Just yesterday I was ripped apart limb by limb. It was terribly ugly. There was blood everywhere and as I crawled across the floor panting and screaming, reaching out for help with the one arm I had managed to hang onto in the attack I made a painful realization – help was not on the way. I was going to die. As you can imagine, this caused me a terrible amount of stress. Slowly, I began to cry until I was sobbing uncontrollably and in one last show of emotion I banged my remaining fist on the ground as if to say “please, someone, anyone walk through that door and save me”. You see my boyfriend was too busy getting a beer in the next room to be of service. When he finally did decide to acknowledge my cries of terror and came to check on me he was met with a massive spray of my blood across his torso. It’s an image I can only hope will stay with him for the remainder of his life, which come to think of it may not be very long. Then he watched in horror as the monster ripped my heart out of my chest and ate it while it was still beating…
Ah yes, another run of the mill day auditioning, I thought to myself. Imagine, some poor schmuck is stuck in a cubicle somewhere playing solitaire on his computer and here I am, being eaten by a monster. It hardly seems fair, but if there’s one thing we all know by now it’s that life’s not fair so let’s get on with it.
When I first read this script I was terrified; I’d never auditioned for a horror movie before. I don’t even remember the last time I let out a real, honest-to-goodness scream. It was much easier than I thought it would be though; I pretty much just conjured up my ex-boyfriend and things took a natural course from there. I believe that’s what they refer to as “method acting”.
It is one of the greatest joys of this business – you never know what’s around the corner or when you’re going to have an opportunity to do something you’ve never done before. A few years ago I may have snubbed the chance to play in a horror movie but today I am Captain Gung Ho. Get ripped apart limb by limb? Yes, please! Run around a haunted house holding pom-poms? You bet! Watch as the monster who bears a disturbing resemblance to a certain insect eats my beating heart. Why not? At my age, I’m jaded just enough to know better but still young enough not to care. Will a horror movie advance my career? Probably not. Would it be a great acting experience? I think so. More importantly, at the end of the film I could get a shirt made that says “A MONSTER TORE OUT MY BEATING HEART AND ATE IT AND ALL I GOT WAS THIS STUPID T-SHIRT”, and it will be true. Well, almost.
One thing I’ve always found fascinating is that what a performer wants to play and what they actually will play are often very different. My old acting coach had a student many years ago who went on to become a very famous Hollywood actor. Today he’s one of the biggest names in the business and has more or less become an action hero. I was stunned when my coach told me that what this guy had really wanted to do was act in romantic comedies. “Rom-com’s?” I blurted out in disbelief as I conjured up this guy’s image – the six pack abs, the years of martial arts training, that brooding, mysterious stare he’s so well known for. All that hard-core action artillery when all he really wanted to be doing all along was cuddling Meg Ryan under an afghan.
Oh, us actors really do have it rough. If people only knew. Sometimes I feel like walking down the street and taking people by the shoulders, shaking them and trying to get them to understand. But it wouldn’t help; it rarely does. Not that I’ve tried it or anything. All we want is a little understanding, right? And the chance to play our dream role in our dream film with a dream cast of which we are the biggest star. I don’t know about you but it doesn’t sound all that unreasonable to me?
In the meantime I will take whatever sounds like fun and is a challenge, because that’s what Hollywood is – one big roller coaster. Winding your way through this town is not for the faint of heart. Ok, so it’s not Pride and Prejudice but that doesn’t mean that running for your life from a monster can’t be all that and a bag of chips too. It’s not something I ever imagined I’d do but the longer I’m in the business the more I find myself wanting to explore new territory and being eaten alive seems like a great place to start. That and the t-shirt, of course.