Thursday, January 06, 2005
Shall we play a game...?
How about a nice game of chess...?
It'd been a busy day: I was paged the day before to work featured background for a then-new TV series called
I had a 9:30am call
(arriving at 8:30, as generally is the case with me),
and wrapped at 5:50.
From what I could gather, it seems similar to the old TV series
The clapper indicated [episode] 109: I was told that apparently it would begin to air in March or so.
plays blind/ed police detective Jim Dunbar.
indicated that the lovely
as his partner.
I saw her at the end of the day when they added a quick intro to his heading into the park.
I was pleased to learn that director
was directing the episode.
Now understandably, on set I a absolutely professional.
I do not strike up casual conversations with directors unless
(a) it's the end of the day or
the director strikes up the conversation with me.
Near the day's end, I headed to the restroom, finding myself being paced by director John Badham.
He had something to do in the office, and it timed out that we also walked back together to the set, but as it was still The Working Day, I did not bother him in case he has something important going on in his head.
At the end of the day, when everyone was wrapped and the shoot was complete, as we were headed back to holding, once again I noticed John Badham was right next to me, so this time I said hello, introduced myself to the very affable man, and let him know how/that
is being one of my all-time favourite films (as it is).
He was extremely amused when I related that on my return from a trip to Germany in 1984 summer, that it was the in-flight movie, so I was able to toggle back and forth to hear it dubbed into German, including the mechanically robotic synthesized voice of Joshua.
As for the shoot, the series is set in New York city.
They used a small park like area which is part of a school, on Hope at 9th.
They brought in a few chess tables done up as chess tables as one might see in Washington Square Park.
Well-made signs indicate this was
I was unable to get a callsheet for today so I do not know the names of the two principal players with whom Ron (as Jim) interacts.
The German Shepherd dog being used as his seeing eye dog is magnificently handsome.
I caught the name Flint, but I wasn't sure if that was the dog's name or the character name of the dog for the show.
Another dog, a beautiful streamlined female Beagle mix, was the dog of the other chess player.
Not surprisingly, the other two tables of chess playes Just Play Chess while the scene proceeds.
I was surprised that the wardrobe girls had me wear my Regular Jacket, which I simply wore for comfort and for its deep pockets.
It's a camouflage jacket I'd had for years; it even had a few
patches on it; even though I pointed out the sleeve and breast patches they didn't mind.
They also let me retain my Badger cap.
I prefer to tell the truth as it's far easier to remember than what lies one has said to whom.
The same can be said for background work.
To make sure there was a modicum of continuity, I rested my jaw on my left hand, my elbow on the table aligned with my King's square.
However, I was paired with a fellow who wasn't quite as professional.
Oh he'd done background work he said, and he claimed to have gotten a few upgrades, but he'd only been doing it for seven years (and he was 82), and essentially he'd been an ad marketer the majority of his life.
I had to make sure numerous time he remembered to stay quiet, particularly during actual takes.
Twice this guy said "Check" aloud (thankfully not actually loudly...), as (as we had to move pieces like we were playing), we actually started playing.
It is unlikely to be noticeable, but no two "games" of ours are the same.
We started each take with the same pieces in the same positions.
That's as close to continuity as we got.
It became the Groundhog's Day Chess Game as I called it: each of us trying new variances and strategies.
We'd never really end a game, so neither of us actually won, but with each game one would be the better player.
Once the series began to air, I watched each and every episode.
Despite being very well written, the highly entertaining series sadly only lasted one season and was not renewed.
I am not alone in my disappointment.
In Your Face
May 3, 2005.