Jeez, Grizz #3
Where was I? Oh yeah, accosted by Busey. Gary arrives on the set and at first everyone is excited.
The extras were all excited because another celebrity was coming on set, granted most of them were confused when he showed up. I heard a few "that's not him" remarks which caused me to shake my head "you're thinking of Nick Nolte, you blowhole"
Gary's first day was fairly uneventful from my standpoint. Except that he demanded more chairs for his trailer. Several chairs arrived and they just weren't enough. I believe 8 - 10 chairs were brought in. Why? Who the hell knows ...no one was going into that trailer. Might as well move to Beartrap Island, much safer.
"...Excuse me Mr. Busey can I ask you a question? Take a seat? Ok thanks, listen can you tell me just what went wrong with your son's television show Shasta McNasty?"
From what I understand, Busey only had one line...a cameo if you will, so I was surprised to see him on the set the next day. It would be fair to say that the climate had changed. None of the crew was really smiling and it was obvious that fear had set in. In between takes Busey would literally charge up to people and shout commands or questions. The main cast had distanced themselves somewhat from him because of his erratic behavior.
He had only been on the set a few minutes when one of the main cast and the director walked over to one of the camera ops, who was a former marine. "Hey did you ever have hand to hand combat?" "Sure." "We may need you."
They were laughing when they said it, but a few days later no one was laughing.
Now I am of the opinion that he is truly disturbed but at the same time it can be a bit calculative. One second he's running around hollering and acting the fool and the next second he's delivering his lines brilliantly. I guess my point is that as long as the camera is rolling he's professional grade, once the lights are off he's bat-shit crazy.
We broke for lunch and now things got really interesting.
I was sitting at a table reading the sports page. By now I'd had my fill of just about everyone on the set and I was just interested in staying warm. Busey storms out of his trailer and walks over to where the rest of the extras are sitting by the portable heaters.
The next 4 minutes was one of the most bizarre sequences I've ever seen.
But let me back up. Remember the kid that would act all slimy and look at you sideways when you talked to him? Well a few days earlier he got in my car during one of the colder nights so we could enjoy the heater while on break. He asked if I wanted to see his "honey." I didn't, but as in most socially awkward moments I complied, and he showed me a photo on his camera of a cute young girl. "Isn't this that chick that was on the set yesterday?"
He said yes, apparently she was the daughter of one of the make-up artist and that he'd known her for years. He told me that she'd been going through some weird shit and had been skipping school because she had no ride and that he was hoping he could start giving her a ride to school. I pointed out that you'd have to be half a fag to want to drive a 15-year-old to school when you are a 23-year-old man. He backtracked and said he's just her friend, never mind 2 minutes ago she was his "honey".
Fast-forward a few days and this chick shows up on the set and I see her mom get all bent out of shape. Apparently the girl rode to the set with some dude she knew and the mom wasn't happy about it. I overheard the mom going "you're 18 years old and she's only 15". It didn't look good for the kid but he seemed nonplussed.
So back we go to the 4-minute sequence.
Busey walks over to the extras and as soon as he gets over there a burst of flame comes off of one of the portable heaters. I don't know what happened but a ball of fire is around the heater and Busey drops his soup and sandwich and takes off like wild dingoes are at his heels. The rest of the extras scream and scatter; I spot a propane tank right behind the fire and run over and kick it out of the way and start kicking dirt all over the flames.
Some camera man spots me and does some dirt kicking too and soon the blaze is out and we stomp out all the grass that has caught fire.
Before I can even digest what just happened Busey starts yelling "Where's Paul? Where’s Paul?"
A few extras point to the sideways talker whose name is Paul but when Busey gets up to him he says "Are you the guy who brought the girl to the set today?" Instead of just saying no this Paul squeaks "No...it’s him, and I was mad at him earlier" and points to the young kid that was getting yelled at by the mom.
Busey storms over "ARE YOU PAUL?" ...."yes" the kid says and Gary grabs him by the arm and drags him about 10 feet away and starts in on his ass. He's berating this kid (two inches away from his face, just like he speaks to everyone) and I begin to worry that this small dude is going to get his ass kicked by Busey. The kid is profusely apologizing and I'm not sure what is going to happen.
The female P.A. that babysits all the extras gets spooked and runs off to get help. I don't think that help will arrive in time, so I walk over and stand about a foot behind Gary. At this point I'm fully expecting to break up a fight with GARY BUSEY and possibly have my own fight with him. Now it might be a good time to point out that I'm 6'3, 230lbs, so I didn't find Gary to be physically intimidating, but his antics put him in the category of the monkeys I discussed earlier.
