take it off me. I called the woman I was going out with and told her I was coming over and to prepare for an extreme visual. I drove from the Disney Ranch to her house and even called from outside to remind her to brace for impact. I walked in, she took one look at me and got upset. Lesson learned. Always get all the stuff off your face before you leave the set.
I am getting used to seeing my blood-splattered face in the mirror. I can't help it — I think it looks really cool.
To be clear, I am not Brando and we are not making Streetcar. Days ago, it was just a script and now it's a real thing we are creating, every one of us an equally important part of the whole. All of us with a foot on the same gas pedal, flooring it. I am addicted to achievement. We are good to go.
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