So, picking up the story from last time, I was asked to fly to New York where, in a warehouse in some grubby street on the East Side, the production company was filming what turned out to be fourth episode of a new crime series. The theme seems to be ‘baddies versus baddies’ with very few ‘goodies’: criminals get their ‘come-uppance’ at the brutal hands of other criminals. I have no idea how it works out in the end. Perhaps it doesn’t.
Before you ask the obvious question, “I don’t know”. The working title is a string of numbers, its scheduling is uncertain, and which networks will take it I have no idea. So that’s three questions up from answer some other time. There were no big-name actors that I could recognise – just an average crew where the ‘baddies’ were surprisingly unwilling to do anything particularly exciting and wished to have ‘body doubles’. Which is where I came in, and where I hope all of us will come in in the future.
Basically, actors want people to think that they have bodies like these…
…without putting in the work that it takes to achieve them. They want to get the credit for doing the tricks, or taking the punishments, whereas they get some hapless dude to stand in for them who has the body and the grit to take the pain, then with clever camera angles and head/shoulder shots they can kind of ‘paste in’ the real actor over the body double who really did the work. If they are lucky, the double, or stunt man, or whatever you want to call them, might get a tiny credit at the end of the production that whizzes up the screen so fast it can’t be read and has a continuity announcer talking over it.
So why would we do that? ‘Because we can’; ‘because its fun to make use of what we’ve built up’…
… maybe even for the money. I have returned from the Big Apple a few thousand richer!
I had suggested, for example, that the guy who was this episode’s victim could firstget stripped and hung up by the ankles in a filthy empty warehouse before being beaten. The film dudes conferred, and set up the warehouse. The next question was ‘how should we fake that’ and, when I said ‘just do it’, the real actor looked horrified – scared, even – and it was clearly a case of ‘in for a penny…’ for me.
Surprising to me how some of these ordinary straight actors and extras get in to the spirit of things when they get the chance to beat a hapless stunt double as if they were in some gay S&M scene. In fact, the beating got pretty intense. We do have an unwritten rule in our group that, whatever we do, we don’t break the skin, so that we are gonna recover quickly and look good the next time we do a show.
Well, I had the rest of that day off to ‘recover’, and the actor who I was impersonating actually became quite friendly and we went to a bar for a beer. But, he had no interest in sport or fitness, only in his own image, so that social event didn’t get too far!
He wasn’t too impressed with what I had stored up for his character during the next day’s shoot either. That’s where the fish came into this, and where’ll I’ll take you in the next post.
For now, then, just a few
First, a guy who has oiled up to show off his development. He deserves to make a great picture:
Strong and steady:
This one’s been putting in the effort too, probably at a street gym:
I’m sure none of the boys pictured here will come to a bad end. But, talking of bad ends, a less than subtle commercial about where, for a few dollars/pounds/euros/zlotys/whatever you can read a whole bunch more about the sort of things we have trained for, got up to, and what happened to us…! Just click on the titles…