Gary may disembowel me.
My adrenaline was going pretty good and I was nearly swooning from the notion that I might be on The Smoking Gun within 24 hours, and just as soon as it started Gary just turned and took off. The kid pulled out a cigarette and tried to put on a face that didn't convey "I just made a mudslide in my pants." He thanked me for standing by and then walked off shaking his head.
I envy the fact that he will be able to tell his kids that he was once berated by the star of Point Break.
A few hours later we are back in business and Gary is at it again. He's holding a big fake rock, and when cut is yelled he tries to dribble it. Then he runs over and yells something at someone, and then he runs over towards us and throws the rock at us. I sidle over to the wardrobe guy that's been following him around for two days. "So how's it going?"
The guy slowly turns to me and with the most sincere deadpan face he says, "This has been the most amazing thing I've ever witnessed." I look back and see Gary screaming at the producer, Brad Wyman (Monster). "WE'VE GOT A BIG PROBLEM!" Brad just stares off into space and puffs on a cigar. It seems that blowhard psychotic actors can be handled the same way you handle your average bum. By ignoring them.
Later it starts to come to a head. The A.D. announces that this will be the final shot of the night. Gary loses his shit and starts screaming "DON'T SAY THAT! DON"T SAY THAT!" He calls the A.D. unprofessional and at this point I look around see that everyone is stiff as a board. The atmosphere on this set had been so fun loving for weeks, and now in one day everyone is on eggshells.
I have a grin a mile long.
Finally the A.D. starts whispering to people that when this scene is over...go home. Gary had definitely worn out his welcome and they were just going to leave his ass there no matter what he says.
The next day was the last day of shooting, and we did fight scenes in front of a green screen in a studio. This was the day that the Amazons arrived: 8 women all of whom were over 6'0 tall.
Two of them I would have started a war over.
It was like Disneyland for a man like myself. Hell it was Disneyland for everyone -- Amazon women in bikinis running around. Busey's still there acting a fool. Suddenly the extras were getting all sorts of attention and special treatment.
One more thing of note: The bad guys were also on the set, the guys who fight my cave buddies. I have a little story to tell.
A few months ago I had guzzled some booze and me and the boys were going to the bar. Me, my buddy Adrian and my roommate Lil Mike. We found a prime parking spot but before we could park some big dude was standing in the spot. I waved for him to move and this guy just stood there talking on his cell phone. I told Adrian to make him scram and Adrian rolls down his window and tells him to move. Guy still doesn't budge so I jump out and since I've been drinking I tell him this isn't the lunch line and you can't just save your spot.
He tells me his boys are on his way and I give him a "fuck your boys" and we go back and forth and finally he sees things my way and moves. We park and laugh in his face and get to drinking. For the rest of the night he stares at me until I walk over and give him a hand gesture to let him know I don't love him.
So the last night on the movie I get dressed in my caveman getup and prepare for the battle scenes. I think you know where this is going; of course this big bastard is one of the bad guys. We laugh and make up and discuss the error of our ways. He tells me he was holding the spot for his wife. Then he takes his shirt off and this dude is probably 300lb and most of it is muscle. I silently thank God for not letting me die that night and I look at his skull tattoos.
Later they "wrap" Gary. Everyone claps and instead of shaking hands and leaving like David Carridine and the rest of the cast did. Gary leaps onto a ladder and gives a barely coherent speech about how he fell in love with everyone and he wouldn't be where he was without people like us and basically talked a bunch of nonsense while everyone prayed for him to leave.
At the wrap party everyone got drunk and told stories that are even better than what I've shared with you. They were just a little too specific, and I promised not to "out" them on the internet. Buy me a drink sometime and I'll tell you who banged who on the set and how David Carridine got drunk on absinthe and went around nearly naked demanding to keep his costume.
All in all it was a great experience. I went from not knowing who the director, Adam Rifkin, was to having much respect for him. Besides he told me the entire plot to the "He-Man" movie he wrote that will be directed by John Woo. By the power of Greyskull I'll never tell what I know.
So now I'm on to the next project and hopefully I'll get some actual lines next time. I implore you to see this caveman comedy when, or if, it's released because daddy should be all over it and we all want to support Tom Hodges don't we?
If you are a casting director and you'd like to have me write a gossipy catty column about your movie just let me know.
Oh, and one more thing. at the wrap party I approached Gary and told him that I was so inspired by him on Celebrity Fit Club that I went out and lost 100 lbs and it changed my life. He told me I made his day and gave me a big hug and said he loved me. We laughed together well into the night.