Meeting the actors for the first time
So we all arrive in Halifax – (which has a great club scene – I think there are 1700 colleges there) and everyone gets together for the first run-through of the script. This was pretty thrilling for me, I have to admit. After writing the script and taking so long to set it up, it’s finally going to be read by professionals.
Because prior to this, it’s just Howard and me reading lines to each other to hear how they sound, and both of us could kill just about any line from “Play it Sam, play ‘As Time Goes By'” to “I’ll be back.” With few exceptions, writers and directors can’t act for shit. (And thank God no one was present when we were practicing sword strokes to get the blocking down…)
So anyway, it’s a thrill to meet these people. Jim was very professional, and full of hope about his beloved Notre Dame football team. John was… h’mm… magisterial. You got the sense there was nothing you could throw at him that he couldn’t handle with class and dignity. (And when he took some of us out to dinner, the maitre d’ certainly did scramble to find us a good table). And while some clown on a chat site recently was talking about how Ron was difficult on the set, nothing could be further from the truth. Completely good guy.
And Jack, well, he does know how to have a fine time. He’s one of those guys you wonder if he can possibly act. After all, he’s so damn good-looking. And yes, he can.
I remember when Sophia walked into the room the first time at a kick-off dinner. All the guys just went a little quiet. Then one of the Viking actors hit on her, swinging for the fences. He looked like he’d gotten all liquored-up for the try. Can’t remember his line, definitely second-team, though. Sophia handled it like a pro, like she’d had to do it plenty of times before. But she wasn’t mean at all. I think the guy left their conversation thinking all the world was his oyster, not even realizing he’d been shut down.