I was doing a play in Melbourne and George Miller’s girlfriend was at one of the showing. She suggested to George that I would be perfect for the role of Wez. I had no idea what the “Road Warrior” was about so George came down for a meeting and after about an hour of telling dirty jokes we both went on our way. A month later I get a call saying I got the part. I still had no idea what the film or the role was even about. It wasn’t until I had to go to Sydney for my costume fittings did I start to figure it out. Originally I had thought that I couldn’t do the role and was in my own way trying to get out of the role. Once I got the whole costume on George stood me in front of the mirror and I was scared shitless. After George doing that I figured I could probably do the role.
– Vernon Wells
Originally there had been a scene that explained I had raised the the boy on the back of my motorcycle, which would explain why I go mad when he is killed by the Feral Kid. However, in editing they felt the character played better without it, which would make everyone assume we were lovers. I respect what it did for my character, and because of Hosana, it wasn’t an issue for me if my character was gay, even if in my real life I am not.
– Vernon Wells
Probably the most insane thing I did was when I was on the back of the snake truck, with one foot on it and one foot on the tanker, crossing to climb onto the tanker, and the snake truck veered away from the tanker to avoid hitting it and I nearly became a wishbone! But alls well that ends well.
– Vernon Wells
Stanley told me he didn’t understand actors. He had no actor friends — they were basically working associates, and he thought they were a little bit strange, totally spoiled and in most cases had to be begged to give him a decent performance. Half the time the actor would argue with him. Vince D’Onofrio didn’t like Stanley’s “craziness look.” He wanted to try it some other way. The problem with Vince was this was his first film, and he’s telling Stanley Kubrick how he thinks this look should be. They stand there arguing. Stanley finally said, “Look, do it my way and we’ll load back up and we’ll shoot it your way.” Well, when they shot it Vince’s way they didn’t have any film in the camera
– R. Lee Ermey
My dearest Edwina,
Tonight, as you and Nathan slumber, my heart is filled with anguish. I hope that you will both understand and forgive me for what I have decided I must do. By the time you read this, I will be gone.
I will never be the man that you want me to be, the husband and father that you and Nathan deserve.
Maybe it’s my upbringing. Maybe it’s just that my genes got screwed up. I don’t know. But the events of the last day have showed amply that I don’t have the strength of character to raise up a family in a manner befitting a responsible adult.
I say all this to my shame.
I will love you always, truly and deeply. But I fear that if I stay, I would only bring bad trouble on the heads of you and Nathan Jr. I feel this thunder gathering even now. If I leave, hopefully, it will leave with me.
I cannot tarry. Better I should go, send you money, and let you curse my name.
Your loving –
In 2005, me and a friend started checking out general casting calls. She was a freelance programmer and, as a photographer, we were both a little slow at the time. I am not an actor and never wanted to be one, but if you live in Los Angeles, these opportunities are always out there and my friend, who is Japanese, thought it would be fun.
We attended an open call for Memoirs of a Geisha and were both immediately cast as background actors. We were both in different eras and scenes of the movie, she as a Fifties modern dressed prostitute and myself as a 1930’s Japanese general. Which was too bad because our intention had been to do this together but it meant that we would have different shooting days.
The life of an extra is bizarre and worthy of the articles and TV shows that have been created about it. I won’t go too long here but suffice to say that we were treated as just above set decorations yet occasionally were called upon to act. A lot of aspiring actors were in the mix, many having done numerous shows and films. There were hundreds of extras in my scenes of the army invading a village and sumo wrestling scene.
These were long eighteen hour days, getting paid very little, sitting around in costume and make up for hours, the boredom broken up only with the meal calls and the herding of us to set. The costuming was incredible for this film and I must say it was cool to sit around with a bunch of attractive geishas all day. And for the smokers in the crowd, some of the period set props were Camel unfiltered cigarettes. I smoked way too much over those days.
Since I was a shooter, I carried my Leica with me everywhere, including that set. I was, however, extremely conscious of the sensitivity of shooting unapproved on set since I had done production work before. But one day, I broke it out to shoot this girl because the light in the soundstage was just perfect. Soon, we all broke out our cameras and were taking group shots.
The next day, they issued a memo, instructing us to not take photos.
And yes, my shots were cut and my friend’s elbow was the only thing that made it into a scene.
But I did get the chance to be near Gong Li and that alone was worth the price of admission.
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